Marriage & Relationships

Recently a good friend of mine approached me to write a few posts on Marriage and Relationships for her Face book page, which has been launched as a match making platform recently.  I readily agreed because I knew it would be a challenging task. The main theme of my posts will be Relationships in the context of marriages. This is a great topic to discuss because it offers unlimited scope for collective learning – for the writer as well as the readers. I firmly believe that life is a continuous process of learning for all.

As I attempt to write this column I am reminded of the Shanti Mantra from our Upanishads, which is reproduced below:

सह नाववतु
सह नौ भुनक्तु
सह वीर्यं करवावहै
तेजस्वि नावधीतमस्तु मा विद्विषावहै
शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः
Om Saha Nau-Avatu |
Saha Nau Bhunaktu |
Saha Viiryam Karava-Avahai |
Tejasvi Nau-Adhii-Tam-Astu Maa Vidviss-Aavahai |
Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih ||

Om ! May He protect us both together; may He nourish us both together;
May we work conjointly with great energy,
May our study be vigorous and effective;
May we not mutually dispute (or may we not hate any).
Om ! Let there be Peace in me !
Let there be Peace in my environment !
Let there be Peace in the forces that act on me

The mantra lays emphasis on collective learning by the student & the teacher together. Very interestingly, in the fourth line, the seeker is praying for attainment of a state of mind completely free from any hostility or hatred to anyone. Clearly our Upanishads highlight the importance of  ideal relationships as the fundamental basis for acquiring wisdom and enlightenment.

It is in this spirit that I am endeavouring to pen this column.

Okay, let us begin with an exploration of the origins of the word marriage.

The word marriage is derived from the old French root, merrier, which means to provide a husband & wife. Let us now consider its origin in Sanskrit. VIVAH is the word for wedding in Sanskrit. It literally means – what supports or carries. The marriage ceremony is sacred and is meant to create a union that supports and carries a man & woman throughout their married life in the pursuit of dharma or righteousness.

Thus in India it has attained special significance. Among Hindus, a marriage is celebrated as a highly religious function where priests invoke the presence of Gods for blessing the couple with wealth, health, prosperity and progeny. That a Hindu marriage is sacred comes as a corollary to the fact that we even celebrate the union of our Gods and Goddesses throughout the year during festivals. The holy union of the Gods and Goddesses is celebrated for the sole purpose of Universal well-being (Loka kalyan). This has no parallels in any other religion. Our mythological stories describing divine  marriages help us to impart lessons in ideal relationships in marriage. Whether it is Krishna & Satyabhama or Rama & Sita, the idealized divine couple is taken as our role models to emulate. That is the richness of our culture. Our civilization may not be as advanced as the Western world. But there is no denying the fact that our culture is great. Here I would like to draw a distinction between Civilization and culture. Advances in Civilization merely give one better material comforts and amenities. But, culture, which  is an inherent quality of a society, a community or an individual, is the right measure of growth or evolution of human beings. The great thinker, J Krishnamurthy, puts it brilliantly when he says: Culture is flowering of goodness and harmony. The institution of marriage provides a common platform for us to enhance our rich cultural heritage.

Let us now explore relationships in the light of marriages. There is no life without relationships. right? We are born with myriad relationships – mother, father, brother, sister etc. Every relationship brings with it several expectations as well as obligations. Unfortunately, while we readily exercise our rights and expectations on our relationships, we almost ignore or even forget our obligations to others. This is probably one of the fundamental reasons for mounting tensions in relationships. The issue of relationships has several dimensions. Many great thinkers like  J Krishnamurthy have shed invaluable light on the subject.  We will together explore the subject from different perspectives in the upcoming posts drawing heavily from our scriptures, mythological stories, writings & speeches of great thinkers and our own personal experiences/anecdotes.

I hope the readers will enjoy as much as I enjoy bringing this out to you.

Published in: on August 21, 2013 at 11:04 pm  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Thank you CSN for readily agreeing to do this for me……As usual a super job done. I am sure all my friends also like this as much as i do. Please keep them coming.

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