As a sequel to my post on Bagavad Gita, I thought I would extend the discussion on looking beyond the ephemeral body, to human relationships. In an era of consumerism we find people developing strong likes and dislikes, but likes and dislikes are themselves false. Consider for example cigarette smoking –people who love to smoke enjoy the habit, while there are others who can’t stand its nauseating smell. How is it that the same cigarette induces happiness in some and misery in others? Similarly, we find many divorcees remarrying, how is it that someone hated this person so much to warrant a divorce while someone else wanted to tie the nuptial knot? This clearly shows that likes and dislikes are born out of our senses and thus have nothing to do with the object that is being liked or disliked. Like our senses they are also temporary and are subject to change over time. What we like today, we may hate tomorrow. Therefore, likes and dislikes are attributes of an immature mind.
However, we find in the modern times that people have been increasing their baggage of likes and dislikes. It is very common find people waiting for someone with “similar tastes (likes)” to marry. If they do find such a person with a similar baggage of likes and dislikes they feel excited in finding a ‘true’ life partner. But since this association rests on a false foundation, it crumbles soon and the relationship ends. This is perhaps why majority of the marriages in western nations fail, as they are founded on false reasons such as ‘similar tastes’, ‘my kind of person’ etc.
I think the arranged marriage system in India must be rooted in the gita. In this system, you marry a person chosen by elders, sometimes without even speaking a word before marriage. Marriage in Indian culture is more out of the need to perform one’s karma yoga – that of being a ‘grahastha’( raising a family ) than out of living ‘happily ever after’ with a person of similar likes and dislikes - That’s probably why it didn’t matter whom they married. However since the situation is changing now with more ‘love’ (similar likes) marriages, the number of divorce cases are also increasing.
One of my friends, member of a certain spiritual organization, told me about a unique way of getting married in his society. The boys and girls who want to get married are randomly chosen and their marriage is performed immediately afterwards. Surprisingly, the success rate of this system of marriage is phenomenally high. Though I was astonished then, somehow it is all starting to make sense now – the ‘unique’ system is after all our arranged marriage system with a different name.