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Volume III - The Art of Personality

Part II - Rasa Shastra - The Science of Life's Creative Forces

Chapter XI


Marriage is from nature, and is simply an attachment. Some see a great significance in marriage, believing that couples are born and made for each other. Others believe that this attachment is but the outcome of the nearness of two individuals to each other, which, developing leads them to form a partnership.

Actually one sees marriages which illustrate both these ideas. The first may be seen operating in the vegetable kingdom. It may be traced in the position of two leaves on the same stem, one balancing the other and responding to the other. The second may be seen ruling the animal world, where mates become attached to each other through propinquity, until something comes to disturb their lives together. And then, absent from one another, they forget each other and readily accept a new mate.

But man always has something of sincerity and faithfulness in his nature. Though he lives his life in a changing scene he values steadiness and constancy. The origin of his soul is indeed that one and eternal Spirit, which does not change. And it is this human tendency to constancy that has helped to bring about the recognition of the attachment between man and woman, a recognition that has developed into the many and varied institutions of marriage. For the human pair so attached have wished to think of themselves as united in a desire for constancy. And they have also wished others to look upon them as a couple joined in a constant partnership.

The idea that an individual man or woman has been created the one for the other is found among all races at all times. It rests on common human experience. One often sees an individual possessed of a desire to marry, who makes many friends without becoming attached to anyone. Its seems as if he were groping towards his own mate who is destined for him, and cannot rest until he finds her. And again one sees two who have met many others without forming any real attachment, but who upon meeting instantly feel united, as if they had been made for each other.

One sees that all creation is aiming at perfection. Every atom is working to fit into its proper place. And either it attracts or else it is attracted to the fulfillment of that perfection which is the reason for its existence. All the different particles of an object are in time brought together. No matter how scattered, eventually they meet. This is the secret underlying existence. And the coming together of a man and woman, who see their attachment to each other as something as sacred as religion, is true union. The hope with which they look for their partnership to endure in unbroken constancy makes theirs a real marriage. And in this ideal is found the perfection of human life.

But this natural, sacred union is influenced from both sides in the modern State: on the one side by the Church, and on the other side by the law. Marriage has degenerated into a business affair, advertised on all sides as subservient to ideas of material profit and advantage. It is even suggested now that an external authority shall decide whether a couple be physically fitted to marry, so that the liberty to make even this decision may be taken out of their own hands.

And once they are bound together, the laws of the Church keep a couple bound together whether the attachment proves to be real and sincere or not, making them captives for life. So that often, the promise taken in the Church service, is the only tie that remains, and it becomes a lock that secures the imprisonment of two lives. Having no joy in their union a couple, mutually willing to part may be thus debarred from experiencing the joy of a real marriage within their Church. And the social law stands ready to enforce captivity and to inflict punishment should they break their imprisonment. And thus prevents them from following that sacred path of real attachment which leads to perfection of life. For marriage is neither a religious ritual nor a business contract, though the attitude of the Church makes it appear as the one, and the State as the other.

The free thinker, revolted by the purely formal marriage, goes to the opposite extreme, advocating what he calls free love. This ideal of free love, by which man and woman have entire freedom in marriage and divorce without reference to Church or State, will be practicable and possible when all the children of the community are equally under the care of the whole community. Nevertheless, for the individual to have this freedom without a spiritual ideal of life would prove a curse. For it must be acknowledged that the world, which is progressing in many directions, is weakening in others; and every day shows a weakening in the regard for purely spiritual ideas, such as are necessary in the democracy taught by the greatest teachers of humanity.

If the spirit of freedom becomes destructive it loses the essence of democracy. The true democrat says, 'There is no one to whom I, in my humanity, will yield as to a superior'; but he also says, 'there is no one among humanity whom I dare to despise or injure.' Until that far off day arrives when freedom exists everywhere alike for the strong or the weak, untainted by any spirit of intolerance, there must be safeguards to ensure order in the community. Until that day, marriage, or the formal recognition of the human attachment, will be necessary, not only in order that the interests of the children may be safeguarded, but so that woman, who has neither in the East nor in the West that recognition which makes her socially as independent as her mate, and whose position in life from every point of view is consequently a more delicate one than his, shall not suffer unjustly.


A Turkish father heard that his son was continually absent on long visits to a country place, and ordered him to give up these journeys and to remain strictly at his studies. He was a man of influence and position, and his son, from fear of him, fell in with his wishes. But later, hearing that his son had involved himself in an affair with a woman in that country place, the father sent him back to her, saying, 'How otherwise shall I feel secure that my own daughter will meet with honesty and sincerity?' Here there was no covering up of the truth for material convenience although it would have certainly been easier to repudiate the woman, and to make a virtue out of convenience; and there was no insincere adherence to an external standard of morality, nor any dishonest attempt to enforce an ideal of monogamy upon a mind incapable of sustaining it.

The English law of breach of promise was framed to protect women; but does anyone really imagine that there are now in England, owning to this law, fewer tragedies of the kind where innocent and sincere woman have been betrayed? The really sincere woman is silent before treachery of this kind as before death, feeling herself to be in the presence of something against which she is powerless.

The average man is apt to look with awe upon the social laws, which govern his community, as if these laws were of divine ordinance. He forgets that they are simply means devised for the most part by the average among his fellow men, to keep order; and that they can often be traced to a materialistic point of view, directly opposite to the divine spirit of the teacher whom he professes to follow as his religious lord and guide.

Every individual has a certain motive in his life. The higher his motive, the greater the current of thought or feeling that streams from him towards it. If two mates are drawn by the same motive, they advance through life together; but if it is not so, then life may be like swimming against the tide for each of them.

Before marriage it is hope that keeps love alive. Acquaintance, friendship, courtship are deepening stages through which hope leads the human being to that partnership called marriage. After marriage life's progress may become difficult, unless life presents a new scope and a new avenue for hope. Hope may center around the children; and yet that is not enough. There must be some incentive to stimulate each partner to progress along the path of life, and this is best given by each to the other when a common interest makes them share both joy and sorrow together, their gaze centered on the same aim.

Where there is no common interest or aim or ambition, harmony may still exist if each has an ideal of his responsibilities to the other as a human being. It is indeed through the lack of this ideal that life breaks into pieces. And it is truly noble on the part of a couple when, through miseries and difficulties, they always have regard to the sacredness of the tie that connects them.

Nature is such that no two things are created alike; and the human being cannot expect his or her mate, whom nature made, to be as docile and flexible as that creature whom his imagination alone conceives. To make a friend forgiveness is required which burns up all things, leaving only beauty; but to destroy friendship is easy.

checked 18-Oct-2005