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Dear Devotees,

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I just would like to share how I was married, being from a western country (Europe).

First of all, since my childhood I had no conception of divorce, because my mother and father were very dutifully living together, always respectful to each other. Thery were first man and first woman to each other, they were never fighting in any serious way. My mother was a stay-at-home mom, always taking care of the house and children, cooking for my father, receiving him when he returned from work. Of course they got married because they liked each other, but later they took it as a duty and next year will be 30 years, since they are together. So from my childhood I had the strong conception that you marry your first man/woman and stay together for your whole life. I did not have any boyfriends at school.

At the age of 18 I joined an ISKCON temple. I was very attracted to Krishna consciousness and for first few years I even thought I did not want to marry, just serve Krishna. Gradually, though, it became obvious to me that it would be difficult for a woman to stay single in the western world and peacefully practice spiritual life.

I had quite close association with my diksha Guru, His Grace Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari Prabhu and his good wife Vishnupriya Mataji, because I was his first disciple in my country. So they were concerned about my future life, so they picked one Prabhu from the local temple who desired to marry and told me that he would be a good husband for me. But I did not like him and so I refused to marry him, because I thought that I should be liking my future husband. So for several years I refused to marry him for that reason.

Finally, when it really became difficult for me to live as single woman and still peacefully practice spiritual life, I thought it wise to somehow try to accept that maybe he could be suitable for me. It was not easy for me as a western girl, but somehow I accepted. My spiritual master did our wedding yajna.

Then, after our marriage I found out to my great surprise that he actually had quite similar nature to me and that probably there would be no one else who could be such a suitable match for me. But I was not at all able to see it before, there was no external, superficial attraction. Therefore I had a very strong realization of why formerly parents or other elder relatives used to arrange marriages.

Of course, there were challenges and some adjustments needed to be made to be able to work nicely together,but it is gradually improving over time, now it is 5 years we are together and are gradually able to serve together more and more nicely.

I hope this information will help some devotees in some way.

Your humble servant,

Madhavi-lata d.d.

Views: 2766

Replies to This Discussion

Dear Madhavi-lata Mataji, i pasted Your story here as a discussion and thought maybe there will be many questions from other Devotees.

First, is what can do unmarried Devotee ladies when their parents are not Devotees, how they can act so that it won't harm their spiritual life while searching for a suitable husband?!

Thank You!

Your servant, 

Dear Mataji Maral,

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I do not have so much experience to be able to really give a practical advice to somebody, but I can share a few things I have learned from my superiors about these matters.

It is absolutely the most ideal situation if husband and wife are both devotees with similar interests and similarly advanced.

But some devotees may not be so fortunate. In that case it is very important to understand the purpose of marriage in our devotional life. We must realize at least with our intelligence that it is not the soul that needs marriage, it is our subtle and gross material body. We are trying to dovetail them in the Lord's service, and our ultimate goal is to become free from them.

Keeping that in mind, every devotee should evaluate how strong their material needs are. So for some devotees it would be better to marry a less devotionally inclined person than not to marry at all. And for some it would be better to remain unmarried than get involved with somebody not serious about devotional service.

For most women marriage is not just the question of some emotional need, but also a very practical arrangement of how they will be maintained. Of course, in western countries many women may stay single and maintain themselves throughot their youth and middle age, but it is usually a very miserable situation for them to stay alone in their old age, without any support from children and other relatives. So if there is no chance marrying a devotee, it still seems the best solution for many women to get married, of course, if the husband-to-be is at least serious to take responsibility of the material maintenance of the wife.

I think it is in some ways easier with the Indian families, because most Indians are at least to some extent Krishna conscious. Even those who are not serious devotees of Krishna still have a conception of proper culture, behaviour, standarts of cleanliness, sense of duty, etc. which are practically unknown in the west. In that way it is not such a culture shock when one Indian person gets married to another. At least the husband will take responsibilty for the wife and children. (Sorry, if I am wrong in this paragraph. This is my understanding, maybe in some places it has degraded more, so what I have said here is not true.)

I heard a lecture of HH Bhakti Vikasa Maharaja, where he recounts how one of his western female disciples preferred to marry a muslim man instead of a western devotee, because she saw many irresponsible devotees and decided that a muslim man would take better care of her and her future children. And she was not wrong, she just made the husband vegetarian and is doing nicely in her family life and Krishna consciousness.

So in the west the problem is that even if 2 devotees get married, there is no guarantee of their staying together and progressing in spiritual life, because many of us westerners just have no culture and no conception of duty. While for people with culture, at least they will fulfill their own emotional need for marriage by staying together and will not create disruptions in society.

For those who sincerely want to serve Krishna, He will make some arrangement. Due to our past misdeeds, we may have to suffer for some time, through our nondevotee relatives or otherwise, but if we sincerely desire to serve Krishna, He will help.

My parents were also not devotees... But since I left them and joined the temple then my spiritual parents took care...

And even though I got married to a devotee, still for several years the quality of my sadhana was not very good, I had to adapt to the different lifestyle of my husband, learn so many things I never knew before (because western education does not teach women what they should know), get over the initial maya of too strong man-woman attachment etc. During these years I often cursed myself and lamented for having neglected my spiritual life and desired I would have better gone to some holy place and dedicated myself to sadhana. But since I was not on that level, it would not have been a good solution for me. Now our life is slowly gettting more stable and the initial austerity is starting to pay back. So such a period could be there even if 2 devotees get married.

And even if husband is devotee he may not be able in some circumstances to take care of the spiritual life of the wife. Therefore it is said that everyone flies their own airplane. So from that point of view, ultimately every woman is the wife of Krishna and while doing her duties toward her husband very nicely, she should always think of Krishna within her heart. All the gopis spend their days in this way, and we aspire to become their followers...

That much I can say Mataji... Sorry if anything wrong...

Your humble servant,

Madhavi-lata d.d.

my humble obeisances dear Mataji, 

Nothing was wrong, no need for asking forgiveness, please!

Yes i also heard but in the lecture of HH Bhakti Vidya Purna Swami that one of Matajis preferred to marry a Muslim husband who was responsible in his material duties. And after marriage the things which You told followed. Then she made a blog and started to preach to young Muslim ladies the Vedic culture in this way Maharaja glorified her courageousness. 

So responsibility and sense of duty is very important things.

And also the case with spiritual growth:

You are right wife or husband can not fully depend on spiritual growth from each other. In this age of Kali even wives have to be responsible with their practice. This was started by Lord Chaitanya when He ordered Him Mother Sachi to observe Ekadashi. And in the lecture HH Radhanath Swami told that it was indication that in this age of Kali even wives can practice Krishna Conscious rules and regulations and achieve love for Krishna even if husband is not a saint.

Thank You so much!

Your servant

One more thing may be a confusion, Mataji please!

You told that You did not have any love for Your husband before marriage but decided even though to get married.

But as we think in present days love pr at least some attraction to each other is needed in order to be together. Or is it true that no matter that love will appear due to the service and by the time?

How to accept someone whom you do not love? As i see some of Indian friends get married even not knowing their future husband. How they are austere :O What does it mean?

Thank You! 

Your servant

Dear Mataji Maral,

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Thank you so much for this discussion, I am very fortunate to associate with many wonderful devotees, such as yourself here on ISKCON Desire Tree. I hope my answer is of some use.

I would say the problem is not attraction or love, the problem is if that attraction is in the mode of passion, if it is superficial, then it will not last. Passion is nectar in the beginning and poison at the end. Especially in the youth the senses are so strong, that people are often not able to consider if they will be able to stay with the person for their whole life. Therefore traditionally parents and other elders would arrange it.

Apparently couples who did get married because of attraction, but later remained together, had something deeper in their attraction, or else they developed it later. I heard HH Bhakti Vidya Purna Maharaj saying that the gandharva marriage, marriage based on attraction, was allowed in previous ages. As far as I understand, it is because formerly people were more qualified, so even though they sometimes married just because of attraction, there was something deeper to it and they were also committed to each other. While nowadays mostly it is not so.

Attraction between husband and wife is natural, but better have attraction in the mode of goodness, where maybe there are not so many extreme passionate emotional experiences in the beginning of the relationship, but they are two people with compatible nature and can work together in Krishna's service. Then attraction will come, but it will be more peaceful and stable. And from that we can get into the real romance, that of Sri Sri Radha and Krishna! Instead of wasting the whole life trying to perfect our own romance.

Of course, people arranging marriages should be qualified. I heard that in some places in the beginnings of ISKCON they used to marry devotees who really disliked each other, thinking that in this way they will not become attached. But such idea is based on impersonalism, because people get married due to attachment, and there is no question of killing that attachement in an artificial way. In devotion, we dovetail and purify our attachements, not suppress and neglect them, hoping that they will go away. So marriages were normally arranged between compatible people, consulting their horoscopes or sometimes, as in my case, by an elder person who knows well both the boy and the girl and sees that they could work nicely together. It is not that I was really disgusted with my husband before my marriage, I just had no special passion for him. I could appreciate that he is nice devotee, but otherwise no emotion. So that emotion came later.

Srila Prabhupada's disciple Shyamasundara Prabhu, the astrologer, has written a very nice article on Vedic astrology*, where he explains that formerly great care was taken to match the horoscopes of boy and girl, but today astrologers often use a very simplified method in matchmaking, which is not very authoritative. Formerly when boy and girl were matched, so many aspects of their life were taken into consideration by the astrologer to ensure they will be happy spiritually, emotionally, intelectually, physically.

So if we are sufficiently matched to the other person and take our marriage as a duty, then attraction will come and be stable. And the more devotees are advanced spiritually, the more they can work out material differences. So if the couple is, for example, just serving Deities or preaching, they may even have some major differences and still do nicely. But if they are less engaged in sadhana, they need more material similarities to be happy together.

Just one more thing, for grihasthas, more than other ashramas, it is so important to actually have communities. Sometimes people may have some little problem in their marriage that could be easily solved with the help of a trusted senior person. But because they have no support, they often just get divorced. And what to speak of children. Children need a community to grow up normally. Since this group is about children, maybe this could be topic for another discussion, how important it is for children to grow up in community...

Your humble servant,

Madhavi-lata d.d.

*Available at:

Thank You again and again dear Mataji,

About horoscope, i know one nice Devotee couple, God protect, they are one of the best grihasthas in our community. But i just checked their compatibility and it showed only 10% (of course i am not an astrologer). So here now i am confused if Devotees see this horoscope or do not pay much attention and depend on Krishna.

Thank You for the link from Shyamasundara Prabhu, i will read it and hope it will help many Devotees also.

And yes, You are correct about children. For their best education they should be protected by a nice community. 

Your servant, bhaktin maral

thank you for the wonderful insight.

if devotees are looking for a proper match within ISKCON - they can try

It is the largest such service for devotes to get married.


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