The social rules aren't the point. They are a medium for transferring our material attachment to spiritual attachment. That's what they're for. Does that make sense? So that's why we should never become distressed if our external form of our life doesn't look like what's on these pages [the Manu Samhita]. Because the point is is, it's a medium, so we try to do our best to come as close as possible, because it's a good medium. Other mediums may or may not be so good. You know, what I am saying?
So now, here in this section, here is the main point here. "But the maiden, though marriageable, should rather stop in her father's house until death than he should ever give her to a man, destitute of good qualities." So the point in the Vedic culture, the girls all get married. They should marry someone of equal nature, good character, like this, but this point is made here: but if such a boy cannot be found, better she just stays in her father's house for the rest of her life than marry someone who is not qualified. There will be less problem. Because the relationship with the father is good. He'll take care of her. But if you get the husband that's not good, then it's just gonna cause misery for the boy, the girl and both families. And the same principle applies, better to not get married than marry a bad girl. But here, you just have to say it from this side, because it naturally applies the opposite way.
So that is the principle of who she should marry, and if such a person isn't found, better not to get married. In this case, something is not necessarily better than nothing. You know what I am saying? That something has to be of a standard. You know, because it will never be up to what you really want, right? Like that. But, you know...
Like we say, Romeo and Juliette made great copy, but they are both dead. Romeo and Juliette never had to pay bills, they never had to change diapers, they never had to vacuum the rug or move the lawn. Because they are dead, it makes it great story, right?
"And they got together and rode off into the sunset and lived happily ever after." You never hear about paying the bills, washing the clothes, none of it. So that always is the thing, is that so this principle is there.
The Vedic principle, it's based on duty. The boy and girl have never seen each other, but because of the inherent attraction between boy and girl, and the principle of that the jiva gets attached to anything that it works with and gets a good experience with, that's the nature of the jiva, because it's energy, shakti, it's female. Therefore then, you follow those duties, then between that combination, the boy, girl with duties, then it's basically guaranteed, there'll be attraction and attachment, so it will be a nice experience. Does that make sense? And if they follow their duties and everything goes nicely, then after a lifetime of nice duties, then they will see, is, comparing that to spiritual happiness, then it doesn't compare. You do the duties perfectly for 20 years, and you are getting perfect results, but then, if you compare that perfect result with the result of a nice Kirtan, or other, or association with devotees, or nice class, then you start to see, "Hey, it's not the same." And then the mind therefore will get attracted to the other.
Because much of the time the mind gets attracted to the material thing only because you have the idea what it's supposed to be, it's supposed to be good. Everybody says, it's great. If you get this particular clothes, or eat this particular food, you're supposed to be happy. So people do it, and then they think, I must be happy. It's just like you had Dronacarya's kid, he had never tasted milk. So the other kids then mixed up some chalk in some water, so his wife gave it to him, saying, hey, this is milk, drink it. He is in ecstasy, "Yeah, I've tasted milk, yeah..." Because everybody says, milk is great, so now it's supposed to be great. It wasn't milk, but, you know, but because the mind thinks, this is supposed to be great. Does that makes sense?
So, much of the time it's not that interaction on the material platform is actually of a very good caliber. It's not that there is anything there of any substance, but we've heard about it so long, and it's supposed to be good, right? Everybody says, boy and girl get together and sit down together and get into it, it's supposed to be great, right? That's what they say, everybody says, it's supposed to be great. Now, whether it was great, or whether it's just because everybody said it was great, so therefore your mind projects, it has got to be good, so therefore then you say it's great. There is also the element, they don't wanna be fools, everybody else said, it was great, so then you say, "Yeah, it was great," but each one there thought it was terrible. So that's there.
Therefore you have that principle, is that, so after 20-30 years you can't fool yourself anymore. You can see that, okay, I've done all of that, and I did all the things the mind said it's supposed to be great, but... they were okay, but they don't satisfy. So they are not actually great. Does that make sense? That's why it's not just one time... If someone who just coming in contact, hearing this thing, then immediately they pull out, that's very special people. So therefore we see, the acaryas, they get involved in these things for just very short time. What people will take lifetimes, they do in a few years.
Raghunatha Dasa, his uncles would make 2 million gold coins a year. So, you are talking billions of dollars, billions. Every year. And that's back then, when you lived in natural surrounding, most everything you need just grows right there, you don't even have to buy it. So what do they do with the money? That's how much money he has. His wife was said to be more beautiful than Indra's wife. So he had, in comparison, more wealth and more opulence, more beautiful wife than Indra in his situation. Indra is on the heavenly planets, and he has a little bit more. But comparatively speaking, what everybody has got here, he had way beyond. And he performed his duties nicely, as a good husband, did everything nicely, but no interest. And so, as soon as he could, then he left the situation.
Vishvanath [Cakravarti Thakura], then he has married very beautiful wife, very qualified. So then, and he is not... Means, they are great friends, but no children. So they [the relatives] are saying, "Hey, you have to fulfill her need," you know. And so, Vishvanath, he takes it, the real need is Krishna consciousness. So then, they [the relatives] told the girl that, you know, he has agreed. So she arranges, decorates herself, everything like that. So she comes to... they go to bed, everything like that, and she is all prepared for this kind of intimacy. And he is prepared that, you know, give her the real, REAL need. And so, he sits there the whole night describing to her Bhagavatam, and reading Bhagavatam, and giving the essence, the purports, the most essential points out of the Bhagavatam to her for the whole night. At one point she falls asleep, as she falls asleep, he leaves house. So he has fulfilled her need, now he can go. So like that. And then they don't, after going out, after a couple of years, marry somebody else. They don't, because they are on a different platform. So for the average person, then one is given 20-30 years to figure it out, that it's sruti-sukhat, sruti means hearing and sukhat means, enjoyment. It's been heard about, everybody talks about it, that you enjoy. Who does enjoy? If you notice, it's all like that, it's only out of attachment we keep going, but we are not really getting anything, right?
You are really hungry, the prasadam has been cooked very well, the environment is really good, you feel very comfortable, those first few bites that you take, you really notice them and that. But then, after that, you are already full, but you wanna keep going because of the taste, but if you really notice, the amount that you are actually perceiving of the taste is very small compared to what it was in the beginning, but the mind thinks, "I am getting that now," but if you look, it's not. Does that make some sense? So that's what then you have to work out. Is that, the mind will say, "Yes, yes, this is really great, great milk, great milk!" but in reality, no, it's chalk powder. It's not milk, milk is something else. So, happiness is there, yes, but not here. It's in the spiritual world. So therefore the mind has a doubt, so then all this whole social system is there to relieve us of that doubt, you won't know unless you've gone through it. Does that make sense?
Someone is married, doesn't work. Then it's like, it was that person, you get another person, well, then that should work. But that doesn't work, it's that person. Then you go to the next person, like this, you just keep going. So you can't really say that you had a relationship that really worked that you figured it out. Of course, if you are smart, then you can put it all together and figure out, "Hey, there is a pattern here!" You know, they all act in the same way and that, so there is a principle that man is man, woman is woman, so by intelligence you can work it out, and from that then throw the whole thing out. So then there is no disadvantage to any situation. But it's just very easy is that if with one person, that it works, and it's going nicely, and everything that you are expecting is, basically, you are getting, and all these things, and all the things, you are supposed to be happy with what you have. And then you see, but you are not really happy. A good Kirtan is much better. So then you figure out, "Hey, something is going on here." So then the mind, at Vanaprastha, can fully turn to Krishna. Or at however earlier it happens. Does that make some sense? So that's why it's recommended, if you follow these, then it will go nicely for you.
(From Lecture on Manu Samhita, 27 October 2003 Bhaktivedanta Academy, Sri Mayapur Dhama)
Lecture recording, this passage starting about 53:10
Photo Courtesy ISKCON Desire Tree