It is always said that the  “Marriages are made in heaven”. It happened to be my cousin’s wedding last month. Highly excited, I went with my parents to Punjab. Not that I was excited for the marriage but to be with my others cousins who can rock any party in the whole wide world with their drink, dance and abuse sessions.

But, to my own surprise none of my cousins turned up for the wedding… Since marriage is one topic I’ve been running away from ages, I decided to dig into it now. “Marriage… what does it actually mean?” I wondered looking at my cousin.

Sitting in a remote village of punjab, I quickly buzzed my friend on chat, “Can you do me a favour? I want a small research to be done on Anand Karaj. Would you do that for me?” I requested. “Yes sure… will revert with the information by tomorrow’ he replied.

Ever since I was born, I have been to countless marriages. In childhood, I used to get dozed off even before Anand Karaj could start. When I grew up, I could be seen dancing or drinking with cousins while others were busy in main marriage ceremonies.

Nevertheless, better late than never. I saw my cousin closely. I noticed each detail… saw her from head to toe. She did look happy, I saw her hands, she was getting her wedding mehandi done. “What does it mean to be married? Someone entering a new phase of life. It is exciting at the same time involves a lot of risks. And most importantly, why was marriage created? Do people the see the spiritual side of it? Did my cousin thought of it before saying yes to this guy? are people as mad as I am?”

On that very same night, I questioned my mother, Why is she so excited for this marriage. Her reply was “The girl is finally going to her own house and to her people, May God bless her”. I wondered if my cousin had been spending all her life in some refugee camp or what?!

I started creating an image of life after marriage. “You adapt to new surroundings, live with your newly made relatives, mould perfectly into your environment and take care of your husband’s needs. You are told to be obedient but you are miserable in this new dwelling, where you learn the actual meaning of ‘compromise’. You confide your feelings to your friend and she tells you to just adjust and think of the families. After a while everyone start putting pressure for child and even before you can understand anything, you are a mother of a human being. You get tired of questioning and confiding and learn to fall in love after marriage… Well, the love just seems to grow out of familiarity. You tolerate and bear all the differences for the sake of your children and life teaches you that marriage is an institution that leads away from living.”

“THAT”S AWFULLY HORRIFYING” I thought… and dozed off

Just before I was rushing for the Gurudwara next day, my friend buzzed me “Do you know what Anand Karaj is?”
“Yes, It is the main marriage ceremony” I replied.
He again asked, “ And what is laav?”
I replied, “Phere”
He continued: Anand Karaj means “Blissful Event”. It is regarded as a blissful union… a sacred bond of mutual dependence between a man and a woman; a true partnership of equals is made between those who are united in spirit as well as in mind and body. Marriage is not merely a physical and legal contract but is a fusion of the souls; a holy union between two souls, they need to become “Ek Jot Doe Murti” meaning “one spirit in two bodies”.

I was stunned, It meant so beautiful I thought. Where has the real meaning vanished?

He continued:
This Sikh marriage ceremony demands a bit more from the couple than is normally expected. The Sikh Scriptures advise that:
“They are not said to be husband and wife, who merely sit together.
They alone are called husband and wife, who have one light in two bodies.

“But this can be possible even without getting into marriage” I thought.

All family members gathered at Gurudwara and marriage ceremony started… all looked so beautiful suddenly.

“And what does all 4 laav mean?” I wrote to him

He gave me a detailed explanation on each laav (Phere)

“Wow! why don’t people see the beauty of it then? It is divine and is truly a blissful event” I thought

Since the topic tempted me greatly , I decided to do a detailed research on the history of Marriage and why the institution was invented?

“Marriage was created with a purpose, and the same purpose has lost its value in todays time… or was it ever there?!…” I thought

Through most of the civilizations, marriage has been more a matter of money, power and survival than of delicate sentiments.

Originally “marriage” was a private, binding contract between clans (families) to form an alliance, thereby increasing the clan’s chances for survival in war against rival clans. A “dowry” was given by each clan to “seal the deal”. Marriage was contractual, considered a passing of “property” between clans as a symbol of intention to honor the agreement being made. Property took many forms: cattle, land, children, whatever was considered to be of great value at the time.

The origins of marriage is NOT religious, nor does it have anything to do with the SPIRITUALITY.

It is verbally bartered agreements whereby a man agreed to provide care, security and access to survival resources to a woman in exchange for exclusive sexual access. This would assure him that his genetic legacy was safe as was the passing down of the survival resources to his own children and not to anyone else’s.

It shocked me to death. I was seeking a spiritual meaning to something which was material through and through. The main purpose behind the invention of marriage was to practice sex under regulations and to bring security within the group. e.i to control sexual relationship within the families/cousins/siblings.

My own heart came out of my throat.

When human beings were made or created by God… God’s main purpose was to let those creatures enjoy the life that they were blessed with. Further, humans invented an institution called marriage that certifies or legalises the social union or partnership between two human beings called spouses. Marriage was made for humans, humans were not made for marriages. Then why marriage becomes the only goal of life for some people?

Why do people think that marriage will bring assurance and security in one’s life and above all they believe they know better with whom a person should marry to. If It’s union of two spirits, two souls and bodies creating one universe. Let a human decide which soul he/she wants to collide with… gets united with and become one.

Throughout my whole research, I discovered that marriage has no religious or spiritual meaning. The only reason it was given a sacred meaning is that at one point the yester generations did understand that the future generations are going to disregard and disrespect Marriage as an institution. It was their own guilt which brought respect to the institution. Whereas the only sacred things since the starting of life on this earth are LOVE & SEX. These are the only divine powers to reach God… meet eternity.

The reason why most of the arranged marriages worked in the past was because of the mutual acceptance of the dependence on eachother. Men were dependent on women for household chores and women were dependent on men for social security. Arranged marriages seek to control people’s sexual encounters, intimate relationships, procreative abilities, and much more.

And the reason why marriages fail in today’s time is because people seek love in marriage. Where love is surely a foundation of any relationship, we all fail to understand that love transforms with time. Marriage does depend on love in todays time but with acceptance of the transformation… cause Love evolves… it grows and grows and make people wise.

There are three Greek word which describe love: Eros, Philos and Agape.

When two people get attracted to each other and the love is in the air. Eros is the spirit that combines those two together. Everything seems beautiful until eros transforms and the couple feel that they are not free to express their eros and instead of creating something new, both feel robbed as both have sacrificed a lot for each other. It becomes social love without the vestige of passion. Those who survive this reach to the next phase of love: Philos. Philos is love in the form of friendship. When the flame of eros stops burning, it is philos that keeps a couple together. It is at this juncture people think that all the passion and love is lost and the marriage is leading to nowhere. Where, it actually has taken them to the next level… the level where both become closer. Usually at this stage couples lose all interest and marriages fail. All of us seek eros, and then when eros wants to turn itself into philos, we think that love is worthless. We don’t see that it is philos that leads us to the highest form of love, agape.

Agape is total love. It is the love that consumes the person who experiences it. It is the love that transforms everything around. Whoever knows and experiences agape learns that nothing else in the world is important – just love. It is a feeling that suffuses, that fills every space in us, and turns our aggression to dust.

I still believe the foundation of marriage should be love. And besides practicing sex, it is an institution to practice love and romance. It’s a phase in two individual’s lives to grow together, learn together, make the other one better, become wiser…. and gain wisdom. It’s chance to experience life, explore the world and if possible the whole universe while fighting for and with each other.

I am yet to experience it, therefore, I am limiting my definition. But even if I go through this, i definitely would want to give it a better meaning than this. When two people unite mentally, physically and spiritually, that is sacred. And yes, I strongly believe love & sex are more sacred and divine than any socially certified marriage ceremonies.

Concluding this with these lines, I found from The Zahir on married couple.

“You were born together,
and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the white wings
of death scatter your days.
Aye, you shall be together even in the
silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another, but make not a bond of love.
Let it rather be a moving sea between
the shores of your souls.
And stand together, yet not too near together.
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress
grow not in each other’s shadow.”

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