Marriage: An Ideal Companionship
The relationship between man and woman is an extremely normal and natural phenomenon. It can be a beautiful one, provided both partners are interested in growing and evolving together. In ancient India, the institution of marriage was a religious cum spiritual one, dharmic sanskara, where before the marriage, both partners would fast, do yagyas and havans to propitiate the demi-gods and invoke their blessings. These sacred rites were undertaken with a view to support one another, evolve in harmony and grow with mutual respect and love. Sex was an important part of the relationship, not just as indulgence but with the desire to produce offspring embodying virtuous qualities and ideal attributes.
An interesting experiment was conducted in a lab by sexologists and psychologists. A rat’s brain was wired up with electrodes and when a bell was rung, that part of the hypothalamus which controls sexual activity was stimulated, giving rise to an orgasm. Each time the bell rang, the stimulation occurred, and the rat went into orgasm. Now after two months or so of the experiment being underway, the clever rat had the mechanism all figured out! It used to get so charged up that it started pressing the bell, on its own! This went on and on; ultimately it became too much for the rat to handle. One day the team found that the rat was dead, due to the multiple orgasms it had been craving!
Human beings too obviously experience the sexual urge, sex being one of our most powerful drives. In a male body, it takes 35 days for semen (veerya) to be produced from food. If this is senselessly wasted and not intelligently conserved, this weakens the body, depleting energy. In fact, a lot of deaths occur in the sexual act itself. So moderation is the key, along with understanding body-mind processes and how they are interconnected. It is important to understand that sexual drive should not be repressed, nor should it be given free rein. It needs to be channelised, disciplined, as otherwise one is no better than an animal. In fact, animals are more regimented – they mate only in the mating season, which may be once or twice a year but humans have the perpetual urge and will, sadly, go to any length to satisfy it. However, as seen in the earlier example, over-indulgence can be dangerous, if not fatal.
The body of a normal human being has certain needs – it requires food every six hours, water every four hours and sleep every sixteen hours or so. Imagine if you were told to sit out here in the cold for several hours, without food, water or toilet facilities – would you be able to? You would need to go to relieve yourself, lest you spring a ‘leak’! Or you would need food, water, rest etc. Interestingly, statistics show that the female body is stronger and more resilient as compared to the male body. In fact, in India, the average age of an otherwise healthy man is approximately 73.4 years, whereas the average life expectancy for females is 76 years.
Like hunger, thirst and sleep, sex too is a drive. There is nothing bad or negative about it. One need not repress or suppress the natural need for sex, for then it will find a release through masturbation or wet dreams. Instead, it is important to understand the body-mind mechanism so as to uplift it from the animalistic level so that one can walk on the spiritual path, gaining a deeper understanding of oneself.
Marriage today has however become merely a namesake, a license to indulge, a convenient arrangement rather than a sacred bond. Actually, marriage is something wonderful ordained by Mother Nature but it needs to be approached with intelligence and a mature attitude, so that growth on all levels can flourish. This can happen provided both partners use it as a stepping stone to evolve and uplift themselves and not to merely stay submerged at the animalistic level. When this is the case, then if one is a yogi, he will be happy and healthy and even if one is a bhogi, he will know how to skillfully balance his needs. An unwholesome marriage can be an unhealthy trap in which two mismatched adults inadvertently find themselves, rather than the rosy world they had in mind!
Marriage is a wonderful tool for two individuals to work together - gratifying senses, indulging in pleasure, sharing responsibilities, procreating, earning money, maintaining a family. Doing all this while following a spiritual discipline. Accepting one another’s faults and powers so as to join and become a complete unit.