Welcome to the course “Get Ready for Married Life”!
Congratulations on your choice to deepen your understanding of Krsna conscious married life.
At Bhakti Marriages, an initiative of the ISKCON Congregational Development Ministry, our service is based on the following convictions:
We believe that the only way to have stable, successful marriages in ISKCON is by learning and following the instructions of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krsna Consciousness.
We believe that before thinking, “Who will be my husband?” “Who will be my wife?” young men and women should deeply consider their motivations, their readiness, their own qualifications.
We believe that before getting married devotees should go through training.
This course is designed especially for single men and women, young adults not yet in a relation. Nonetheless, we believe this course will be very useful and beneficial to you even if you are already in a relation, engaged or even married.
As this whole approach is based on Srila Prabhupada’s instructions, we wish to start by quoting extensively from a lecture he gave in Montreal, Canada, on 22 July 1968, at the wedding of his disciples Paramananda and Satyabhama (emphasis ours, in this quotation as in all the quotations in this course):
“Govinda, the Supreme Personality of Godhead . . . is engaged in transcendental, conjugal love, Radha and Krsna. So this love which is in our experience within this material world, man and woman, it is not unnatural. It is in God also . . . Therefore here in this material world we see that the attraction for man and woman, woman’s attraction for man, man’s attraction for woman, is so prominent . . . Why? The answer is in the Vedanta-sutra: janmady asya yatah [SB 1.1.1]; because it is there in the Absolute Truth . . . But the same Radha-Krsna love matter has permeated through matter. Therefore it is perverted reflection . . . according to our Vaisnava principles, marriage is allowed because there is male, there is female. Why they should not unite? But not illegally.
So when I came in this country, in New York, the boys and girls, they were coming, and some of them offered me to become disciples. So I saw that most of the boys and girls, they are keeping the boyfriend, girlfriend. So I requested them that, ‘if you want to make progress in spiritual life, you have to refrain from four kinds of sinful activities, and these four kinds of sinful activities are illicit sex life, first; second, non-vegetarian diet; third, intoxication; fourth, gambling.’ Unless one is free from these four principal activities, one cannot make progress in spiritual life . . . I am a sannyasi. I have renounced my family life. I have got my children, my grandchildren, I have my wife still living, but I have separated from them. This is called sannyasa. Why I am taking interest again, this family life of my students? Because I want to see them properly progress towards spiritual life. Therefore, although it is not the business of a sannyasi to take part in marriage ceremony, in this country, just to save my students, both boys and girls, from sinful activities, I am personally taking interest that they may become good gentleman and lady by marriage.
So I am very happy that those boys and girls who have agreed, and they are now married and getting children; and they are feeling very happy. Many of them are present in this meeting. From their face, from their activities, it appears that they are very happy. So in this Krsna consciousness society we have got this program that if some boy or girl wants to get married, I help. So this marriage ceremony is today arranged on that principle. But the present bride and bridegroom must know it certainly that this marriage is not for sense gratification. This marriage is for purification of life. So there is no question of divorce. There is no question of separation. So don’t get into married life if you have got such propensity. Our first principle is to become Krsna conscious, and other things, secondary . . . So my dear children, boys and girls, I request you that live happily. There is no restriction. We don’t restrict eating, sleeping, or mating, or defending. But do it in relationship with Krsna, pure life, and be happy in this life and next life.”
Srila Prabhupada ki jaya!
This course is for serious devotees. We presume that you recognize that you are not the body but an eternal spiritual being, part and parcel of Krsna; and that you accept that the human form of life’s ultimate goal is to re-awaken your dormant love for Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. We also assume that you accept Srila Prabhupada as an empowered messenger and representative of Lord Caitanya.
Maybe you are initiated or maybe not; maybe you are daily chanting sixteen rounds of Hare Krsna maha-mantra or maybe not; maybe you have been a devotee for many years or maybe you are new; but we assume that you wish to seriously practice bhakti-yoga at your level of commitment; and that you wish to advance further.
We wish you a fruitful study. It is our honor to serve you and assist you through this course.
The Team at Bhakti Marriages