Satsang at Rikhia

Paramahamsa Satyananda, Satsang during Sita Kalyanam, Rikhia, November 1997

What is the role of women in today's society? Is marriage necessary or is living independently more important? Why during Sita Kalyanam are we celebrating the marriage of Sita with Rama and how is that relevant to us today?

The principle and philosophy of marriage is union, not between energy and energy but a mathematical union between the principle of plus and minus. Nobody knows when the principle of union first took place. When Purusha and Prakriti united together trillions of light years ago, the perceptible universe came into being. This union between Purusha and Prakriti is the union between consciousness and nature. When this union is the beginning of the universe, the cause of the whole cosmos, why should man and woman not unite? This is the tradition of union.

In our society, marriage plays a very important role. We sannyasins who have renounced and foregone the joy of marriage do not deny the importance of marriage, because we think marriage is not only important for a woman but for a man as well. This wild beast of a man has to be domesticated and the process of domestication is possible only through marriage because the ruler is not male, the ruler is female. Remember this. It is she who trains and domesticates this wild man and teaches him how to behave. So sannyasins do not at all decry marriage, rather we want you to marry.

The marriage of Sita with Sri Rama represents the union between the supreme energy and consciousness. Rama represents the cosmic being, the param purusha, the ultimate consciousness, consciousness absolute, and Sita represents maha shakti. Shiva, Rama, absolute consciousness, God, Allah, Jehovah are names coined by us. God has no name, Rama has no name, absolute consciousness has no name. In English we call it absolute consciousness. In Sanskrit they call Him param purusha, param atman and some call Him parameshwara.

We do not fight over these names. There is something which is chaitanya and there is something which is conscious and they meet. In this way the cosmos is born, millions and trillions of stars, suns and moons, everything is born. Similarly, a man and woman meet, a child is born. A seed and the earth meet, a plant is born. Everything that is born is a result of the union between Purusha and Prakriti, from a tiny bacteria to the biggest galaxy in the universe. Whether it is a bacteria or a virus, everything that takes birth, that manifests, comes out as a product of the union between Purusha and Prakriti in different realms.

There is union of chemicals. There is union in the human, animal and vegetable kingdom. There is union in the mental kingdom. In the mind, when a thought which is masculine in nature and a thought which is feminine in nature meet, a result accrues in the form of purity or impurity, good or evil. Both are born out of the union of two types of thoughts and then they unite, so you have to be very careful about what kind of bride or bridegroom you choose in your mind. The union is important. A good, holy or pure thought is a result or the son of the union between two forms of thought.

In India and throughout the world, throughout history, in every culture, in those that have gone and those that remain, emphasis is laid on the marriage of a woman. A girl should be married properly because she is the creator of quality. She can create a Rasputin, a Hitler, a Christ or a Rama. It is she who created Buddha, it is she who created the demon. Therefore, care must be taken with her union. From the moment she is born in India until she is married, her parents are obsessed with the idea of her marriage. For ten, twenty, thirty years they think about it. The moment she is born, even while she is still in the nursing home, the parents start thinking about her marriage. The first thing that comes to mind is that she will have to be married. So, in India and Asia in general, and previously in Europe also, the marriage of girls was an important duty for the parents. Throughout history and the course of civilization, people have realized that the girl is the most important member of human society. She is the most precious jewel and, therefore, it is the duty of every parent to see that she's given to a man in a proper way. Sita's wedding is taking place here in Rikhia from tomorrow. Tomorrow the ceremony of Haldi will begin and the women from the village will come.

The question was also raised here about the necessity of marriage and the possibility of living independently. Of course, I know life is not always smooth sailing. There are quarrels in the family, differences between husband and wife, that's natural. Just because the husband and wife fight, the husband is not loyal, he does not earn, he drinks or gambles or he is a very free type of man, does that mean the wife can leave him? No. The bond between husband and wife does not break even in the grave, not till death or even after death. This is the ideal form of marriage which must be adhered to.

In the vedic culture we did not have divorce. We knew about the problems in the family between the two, but the Vedas did not allow divorce. They said that if a husband and wife cannot get along together, they may live separate lives, but the question of remarriage does not arise. The reason for this was very simple. The special need of this feminine being is security, stability. Not only in India, but in any part of the world, she wants to stay in one place and not move from there.

The second thing she wants is to rule. She wants to be the gharwali, the ruler, not the owner. In our country there is no problem of ownership, because when a girl is married, she takes her inheritance with her in the form of gold, silver, diamonds and pearls. In the West it is called a dowry, in India we call it a right of inheritance. The daughter has a right of inheritance to her parents' property, but you cannot give her one acre of land because it is immoveable. So you give her gold, silver, pearls, diamonds, cows. Nowadays a car, TV, radio or washing machine are given. So a girl should not be sent out of the family with an empty suitcase. That is not the tradition of India.

In India, at the time of marriage, even the poorest family which may have difficulty with their day to day meals, at the time of marriage spend with an open heart and an open hand. At the time of the marriage of your daughter, your sister or any female member of your family, you must sign a blank cheque, because this is her right. So ownership doesn't come into the picture. She is already the owner. A girl has a right over the property of her parents. If you have to sell a part of your land today, you cannot transfer or sell it without the signature of your daughter, because she is a partner in your property, even after her marriage.

Although a lot is spoken in Western countries and elsewhere about a woman's plight in India, it is not like that. Even the parents of a girl from a poor family see that she goes with a full suitcase. Therefore, in Sita's wedding, a dowry in the form of jewellery, ornaments, sarees and other necessary articles must be given to her. Many people joke that it is necessary to pay a marriage tax, but it is not a tax. You spend so much money on your son and he becomes a vagabond. What have you given your daughter? So Sita's wedding is a lesson for all of us that we have to look after this community of women so that they will become good mothers and our future generations will be better.