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Hare Krishna everyone!


My brother is getting married next week and my parents have requested that I give a speech for the occasion. However, I am so stuck for inspirtation!

I know I'd like to talk about love in a spiritual sense, or something meaningful at least, but all i feel able to speak about is Krishna and his philosophies. Or how to love Krishna.


I was advised by someone to talk about the vedic ideals of marriage but I feel that would offend some of the crowd.


Can anyone please help me in my speech writing process and provide some good ideas for me to perhaps discuss in the speech.

I'm going to mention how everybody is looking for love, that much is certain.


Thank you friends.

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Hare Krishna everyone!


My brother is getting married next week and my parents have requested that I give a speech for the occasion. However, I am so stuck for inspirtation!


It is rather a situation to speak strong words and not support today's caprice of divorce culture. "Can marriage be broken and divorce be a legal and yet ethical dharmic religious stand? "


"The husband has got some motive and the wife has got… As soon as the motive is not fulfilled, divorce: “Ah, no more now. Take another chapter.”So this is going on. You see? This is going on, and therefore in the name of devotion, in the name of love, in the name of faith, they are trying to satisfy their own senses. This is called illusion."


Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.15.20

by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda

Los Angeles, November 30, 1973




Hindu ideal of marriage - A message from Ramayana


-Dr. B.V.Venkatakrishna Sastry

Hindu University of America


Hindu ideal of marriage partnership is represented in the model of the words ‘Rama – Sita’. ‘saha-dharma chaara’ is the Sanskrit word expressing this ideal of spouse relation ship. The goal intended to be attained through this ideal is mutual progress on the path of Dharma, in a partnered and cared way. The success of this partnership is measured with reference to Dharma. Though Hindu traditions have many family gods like Shiva-Parvati, Vishnu-Lakshmi, Indra-Shachi, Krishna –Rukmani, the role model of Rama-Sita has been of greater appeal to the Hindu society. The ideal of ‘saha-dharma-chaara’ can be translated as couples made for each other through passion of penance. The Sanskrit expression ‘paraspara tapah sampat phalaayita parasparau’ is an explanation of this concept. The following passage used in traditional Hindu marriage from Valmiki’s Ramayana drives home this point. iyam sita mama sutaa, sahadharmacharee tava-‘This daughter of mine, Sita, shall henceforth be your life partner for loving care and mutual progress in togetherness on the path of Dharma, measured with reference to the vales of Dharma’. This concept gives guidelines about the responsibilities of parent of the bride, parent of the groom, relatives, and religious priests officiating for the Hindu Marriage.

The context for this line in Ramayana for is the marriage of Sita. The story line is goes thus: King Janaka, the foster father of princess Sita has set the challenge of lifting Shiva’s great bow as a condition to win the hand of Sita. Many kings desiring Sita’s hand failed to meet this challenge. Sri Rama succeeds in this test. The message is sent to Dasharatha, father of Rama. The parents of bride and groom Janka and Dasharatha, endorse the marriage. The spiritual masters Vasishta, Vishwamtira, known for their power of penance and other great sages approve of the marriage and are ready to bless this ‘braamha’ type of marriage ritual. King Janaka is handingover bride Sita to the groom Sri Rama. Rajarshi Janka, the spiritually enlightened king says: This daughter of mine, shall henceforth be thy partner in life, in the path of Dharma. For this type of ‘bramha’ marriage to succeed, the bride and groom should be ‘made for each other by penance’. Kalidasa, the great poet in Sanskrit literature, in his great work ‘Kumara Sambhava’ describes the marriage of Shiava with parvati on similar lines. Lord Shiva rejects Parvati’s claim in the first phase of her efforts in winning the hand of Shiva, as her stake was based on her pride of excellence in physical beauty (sarvopamaa drvya samucchayena saa nirmitaa viswasrujaa..).

Dejected by this rejection, parvati takes on to penance. Shiva tests the strength of Parvati’s determination and ultimately accepts her love. The words used by Shiva reads ‘kreetah tapobhih’ – I am won over by the power of your penance. What physical beauty failed to achieve was made possible by the power of penance. This marriage resulted in the birth of the great warrior Shanmukha Shivakumara for leading the army of gods and the destruction of the demon Taraka.

This god, known as Murugan is worshipped by countless devotees for centuries. These gods have a message for the family way and saintly ways. In both paths the common value is Dharma through tapas. Another name for tapas is Yoga and bhakti, prema.

At a later period, another great poet- philosopher – devotee, separated by Kalidas by at least one thousand years, describes the family ways of Shiva and parvati in the following words, “paraspara tapahsampat phalaayita parasparu, prapancha maataa pitaru praanchau jayaa-patee stumah’ - We salute the primordial Couple, who were made for each other through penance, desiring for each other as the goal. They are the parent of the world. They are the other half of each other, the spouse.” This prayer resonates the words of Kalidas jagatah pitaru vande in Raghuvamsha (1-1). The value honored in hindu marriage is presented here as ‘togetherness’ and ‘penance’ where dharma is the value. This is the word used in the vedic marriage ritual. The sacred text of marriage ritual reads as follows: This

marriage partnership is for ‘dhrma prajaa siddhyartham’ for the achievement of dharma and noble issues who observe Dharma. This can be achieved only if each of the partners of marriage have performed passionate tapas penance which transcends the bodily attraction and mental feel of just likes and dislikes, which are disturbed by speech. The vulnerability of attractions limited byphysical beauty (body), emotions (mind) and speech can only be overcome through penance aimed at Dharma. This needs guidance and grooming in society. The parents, instructors, society and state have a responsibility to instill and maintain these values in the younger generation. The places for installing these values in the young and adolescent minds are the families, society, schools and the media of entertainment. These are precisely the places where the corruption and downfall starts to

degrade the minds of the next generation, leading to the lament of elders of the previous generation. The issues of values, ethics and cultures are integral issues of importance to the nations at this point. This is where religious values are critical in providing the national identity, religious identity, cultural ethos, and moral standards of behavior.

In this light let us see how other world religions look at the marriage vows.

Marriage Vows are taken during a public or formal occasion so that the couple can declare their commitment to one another before witnesses and so solemnize their marriage union.Marriage vows are promises made by the couple to one another which declare in a formal manner the deep feelings they have for one another and the desire they have to have their relationship recognized in a ceremony, which gives them the opportunity to express their love through the words of marriage vows.Marriage vows are ‘solemnized’ by official ceremonies such as a church marriage service, or a civil service. These ceremonies act as official occasions, recognized by state statutory authorities to provide the couple with a legally recognized marriage relationship. One version of the catholic Christian wedding vow reads as follows. The marriage vow is administered by the officiating priest before the signature is affixed in the records, the ring is exchanged and marriage is officiated. Peter and Catherine are the names of groom and bride. “(Peter) do you take (Catherine) to be your

wife? Do you promise to be true to her in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, to love her and honor her all the days of your ,life?” .”I


Marriage Declaration Minister says: “In as much as you have each pledged to the other your lifelong commitment; love and devotion, I now pronounce you husband and wife, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Those whom God has joined together let no one put asunder.

In that vow groom has take on, before God and the community, an infinite obligation is built in. In that vow there is no listing of this or that right, no limitation. In that vow groom leaves behind all of personal rights in favor of something much bigger. In that vow groom is granting this new entry in to his life in the relation of wife, a new woman, a different gender from his own, and an unconditional claim on his LIFE; by mind, by body, by spirit. Similarly, the bride when she repeats and agrees for the same vow the obligations is forged. Marriage is fused.


Marriage is an exchange. Both man and the woman promise to abandon the ‘small self’ to make room for that unconditional claim. Each one has to think before marriage - could I possibly be worthy of such a promise? Did I have a right to expect or demand his/her life in exchange for mine? This is another way of expressing the ideal of hindu vedic marriage of ‘paraspara tapah sampat phalaayita parasparu’. That’s why the modern debate over rights makes little or no sense in the context of Catholic marriage and Hindu marriage. We have, each of us, man and woman, in Catholic and Hindu marriages given up our individual rights permanently. If we, as husbands and wives, fulfill our obligations we will eventually all lose ourselves to become, in each individual couple, one mind, one body, one spirit. That is the ideal of ‘prajaa’ the offspring surging forth as the knot of bliss as a result of the marriage. Each one of us as the children of the parent are a fruit of this kind of sacrifice, Dharma observance by the parent. Poet Bhavabhooti, another great admirer of Valmiki uses the words ‘aananda granthirekoyam apatyamiti badhyate’to describe the marriage of Rama and Sita. The fruition of marriage is the blissful bond in the offspring. This elevates the couple dampati-jaya pati to the level of parent maataa-pitarau. This is the result of progressing in togetherness on the path of Dharma. In the advanced years of marriage, the husband is

recommended to be treated by wife as a grown up ‘son’; the wife elevates herself to the role of ‘mother.’ The husband progresses to be the representative of future generations. Is marriage a civil contract? Is it a enforceable legal contract at all? Can marriage be broken and divorce be a legal and yet ethical dharmic religious stand? This issue is at the root of hot debates of today. Gay marriage issue is a part of this larger

debate? Do you engage in the marriage status of today using vows drawn according to religious wordings drawn in the past to get the tax rebates and loan privileges of today? Do you marry now for a divorce tomorrow? is the mute point? This also addresses the issue of growing old with the marriage. In Hindu traditions, a second renewal of the marriage pledges is done when the couple reaches an age of sixty years. It is a review of how successfully couple has progressed in the partnered journey of marriage. It is a self introspection and time for corrective action. The maturity of body and mind need to be balanced, harmonized and synthesized. It is a time to show to the younger generation how long and happily the couple-spouse have lived as couple and progressed to be proud parents. It is a time to see

how the marriage has been protected from the rocking’s of the body, mind and speech over a time period. It is a time to see how much seasoning has occurred to each of the partners. It is time to get prepared to get to the next phase of ‘grand-parenting’. That is ‘tapas’. Seeing the generations, the family grow through children and grand children is the ‘wealth generated from this tapas’. That is living the ‘marriage vow’. Every party to marriage – the parent, the seniors, the priests, educators, relatives and state have a

responsibility to live to this marriage vow standards.


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A renewal of marriage vows ceremony can be for any married couple that wish to celebrate renewing their marriage vows in a unique and personal ceremony. Often these renewal of marriage vows ceremonies are associated with a special wedding anniversary, such as the tenth, twenty-fifth, fortieth, etc, but the ceremony is just as appropriate for couples at any stage of marriage. It is sometimes particularly relevant to those who have been through a period which put a strain on their relationship, but who wish to celebrate their renewed commitment to each other. Unresolved problems within people can bring about marriage problems, even though the marriage may have a healthy external environment.

Marriage is frequently promoted by many for religious reasons. Others think marriage is great for both the family unit and societal stability. The majority of experts also concur that the children profit when raised in a two-parent family. But, new investigation suggests there is an extra reason to encourage secure, caring marriage relationships. It is becoming more and more obvious that a good marriage is great for your health and well-being.

Researchers also claim, that a stressful or abusive marriage relationship can actually have a disadvantageous impact on health and longevity and urge marriage couples to work to develop their relationship.

Bible Reading from Corinthians endorse this stand: Love endures and is kind.Love is not envious or jealous.Love wants not for itself. Love is not puffed up, nor does it behave wrongly. Love seeks not for it’s own. Love is not easily provoked. Love is not rude.Love thinks No evil.

Love does not rejoice in wrong, but dwells in the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, endures all things, and love never fails. Love is given to us by our family and friends. We learn to love by being loved. Learning to love and learning to live together is one of life’s greatest challenges.

This is the goal of a married life. But husband and wife should not confuse the love of worldly measures, for even if worldly success is found, only love can hold a marriage together.




Mankind did not create love; God created love and teaches it to us. The measure of a true love is one given freely and a love that is freely accepted, just as God’s love for us is given freely and unconditional.

Today is a glorious day that God has made as you reaffirm your love and vows for each other. Both of you are blessed with God’s greatest gift of all, an abiding and true love of each other, and the reward of a life long companion ship, that entered your life through the love in your lives. As youtravel through this life together, remember it was love that got you here, it is love that will continue in your lives, and it is love that will make this union to endure. I ask that you guard your heart and your love for one another, and hold it tightly in your hearts.

Unfortunately, it is becoming difficult to find families conforming to this standard.

The challenges of religious identities start at the point of marriage, child grooming and grand parenting. That is a long span of time covering a minimum of thirty to fifty years in the life of a society andcommunity. In Jewish tradition love is not so much an emotion as it is a way of treating someone else.

When the Torah and the Shema teach to love God, the rabbis explain that this love is to be demonstrated by behavior. If I love my wife it is not enough to feel it in my heart; I must show it in my actions. The traditional Jewish wedding vow says “Behold you are consecrated to me as my wife/husband according to the faith of Moses and Israel.” Behold - here, with these words and with these rituals. You are consecrated to me - a husband and wife are designated exclusively for one another, and adultery is therefore forbidden.

Furthermore, this is a sacred relationship. It requires each to treat the other as a child of God, and as one who was created in the image of God. This means that each must respect the other and treat the other with kindness. It means that neither can, under any circumstances, be abusive to the other in any way. It means that each must treat the other as a person, and not as an object.

According to the faith of Moses and Israel - the sacred character of the marriage is to be

expressed through Jewish life. It is to be enriched by participating as a couple and as a family in Jewish lifecycle events. It is to be enriched by coming together with songs and blessings at the Sabbath and festival table. It is to be enriched by participating in worship, in synagogue life, and in the Jewish community.

In Islamic tradition, marriage (nikah) is mutual agreement of bride and groom. Marriage (nikah) is a solemn and sacred social contract between bride and groom. This contract is a strong covenant (mithaqun Ghalithun) as expressed in Quran 4:21).

The marriage contract in Islam is not a sacrament.

It is revocable. Both parties mutually agree and enter into this contract. Both bride and groom have the liberty to define various terms and conditions of their liking and make them a part of this contract. One matrimonial party expresses "ijab” willing consent to enter into marriage and the other party expresses ‘qubul” acceptance of the responsibility in the assembly of marriage ceremony. The contract is written and signed by the bride and the groom and their two respective witnesses. This written marriage contract (“Aqd-Nikah) is then announced publicly. The assembly of nikah is addressed with a marriage sermon (khutba-tun-nikah) by the Muslim officiating the marriage. In marriage societies, customarily, a state appointed Muslim judge (Qadi) officiates the nikah ceremony and keeps the record of the marriage contract. However any trust worthy practicing Muslim can conduct the nikah ceremony, as Islam does not advocate priesthood.

The documents of marriage contract/certificate are filed with the mosque (masjid) and local

government for record. Prophet Muhammad (S) made it his tradition (sunnah) to have marriage sermon delivered in the assembly to solemnize the marriage. The sermon invites the bride and the groom, as well as the participating guests in the

assembly to a life of piety, mutual love, kindness, and social responsibility. The Khutbah-tun-Nikah begins with the praise of Allah. His help and guidance is sought. The Muslim confession of faith that ’There is none worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad is His servant and messenger” is declared. The three Quranic verses (Quran 4:1, 3:102, 33:70-71) and one Prophetic saying (hadith) form the main text of the marriage.

This hadith is: ‘By Allah! Among all of you I am the most God-fearing, and among you all, I am the super most to save myself from the wrath of Allah, yet my state is that I observe prayer and sleep too. I observe fast and suspend observing them; I marry woman also. And he who turns away from my Sunnah has no relation with me”.

The Muslim officiating the marriage ceremony concludes the ceremony with prayer (Dua) for

bride, groom, their respective families, the local Muslim community, and the Muslim community at large Marriage (nikah) is considered as an act of worship (ibadah). It is virtuous to conduct it in a Mosque keeping the ceremony simple. The marriage ceremony is a social as well as a religious activity. Islam advocates simplicity in ceremonies and celebrations. Conclusion: A society which intends to safe guard the every child’s right to get a right parentage and lineage, a religious and ethnic identity, a great cultural heritage, a right parentalcare, a congenial societal environment of ethical and moral values should give attention to these points. Vedic marriage, in the advocacy of parental arranged marriage, endorsed by society and priests, takes the background of at least three generations in to considerations related to marriage. That is the message from Ramayana about marriage. This message is reverberated in the ‘Srinivasa kalyanotsava’ in the Hindu temples when the Sanskrit line is said: The devotees enacting the part of bride’s team express that this marriage of ‘Gods’ is made in the form of a sacred ritual yajna with a desire (jigeeshayaa) for

reaching the ‘bramha loka’. This is the eternal message about marriage from a tapasvi Sage

Valmiki asking another sage tapah svadhyaya niratam, vaagvidam varam Narada the divine

wandering sage and devotee of Lord Vishnu, which resulted in the redefinition of Veda in the form of Ramyana as Sitayana, Rama’s great life as the glorious story of Sita. The ideal coupleare made for each other through passion of penance (paraspara taph sampat phalaayita parasparu) on

the model of gods.




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