Why Hindu Marriage Works

Date: 01 Oct 2008


Why Hindu Marriage Works
There was a recent discussion on TV about the marriage statistics of Americans vs. Indians.  It was pointed out that in America, about 50% of marriages end up in divorce.  

In India it is about 5%.  In discussion it was said that in America, marriages are Love marriages and in India they are arranged marriages.  

They presented that arranged marriages are working in the sense that they are not experience high divorce rate.  They did not know the reason.  It was the feeling that Love marriages should work better than arranged marriages.  I feel that there is a religious difference in approaching marriage.  

My father used to say, "In India, marriage first and Love later."  He used to say that in America it is love first and then marriage later.  

My take is the Love marriages in America are not Love marriages, they are lust marriages.  True love is very rare and I would say it is one in a million.  

In these lust experiences, after marriage, 50% experience love but the other 50% do not experience love and the marriage fails.  When this happens and there is no lust and enjoyment anymore, there is nothing left to base the marriage on so they get divorced.  

The dating system in America makes people feel that you know the other person.  When I was a student, I experienced the American dating system.  I believe you cannot find out much in the dating system.  In the dating system, you both put the best foot forward and you cannot find out about the other person in detail.  

In the arranged marriages, you check that a person's family, culture, religion, and language matches and then the marriage occurs.  That way the marriage has some support.  So-called Love marriages do not have that.  This way the arranged marriages are more stable and there is some harmony.  

In India, there is another reason arranged marriage works.  That is related to the Hindu religion.  I am not talking about Indian Christian and Indian Muslim people.  I have heard that Indian Christian's have about 3% of the population with a high rate of divorce but I will not comment becaue I am not aware of the details as well as the not knowing the details of Indian Muslims.
Hindu marriage has its own mind set.   When a HIndu gets married, the marriage has a conscious or unconscious undertone.  Hindu religion believes in past life and reincarnation.  

The objective of life is to come out from the circle of life and death.  To do that, you get married to someone and serve the partner to burn the bad karma that you have created from past life.  Also to bring children on this earth and give those souls the opportunity to come on the earth and burn their bad karma and come out of the circle of life and death.  

The only way you can come out of the circle of life and death is on this earth.  The whole marriage system is not to love, pleasure and enjoy but to a better and bigger cause of attaining moksha (salvation), or eternal freedom.  

In the process, if marriage experiences love, pleasure and enjoyment, it is an extra bonus in this yogna or sacrifice.  This is what I see is the reason Hindu marriages work and function.  A Hindu might not be as conscious of this undercurrent philosophy which exists in the culture.
Professor Bharat J. Gajjar