Excerpt from Wedding Ceremonies by Vedantist, as retrieved from the Internet Archive.
Paramananda & Satyabhama’s Wedding, Montreal, July 22, 1968
Prabhupada: Gurudasa, you don’t feel?
Gurudasa: Yes, very good.
Prabhupada: This last verse… It is not last. It is the third of Brahma-sutra, Brahma-sarhhita. Alola- candraka-lasad-vanamalya-varhsT-ratnangadarh pranaya-keli-kala-vilasam [Bs. 5.31], This verse… There are about one hundred verses in the Brahma-sarhhita, and this verse, I think, about thirty- eighth verse… So description of Govinda, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The picture is here. So Govinda is not impersonal. And it is distinctly stated here that alola-candraka-lasad- vanamalya-varhsl: [Bs. 5.31] “The Lord is decorated with flower garland, and He has got a flute in His hands.” And pranaya-keli-kala-vilasam: “And He 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 there. And the Brahma-sutra, Vedanta-sutra, in the beginning says that “Who is Brahman, the Supreme Person or the Absolute Truth?” Athato brahma jijnasa, questioning “What is that Absolute Truth?” The answer is janmady asya yatah:
[SB 1.1.1] “The Absolute Truth is that from whom everything emanates.” Very simple definition. That means the fountainhead of everything, the source of everything. 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. Not only in human society, but in other than: animal society, cat society, dog society, bird society, there is always the attraction, man and woman, or male and female. Why? The answer is in the Vedanta-sutra: janmady asya yatah [SB 1.1.1], Because it is there in the Absolute Truth. Without being present in the Absolute Truth, how it can be manifested in the relative truth?
This world is called relative world. It is not Absolute. Relative. Difference, two, duality. We cannot understand a man without knowing a woman. We cannot understand father without understanding a son or a mother. Relativity. But in Absolute world, everything is one. So this love between male and female, conjugal love, we Vaisnava philosophers… Because everyone, according to Vedic system, everyone has to follow the Vedanta-sutra. There are two section of philosophers in India, approved; not, I mean to say, manufactured philosopher, mental speculators, but actually those who are counted valuable. There are two classes of philosophers, namely the impersonalist and personalist. The Vaisnava, they accept that the Absolute Truth is person, and the MayavadT philosophers, they say that Absolute Truth is impersonal. That is the difference. Otherwise their process of other paraphernalia, execution of understanding, is almost the same. Now our Vaisnava philosopher’s argument is that how the Absolute Truth can be impersonal? Because here, in this world, in our experience, we see everything personal. So unless the personality, the
individuality, or the individual attraction is there in the Absolute Truth, how they can be represented here in the relative truth?
So apart from that argumental point of view, our presentation is that this conjugal love between man and woman is not unnatural. It is quite natural because it is in the Absolute Truth, as we find from Vedic description, that the Absolute Truth, Personality of Godhead, is engaged in conjugal loving affairs, Radha-Krsna. But the same Radha-Krsna love matter has permeated through matter. Therefore it is perverted reflection. Here in this material world, the so-called love is not actual love. It is lust. Here the male and female are attracted not by love but by lust. So in this Krsna consciousness society, because we are trying to approach the Absolute Truth, the lust propensity has to be converted into pure love. That is the proposal. So in India still, amongst the strict followers of Vedic principles, this lust affair is adjusted spiritually. What is that? The boys and girls, they are not allowed free mixing before marriage. Especially… Both the boys… Here, one of our students, he was in India, and he tried to talk with a young girl on the street, and he (she) was insulted. He was surprised. Because the practice is there that no young boy or young girl can talk with… Of course, now it is different. Even up to our young time we have seen that without being married, no girl, no boy, could mix together. So this lust affair, this attraction, was little bit controlled. The father, the parents of the girl, and the parents of the boy would select. They had no personal selection. And that selection was made very scientifically, taking the horoscope of the girl, taking the horoscope of the boy, and calculating, “How this boy and girl will amalgamate?
How their lives will be happy?” So many things, they were considered. And when everything was settled, then the marriage would take place. That is the system of old Indian, Vedic principle. And so far free love is concerned, as we understand, that was allowed only very in high circles, princely order. Because the girls were educated and grown up and she was given to select her husband, but not directly. We find in so many historical evidences from the Vedic literature that the girl used to express her desire that “I want to marry with that boy,” and the father… This was amongst the ksatriyas, the princely order, not with others. And the father would give a challenge, a bet. And if somebody will come and become victorious, then the girl would be offered. That was in special cases.
Anyway in this age, marriage, 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, nonvegetarian diet; third, intoxication; fourth, gambling. Unless one is free from these four principal activities, one cannot make progress in spiritual life. Because God is pure, pavitrarh paramarh bhavan, so no impure soul can approach Him. This body is the sign of impurity because soul has no material body. So anyone in this material world who has this material body is to be considered as sinful. But how to get out of this? To get out of it, everything, dovetailing with spiritual life. Nirbandhe krsna-sambandhe yukta-vairagyam ucyate. The example is just like milk.
If you take too much milk, then there will be disorders in the bowels. You’ll have to pass so many stools. But when you approach to a physician… Of course, I am speaking of the Ayur-Vedic Indian physician. If one has got diarrhea or loose bowels, then the physician prescribes curd or yogurt with some medicine. Now, this yogurt or curd is also mixed with medicine. So the man who has got the disease by drinking milk is also cured by the same milk preparation under the direction of the physician. Nobody can argue. The patient cannot argue to the physician that “I have become diseased by drinking milk, and you are prescribing another preparation of the milk?” Yes, because
it is treated. Similarly, this lust propensity between man and woman, if it is properly treated, then it can turn into love of Godhead.
So I am a sannyasl. 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 sannyasl 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. Putrarthe kriyate bharya. If you can produce nice children, Krsna conscious children, it will, you will do greatest service to the human society. Because the human society is producing children like cats and dogs, the whole human society is in trouble. How you can expect peace and prosperity in the society of cats and dogs? Therefore there is necessity. There is necessity to produce children of Krsna consciousness, to train them from the very beginning. You will be all glad to know that some of our students, very small boys in San Francisco, they are being trained, and they are making wonderful progress. So there is no fault of these hippie boys and girls. They have not been trained. Not only here, every part of the world, the educational system is not very satisfactory. From the very beginning of their life they are allowed to mix freely, and they are allowed to enjoy sex life unrestricted. This is neither good for their health nor for education. So therefore we are getting now the result of education: communists and hippies. So people, those who are guardians of the society, should take serious note of it and make life very regulated.
What is…? The necessities of this life is, because we have got this material body, we must eat, we must sleep, we must defend, and we must mate. These are the demands of this body. But they should be so regulated in Krsna consciousness that it will not be disturbing element, but we shall make progress further and further towards spiritual realization of Krsna consciousness. Therefore, not only the new bride and bridegroom, I request every one of my students who are present that this… The aim of married life is to produce nice children, Krsna conscious children. That is the best service to the human society: produce nice children. Don’t produce cats and dogs. That is my request. Otherwise don’t produce. Remain separate. Separate means there is no separation, but don’t produce children. That is my request. Putrarthe… Pita na sa syaj jananl sa syat. The Bhagavata says, “One should not become a father, one should not become a mother, unless they are able to protect the children from the imminent danger of death.” What is that? The cycle of birth and death. If you can train your children to Krsna consciousness, then your child will go back to Godhead in this life. That should be the aim. As you will try to go back to Godhead in this life, similarly, you shall take charge of your children that he can also go in this life back to Godhead. The mother’s and father’s duty should be that “This child is born out of my womb, and this is the last phase of his life, to come into this womb of any animal or man—no more material body.” That should be the responsibility of father and mother. That is the direction of Bhagavata.
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.
Thank you very much. Now come forward. I shall begin our… Where is your father and mother? You can please come here. Yes. You can sit down here with the girls. Or give them some pads. They will feel… They are not accustomed to sit. (chuckles) Yes. My disciples, they have been accustomed, (chuckles)
Satyabhama: Paramananda’s parents are here also.
Prabhupada: Yes. Let them come also.
Satyabhama: (aside:) Would you like to sit on cushions?
Prabhupada: So both the parents agree in this marriage.
Satyabhama’s father: Yes.
Prabhupada: Oh, thank you. Now those who are initiated, you can chant Hare Krsna on your beads, (devotees chant japa) [break] (recitation of fire sacrifice prayers)
Prabhupada: Now, you are father?
Satyabhama’s father: Yes.
Prabhupada: So you can say to your son-in-law that “So long my daughter such and such was under my custody. From today I am giving this daughter under your custody.” Say it.
Satyabhama’s father: Kate has been under me until now, and I give her unto your custody.
Prabhupada: You say, “Yes, I accept.”
Paramananda: Yes, I accept.
Prabhupada: And you say, “Yes, I agree.”
Paramananda’s father: Yes, I agree.
Prabhupada: Now you say that “My dear such and such, I agree to serve you throughout my life.” Satyabhama: Paramananda, I agree to serve you throughout my life.
Prabhupada: And you say, “My dear such and such, I take your charge of life throughout without hesitation.”
Paramananda: My dear Satyabhama, I take your charge of life throughout without hesitation.
Prabhupada: So there is no separation in any circumstances. Promise that. There is no separation in any circumstances.
Paramananda: So there is no separation in any circumstances.
Prabhupada: Yes. Now you garland this… You change the garland. Now you come to this side. You go to that side. Now you are legal husband and wife. Is that all right? Yes. Now chant Hare Krsna. [break] (prayers, fire sacrifice) Now offer this plantain like this, slowly. Thank you.
Satyabhama: Hare Krsna. (devotees repeat last prayer of sacrifice after Prabhupada, the maha- mantra.)
Prabhupada: Now bow down, (leads in recitation of pranama mantra) You chant Hare Krsna. (end)