Arriving at the barn they went to worship the cows - one of the duties of a grihastha. The entire community followed and participated by feeding delicacies to Krishna's favorite animals. And then came the feast, which was sumptuous and delicious....
In a letter to Omkara dasi, 2 September 1975, Srila Prabhupada expresses his concern:
"I have no objection to marriage, but to bless it by fire sacrifice, that I am thinking that if they don’t stay together, then it is not good. But if they can remain together for one year, then there can be fire sacrifice. But changing three times in a month husband and wife, that is not good."
According to Vaishnava culture, we enter married life with an unflinching commitment to maintain our promise, keep our word of honour, and stay together, serving each other as husband and wife. There is no question of divorce! And, we should desire to begin this relationship with the blessings of the Lord and His dear devotees – immediately, not after a year.
As devotees become mature and cultivate these refined aspects of truthfulness – both individually and collectively – they will feel uneasy, even awkward, waiting for one year before celebrating the Vaishnava wedding ceremony. It will seem to them that they are beginning the relationship without the sanction and blessings of the Lord and His devotees, which they will see as an inauspicious beginning. Furthermore, a wife may already be pregnant after one year! And to then perform a vivaha-yajna will be even more out of place and awkward, if not downright unprincipled!
To postpone the Vaishnava wedding may cultivate the wrong mood by entering married life without a firm commitment. Rather, we keep the back door open – just in case – in order to escape. After all, we can still separate because we have not had a yajna yet…!
It may be seen as a poor sign that, even after 50 years of ISKCON, we have not been able to establish a higher standard of truthfulness by sticking to our word of honour and maintaining our vows. This serves as a clear indication of how important it is for the wellbeing of our society that we offer systematic training, education, and also support and assistance to our devotees who wish to enter the grihastha-ashrama. Without this, it may be difficult to get a grip on our social problems and challenges.
Your servant, Devaki dd