A non-devotee enters marriage with the expectation of romance and sense gratification, which turns family like into grhamdehi life, whereas a devotee has a very different attitude to marriage: it is an ashram - a place for cultivating pure devotional service. The relationship is meant to keep our mind and senses peaceful, so we can whole-heartedly assist and support each other in serving Hari, Guru and the Vaishnavas. Of course, there also has to be emotional attachment and attraction, otherwise the family will not stick together. But it is not the main and foremost foundation. There has to be a deeper spiritual compatibility, so husband and wife are a suitable combination to practise spiritual life. The grhastha ashram is entered with a very firm committment, seeing each other as Krishna's gift - as His perfect arrangement to give us what we need for our purification. There is no question of divorce. In order to have such attitude and vision we need firm faith in Krishna, seeing every situation in our life as His divine arrangement in order to teach us something valuable. If this is not there, we still are tending towards the attitude of grhamedhi life. Then our main expectation is sense enjoyment, and before signing the marriage contract we want to try each other out, how much fun it will be. Therefore people want to have a long period of association: we want a guarantee for sense gratification - only then we are willing to enter the contract. And as soon as things are not to our liking and expectation, we are ready to quit and get divorced. This is the mood of grhamedhi life. In grhastha ashram, there is no room for divorce - it does not exist. Prabhupada gave permission for a couple to live separately, if they cannot cooperate, but there is no need for divorce since strictly speaking there should also be no plan for re-marriage.
Obviously it requires a deeper transformation to have the mood and attitude of a true grhastha. We have been taking it for granted that as soon as we take up the process of Krishna consciousness, we can call our family life grhastha ashram. However, it is not such cheap and easy thing. We have to transform our desires, attitudes, visions and approach to family life. During the seminar the participants had an opportunity to assess themselves, where we are on the broad spectrum between grhamedhi life on one end, and the grhastha ashram on the other. According to how firm our committment is to go through all ups and downs together - whatever Krishna will arrange for our purificationm - and according to how deep and unflinching our faith in the Lord is, we are closer or further away from being a true grhastha.
On the 9th of September I flew off to Zagreb/Croatia.....
Your servant, Devaki dd
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