After three years of pandemic I had greatly missed Mayapur, and now I truly enjoyed my time here, looking forward to the day when I will retire in this wonderful place. The best thing about Mayapur is the fact that there are so many devotees to reach out to and serve...! What a wonderful blessing...!
In regard to the importance of affectionate exchanges between husband and wife, we can still observe many misconceptions and immature understandings amongst devotees. After all, one of the purposes of family life lies in the fulfilment of our emotional needs. If we can find emotional satisfaction within family relationships, then our other relationships are freed from these essential needs, allowing them to be purer and more selfless. For this reason, affectionate exchanges between husband, wife and children are vital components of our interactions within home life. Warm-hearted, loving dealings in the home create an affectionate atmosphere, which is the glue that holds the family members together - even in rough times of misunderstandings and conflicts.
As we gradually become purified through the practice of devotional service, we come to the level where we can offer affectionate exchanges in a selfless mood, not asking for the price of sense gratification in return. Sometimes, devotees may have a rather immature understanding of detachment and reject all kinds of affectionate dealings with their spouse out of fear that they might develop attachment or attraction for each other. This may easily lead to aversion towards affectionate dealings, which is merely the other side of the same coin of attachment.
In this regard, Malati dasi remembers the following episode with Srila Prabhupada: "Once a young husband told Srila Prabhupada that his wife wasn't happy. Srila Prabhupada instructed him to show more affection to his wife. He added, "You must kiss her!" You may imagine how surprised he was about such an instruction, having been a very strict brahmachari before entering married life."
Inevitably, attachment is a natural part of family life - especially in its initial stage - and can even enhance our spiritual progress. Srila Prabhupada states this in his purport to verse 6.18.34:
"If husband and wife are attached to one another for advancement in Krishna consciousness, their relationship of cooperation is very effective for such advancement."
Their attachment to each other will induce them not only to serve, but totally sacrifice themselves for each other in their Krishna conscious pursuits. It is very natural that a wife is attached and attracted to her husband, and vice versa - they must treat each other with loving intimacy. It is pleasing for the husband to know his wife is devoted to him, willing to please him and fulfil his Krishna conscious goals.
In order to become truly detached from our marital relationship, we have to allow ourselves to go through a phase of attachment. Simultaneously, as we purify our heart through the sincere practice of sadhana-bhakti, we gradually develop a higher taste, thus giving up the lower taste for sense gratification. It is a gradual journey of purification - moving forward step by step, culminating in the vanaprastha life.
As a householder matures in his spiritual advancement and gradually develops detachment, he will nevertheless always continue to perform his prescribed duties with all care, attention and affection. Detachment means having become free from the desire to enjoy our senses through family relationships. However, it does not mean that we stop being affectionate towards our spouse and children, letting our dealings become cold, emotionally dry and formal - devoid of any sweet and loving exchanges.
On the 3rd of March I flew off to Istanbul/Turkey....
Your servant, Devaki dd