Chakra Discussions

ISKCON needs loving and honest relationships

by Kevin Maistry

Posted December 19, 2004

I am a newly married man (into the 4th year), who certainly is experiencing the challenge of grhastha life. Marriage has its struggles, and there are many times when both husband and wife tend to think the worst of the situation. (For any Brahmacaris reading this article, think carefully about your ashram; on both sides there are challenges). If not handled correctly, this will regenerate (the laws of karma) or regress into a pit of abuse, etc. It is certainly sad when the relationship takes the latter course — this highlights our lack of Krishna consciousness; for the former, the chance will again come to rectify and move on (one hopes in this life).

To simply think that we need to stand back and accept a bad situation (abuse, etc.), whether male or female, is foolish. One would need to be either very advanced or truly very stupid. On both sides, we cannot just issue blanket statements of jumping the gun to report abuse or accepting the role of Mother Sita; that would either be premature, naïveté or some serious advancement.

In regards to Mother Sita, if we accept her stance on marriage, we need to accept the package deal — an ideal husband, ideal upbringing, etc. Don't get me wrong, we can certainly learn from her about chastity and loyalty, and certainly pray to her for guidance. But to think one should accept an abusive relationship with honor, etc. is questionable. Are we male devotees behaving like Lord Rama; do we portray His character? Moreover, if the ideals of life mentioned in Ramayana needed to be fully adopted in this age, Lord Rama would have incarnated now (technicalities aside) rather than in a previous age.

We need to look at place, time and circumstance. Abuse is not what Krishna consciousness is about. No, we are preachers, we are a preaching society and, especially if you are an ISKCON follower (no offense to the others), we need to look at what is going to be most attractive to the general populace, to save them from the clutches of material energy. For us to do that, there needs to be honesty in all relationships, and genuine love.

Pretentious relationships always fall along the wayside, therefore we need to make a serious effort to love each other. Just to clear the air, love goes deeper than something physical — this comes with time and hard work. We cannot just fall into relationships and hope for the best, like many do; there needs to be work done. Working on it means working through problems and accepting each others' lacking. Importantly, our time for renunciation will come, so what is the need for it now? Our strength is growing from our problems, not going from problems. We are personalists, not impersonalists.

Already, we have a high rate of stress within our society; this could easily be nullified if we found solace in discussing our problems with each other. Not for the gain of political information, but for a serious attempt to help and assist (in itself that will make us advance). Not all problems need solutions; what they need is a good hearing heart. We might not be fully advanced right now, so don't become overburdened with the stress of what others think of you; rather. take a step back. evaluate, and step back in with full conscious vigor.

I hope this helps, especially for those whose minds have been bombed out by thoughts of what marriage is and how restrictive it seems; marriage is cool, — an ideal opportunity to grow, develop and stimulate our Krishna consciousness in unison.