Jai Sri Ram! May God bless you!
Upon this very happy and auspicious day of your sacred marriage, I pray
to the Lord to shower His grace upon you both and grant you happiness,
health, prosperity and success in life. I am very happy to give you this
little message about the greatness and glory of married life and the
sanctity of the home of a house-holder in the Grihasthashrama. This
message, I give in the name of Parama Pujya Gurudev Sri Swami Sivanandaji
Maharaj invoking his blessings and Guru-kripa upon you both. Receive this
message with earnest attention. You will be greatly benefited.
The significance of married life is great indeed. Fortunate indeed is
that couple who start married life with right understanding of its
importance and greatness. Marriage is a sacred spiritual w evolve an ideal life of
nobility, virtue and Dharma and attain their goal of divine perfection
through such ideal life. Therefore, the home of the married couple is a
sanctified centre of spiritual life. The home is their place of worship,
prayer, spiritual Sadhana and daily meditation. The cultural ideal of your
holy motherland, Bharatavarsha, regards this second stage of a person’s
life, namely, the Grihasthashrama, as the sacred field for the practice of
noble virtue, Paropakara and Dharma and for the awakening of your true
inner spiritual nature. You are Divine Atman. You are not merely a
physical creature or a mental-intellectual being but you are a spiritual
being far superior to the lesser biological and psychological aspects of
your temporary human personality. You are divinities without birth or
death. Your eternal, imperishable, immortal, spiritual nature must be
realised and experienced in this very life. To attain this wonderful
experience the wife and the husband must help each other. They are mutual
helpers in this grand adventure of ideal living and spiritual unfoldment.
The home is a sacred arena for the attainment of self-conquest and
self-mastery which is more thrilling than the scaling of Mount Everest.
The daily life of the Grihastha and his Grihalakshmi must be the sublime
process of manifesting their inner divinity and expressing it outwardly
through thought, speech and action. Lead this divine life. Truth, purity
and universal love and compassion constitute the basic foundation of such
divine life. The essence of divine life is selflessness and Seva, devotion
and daily worship, concentration and regular meditation and to
discriminate between the real and the unreal, the divine and the undivine,
between the spiritual and the unspiritual.
Blessed couple! May you both lead such a divine life! Feel that your
house is the abode of God. Make God the most important factor in your
life. Give God the central place in your daily life. God who is the Lord
of the universe is the master of your home also. Feel it a sacred
privilege to be servants at His feet. Tell Him with deep feelings, “I am
Thine, all is Thine, nothing belongs to me. Thou art everything O Lord.
Bless me to worship You and to serve You in and through all beings.”
Feel God’s divine presence always in your home. Feel that you are doing
everything to please Him, to glorify Him. Make your home the holy house of
prayer. Both of you must worship together, pray together and glorify God
together. Uphold Dharma. Love and respect each other. Evolve the life of
harmony, beauty and mutual regard. Develop noble character. Let moderation
and a wise self-control be the keynote of your life in all things. Create
a sublime spiritual atmosphere within the home. Shine with lofty virtue.
Let your life be an inspiration to other young couples. Make such an
atmosphere at home that one who enters your home must feel at once
inspired and elevated. Such is true success in life. In such a home Satya-Yuga
will prevail. Kali-Yuga cannot enter there. Such a home is Vaikuntha on
earth. Such is the glory and greatness of Grihasthashrama.
Always regard your married life in its correct perspective and
recognise its sanctity, spirituality and divinity. This is the wisdom.
This is the way to joy, peace and blessedness. This is the secret of
spiritualising all your activities and living Yoga in daily life. Thus the
home-life will become the gateway to immortality, spiritual perfection and
divine realisation. Verily, Grihasthashrama, when it is rightly understood
and nobly lived, becomes the great portal to eternal blessedness and
liberation. Our salutations and adorations to ideal married couples who
are visible divinities and worthy of our worship. In that home where dwell
the Pativrata Nari and her loyal and devoted husband like Bhagavati Mother
Sita and Maryada-Purushottama Lord Rama there the Devatas from Devaloka
come to offer worship and feel themselves sanctified. All the sacred
rivers like Ganga, Yamuna and Sarasvati abide in such an ideal home. That
home is sacred like Varanasi, Prayaga, Ayodhya, Mathura and Dwaraka. May
this world be blessed by such ideal married couples, and such sacred
houses of ideal Grihasthashrama! I wish you joy and peace. May your life
be radiant like the shining sun and bring light into the lives of many
others! Hari Om Tat Sat!
With regards, Prem and Prayers for your highest welfare and happiness,
Yours, at the feet of Sri Gurudev,
Duties of a Woman
Manu says “Let a woman attend to her household duties most cheerfully
and with great dexterity, keep her utensils and apparel clean, her home
tidy, her furniture free from dust, all eatables pure, clean and free from
dirt. Let her never be lavish in expenditure. Let her cooking be done so
nicely that the food may act on the system like a good medicine and keep
away disease. Let her keep a proper account of income and expenditure and
show it to her husband, use her servants properly and see that nothing
goes wrong in the house.” (Chapter V-50).
“Let the husband and the wife read and recite the Vedas and other
Shastras that soon give increase of wisdom, teach the means of acquiring
wealth and promote their welfare. Let them also carefully revise what they
have studied during their student life and teach the same. As far as a man
thoroughly understands the Shastras, so far as can his knowledge advance
and so far may his love for them grow.” (Manu IV-19, 20).
She should do such noble actions which would please her husband and
would bring him glory, honour, faith in God and the final attainment of
God-consciousness. She should be humble, active and straightforward. She
should have a knowledge of the duties of the Grihasthis. She should
herself do all the works of the house. She should know cooking well.
She should respect all her husband’s relatives. She must serve her
old mother-in-law and father-in-law. She must do prostration to old ladies
in the house, father-in-law, mother-in-law, Sadhus, Sannyasins and Bhaktas.
She must give alms to poor people, Sannyasins and Brahmacharins when they
come to her house. She should give blankets and clothes to Sannyasins. She
should treat the guests and friends of her husband with respect. She
should invite them for dinner on auspicious days. She should serve poor
and sick people, Sadhus and Sannyasins. She should be charitable and spend
one-tenth of her husband’s income in charity. She should cut the coat
according to the cloth. She should never live beyond the income of her
husband. She should never borrow. She should make both ends meet. She
should never allow the expenditure exceed the income of her husband. She
should have a very large heart, she should get up at four in the morning
and practise meditation. She should wake up her children also at this time
and make them do Japa and Kirtan.
The sleeping apartment must be furnished with the pictures of saints,
Rama, Krishna, Narayana, Siva. Husband, wife and children will draw
inspiration when they look at the pictures. The child in the womb is
influenced by the sentiments and emotions of the mother. If she studies
daily Ramayana or Bhagavata and leads a pious life during her period of
pregnancy, she will give birth to a noble and pious child.
Napoleon’s mother always kept with her pictures of Greek and Roman
heroes and sang songs of these heroes. Thus the heroic spirit was created
in Napoleon while he was dwelling in the womb of his mother. Abhimanyu
learnt the way to go inside the Padma Vyuha (Chakravyuha) when he was in
his mother’s womb.
Mother is the first Guru. The child learns the alphabet from the
mother. The child learns to speak from its mother. She may make him a
saint or a ruler or a rogue. She imparts her virtues to her child with the
Annadana purifies the heart of the giver. One who does
charity of food and delights in feeding others, develops cosmic
love or universal brotherhood.
I will tell you a very, very easy method of Sadhana by
which you can attain God-consciousness even while you live in the world
amidst multifarious activities. You need not have a separate place or room
and time of meditation. Close your eyes for a minute or two once in every
two or three hours and think of God and His Divine qualities such as
Mercy, Love, Peace, Joy, Knowledge, Purity, Perfection and so forth during
work and repeat mentally HARI OM or SRI RAM or RAM RAM or KRISHNA KRISHNA
or any Mantra according to your liking. Feel that the body is a moving
temple of God, your office or business house is a big temple or Vrindavan
and every activity such as walking, talking, writing, eating, breathing,
seeing, hearing, etc., are offerings unto the Lord. Work is worship. Work
Give up expectation of fruits and idea of agency (I am the doer. I am
the enjoyer). Feel that you are an instrument in the hands of God and He
works through your organs. Feel also that this world is a manifestation of
the Lord or Visva Vrindavan and your children, wife, father and mother are
the images of the same Lord. See Him in every face and in every object.
Have a cool balanced mind always. If you develop this changed angle of
vision and Divine Bhava in dally life by protracted and constant practice,
all actions will become Yogic activities. All actions will become worship
of the Lord. This is quite sufficient. You will get God-realisation
quickly. This is dynamic Yoga. This is very powerful Sadhana. I have given
you a very easy Sadhana.
Write daily for half an hour in a notebook your Ishta Mantra, observing
Mowna and without turning to the other sides. Write down in bold types on
slips of paper “SPEAK TRUTH”, “OM PURITY”, “I MUST REALISE GOD
NOW”, “I AM AN EMBODIMENT OF PURITY, MERCY, LOVE, AND
PATIENCE”,—and fix them in bedroom, dining hall, front-rooms and
verandah. Keep some slips in your pocket and diary also. This is an easy
way for developing virtuous divine qualities.
May the Lord bless you all!
Love and service are two keys to Divine Life. Religion and life
are not two but one. Lead the Life Divine.
Modesty is the ornament of women. To go beyond the boundary of modesty,
to behave like a man, destroys the elegance, grandeur, grace and beauty of
the fair sex. Nothing can atone for the want of modesty in a woman,
without which beauty is ungraceful. Modesty is a fundamental virtue which
a woman ought to possess. Modesty is a wonderful mixture of humility,
politeness, decency, elegance, gentleness and sweetness. Modesty is the
most precious ornament of a woman. A modest woman is restrained by a sense
of propriety. She has good behaviour and manners. Modesty is the mark of
true nobility. A woman without modesty is a flower without fragrance. A
woman without modesty is a mere void although she possesses many other
virtues. Modesty raises a woman to the status of divinity. A modest woman
O Devis! do not waste your lives in fashion and passion. Open your
eyes. Walk in the path of righteousness. Preserve your Pativrata Dharma.
See divinity in your husband.
1. Woman is the Divine power on earth.
2. Woman is the first teacher of man.
3. See woman as the Energy of God.
4. Woman is the Sajiva Maya or Chaitanya Maya.
5. Woman is an embodiment of sacrifice, Ahimsa and patience.
6. If she is weak in striking, she is strong in suffering.
7. Woman is an embodiment of patience, gentleness, softness, sweetness,
service and Ahimsa.
8. Woman has innate sweetness. She is kind, tender and affectionate.
She has a motherly heart. So she is fit for Bhakti-Yoga.
9. The women of India have preserved the spiritual character of our
(1) Yoga At Home
Sometimes the house becomes a hell when there is no religious unity
between husband and wife. If the husband is religious, the irreligious
wife does not allow him to study religious books, to sit in meditation, to
visit holy places of pilgrimage, to practise Brahmacharya and to have
Satsanga with great souls. She is afraid that he will become a Sannyasin
even though he gives a solemn pledge that he will not do so. There are
always quarrels in the house between husband and wife. The husband has no
peace of mind even though he earns a decent sum and has got all the
earthly comforts. The wife threatens the husband, “I will burn all your
religious books as study of these books has only produced a change in you
and you are neglecting me and do not take any interest in household
affairs. I will throw stones at the head of the man who has written these
books and has inspired you to take recourse to Yogic practices. Fools only
will practise Yoga”. How can men live happily with such ignorant and
irreligious women? It is better to dwell in the midst of Asuric women like
Tataka in the forest than to remain in the company of such horrible women
who disturb the peace of the house. If your wife stands in your way of
doing spiritual practice mildly suggest to her that you will take to
Sannyasa. Then she will come to her senses.
It is the duty of the husband to train his wife also in the religious
line. She must do some Japa, and Kirtan. She must study religious books
such as Ramayana, Bhagavata and Mahabharata. She must take recourse to
occasional fasting. He must take her to places of pilgrimage and attend
discourses and Kathas conducted by Mahatmas. The wife must help the
husband in his religious and Yogic practices. Then only the house will be
a blessed place.
Some have taken Sannyasa on account of the bad behaviour of their wives
and their hindrance to Yogic practices at home. If they allowed their
husbands to continue their practices and helped them, they would have
remained in the Grihastha Ashram. It is the duty of intelligent girls to
co-operate with their husbands in leading a religious life at home. Then
only can both lead a life of peace and happiness at home. The scriptures
declare, “Without religion a house is a burial ground though it is a
The husband also should not interfere with the religious practices of
his wife. He should help her in all possible ways in her spiritual
evolution and purity of life.
May there be temperamental, psychological and spiritual unity between
the husband and wife! May the husband help the wife and vice versa in
religious and Yogic practices! May God-realisation be your watchword! May
purity be your maxim! May Dharma be your guide!
(2) To Husbands And Wives
Quarrels arise daily in the house between the husband and the wife on
account of misunderstanding and difference of opinion. The wife thinks
that the husband should obey and please her in all respects. The husband
thinks that the wife should obey and please him in all respects. Is this
possible? No. And so they quarrel every hour. It may not come into regular
fisticuffs and blows at all times, but they will not speak for some hours
in the day. Sometimes there will be boxing and caning also if the husband
is short-tempered and lacks self-control. At other times the husband
breaks the vessels when he loses his temper. If the wife is like Xanthippe
(wife of Socrates) or Jijibai (wife of Tukaram), the table will be turned.
There will be thunder and rain on the husband’s head. Sometimes the
wife, when she becomes angry, refuses to cook the food and lies down in
the bed drawing a blanket over her body and head under the pretext of
severe stomach-ache. The poor husband runs to the hotel to take his meals
in order to catch the pilot train to go to his office. Sometimes the wife
goes to her mother’s house without informing the husband. The poor
shameless weak-willed husband runs to his mother-in-law’s house to bring
her back with fresh glowing, golden promises and entreaties.
The wife must be ever ready to receive a volley of abuses when the
dishes are not prepared to the fastidious taste of her husband. These are
only minor, unimportant causes for daily quarrels. The major causes are
too numerous to be mentioned here. You already know them in full and in
But still, if you ask a householder, “Which is better; a
householder’s life or a life of a Brahmachari?” surely he will say
“Householder’s life is thousand times better than the life of a
celibate”. He will vehemently fight with all his clumsy arguments to
support his view. Do remember the story of the king who took birth as a
pig and was rejoicing with his piglings. His case is similar to this king.
People have neither discrimination, dispassion nor subtle sharp
intellect. Hence they are not able to know things in their true light.
Their intellects are clouded, perverted, turbid, intoxicated and veiled by
passion, delusion, infatuation and ignorance. Hence they do not know what
they are exactly doing.
When they are swayed with passion, husbands and wives forget all about
their quarrels which occurred in the morning. They think that their life
is a blessed one. They utter pleasantly some flowery speech for the time
being, though there is no real union and love in the core of their heart.
Try to possess self-control. Rise above passions. Be pure. Develop good
behaviour, good conduct. Control anger. Be regular in Japa, Kirtan,
meditation and study of Gita. Lead a life of ideal householders. Go
through the books “Advice to Householders” and “Sure Ways for
Success in Life and God-realisation”. Put the instructions in daily
O Ram! Treat your wife like a Devi. She is the queen or Lakshmi of the
house. Where woman is honoured there is wealth, prosperity, success and
peace. O Lila! Become a Pativrata. Do not quarrel with your husband.
Become like Savitri, Anasuya or Sita.
May you all lead a life of Purity with devotion and attain the supreme
blessedness in this very life!
Where there are kindness, humility and purity, there
spirituality springs up, saintliness shines, divinity descends and
perfection manifests itself.
Householders should not forget even for a moment that marriage is a
sacred thing. The sanctity of married life has to be realised in all its
fullness and in all its seriousness. Marriage is a sacrament. It is not
just the union of two bodies. That is the least important part of it. The
husband and the wife should not think there is absolutely no love above
their physical life. There is a love. Marriage is the bringing together by
God (through some mysterious law which operates in this universe) of two
souls in this vast, vast phenomenon called life in this vast stream of
existence where countless millions of souls are moving in their individual
planes of spiritual evolution towards the Divine. Through the Grace of
God, through the Divine Will, and through the operation of certain laws
that govern this universal life, two souls are brought together. That is
the meaning of marriage.
Through the coming together of these two souls, God means an important
process to be worked out and that is the sharing of the spiritual impulse
between the two. What they have earned, what they have learned, and their
spiritual potential—the husband and the wife are to share. The husband
is to enrich the spiritual life of the wife and the wife is to enrich the
spiritual life of the husband and both are to go hand-in-hand toward the
Supreme Attainment of the Divine Consciousness. That is the true, inner
meaning of family life. Marriage is sacred. It is not to be treated
lightly. It is not to be considered in a vulgar sense. Marriage is an
alliance which is for something more than mere physical enjoyment, for
something more than even the all-important purpose of the propagation of
the race (though, to a limited extent, this is also a purpose of
marriage). The offsprings of the husband and the wife are also to be
spiritual beings, because they are other souls coming into this
earth-plane to work out their own evolution. It is therefore, the sacred
duty of the husband and the wife to provide an ideal home and the proper
initial impulse to these souls that come as their children. The children
are to be held in trusteeship for a while until they grow up and go out
into the world. The growth and development of the children will be in
accordance with their own spiritual nature, with their own spiritual
evolution, with their own Karma which they have brought with them; yet,
the mother and the father can give a great deal from their own lives to
the initial spiritual unfoldment of their children until the children
attain a stage when they can themselves mind their further spiritual
evolution. If healthy spiritual ideas are implanted in the young minds
from the early age, they are bound to sprout forth at a later stage and
bring blessedness to the children.
And, as the children are to be brought up to respect the law of
celibacy, of continence, until they are actually married, so the husband
and the wife should adhere to the law of continence and celibacy; and for
them, this law should operate in the form of a strict moderation of
marital life. Marital life should be based upon self-control, not upon
indulgence. Then, the wife should regard the husband as the only partner
and vice versa. The wife should not have any other male and she should not
think of any other man, but should be devoted to her husband; no thought
of any other man should ever cross her mind. All the rest of humanity
should be to her like children—she is the great Mother. The husband must
have the vow which Rama had—the vow of the single spouse. That means
that the thought of another woman will never enter his mind. To him, the
only woman is his wife and their marriage ties are sacred. In this way the
whole family set-up becomes sacred and holy and the interior life of the
spirit goes on unhampered. There is nothing in the exterior life of the
being to injure the spiritual life. There is nothing in the exterior
life—either in the family life or in one’s personal life to hold back
or obstruct the spiritual life.
And thus, both husband and wife go in perfect harmony, and their lives,
on the dual wings of exterior activity and interior prayerfulness, go to
the ultimate blessed state of supreme God-consciousness—Divine
Realisation. Blessedness becomes theirs, in and through their family life,
wherever they are.
A Spiritual Daily Routine For The Householder
Each householder should have an ideal daily routine. The home life
should not be left to itself, but taken care of. In addition to those
unexpected things that come up every day—a visit of someone, a telephone
call, an invitation to go out with someone—every one of you should have
an accepted basic programme, a basic schedule for your daily life, which
should include an hour of prayer in the morning and an hour of prayer in
the evening. The prayer hour might include the reading of scriptural
texts, the reading of sacred and inspiring spiritual books, a few minutes
of quiet, indrawn meditation, a few minutes of actually articulated
prayer, inspiring prayer. The prayer can be spontaneous; it does not
necessarily have to come out of some book. Or it can be both, as there are
some very inspiring short prayers in the Gospel and also in some other
books. The children should also be trained in this way.
There should also be some actual act of external worship. After all, we
are embodied creatures and we wish to exercise our bodies also in
devotion. When you are in a state of worship, the body also should take on
the attitude of worship. You should light a candle, burn a little incense,
bow before the Deity, offer supplication, ask Him to enlighten you, to
fill your heart with virtue, fill your heart with divine love, goodness
and selflessness, and then, bowing low and with genuflection, kneel, press
down with your forehead. In this way, you have to humble yourself in the
presence of God. Then, as the body genuflects, prostrates and humbles
itself, the influence of those little acts has a chastening effect upon
the mind. We cannot become completely heedless to these reactions of the
body upon the mind and the mind upon the inner spirit. Therefore, each
day, you should have an hour when you have scope for the exercise of all
these several aspects of your being—for the exercise of the body, the
heart and the feelings in prayer; for the exercise of the mind and the
intellect in study, reflection and enquiry; and for the exercise of the
spirit in inner contemplation, silence, indrawnness and meditation.
Each member of the family should have a private altar. The mother
should have her own nook or little corner, where she has her own little
prayer, little conversation with God, little asking for guidance, little
intimate communion with God. The husband, likewise, should have a little
altar for himself, and if this cannot be had, at least he must have some
time for himself, when he communes with the Maker individually. And the
children should be trained right from the very beginning to have such
separate little corners for themselves. Just as they have one corner for
their toys, another for their books, a third for their pets, so they must
have a corner for their own communion with the Most High, and if this
habit is developed from childhood, then later on, they will be able to
have their own independent spiritual life.