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Quotes Thoughts On Marriage In Hinduism

Hinduism regards man and woman as the two halves of the eternal Being, each constituting a vibrant, existential part, quite incomplete in itself. In the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, Prajapati, the primordial God, divides himself into two – man and woman, the symbols of cosmic polarity deriving sustenance from the same source. (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, 1.4.3.)

 In the cosmic scheme man represents Purusha (the Person, Spirit) and woman Prakriti (Nature, primal Matter), both of whom unite to keep the world going. So goes the Vedic verse: ‘I am He, you are She; I am song, you are verse; I am heaven, you are earth. We two shall here together dwell becoming parents of children.’ (Atharva Veda, 14.2.71.)

Marriage is the coalescence of complementary opposites for pleasure, progeny and self-fulfilment. The cosmic model of the marriage of Surya, the daughter of the Sun, with the Ashwini twins (who defeated the prime suitor, Soma, in a racing contest) determines the praxis of the Hindu concept in this respect. (Rig Veda, 10.85.20-47.)

Being equal halves of one essence, husband and wife are partners in joy and sorrow and in the fulfilment of the four fold aims of life – dharma (ethical perfection), artha (material advancement), kama (pleasure) and moksha (liberation). Neither is superior to the other as each has different natural functions to perform and social obligations to fulfil.

Hinduism expects the partners to shed their individual identities to become one at the physical, mental and psychical levels before transmuting the material relationship into a spiritual one. Says the Rig Veda in the context of ‘Surya Vivaha’: ‘Bless now this bride, O bounteous Bhagavan, cheering her heart with the gift of brave children. Grant her ten children; her husband make the eleventh’ (Rig Veda 10.85.45).

Source - Excerpts from article titled 'Hindu Woman as Life Partner' by Dr Usha Kapoor in the Prabuddha Bharata Magazine July 2005 issue