What does the Gita say about love and inter-caste marriages?

by Chaitanya CharanAugust 7, 2013

From: Kaushik
What does Gita says on Love? What if we love someone dearly but they are not with us for some ills of our society? Also, what has Gita said for marriages in such cases?

Transcription By: Rahul Kambhampti P

Edited By: Priyanka Amit Kumar Mataji

Question: What does the Gita say on love, what if we love someone dearly but not with us for some ills of our society and also what Gita say for marriages in such cases?

Answer: Bhagavad Gita talks about relationships in two terms, horizontal and vertical. Our vertical relationship is with Krishna, and is the only eternal relationship we are eternal souls and have eternal relationship with eternal Krishna.

Further, there are horizontal relationships, those which we have with other people in this world there may be a hierarchy within these horizontal relationships, say elders, same generation or younger generation people, however   all of them are horizontal, because all of them are souls like us.

The Bhagavad gita’s primary focus is to help us develop our vertical relationship that is we being souls can be truly happy only when we learn to love Krishna.  Love is the central teaching of Bhagavad gita, that is, love which is centred on and for Krishna, and not which is generally talked about in movies and novels.

However, it does not mean that we reject all horizontal relationships rather we harmonize the horizontal relationships with the vertical. This harmonization was implanted and implemented in the society through Vedic spiritual wisdom, resulting into a compatible social structure, namely Varnashrama

Within this social structure, people would belong to one of these four varnas namely, Brahmans, Kshyatrias, Vaishyas and Sudras. This system was not just based on birth, but also on qualifications. Generally, people of same Varna would be compatible as Varnashrama was not just based on birth, but qualities too, as mentioned earlier    “guna-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ” (Bg4.13) as is said   by the Lord in Bhagavad Gita.

The Vedic culture generally encouraged marriages within the same varnas, due to the presence of compatibility between the people the theme was not that the compatibility was neglected, rather  most facilitated ,by the arrangement of the society in groups, , fundamentally  based on qualities.

In today’s society, this structure continues,   but has become fossilized i.e. static and corrupt i.e. degraded in many ways.  It is no more based on qualities that would bring about compatibility, or setup a platform for it, rather is based on birth, furthermore, there have been a lot of inter-caste marriages. Consequently, in such situations, it is quite unlikely that just considering the caste, would be enough l in guaranteeing a compatible relationship. The question now is how would we decide in such situations? In fact,   decision in these times is very challenging, and that was not the case   in earlier times.

The essential teaching of the Bhagavad Gita is, that we concentrate in developing our vertical relationship with Krishna as the utmost priority, as is said by. Krishna in Bhagavad Gita, that when we try to devote ourselves to him, he gives the intelligence “dadāmi buddhi-yoga ta (Bg10.10). by  which we can   make choices ,that will enable us to come to him. What these specific choices will be, and how will they be implemented? This will vary from person to person, depending on one’s inclinations and advancement.

Within the Krishna consciousness movement, some systems have been created, like marriage ports, and they try to facilitate devotees who wish to find compatible partners for marriage.  This is based on not just caste considerations. If the prospective partners want to look at caste they can, however it is primarily based on other factors like social, spiritual, financial compatibility etc.

In today’s Indian society many people take the caste restrictions seriously in reference to one’s family tradition because of the fossilized caste structure. One would or would not like to choose a partner within the same caste; it is up to one’s discretion to a large extent.

In general, Bhagavad Gita does not go into specifics. Its spiritual message is universal; how we apply the same will depend on time, place and circumstance.

Devotees primarily focus on seeing how they can have compatible matches.  Compatible matches are rarely based on  looking only at the surface appearances whether the surface appearances are based on caste considerations as is done is traditional society or just based on looks, as is glamorized in movies and novels . One has to think deeply and often consult with matured, elderly and trustworthy well wishers, preferably who can help and guide one to make a proper decision.

Therefore, we are supposed to form our horizontal relationships in a way that would aid us in our vertical relationship that is the relationship with our spouse, elders, parents, and children. All are meant to help us developing our vertical relationship.

Hence, Bhagavad gita’s essential message is developing the vertical relationship i.e. love for Krishna is the primary purpose or essence of life and that all other loves, need to be subordinated, integrated and harmonized  with this ultimate love .

Thank you.

Hare Krishna

About The Author
Chaitanya Charan