How would you do in an arranged marriage? Ramkumar R S shows us what is possible when guided by the divine.
I aspired for a “love marriage” in early adulthood. After my first encounter with God in 1992, I suddenly developed a deep trust in the Universe to bring me the right person. So I opted to get married through a “Matrimonial Ad” in the newspaper.
My parents shortlisted about 10 responses, but intuitively narrowed it down on one family in Bangalore. They made a surprise visit to Bangalore, saw her in her home setting, interacted with her, and came back to recommend her as the best choice among many.
I was given a photo and a 1 page bio (she was just 21) and a little more detailed information about her parents and their background.
Since we were asking them to come down for a final meeting, my father asked me whether I wanted to go to Bangalore and see the girl once, before committing because we can’t say no – “after they come here.”
Something told me to skip that option. Thus, I mentally committed myself to her even before we met. Similarly, my wife who was not ready for marriage, and wanted to do higher studies, somehow ended up saying YES to me.
Over the years, we have had our ups and downs. There were times when I almost lost her. But every time, it was a divine intervention that brought us back together deepening our relationship after every setback. The reason for this resilience in our relationship is that the choice of my partner was not made by “me” but by the divine intelligence.
The “me” is nothing but a bundle of personalities – which are in turn a bundle of past experiences (present and past lives). So any decision by me, would have been based on my past. I was connected to the Divine and the divine was actively orchestrating my life. And the divine chose based on my future, based on what was in store for me over the next 25-50 years.
Many arranged marriages fail because this connection with the divine intelligence is missing. Many love marriages fail because two personalities get attracted and decide based on apparent “compatibility,” which itself is based on their past.
There were many times I have had my doubts about whether God made the right choice for me, is she the right one, etc. However, the wisdom of His decision becomes clearer and clearer as time passes.
I have fallen in and out of Love with her over 100 times (if you count all the minor setbacks) and over 10 times (if you count only the major setbacks). We drifted apart from time to time, only to get back on track, with some nudging from the divine. I had an AMC contract with God, and I scheduled periodic preventive maintenance and repair for my soul and self.
Over the last two decades, I have attended many spiritual intensives and programs. I have progressed steadily on the spiritual front with many divine/mystical experiences that established a strong bond between me and my God.
For me, the dichotomy of heavenly love and earthly love seemed to run in parallel for many, many, years. Till one day there was a realization:
If the body is just an instrument and the person inside it is nothing but a bundle of personalities and past experiences – which are hurdles to be crossed in our journey towards finding true love and God – then what does it matter who we start with. As long as there is a basic openness to make it work, as long as the choice itself was made by a divine intelligence, as long as there is the structure and institution of marriage that holds us forcefully together during storms with their centrifugal forces trying to break us apart.
Yes, you can’t play music with a broken guitar or play test match cricket with a bat made of poor quality wood. So with that rider, “Subject to certain basic qualifying factors,” you can find true love in any relationship provided both partners agree to commit first and love later, and both have made a decision based on a trust – not on each other – but on a higher intelligence that can see the future.
For many people, the spiritual track of heavenly Love with God and the grahastha/lowkika track of earthly love, continue to remain as parallel tracks. For some, it is a dichotomy that conflicts with each other. For others, it is a choice that they make either way. And for many others, these two tracks co-exist peacefully without any dichotomy or conflict.
But the ultimate in spiritual evolution is not taking Sanyasa and going to the Himalayas. It is when you start seeing God, experiencing God, experiencing His Love – all within and through your immediate relationships – mother, father, spouse and children.
And the way to get there is simple:
- Progressively learn to SEE the PRISMS through which you view the world.
- Unlearn conditioning/programs that dictate your personality.
- Get liberated from the influences and imprints that were created during your childhood/wombstay/previous lives.
Detachment is a very funny word. I once asked my guide in a class about detachment, “From what you are explaining as the requirements of detachment, it looks more like ‘deep involvement’ where the ‘me’ is missing”.
He agreed and went on to explain the nuances of what really is attachment and detachment. The word detachment is misleading. What is expected out of us in our relationships, in our jobs, in our profession, is a “Deep Involvement”. This might surprise you because it sounds so much the opposite of detachment.
Yes, “Deep Involvement” to the extent that the feeling of separation from the other (person/company/job/profession) is missing. When deep involvement happens, at least during those few moments, minutes, or hours, we are no longer worried about the outcome. So the detachment is actually from the outcome. At the same time, detachment is not a careless attitude or indifference about outcome.
By getting deeply involved we do not have to keep worrying about positive or negative outcomes. We can passionately put our heart and soul into the relationship and feel the joy of being one with what we love (could be a person or a job).
But what about, breaking-up. When we break from such a relationship with deep involvement, will we not experience deep pain, much more than if we had kept a superficial/shallow relationship?
Of course we will. Pain is an unavoidable consequence of Deep Involvement and Bonding. In fact, it is guaranteed. Almost like the laws of physics and chemistry. But the problem is, we confuse Pain and Suffering. Suffering is nothing but our refusal to accept pain.
When we accept and experience pain it is short, and the letting go from that process is liberating. Suffering is bad. Pain is good.
Therefore, the way forward is not a superficial or shallow relationship where the bonding itself is weak. The way forward is to have deep involvement and accept the fact that pain is unavoidable when it ends. The pain will be short and liberating if we are ready to accept it.
For example, in Chemistry, we have weakly bonded molecules and compounds vs strongly bonded ones. Breaking weakly bonded ones as well as recombining them with other elements is easier and requires/releases less energy. Breaking strongly bonded ones require more energy and when they do break/separate they release explosive and sometimes destructive energies.
Nature is full of elements and compounds that bond tightly at the particle/atomic/molecular level. In a sense it is the same force of LOVE that binds them. So Love and Binding cannot be separated from each other. Without this binding, this stickiness, nature/universe itself would not exist.
If we break down all of reality, from particles to societies, and search for that basic constituent, the basic building block, there will be nothing left which is real except relationships, connections, and the bondings. Physics calls it force, chemistry calls it bonding, biology calls it life, and we call it Love.
H2O = Hydrogen + Oxygen + ?
I often give the example of Water in my workshops to demonstrate the concept of emergence and downward causation. Hydrogen is a fuel that burns. Oxygen aids in burning. Then how does water put out fire?
The property of water that puts out a fire is an emergent phenomena that can neither be found in Hydrogen nor in Oxygen. So how can two individual elements combine to form a new thing whose properties are in a sense the opposite of what they truly are?
How is water able to exercise a downward causation on Hydrogen and Oxygen, so that when they contact fire, they do not resort to their basic nature of stoking the fire and instead act as ONE, as water, to put the fire out/down?
When we understand emergence and downward causation, many mysteries fall by the wayside. The downward causation that organizational culture has on the behavior of the individuals in it is like the soul of the nation taking over a sports team to produce miraculous outcomes that are impossible from a mere talent or skills perspective.
An intimate/married relationship is one such mystery that can be demystified using the H2O = Hydrogen + Oxygen + ? equation
If two individuals bond strongly and get involved deeply, they create a new entity whose properties cannot be found in their individual selves. This new entity has a soul, a divinity that has a downward causation on the individuals.
Downward causation requires that the individuals surrender themselves to this emergent phenomena and mutually agree to be subservient to it. As a result, they lose their individual freedom.
The direction and behavior of water is not decided by Hydrogen or Oxygen. Water has its own intelligence, a mind and soul of its own. Hydrogen and Oxygen have no choice except to follow wherever Water goes and do whatever Water dictates.
Until, that is, other forces and energies come into play that separate them back into hydrogen and oxygen respectively. When hydrogen and oxygen regain their individual freedoms, they are not water any more.
You can apply the same analogy of H2O to a tightly bonded relationship like marriage.
Not all relationships need to be like H2O. There is nothing wrong in having loosely bonded relationships – like friendships – where you have the convenience of easy reconfiguration when necessary.
Who is God? Where is He?
From this perspective, Water is God for Hydrogen and Oxygen. The Soul of the company is God for the employees, managers and owners. The Soul of the nation is God for a sports team. The Soul of Society is God for an entrepreneur.
Many religions including Contemporary Hinduism have externalized God from the Human, whereas, the theory of synergistic emergence and downward causation (from systems science), aligns a lot with the theory of God and Divinity explained by ancient wisdom that we find in many old civilizations.
According to this systems approach, we are like a cell in God’s Body. He is not outside there. He is not inside here. He is. And we are a small part of HIM.
So when we pray for His help, it is like the itching on my skin that I reach out to scratch with my finger. God is actually helping HIMSELF. When I cry in pain and He sends someone to heal me, it is like one finger applying medicine to another.
- God and Divine intelligence is emergent in every system – from the smallest water molecule to the whole of creation. This also means that God can be found and experienced in our own relationships and families.
- Real detachment is deep involvement. When we get deeply involved, we no longer worry about the outcome. And when due to forces of nature/flow of life, if that deep bond gets broken, pain is inevitable. Pain is different from suffering. If we accept and experience it, the pain will be for a short while. If we run away from it, or sweep it under the carpet, it becomes suffering.
- True love can be found in any relationship as long as both partners agree to commit first and love later. This is contingent on both of them agreeing to trust and surrender themselves – not to each other – but to the emergent divinity in that relationship.
- When we choose a partner based on our personality, we can only make it based on past proof/experience. If we decide on our partner while being connected to the divine intelligence, and remain connected throughout the ups and downs of life, then we are making it a future proof/reality.