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Beauty and the Beast - The Higher Purpose of Marriage

JAN 14. 2017

Kamlesh D. Patel shares some thoughts on how marriage ennobles and enriches our lives, supports our evolution and provides a happy, stable base for family life.

The other day, I was lucky enough to observe an elderly couple taking a stroll along the river in Princeton, their steps totally in sync. You could see they had been together a long time. They hardly spoke, communicating their togetherness in more subtle ways. Eventually they reached a park bench overlooking the river, pulled out a flask of tea and some sandwiches, and together enjoyed their little feast in perfect silence. Their movements were so in tune it seemed for a moment like one person was moving. The way she poured the tea was full of gentleness and care, as was the way he received the cup. They ate their sandwiches and enjoyed the stillness of the riverside.

They had reached a stage in their marriage of purity in connection and communion. Did this happen as a result of a life full of perfect harmony and ease? I doubt it. Did they have arguments about how to discipline their children, and how much money was spent last month? Probably. Most couples evolve to this stage in their relationship by going through struggles and difficulties, by sacrificing their personal wishes, and by raising children, grandchildren and sometimes great grandchildren.

This is the other end of the spectrum from the heady days of the young love of newly-weds, when a couple is much more physical and verbal in their demonstration of love. That is, if there is love in the relationship. We will get to that later on.

So which one is better – the exciting early days of romance, or the halcyon days of an elderly couple? This seems like a silly question, given that it is obvious they are different stages in the evolution of a marriage, both relevant and both important. It would be a silly question, except for the fact that today most marriages in the West, and an increasing number in the East, do not last the distance!

It is worth examining why. What comes between the beginning and the end? Why is it that in today’s world so many marriages end in divorce? Is it because marriage is an outdated institution? I would say “No,” it is because we do not understand the purpose and stages of marriages, and the nature of love.

It is easy to see how problems happen. The daily grind of modern life is not kind to relationships. Often both parents work long hours in order to save enough money to pay for their children’s education and buy a house, and city dwellers are bombarded by all sorts of environmental pollution and stress. So by the end of a hectic day, there is little energy left to take care of each other and be kind.

But do you think this is any harder than living with war, famine, plagues or slavery – all situations that existed for our ancestors? We can easily blame circumstances for the failing marriages of today, but in many ways human beings have never had it easier.

It is also that after the joyous whirlwind of a wedding, there comes the reality of living together, accepting each other’s imperfections and learning how to adjust to the new dynamics of a relationship. When two imperfect beings come together, there is bound to be some friction and adjustment. And if the couple lives with extended family, there are even more components in the new dynamic.

It is often not at the beginning or the end that marriages falter, but in the middle when the struggles are greatest. So what makes the difference between a couple that is able to stay with the evolutionary process of marriage and one that does not?

As more and more youngsters look for answers to such questions, where reason and emotions converge, where tradition and contemporary thinking meet, and perhaps, where science and spirituality meet, there is a need for a very relevant and practical approach to relationships that also encompasses the wisdom of the ages.

So let’s start with some ancient wisdom that can help.

In Yogic philosophy, we learn about the 3 human types: sattvik, rajasic and tamasic. We are all a mixture of the three, but generally one predominates in our make up, and this can change as we evolve.

Tamasic behavior is characterized by ignorance and inertia. A tamasic person is often lethargic, prone to violence, and mistrust. Rajasic behavior is characterized by action and passion. A rajasic person is one who is often focused on satisfying his own personal desires, gain and prosperity. Sattvik behavior is characterized by purity and wisdom. A sattvik person cheerfully serves others without any expectation of personal benefit.

These three qualities pervade everything we do – the way we walk, talk and eat, and even the way we breathe! What happens to our breath when we experience intense anger? The nostrils flare and our breath is long, loud and chaotic; tamasic in nature. On the other hand, when we are in the state of samadhi or deep meditation, our breathing is so quiet and calm that we hardly notice it. It flows so naturally and so effortlessly, which is sattvik in nature. These qualities play out in all our interactions with others, and are very evident in our closest relationships. As a result, marriages are also associated with one of these three types.

A tamasic marriage is based on individual gain. The couple is coming together for benefit. For example, the groom might be focused solely on the financial status of the bride’s family, or gaining a trophy wife. Alternatively, the bride might be marrying someone much older for money, status or access to an easy visa. Such marriages are transactional in nature, based on narcissistic or self-centered behavior, and can easily result in mutual distrust and discord. A spouse is a commodity to provide status, pleasure or service.

Today, many marriages are rajasic, based on mutual love and respect, and also mutual desire and benefit. But although there may be mutual respect, the love is not totally pure and unconditional, as there is expectation. So when the other person is flawed and imperfect, as we all are, there is disappointment and trouble in paradise.

A sattvik relationship is one in which the two partners don’t think of themselves as individuals, but as one. They cheerfully sacrifice everything for the relationship and each other. There is a wonderful short story by O. Henry called ‘The Gift of the Magi’ about such a young couple. In a sattvik marriage there is purity of intent, and no concern about physical deficiencies or financial status. Communion, mutual growth and unconditional love are at the core of the marriage. In sattvik marriages, the best emerges over a period of time, as the family is based on giving and love, and so it is strong.

When children come along in a marriage, the focus in the couple shifts from attention on each other to a partnership where the main focus of attention is now on the children. The different personality types will respond in different ways to such a shift. What do you imagine will happen to a person who is self-focused, who wants his or her spouse to constantly shower attention? And what will happen to a person who is always happy to give and does not need to be the center of attention? Here is an example of different responses leading to different results.

You can consider many other scenarios – financial hardship, ill-health, problems with children, death in the family, worries at work, etc. How will each personality type respond when such struggles come in a marriage?

There always needs to be at least one giver for a marriage to work, and if there are two it can thrive. So in today’s world, where narcissism and self-interest are encouraged and promoted by advertising and the media, it is not surprising that so many marriages fail or exist in suffering rather than joy. When we are intent on blaming and criticizing the other person for problems, rather than looking to ourselves and accepting difficulties, nothing can move forward. We have become a ‘me’ rather than a ‘we’ culture.

But this is exactly why the institution of marriage brings so much hope for the future. Let’s go back to our elderly couple in Princeton. Did they start out married life in this sattvik state together? Not necessarily. Life together, over the years, brings about a shared evolution. The rough edges are made smooth, acceptance blossoms over time, and both learn from each other how to be in harmony and stillness. That is, as long as they are both willing to stay together through all the ups and downs of married life.

Marriage and family life teach us to become more and more giving, if we are willing to commit to the journey. There is a traditional French tale, Beauty and the Beast, in which the Beast starts out very tamasic, imprisons the beautiful Belle and locks her away as a prize. But over time the kindness, love and acceptance of Belle transforms him into a handsome, gentle prince. We love these folk tales for the very reason that they kindle something in our unconscious mind that we know is possible.

This is the possibility marriage brings to all of us – the opportunity to grow, refine ourselves and learn to love. Through marriage we can evolve into that sattvik state of communion I saw that day in the elderly couple by the river – so subtle, gentle and full of naturalness. I hope that more of us will have the opportunity to experience such a state.

That is why in 21st century Yoga, family life is venerated far more than the celibate life of a monk. It is through the love and sacrifice, the struggles and acceptance, and the willingness to grow that marriage offers that we refine ourselves enough to realize our fullest potential as human beings.

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Rajani Bidikar

Thank you Daaji, understanding of marriage and love was much needed. Thank you for the enlightenment. :)

January 15 2017 AT 11:27:00 AM

Rishabh Kumar Saran

Speechless!! Thanks a lot..

January 15 2017 AT 07:31:00 AM


Amazing article

January 01 1970 AT 00:00:00 AM


Thank you so much Daaji, there is a great meaning and lesson inside this artice!

January 16 2017 AT 01:46:00 AM

Reddy Parvata

It was a wonderful piece of advise for all of us.Thanks Daaji.

January 15 2017 AT 08:51:00 AM


This is beautiful! Thank you so much for this article, Daaji :)

January 14 2017 AT 09:43:00 PM


I pray that, All the couple who get married in Heartfulness way get this "Sattvik" stage, much before their wedding. THANK YOU DAAJI..

January 15 2017 AT 01:18:00 AM

rakesh wangoo

The institution of marriage so delicately explained with examples of outer world of the Old Couple and the inner nature of human being. Beautiful. Greatful

January 15 2017 AT 09:37:00 AM


Thank you DAAJI for a precious article on the essence of marriage life in the progress and evolution of humanbeings and harmony and ease in the entire life together as single soul as it is revealed in sathvik marriages..

January 15 2017 AT 00:42:00 AM

Rajesh Kothari

* We have become a 'me' rather than 'we' culture. * There always needs to be at least one giver for a marriage to work, and if there are two it can thrive. * But this is exactly why the institution of marriage brings so much hope for the future. I love above three points by Daaji. It summarises nicely the problem, its solution and hope for the future.

January 15 2017 AT 01:30:00 AM

Roopa Gatte

hmm , Thank You Daaji for inspiring..

January 18 2017 AT 02:44:00 AM

Priyanka Vegad Gupta

Beautiful article!

January 14 2017 AT 03:40:00 PM


Thank you daaji

January 25 2017 AT 05:07:00 AM

Priti pipalia

Very much impressed thank u Daaji

January 17 2017 AT 07:36:00 PM

Radha saxena

These are such precious teachings though very simply explained. Have heard about gift of magi by chariji also.. And read in school but yes learnt the real meaning after marriage. And even deeper understanding of it day after day.. Thanku daaji

January 14 2017 AT 09:52:00 PM

Priti Pipalia

Thank u Daaji very much impressed reading it

January 17 2017 AT 07:42:00 PM

prakash venugopal

Thank you Daaji for this great article. It helped me to understand the significance of marriage in a person's life.

January 18 2017 AT 01:04:00 PM

Poonam saxena

Thankyou is very helpful article.

January 14 2017 AT 11:36:00 PM

Pooja Singla

So beautifully is like a soothing balm to heart...great words of wisdom with so much love....

January 15 2017 AT 09:20:00 AM

Piyush Agarwal

How simple and beautiful. The article so nicely gives us a peep into what should be our attitude in a married life.

January 16 2017 AT 05:43:00 AM


Great words..... thank you so much Dadaji

January 18 2017 AT 07:06:00 AM

umesh padala

First time saw an article based on three gunas in Humans & wonderfully correlated with marriages and current times. Deeper insights... it is awesome to see from a simple observation... so much to learn.. thanks for the article..

January 16 2017 AT 03:54:00 AM

Uma M Mullapudi

Such profound thoughts put so simply for us to understand and implement. Thank you Sir.

January 20 2017 AT 10:58:00 AM

Vibhuti Khanna

Thank you daaji for putting such great wisdom into simple words! Beautiful

January 14 2017 AT 08:22:00 PM

Therese Pettiford-Brudell

Dear Daaji Thank you for a enlightening article on Love and marrage. Therese Brisbane Australia

April 27 2017 AT 00:56:00 AM

Terran Daily

That is such a beautiful article!

January 14 2017 AT 01:58:00 PM

Suman Bansal

Thank you Daaji. You have given us an insight to make our married life meaningful, and in turn walk on the spiritual path together.

January 14 2017 AT 10:56:00 PM

Sri Sandhya

Thank you dear Daaji... This article is much needed for youngsters like me to change in life. Could observe my life starts tuned aft reading.

January 14 2017 AT 10:23:00 PM


Loved this article Daaji!

January 14 2017 AT 01:42:00 PM

Shalak Joshi

Perfect article at the perfect time! Just starting with married life; hardly been a year. These are the best guidelines for me personally. I can relate to a lot of what has been said in the article and will definitely work towards making the relationship more sattvik.

January 15 2017 AT 09:13:00 AM

Penti Muralidhar

I liked very much this article, I was very much inspired, Everyone life marriage is turning point of life. This is very nice article.

January 14 2017 AT 11:15:00 PM

Sivakumar Krishnan

Such clarity and practical advice. Deeply grateful.

February 12 2017 AT 07:54:00 AM

Subashini S

Thank you Daaji! I really needed this gem of wisdom...

January 15 2017 AT 01:36:00 AM

Sithanandam A

A needy article for young couples. Without sacrifice there is no Love.

January 16 2017 AT 12:29:00 PM

saurabh kumar tailang

Thanku Daaji for this article , it reveals the higher purpose of Marriage

January 15 2017 AT 00:06:00 AM


Thank you very much Daaji. Anyone can review themselves. Also resurrect themselves if needed. Throw some light to others. Must to take inside and introspect.

January 16 2017 AT 10:58:00 AM

Sandhya Prakash

Thank you Daaji.

January 14 2017 AT 07:53:00 PM


Thank you so much, Daaji.

January 14 2017 AT 10:26:00 PM

sabine marty

Wonderful ! It goes straight to the heart . May it help many of us ... Thank you

January 15 2017 AT 01:01:00 AM


Amazing article. Everyone at any stage of married life should read and follow.

January 14 2017 AT 06:43:00 PM

Bhavana Gupta

I have been married since 5 years and I appreciate every single word written here... ACCEPTANCE is difficult but can be achieved thru meditation.. nothing else can make the marriage work.. Thank you so much for lovely article.. I never thought about beauty and the beast in this way :)

January 16 2017 AT 10:22:00 AM

Jyoti Agarwal

I think the young couples about to get married in near future should read this article before taking seven vows of marriage round the fire. EXCELLENT. To me marriage means surrender and accept your partner in totallity.

January 15 2017 AT 01:39:00 AM

Hina and Dhiraj Mullick

Beautiful and so meaningful way to express marriage and how to live with your partner with love. The way relationship matures and the way acceptance is required as the essence to evolve. Thank you Daaji.

January 15 2017 AT 09:08:00 AM


Beautifully said daaji

January 15 2017 AT 01:09:00 AM

Gurunathreddy kaki

Beautiful articles, Thank very much daaji

January 15 2017 AT 01:27:00 AM

Durgesh Singh

Thank you Daaji

January 15 2017 AT 00:56:00 AM


These are pearls of wisdom, so enlightening. I recall someone's advice drawing parallels with Individuals work on their craft, their health each day...........marriage also needs daily work. Thank you, Gagan

January 14 2017 AT 01:53:00 PM

Dr keerthinmayee karimaddela

Full of real love and wisdom DAAJI...thankyou.

January 23 2017 AT 10:26:00 AM

Disha Chandra

So beautifully explained actually touched my heart...thank u Daaji for such wisdom...

January 14 2017 AT 11:27:00 PM

Dilip Patil

Thank you Daaji! Wonderful article and simple to read too.

January 15 2017 AT 02:01:00 AM

Jyotsna Verma

Thanks Daaji for giving us a new vision of thinking and give a new dimension to relationship.

January 15 2017 AT 08:26:00 AM

Arpan Das

Beloved Daaji, This is a beautiful article. Indeed it is simple and profound. Have seen, so much learning through this topic. Pranams Arpan

January 15 2017 AT 01:27:00 AM

Aroon Dave

So soothing and so true yet Man remains blind. 'The Gift of the Magi' remains very dear coz of the purity of relationship. I had enjoyed teaching this for years to school children . This article will be inspiring for a long time. Thank You so much and do keep enlightening us .

January 14 2017 AT 11:41:00 PM

Archana Sharma

Thanks daaji.for giving ans of my questions with this article..thanq

January 15 2017 AT 03:21:00 AM

Annaji Rao k

Thank you Daaji.Every new married couple , about to get married boys and girls,and even old couple can draw inspiration from your thought provoking, informative article and live an ideal married life,filled with Divine love.

January 15 2017 AT 04:02:00 AM

Anisha Vijayan

Thanks Kamlesh Bhaiyya for a very guiding piece of article , especially for people looking for a direction midway through marriage .

January 18 2017 AT 09:52:00 AM

Anil Vashisht

marvellous ! so beautiful analysis of marriage life...every youngster should read this...Thanks Daaji

January 15 2017 AT 08:29:00 AM

Anshu Sharma

Thank You,in its simplicity the article conveys a profound wisdom for the young and the old alike.

January 15 2017 AT 01:07:00 AM

Akhil dubey

Thank you very much beloved daaji for the wonderful teachings which are priceless..... We hope and wish that people would try to absorb the essence of your teachings in this modern life.

January 15 2017 AT 01:42:00 AM

Amit Badam

Thank you Daaji.

January 15 2017 AT 08:10:00 AM

Margareta Koscs

Now was understand some of my mistakes from my marriage,better,then after my divorce.Thank you Daaji.

January 16 2017 AT 07:10:00 AM

Pragnya Patil

Awesome article !

January 15 2017 AT 01:27:00 AM

Pawan Tikandar

Thanks for the guidance Daaji.

January 15 2017 AT 01:12:00 AM

parvati mittapalli

This is very good and needed for the present generation Thank you Daaji

January 15 2017 AT 08:21:00 AM

Parasu Gopalan

The beauty of Daaji's writing is that they are so simple to read and understand , yet there is a deep and profound impression left upon the. mind,

January 14 2017 AT 04:03:00 PM

Nkounga nguewa francis

Merci Daaji je me reconnais dans tes écrits.Dans un mariage de Sattvipra effectivement, l'amour qui règne à l'intérieur du couple sert d'écran protectrice aux multiples difficultés de l'existence. Merci encore

January 14 2017 AT 11:31:00 PM

Nishant Shah

A very helpful read….A sattavic state of mind helps us to accomplish so many things in our life

January 14 2017 AT 11:17:00 PM

Nishanth TS

Thanks Daaji for the wonderful article, this really emphasis on where we need to evolve to succeed in the institution of marriage.

January 15 2017 AT 10:43:00 PM

Nishant Shah

A very helpful read....A starbucks state of mind helps us to accomplish so many things in our life

January 14 2017 AT 11:16:00 PM

Narayan Dutt

Very enriching article on a topic of utmost importance for successful married life. It will help and guide the conflict ridden married couples. Thanks Daaji.

February 02 2017 AT 10:00:00 PM

Aanchal Verma

Thankyou daaji , marriage is full of unfolding petals of flowers

January 15 2017 AT 01:01:00 AM


Beyond words..A necessary read for all

January 14 2017 AT 10:48:00 PM

Malini Doshi

Thanks Daaji ,for giving answer of my question with this article .

January 15 2017 AT 09:43:00 AM

Madhuri Manivannan

This was truly inspiring for the young minds to understand the sole purpose of marriage. Thank you Daaji.

January 15 2017 AT 06:17:00 AM


Thank you daaji. It was very helpful

January 14 2017 AT 04:54:00 PM

Lalita Sreenivasan

What a beautiful article - full of softness and tenderness - and rich in values! May all couples strive to bring such a harmony and grace into their relationship

January 15 2017 AT 05:32:00 AM

Kristam siva kumar

Thank you Daaji.

January 15 2017 AT 08:41:00 AM

Kristam siva kumar

Thank you Daaji for a beautiful and simple article especially for the present generation.

January 15 2017 AT 08:41:00 AM

Kesavan. V

Really awakening for me. Thank you Sir.

January 28 2017 AT 02:17:00 AM

Kalbana subramaniam

Thank you for this beautiful article daaji. Marriage is all about LOVE

January 15 2017 AT 01:35:00 AM