Meher Baba

If one has good moral conduct and leads a pure life without marrying, it is best, because marriage at times creates impediments in one's spiritual life.

But the bond of marriage is preferable to leading an immoral, promiscuous lifestyle, with its terrible consequences.

The bond of marriage should be such that the partners in life never involve themselves with any other man or woman.

8 August 1925,
LM3 p748

Look at all the fuss and show, and the cost of it, of marriages in nearly all creeds and classes. The purpose of it all is simply to publicise the fact that so-and-so man and woman have united as man and wife, and none else has any similar claim on either of them. Could not this be done simply and cheaply by registration and advertisement?

As for the blessings and advice of the priest, which are proportionate to the fatness of the fees, what can be said? It all amounts to: not to quarrel, not to separate from each other, love one another and live a long time. These pious sentiments are then sealed with heavy wining and dining and many vulgar exhibitions under the very nose of the smiling priest, who pats his pocket where he put the money, and at a convenient moment, still smiling, begs to be excused, and retires - a hired murmurer of prayers, a paid conferrer of blessings.

And sometimes it happens that, with the dying away of the sounds of the feast, if not earlier, the couple begin quarreling. To where have gone the blessings and the prayers? And what can the poor priest do except look grave or laugh and offer more advice? For knowledge is not his share. It is not his time for blessing, but to be blessed with honest sense.

It is not bought blessings and ceremonies and feasts that can save us from evil consequences, but our own actions. It is the understanding, love and goodness of each for each that alone can make the couple happy, as it is only their selfishness which makes them quarrel. All should realise this and stop wasting money on rituals and ceremonies.

January 1927,
SW p331-332
Another version LM4 p902

If you marry you incur seven more new births, and it is for this reason that saints and Realised Masters advise their devotees to lead an unmarried life. These seven births go on multiplying as you proceed, lifetime after lifetime. For example, 7 x 7 = 49 x 7 = 343 x 7 and so on.

How many former husbands or wives you have left in your past lives, and how many new ones you will come into contact with in the future! None of the past husbands or wives do you remember, nor will you know of those to come. Hence, if you insist that you want to marry, marry me.

A marriage with me means so much regard, affection and love for only me. Such thought and remembrance of me demands a great deal indeed, much, much more love than even with the yogis of ancient times. So marry me. Marriage with me means love, peace and bliss. Ordinary marriage means jugara (fighting) and a thousand and one worries arising therefrom.

16 February 1928,
Meherabad, to a couple
planning to marry,
LM3 p1021-1022

Q. They say that woman is a drag on man in his attainment of divine grace. All the saints you see...

Baba: No, woman can play an important part in the development of divine grace. She is man's equal. So long as she is true to herself, all will be well. But when once she surrenders to her surroundings, you understand, the function of marriage fails. It is then you have divorces.

Q. Then the vow of celibacy which the saints undertook...

Baba: It is unimportant. Some men marry, others may remain single, but a man is not spiritually more backward because he has married. A woman by her love can inspire him to know the truth. But she must develop love and not lust. This is the key to happiness.

April 1932,
London, to a reporter for the
London Daily Sketch,
BG p128-129
Another version: LM5 p1565

Even the love which expresses through physical desire is good to the extent that it frees one from the thralldom of personal likes and dislikes, and makes one want to serve the beloved above all other things.

Every human relationship is based on love in one form or another, and endures or dissolves as that love is eternal or temporal in character. Marriage, for example, is happy or unhappy, exalting or degrading, lasting or fleeting, according to the love which inspires and sustains it.

Marriages based on sex-attraction alone cannot endure. They lead inevitably to divorce or worse. Marriages, on the other hand, which are based on a mutual desire to serve and inspire, grow continually in richness and beauty, and are a benediction to all who know of them.

1 June 1932,
Beverly Hills, California,
Me p100

Q. When a young aspirant meets young women he is susceptible to thoughts of lust. On the other hand, if he avoids them entirely, he is likely to withhold a great deal of love. Is there any way out of this difficulty?

Baba: Free mixing of the sexes, as in the West, is on the whole good. But if the aspirant feels within his mind the slightest flutter of impure thoughts, he should stand aside. But he must love, and in order to avoid the arising of impure thoughts, he should keep in mind the thought that in the other person he is loving the Master.

Q. The aspirant must, undoubtedly, eliminate lust and release love. But lust as well as love are facts of inner life, that is, modes of consciousness, and cannot be taken as being identical with any specific acts of the physical body. Will the aspirant be wrong if he tries to express and develop love, instead of lust, through sex union?

Baba: If the aspirant thinks that through the sex-act he is expressing love, he is, sadly, mistaken. It is lust which prompts him to it. It is not possible to express pure love through the sex-act, because of the clash of impressions involved therein.

Q. What is your teaching concerning marriage?

Baba: For an aspirant, celibacy is better than marriage. But if he cannot control himself, he should marry. To pursue a spiritual life, it is much better to marry than to go from flower to flower.

Q. How can the aspirant use marriage for spiritual progress?

Baba: In the beginning, the aspirant will, in relation to the partner, feel lust as well as love. But he can, with conscious and deliberate cooperation with the partner, gradually lessen the element of lust and increase the element of love, until love becomes utterly pure and free from lust. But in order to achieve this purpose, he must strictly limit himself to his partner in matters of sex.

1930s, A p50-51

A woman told Baba that, because of her desire to see God, she wanted to stop having sex with her husband. Her husband felt differently. Baba told her,

"It is better to treat your husband with love and affection, even if you dislike and do not wish to indulge in intercourse because of your spiritual aspiration and desire to love God.

"It is good to have no sexual desires, but when it comes to a question of duty, you must sacrifice a little of your interest to please your husband.

"Keep your mind focused toward God, and give your body to your husband. Remember Saint Mira's sacrifice and how she suffered. Be like her."

28 October 1934,
LM6 p1919

Baba: Nervous? Be rested.

Woman: I am in love with a church pianist. Is that friendship to be kept up very pure?

Baba: Where's the harm to keep it up?

Woman: Catholic law prevents marriage with a man who is divorced. The church is against it... that's the conflict.

Baba: But do you love each other?

Woman: Yes.

Baba: Then love is all that matters, if there is no lust. I see no harm in it. Let that love grow, so that it makes two souls like one. I will spiritually help you to make this love grow purer.

Zurich, Switzerland,
A p4.
Also PM p242

A man may discharge his worldly duties and maintain a household with a wife and child. But, at the same time, he should remain detached from all this, come what may. This does not mean that he should be neglectful of his duties toward his near and dear ones, but that he should have no attachments to it at all.

You know that a pen is yours and you use it. But if you lose it, you should not care about it; you should remain detached.

The meaning of God-realisation is emancipation - freedom from the bondage of maya. But one has to be in maya to come out of it. So remain in maya, but do not get enmeshed in it. Keep away from its tricks and snares.

February 1934,
to Sampath Aiyangar,
LM5 p1860

No two souls united in wedlock can be Realised together simultaneously - never does it happen...

Because in the chain of births and deaths, each opposite sex changes simultaneously. That is, male becomes female, and female becomes male...

Two souls reincarnate together changing their sex for a number of lifetimes, until they drift apart at that certain point nearest to Realisation.

The secrets of life are absolutely unintelligible to the human mind. That is why they are never revealed as they are, but in different methods and shapes.

Love, real and divine, does not evolve, nor is it realised from temporal love. They are both quite different. Human or temporal love at its best cannot be compared to divine love, even in the beginning stage.

1 January 1935,
Los Angeles, California
to Karl Vollmoeller,
LM6 p1942-1943

The world is accustomed to think in terms of opposites. Thus, we often try to fit life into a scheme of alternati ves, such as joy or pain, attachment or repulsion, good or bad, solitude or company, indulgence or repression. And in the same way the mind has a tendency to think of marriage and celibacy as alternatives from which there is no escape.

It seems as if man must accept one alternative or the other. And yet he cannot wholeheartedly accept either alternative, because when he is celibate, he is dissatisfied with his lot, and longingly thinks of the advantages of marriage. And when he is married, he is equally dissatisfied with his lot, and longingly thinks of the advantages of celibacy. Thus, in oscillating from one idea to the other, mind finds no rest.

In order to be freed from the clutches of the opposites, the mind must first try to understand how they are both equally the creation of imagination working under the deluding influence of craving.

In celibacy as well as in marriage, craving is present. Celibacy as opposed to marriage means the mechanical restraint or the repression of sex, whereas marriage means the release or the indulgence of sex. But both presuppose the crowding of the mind by the sanskaras of lust, or the craving for sensation. Craving is therefore the common root of both the opposites of celibacy and marriage.

The mind which is restless with desire creates an illusory idea of happiness in the gratification of desire - and then, knowing that the soul remains dissatisfied even after gratification, it creates an illusory idea of happiness in the mechanical restraint of desire. In search of freedom and happiness, the mind gets caught up within these opposites, which it finds equally disappointing. And since it does not try to go beyond the opposites, its movement is always from one opposite to the other, and consequently from one disappointment to another disappointment.

Craving thus falsifies the operation of the imagination, and presents the mind with the option between two opposites which prove to be equally deceptive in their promise of happiness. However, in spite of alternate and repeated experience of disappointment in both the opposites, the mind usually does not renounce craving. Because while experiencing disappointment in mechanical restraint, it is easily susceptible to the false promise of gratification. And while experiencing disappointment in indulgence, it is easily susceptible to the false promise of mechanical restraint.

It is only when the mind is awakened by the grace of a Master that it begins internal and spontaneous renunciation of craving, which in the course of time leads to abiding peace and happiness. Internal and spontaneous renunciation of craving is as different from mechanical restraint as it is from indulgence.

Mind turns to mechanical restraint because of disappointment. But it turns to internal and spontaneous renunciation because of disillusionment or awakening, which comes when it experiences in the Master the quality of life which is free from craving, and which, therefore, is not bound by the deceptive opposites...

The value of celibacy lies, not in the mechanical restraint, but in the sense of independence which it gives. But as long as the mind is not altogether free from craving, there is no true freedom.

In the same way, the value of marriage lies not in indulgence, but in the sense of unity with the other which it gives. But true union, or the dissolution of duality, is possible only through divine love, which can never dawn as long as there is in the mind the slightest shadow of lust or craving.

Only by treading the path of inner and spontaneous renunciation of craving is it possible to attain true freedom and union with life, where the duality of the I and you is swallowed up in the all-embracing divine love, and where there is neither the mechanical restraint of celibacy, nor the indulgence of marriage, but complete detachment and perfect love.

This state of Perfection, in which the Master continuously dwells, may be aptly described as celibacy in marriage, or marriage in celibacy. For while he is freed from ignorance, he is united with God, and while he knows himself to be the single one, he also knows himself to be the one with all. And while he may be said to be a celibate in relation to maya, he may be said to have been married to Truth.

1930s? NW p74-78

The question of indulgence or repression arises only when there is craving. The need for both vanishes along with the complete disappearance of craving. When the mind is free from craving, the mind can no more be moved by the false promises of indulgence or mechanical repression.

However, it should be borne in mind that the life of freedom is nearer to the life of restraint than to the life of indulgence, though in quality is is essentially different from both. Hence, for the aspirant, a life of strict celibacy is preferable to the married life, if restraint comes to him easily, without any undue sense of self-repression. But such restraint is, for most persons, difficult, and sometimes impossible, and for them the married life is decidedly more helpful than a life of celibacy. For ordinary persons, married life is undoubtably advisable unless they have a special aptitude for celibacy...

Most persons enter into married life as a matter of course. But marriage will turn into a help or a hindrance according to the manner in which it is handled. There is no doubt that some of the immense spiritual possibilities are accessible through a married life, but all this depends upon having the right attitude.

From the spiritual point of view, married life will be a success only if it is thoroughly determined by the vision of Truth. It cannot offer much if it is based upon nothing more than the limited motives of mere sex, or if it is inspired by considerations which usually obtain in the partnership of business. It has to be taken as a real spiritual enterprise which is intended to discover what life can be at its best.

When the two partners together launch upon the spiritual adventure of exploring the higher possibilities of the spirit, they cannot at the outset limit their experiment by any nice calculations concerning the nature and amount of individual gain...

For the celibate as well as for the married person, the path of inner life is the same. When the aspirant is drawn by the Truth, he longs for nothing else. And as the Truth increasingly comes within his ken, he gradually disburdens himself of craving. Whether in celibacy or in marriage, he is no longer swayed by the deceptive promises of indulgence or mechanical repression, and he practises internal and spontaneous renunciation of craving until he is freed from the deceptive opposites.

The path of Perfection is open to the aspirant whether in celibacy or in marriage. And whether he begins from celibacy or from marriage will depend upon the sanskaras and the karmic ties of the aspirant. He cheerfully accepts the conditions which his past life has determined for him, and utilises them towards his spiritual advancement in the light of the ideal which he has come to perceive...

If a person is not prepared to undertake the responsibilities of children, there is only one course which is left for him. He must remain a celibate, and practise strict mental control. For though such mental control is extremely difficult to attain, it is not impossible.

From the purely spiritual point of view, strict celibacy is best. But since it is so difficult, few can practise it. And for those who cannot practise it, the next best course is to marry, rather than fall a prey to promiscuity. Within married life one can learn to control animal passion. But it is bound to be a gradual process, and in cases of failure in practising control, parents must allow nature to take its own course, rather than interfere with it through artificial means. They must cheerfully welcome the consequences, and be prepared to shoulder the responsibility for the upbringing of children...

In the beginning of married life, the partners are drawn to each other by lust as well as love. But they can, with conscious and deliberate cooperation, gradually lessen the element of lust and increase the element of love. Through this process of sublimation, lust ultimately gives place to deep love.

By the mutual sharing of joys and sorrows, the partners march on from one spiritual triumph to another spiritual triumph, from deep love to ever deeper love, till the possessive and jealous love of the initial period is entirely replaced by a self-giving and expansive love. In fact, through the intelligent handling of marriage, a person may traverse so much of the spiritual Path that it needs only a touch by a Master to raise him into the sanctuary of eternal life.

c. 1940, Di v2 p3-13

Marriage Book Two

Index - Book One

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