February 10th is the holy Appearance Day of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur, the beloved guru of our beloved Srila Prabhupada.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur was a lifelong celibate, first as a brahmacari, and then a sannyasi, a brilliant scholar and author, and known for his uncompromising devotion to speaking the truth, even among those who opposed him and even threatened his life. He was also amazingly progressive in his views on utilizing everything of the modern world in the service of the Lord.
In the following excerpt from his Harmonist newspaper, he expresses such progressive views on relationships between a husband and wife, in a spiritual relationship, which is called the grihastha ashram. The following article is entitled, “Relations Between the Sexes”.
“The cardinal principle of grihastha ashram is that no one may be the owner of any property or service of another. Everyone is only a servant whose activities are ever in service of the Lord. Similarly, the sole object of everyone’s service as the only master, only friend, only son, and only consort is Kṛṣṇa.
Marrying and giving in marriage do not give rise to any rights of a master either to the husband or to the wife. Men and women are joined in wedlock for the purpose of serving each other in the performance of the joint service of Kṛṣṇa. The wife is not an object of enjoyment of the husband, nor vice versa. They do not marry for gratifying their sexual appetites. They marry for pleasing the Lord, not for pleasing themselves.
They choose for their partners only such persons who serve God better than themselves. They offer themselves to be accepted by their partners for the favor of being allowed to share in their superior service of Hari. Neither the husband nor the wife should claim the services of his or her partner on their own account. Both of them are only to offer their services if and when their partner is pleased to permit them to share their service of Hari. None of them can force their partners to serve them…
The reason why the guru does not ordinarily ask any person to enter the state of wedlock is that it is very rare to find anyone in this world who is willing to regard his or her wife or husband as worthy of his or her unconditional services. This is, however, exactly the only relationship between husband and wife that alone can be sanctioned by the guru.”
Can we also strive to extend such unconditional loving service to each other, and all others we meet as we try to share the teachings of Lord Sri Kṛṣṇa through this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement?
All the best,