~by Rukmini Walker
Wednesday, March 3rd is the holy Appearance Day of Srila Prabhupada’s beloved Guru Maharaj, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur Maharaj.
He was the brilliant son of the eminent Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur, who pioneered Krsna Bhakti in the Western world by sending his book, The Life and Precepts of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to scholars and universities in the West.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur was a powerful acarya (great teacher), and a genius as an author and orator in English, Bengali and Sanskrit. He was also a revolutionary and a saint. He was famous as the “simha guru”, or lion guru, because of his fearless cutting down of sectarian caste-conscious opposition and intolerance to the broad-minded and inclusive path of Bhakti, as taught by his own father and by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
Particularly of interest to our readers will be his cogent and egalitarian thoughts on Krsna conscious marriage. Writing perhaps a hundred years ago, in the context of India at that time, how revolutionary his words sound today…
“The cardinal principle of grhastha asram (Krsna conscious marriage) 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 the service of the Lord. Similarly, the sole object of everyone’s service as the only master, only friend, only son, and only consort is Krsna.
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 Krsna. The wife is not an object of enjoyment of the husband, nor vice versa…
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.” (quoted from The Harmonist, “Relations Between the Sexes”)