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Does one need to get married to live with one’s lover? || Acharya Prashant, with youth (2013)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
12 min
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Question: Why do I need to get married? Why do I need to take a certificate from somebody regarding my love, regarding my decision to live with someone? Why does it need to be certified by someone?”

Acharya Prashant (AP): Pulkit (questioner), it’s a very good question that you are asking. But how can you raise this question as a fragment?

Appreciate this:We have made it our life to seek certification regarding everything. And if you don’t have those certifications, you collapse. Marriage is one of those certifications. Even if I say that that certification is not required, would you be fearless enough to suddenly transform a mind that lives in certifications?

You know what a certification is? The certification means: "I do not know, and I am depending on somebody else to tell me my worth." That is what a 'certificate' means.

What about engineering then? (The questioner is a student of engineering college) Are you here for the love of engineering? Were that the case, you wouldn’t have bothered whether you get a degree or not. But today, if we come to know that there are no degrees to be offered, we won’t be found here, right? You’d say, “Why spend four years when ultimately there would be no certification?”

Certification has become a way of life with us.

When you get an offer letter from a prestigious company, it is certification that you have arrived in life, that now you are somebody. And how glad do we feel! When you wear that identity card and walk around, you’re somebody, right? You get all puffed up. You write very proudly in your CV: I am with such an such person. Certification is so deeply entrenched in our psyche, that it is very-very difficult, to get rid of it. Is there anything that we do without the hope of a certificate? And a certificate means, actually - a result. Are you getting it?

"If I do this, I’ll get that; if I do this, I’ll get that." That ‘that’ that you are hoping to get, is always provided by somebody else. Is there anything we ever do without the hope of a result as a certificate? Anything?

If any of us have ever done anything without the motivation of getting something in return, without the motivation of being certified, without the motivation of becoming something, only then would it be possible to love without expecting to get married; to love without expecting to get social sanction.

We do everything for the society. Then how is it possible to not to love for the society? When everything else that we are doing, Pulkit, day-in and day-out, is for the society, our love also becomes the social thing; a thing of the market. We love for the sake of the society. And we dare not love if the society disapproves it, we start shivering. There are so many love affairs where the lovers first look at each other’s religion, each other’s caste, they also somehow enquire about each other’s gotra, and then they decide to fall in love.

Such is our way of living - we can’t do anything without social sanction, without the approval of the society; we are living in great fear.

And that’s how all the script has been.

Look at each page of the script of our life. It has been written by somebody else, forces of conditioning – let’s call them social forces - each page of the book of our life has been written by somebody else. There are norms that have been pre-decided and we are living that life; we are living that life. Marriage is one of those pages.

The book of your life says: "Be born, get a religion, get a name, get a gender identity, go to school – LKG, UKG. Then a little upwards: History, Geography. Then board exams will arrive. Please do well because you have to write that in your CV for everybody else, because people will look at it."

Then the next page says: "Now class 12th. Now see what everyone else is doing and get into those three or four options that are made available to you. Please choose one of them." And you choose one of them.

Then the book says: "Now you are born into a country where there is an IT boom, so choose Engineering." So you choose Engineering. Now, "College is meant to be fun, so attend as few classes as possible; somehow, clear the exams. Have a decent percentage range." And everybody is good in that range - 55 to 75; nobody below that, nobody above that. "Live in that range. When fourth year arrives, start getting nervous." So you start getting nervous.

You are now answerable to society. "We invested four years on your education, where is the return? So, get a job." Alright! "Get a job, enter the job, enter the job! Quit the job." Now quit the job, two months, because the way you didn’t have the job, you have to necessarily quit. "Hunt for another job; hunt for another job." Alright! 3 years now. "Get married, get married! Two years into the marriage, get a kid, get a kid (preferably a son)." So, you say. "Alright! Preferably a son." "Have another kid." Alright! Have another kid. Now, "Get a house because you have a family. Get a house."

I am reading out from a book, and that book is your life that has been written by somebody else. The script is coming from some other place.

You can’t change from one page, Pulkit. No! One page can’t be changed in isolation. What you want is that - “I live the entire script, but I just selectively want to change one page that - I no longer will be marrying.” No! If you want to drop out, drop out completely; reject that book in total. You can’t be choosy - “No! No! This page I don’t like, so I won’t take. But the rest of the pages are alright.” When you are doing everything according to the script, how can you just avoid doing one particular thing? You can’t have one leg within the system, and one leg outside it. Please!

The intelligent being is not selectively intelligent; he is intelligent at every moment. He looks at every decision that he is making, and he finds out - “Is it really my own, or is it coming from some pre-meditated script?”

Are you getting it?

You cannot say, “No, I am intelligent at the time when I am writing at the examination, and at the other moments, I am fast asleep.” Friends, it’s not possible.

Life is a continuous movement, and it has to be lived continuously intelligently. Yes, you want Freedom from all the rituals, from all these obligations, from the pressure of all the certifications. Be free completely.

See what all in our daily life we do, just for the sake of certifications. And I am not saying, "Do not get the certifications." Please! That’s not what I am saying. Let the certification come. If it makes life convenient, let it come. But let it not become your identity; let it not overpower you.

I know of people from my batch, acquaintances from my circles; you take away the brands, the labels from them, and they absolutely collapse. Absolutely collapse! You take away IIT brand from them, they find nothing is left. You take away the IIM brand from them - “Oh my God! Such an inner vacuum. Now I am nobody. Now I am nobody.”

You know what that degree is? That degree is a social sanction. Let that degree be there, but let it not become your identity. Let it not become your identity.

Please do not become dependent on it, because then you are a slave; then you are a slave. Am I making myself clear? Am I making myself clear?

See, we all as young people want to rebel sometimes, right? Is there anybody here who does not sometimes feel like running away and rebelling, and just breaking everything apart? That happens.

I don’t think that happens. I am mistaken.

Questioner (Q): There is a big risk behind that; behind doing so.

AP: Yes. But if you can see the risk, that means you get that feeling. You get that feeling sometimes, correct? The thing is: We get that feeling, but then we also get very easily co-opted on and off. We do get that feeling, maybe once a week, but what happens is that on other occasions, we are glad to live as per the script. It’s only very selectively that we want to rebel and revolt, very-very selectively. And that is the reason why our rebellions are never successful, never successful, because they are very incomplete rebellions; very-very incomplete rebellions.

Getting it?

Be complete. To be completely rebel means to be watchful always; means to realize what is happening with my life. It does not mean being vigilant on particular occasions, in particular cases, in crucial moments. No! It means being your own man always, always.

Even as you are sitting here, I am independent; I will not allow the other to disturb me. Even as I walk out, I am independent. Even when I am playing, I am my own man; I will not allow the situation to overpower me. I’ll not become afraid, I’ll not become nervous. When I am eating, I just won’t eat just because someone is requesting that - “Eat one more ladoo.” It means to be always, always vigilant.

Getting it?

And when that vigilance becomes your very nature, then you find that you are not at all afraid anymore; you find that nobody can pressurize you. Nobody can pressurize you. Are you getting it?

When that alertness, when that watchfulness, when that independence, when that Freedom becomes your nature moment-by-moment, then nobody can pressurize you; you are very smoothly free. In fact, the other person also knows that now this fellow cannot be controlled, so he won’t even try. And if he tries, he will burn his own hands. So he better refrain from doing all this.

Let that Freedom become your nature.

Do not ask about occasions. We’ve had two questions so far, and both were about occasions. He said, "Crucial moments. Marriage." Why only marriage? Society is dominating you not only with respect to marriage, but in many-many other ways. Why not look at them also? Why not look at them also?

Q: Sir, you said that all the certificates are to make your life convenient.

AP: Yes.

Q: A bit convenient. So, that is quite mandatory.

AP: Not mandatory really, not mandatory really. There are many small things where you would not bother complying with what the society says. For example - which side of the road to walk, whether to stop or not on the traffic signal, what time to come to the college - there is no need to assert a fake freedom in these things; that, "The college says to come to the class at 9, but I am a free man, I’ll come at 10."

These are small matters, trivial matters. These are matters of convenience. It’s alright to take what the society says. But then, in the essential matters, matters of Freedom, matters of love, please, that’s not where the society can have any role to play. The society can have no role to play in those things.

In whatever is external, the society may have a role. Whatever is deeply intrinsic to you, there? No! Not at all.

How am I spending my time – that cannot come from the society. And that’s all, because time is life. If that cannot come from society, then your life is free.

Right! Getting it?

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