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Women leave their parental home after marriage. Why? || Acharya Prashant, at IIT-Guwahati (2023)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
11 min
2.1K reads

Question (Q1): Sir, I have had this question for a really long time. After being born and brought up in their parent’s home for nearly two and a half decades, one very fine day, Indian women, or women in general, have to leave their parent’s home and are married off to start a new life from the scratch. They are expected to make a new home with their in-laws, leaving their parent’s home, where the former being absolute strangers to her just before.

So, what are your opinions on this? Why do only women have to do this? Can there be any alternative to this practice which can be suitable for both men and women as well?

Acharya Prashant (AP): It's a question actually that deserves a clap. So, just very recently, I suppose, two, three, four months back, I have answered this question. And every time I am posed this question, my response is immediately the same. “Why must you, as a woman, ask this question to anybody? It's your life, is it not?”

So, I would rather bounce the question back to you. “Why do you choose to leave your parental home? What is the need? Because, I mean, nobody is tying your limbs and forcibly carrying you away to the other family or the other house.” Women, in some way, walk out on their own, right? Even if they are weeping their hearts and their eyes out, still it's on their own feet that they walk out and go to the other place. Why do you choose to do that? What is the need? Is there a need? I mean, you tell me, please.

If I were a woman, I would never, never see the point in that and obviously never agree to that. How is it possible that a parent’s house becomes a stranger's place to me, and I start calling the other family as my family, and some random fellow as papa? I mean, obviously, a random fellow. You can come up with cultural arguments and say, "No, the father of the husband is my own father." I don't see that, I don't feel that, just don't.

Mummy—a sacred word, is it not? Mother. Having called somebody mother, once in life, how can you start calling somebody else suddenly as ? Just because she incidentally happens to be the mother of the one your hormones have fallen in love with, so she becomes your mother, how? All this is quite a lot of crap, I just don't see the point in this. And if you want to go into the reasons, the reasons are all very evolutionary and very material, based on economics, nothing else.

When you look at the woman as a factor of production—manpower is a resource in the economy, right? And the woman produces manpower in the form of babies, so the woman is like a factor of production in the eyes of economics; that's how she is, right? The factor of production is controlled by its master. A factory is something that produces, it is owned by somebody. The ones who owns a productive resource wants to keep it in its own premises. So, the husband carries her away. He says, "You know, now she will produce kids for me. So, I must possess her, own her and keep her at my place."

And for exactly the same reason, the girl is made to now wear and carry the name of the husband. If you go to villages, even today you will find old utensils and the name of the owner is etched on them. Seen that? —old utensils, and they are carrying the name of the owner. And that is what is also done to women. Otherwise, what is the point?

Your mother changes—new mummy, new papa, and new name also. New house, new mummy, new papa, new name, new family, new bed; why? Are you getting a rebirth or what? All this is just quite loveless economics. There is no life in it, there is no love in it. And no self-respecting woman should agree to this. No self-aware woman can agree to this. In fact, forget about the woman, if even the man has any degree of self-awareness and self-respect, he will never want a woman to quit his family and start coming here and do all kinds of things.

Let the man stay where he has to stay, let the woman stay where she wants to stay; and if they want to meet, it is good to meet once in a while. Right? I mean, frequent dating is far better than cohabitation. Take it from me—meeting someone once in a week is pleasurable; but when you have to look at that person's face twenty four hours, then you come to see the real face and that is quite intolerable. Once in a week is just okay, once in a month is still better.

So, all that is quite nonsensical and I don't know why girls even today accept all that. That just tells me that the times have changed, the minds have not changed. We are not really progressing in the inner sense. Even though there is a lot of material abundance outside, internally, we are still quite poor. And I really sometimes feel very angry at what women have done to themselves and all the things that they needlessly accept.

I just don't know why a woman should simply allow herself to be a hostage to the past, blind traditions and forces of economics; why she should allow herself to be? Especially today, when she herself is educated, when she earns, she knows, she has knowledge, awareness, power, legal protection, all kinds of things are there; why does she need to act subservient? Why does she need to allow her life to be destroyed?

All that is quite unfathomable. It's just that we don't think over these things, no? It's taken as some kind of divine rule—the woman has to leave her house and go to some other place. There is nothing divine in this. This is just social custom and economics, and you have no obligation to follow any customs whatsoever.

Your only obligation is your own liberation. You might have the body of a woman, but your consciousness is of a human being. You are fundamentally just consciousness and therefore your sole purpose in life is your liberation. You do not exist to appease a man, or to produce kids, or to carry the mantle of social custom. No!

Q2: Sir, I have a question related to what you have explained just now. I completely agree with the theory, but can you also suggest a way to explain the same concept to our parents? My parents are asking me to get married because they want to get free from some kind of burden.

So, the same concept which you explained to us, every girl in this hall, this college, will accept this and want to stand for their own. But don't you think that every parent will curse you after learning that we learnt this? I will tell them that I learnt from you that I will not leave their (parent’s) place, I will stick here even after marriage. What do you suggest on this?

AP: See, certain things I can only force myself to imagine. So, I cannot see how a father or a mother can do that, but I can kind of, just by way of fiction, imagine. My father, he never imposed himself on me or my sister. My sister lived absolutely the way she wanted to. She is a very, very strong person, very independent minded, and people call her ‘the man of the house’.

So, I can only imagine that there can be parents of the kind who can push daughters out of the house; and that's a very scary imagination. How can a father or a mother curse the daughter and tell her to marry and get lost? In that case, take a place on rent; what else? I mean, if your parents don't want to keep you, try renting a place. What else can I say? What I am saying is—there should be no obligation to go to the husband's place and necessarily stay there and do all those things.

Q2: As you said that we are bound by some societal norms. There should be some way that we can explain to them, because they believe in spirituality.

AP: You can ask them these basic questions—"Why do you want to push me out of your house? Please tell me, why must I go?" And if they have a tangible argument, counter that. If they have no argument and they simply say, "Because that's a social custom," then they don't love you; then they anyway don't love you.

So, then no need to go to the husband's place and also no need to necessarily stay in your father's place where you are unloved and unwanted. Quit both the places. The world is a huge opportunity. Live anywhere, stay anywhere, do whatever is the right work, and fly free, simple.

Q3: Sir, as we are talking about marriage, I got one question in my mind. Is kuanḍalī matching really needed? What's the science behind it? In India, most parents and society reject girls or boys solely on the basis of kuanḍalī matching and guṇā . Is it right, or is it just another fear-mongering? If two person get married without kuanḍalī matching, or if guṇā does not match, are they going to live sadly, or any mishap will occur? Because people say, "Astrology is a science, and we believe in the science." What is your take on this?

AP: You know what is a science, right? You know when to call something scientific. If you think all this horoscope and astrology is scientific, go by it. Do you think there is any science in it? You know the principles of science. Are those principles used when you make a horoscope? Are you using Newton's laws, Kepler's laws, black body radiation, laws of thermodynamics, quantum physics? What is it that you are using to make or draw that horoscope? How is it scientific at all? So, what science is there? Ask yourself.

Also, it's a thing about your marriage, right? As a young man, I would suppose that you care for Love. Do you care for Love or the horoscope? They say that one mark of love is that it does not care for the future, correct? Love does not care for the future, and the horoscope talks only of the future. So, where there is this Kuanḍalī matching and all that, how can there be any love? What's the point in getting into a loveless relationship even if the kuanḍalīs match? All that is quite nonsensical, very loveless, very dry, very sad.

Even in my time, there were a lot of couples in college, a lot of affairs would bloom—most of them were caste compatible. The boy and the girl would first of all ascertain that the match belongs to an acceptable caste and only then propose and get into a relationship—this degree of lovelessness. It's all quite sad, and then the result of all that is a very wasted kind of life. You have to spend so many years, decades with someone, and your association with that person itself is based on very dry, very flawed grounds. How will you live with that fellow all your life? Avoid.

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