By Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami
Many are the cross-national marriages happening today--marriages between members of different nations, cultures or races. Times have changed. It is communication that has done it. With no communication, there is no change. When information flows freely, independent thinking is the result, and change is inevitable. Yes, inevitable--and that is what we are seeing today. The younger generation is thinking for itself. No more relying on elders to advise. This is unfortunate, for now they will have to learn from their mistakes. What a way to learn! But this is what is happening, and it is happening faster than we would like to see. Much faster.
Any kind of marriage can survive if true love is there as its glue. True love is the kind of love that gives the couple the ability to give and take from each other without conflict, to go through the ups and downs together in trust, to support each other without fail and to reign as benign king and queen strong enough to bind all of the family together. Even the rishis said that when true love is there, any kind of astrology is good and the marriage will be lasting. Love overrides all bad influences and incompatibilities. Love is the sum of the law. But how would a young couple know if theirs is true love or magnetic love? By giving the love a test. That is how. Test it with time. Magnetic love weakens and all but disappears over time. True love grows stronger, much stronger, with time. True love mellows through the years.
Cross-national marriages are essential to the "One world, one God" sloka that avante garde thinkers are sharing today. Citizens of the world bound in love can survive the torrents of the upheavals that come as lives are lived through together and individuals grow ever closer and closer in body, mind and spirit. The Rig Veda speaks of this kind of love: "United your resolve, united your hearts, may your spirits be at one, that you may long together dwell in unity and concord."
Every marriage needs to have a support of some kind or another built into it. True love is the best support of all, but support from the parents on both sides is a necessary help, too, especially for couples drawn together by magnetism. It is when the magnetic love fades away and all that is left are the children that the support from parents and friends is essential for the marriage to last without violent outbursts of released stress which was once the undying passion.
Shall we have a look into the future? Since cross-national marriages are happening, will happen and continue to happen, there must be a way they can happen without undue strain on the families of the boy and the girl. Wisdom is supposed to fix things, heal conditions and settle problems. But first we have to admit that there is a problem. And, yes, cross-national marriages are a problem to many of the old school. The old school only became old just ten years ago. Before then it was a school sharing standards of how things should be to maintain a growing and stable society.
When an Asian girl marries a black boy, should she be banished from the kingdom? Yes, according to the old school, the old standard. No, according to the new school. The banishment method of parental punishment is a little outdated and bizarre today. Today's girls think. They understand. They do not intend to be the ill-treated servants of the mother-in-law. The days of Cinderella have long since passed when the mean, old stepmother made her cringe beneath her wrath. Boys, too, think for themselves. They read, they listen and evaluate. Theirs is an ever-changing world ahead. They are busy preparing for it. But then along comes love of one kind or another.
When Lolita falls in love with Shan and elopes to his country, go visit them and bring her home in your heart. When Kumar announces his undying love for Carmen, his lover from Mexico, and informs the family that her father has a place for him as senior partner in his business, accept it. Enjoy Mexico City. It is a great place because Kumar and Carmen are there. Yes, hands across the ocean are loving hands. Hands across the ocean are binding continents to continents. This is what all elders are seeing around them today. Today's world is a happening world. We cannot stand in front of progress, lest we get run over by it. But we can sit by the side of progress and guide it so it does not run off the track. But this cannot be done when we break down communications and refuse to talk to the youth when they don't obey the old standard. It is communication that is catalyzing the changes in the first place. So, we all must guide the young by keeping the channels of communication open. Don't let them go. Go with them.
One Hindu mother recently told me that she never let her daughter out of her sight from the time she was born to the time she was married. This is commendable. But these days for most parents it is an impossibility. We can surmise that every caring mother would want to do just that. No one is exempt from the changing times, no one. We all have to adjust. We don't want to give up on the young when they make mistakes and we see a bleak future ahead. We want to be there for them when they need us. We want to be as open and loving as parents of the old schools were closed and cool. When cross-national unions happen--accept.
We have just published a little book called Know thy Self. I think that those who wrote in for Dancing with Siva and the other booklets will enjoy it. It is a really special, four-color booklet of 48 pages, with many pictures of our beautiful ashram in Hawaii. There are 14 daily lessons in it to be read to the whole family at breakfast, to get the day off to a good start. Send five dollars; we will pay the postage. Write to P.O. Box 1030, Kapaa, Hawaii 96746 USA for your copy.