45. Family Tradition As An Indispensable Basis Of Spiritual Life


Stories from the Vedic literature describing the ancient dynasties, at first glance may not appear quite interesting and spiritual.

Royal families, traditions, another boring long list of irrelevant unfamiliar names of the long gone people…Who cares?

However, this topic is very important because the human consciousness begins to unfold from the very childhood, when he is born into a certain family and not even having some sort of a critical mind, the child is already like a sponge soaking up some culture, tradition, understanding and atmosphere.

And if the start was quite successful, then there is no need for a person to go through any complicated painful internal personality transformations later in life.

The major problem faced by the people of the West, seeking spiritual alternative, is the change of one’s wrong values and stereotypes that have been formed in one’s childhood and adolescence.

Therefore, when a child begins to develop in a normal favourable spiritual atmosphere of the family, the spirituality is quite natural for him. The spiritual knowledge that he gets does not conflict with his experience of life, because everything is pretty much consistent.

And in this regard it will be interesting to find out where and how such family traditions begin to emerge.


The Manu Samhita mentions that there are eight kinds of marriage, and it’s not the marriage itself that is so interesting but the outcomes of the marriage. There should be no divorce whatsoever. It used to happen only among the low class uncultured people. But in general, it was unheard of, because people considered marriage as a long-term project of a lifetime. If people approach this issue the same way now, the whole situation would be different.

The majority of people have a very strange paradigm in their heads, they think “ let me get married and if it doesn’t work out I’ll divorce, big deal!”. Another words, people take it very lightly, and therefore, both marriage and divorce are all easy come easy go not thought through events.

But as a result, the serious problems come afterwards, because divorce is a very painful and stressful thing for all – both the parents and the children.

Unwanted or abandoned children are traumatised people for life with a very difficult fate.

Another words, the proper marriage is important because it lays a certain tradition and forms a particular consciousness for children.

Of course, it has an indirect relation with the spiritual life but when it’s properly arranged and perfectly matched, it helps to develop a high consciousness for the parents and the children.

In this sense, properly organised material life greatly contributes to spiritual development. And improperly organised matter creates ugly forms of consciousness.

So, in the third chapter of the Manu Samhita eight kinds of marriage are listed: Brahma, Daiva, Arsha, Prajapati, Asura, Gandharva, Rakshasa and Pisachas.

“Giving away a nicely dressed and decorated with precious ornaments daughter to a learned and a good mannered groom, who’s been invited by the father of a bride, is a marriage called Brahma.

Giving away a nicely dressed daughter to a brahmana (priest) engaged in the Vedic sacrifices, is a marriage called Daiva.

When the father, after having received a bull or a cow from a groom as a gift in accordance with dharma, gives away his daughter, such a marriage is called Arsha.

Giving away a daughter after her father pronouncing the words “perform your duties together” and after honouring the groom, such a ceremony is called Prajapati.

Giving away a daughter to a groom who gives a plentiful donation to the relatives and the bride as much as they can take, is a marriage called Asura.

A voluntary passionate union of a bride and a groom, arising out of a mutual desire, is called a Gandharva marriage (the most common form of marriage in the modern world).

An abduction of a screaming girl out of her house by force, accompanied by killings, injuries and destruction, is called a Rakshasa rite.

And the worst kind of marriage (Pisacha) is when someone secretly indulges in an intimate relation with an asleep, intoxicated or a mad girl.”

So there are eight ways to get married. And the first four are meant for the brahmins (teachers and priests), the fifth and the sixth are for the Kshatriyas (warriors), Vaishya (merchants) and Sudras (workers), and the seventh and the eighth – Pisachas and Rakshasa are not recommended for the civilised people at all, but are meant for savages and uncivilised people, and therefore, children, born of such unions won’t be the best members of society.

And also the effects of different marriages are described.

“A virtuous son of a woman who got married according to the Brahma rites, liberates ten generations of ancestors, ten generations of descendants and himself the twenty-first.

A son of a woman who got married according to the Daiva rites liberates seven generations of ancestors and descendants.

A son, born of the Arsha marriage liberates three generations of ancestors and descendants.

A son, born of Prajapati marriage, liberates six generations of ancestors and descendants.

The children from the first four kinds of marriage are born blessed by the learned men.
Gifted with beauty and goodness, rich, glorious and truthful, possessing an abundance of all good things, they live for hundred years.

The children that are born in families of the last four kinds of marriage are cruel, untruthful and ignorant of the Veda and dharma.

Impeccable offsprings come from the flawless marriage, therefore one needs to avoid those forms of marriage that are worthy of condemnation”.

Thus, various forms of marriage generate different progeny that have varying degrees of spirituality and the power to liberate the ancestors and descendants. And secondly, the future of society depends on the quality of our children. It is said that children are our future, and the future is created in the present.

Not that many parents realise that the quality of marriage will inevitably affect the quality of offspring. People are used to think in material biological categories such as heredity, health, etc., but they don’t think in terms of consciousness, they do not understand that consciousness is primary and the foundation of life is spiritual consciousness. And the higher the quality of consciousness, the higher the quality of life.

For example the spiritual world is the world of the highest quality of life, because it’s permeated with the supreme consciousness. The living entities there possess the highest consciousness, and therefore they exchange the highest relations and therefore the highest form of happiness is available to them.

The material world is of an inferior quality. And because the quality of consciousness is lower the quality of life is lower too. Even the inhabitants of Brahmaloka live long enough, but not forever.
And respectively the lower the planetary systems, the lower the dominating consciousness and the lower the life expectancy and the fewer possibilities available. Thus, the universe offers a full range of options.

And the main purpose of culture that is always based on family traditions is to be a platform for cultivation.


For example, in order to grow a flower in a pot, one needs a pot, soil, fertiliser and light. The pot itself doesn’t interest us, we are interested in a plant that will grow in it. And the soil is important only as a nutrient medium that helps the plant to grow.

Similarly, we are interested in the properly organised matter as a basis for the cultivation of consciousness. In other words, the entire material civilisation and culture are required only to facilitate the favourable conditions for spiritual development.

But those who are absorbed in matter as something valuable, will inevitably be disappointed, because matter cannot provide any rasa (taste) to the eternal soul.

Those tastes that the living entities experience in the material world are called Jada rasa or the inferior tastes generated by the three modes of material nature ( tamas, rajas and sattva ) and the eight basic elements (earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego).

Only the cultured and intelligent people can experience a higher rasa or the Svargia Rasa – the subtler taste such as an exquisite literature, music and art, that they can enjoy for hours.

Above the Svargia Rasa is Vaikuntha Rasa – a taste of the spiritual world, but to experience this rasa one should have an exalted consciousness.

Therefore, the most important aspect in life is the quality of consciousness that opens the hidden doors of the better quality of life and unlimited possibilities. And the properly arranged culture based on proper family traditions is the foundation.

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