LOVE MARRIAGE VERSUS ARRANGED MARRIAGE.
About 35 year’s ego, a group of Israeli students visited India. I met them at a place where many young Indians were chatting with them. Suddenly one Israeli girl said: "I understand you have arranged marriage here in India". The local boys said: “Yes”. The girl said: "The boys and the girls marry without seeing each other - someone whom they did not even know? That is unfair". The local boys were apologetic and said "Yes, but that is our custom". The girl said "Why you do not change your custom?
At that stage I spoke to the girl as follows: "When a boy or a girl of marriageable age meet each other, they are emotionally highly charged. They see something that they like and extend that thing to everything else and become blind to the other traits, which they may not like. They think as if the boy or the girl is all epitome of virtue without any trace of any discordant habit. If they marry, after a few days, their enthusiasm settles down and they get back their emotional composure. Then they find that their partner is not as they imagined. They find him/her a stranger and repent having married such a person in the first place. This leads to divorce.
In our tradition, the parents see the would-be bride or the groom. Since they are not so emotionally charged (though sometimes they may be eager to settle marriage quickly), they can take a more objective view. The stress by the groom's family is on compatibility. Social, cultural and financial compatibility, in addition to general beauty. The bride's family sees social compatibility, personal integrity, guardianship, education, profession, physique and age (कुलञ्च शीलञ्च सनाथताञ्च विद्याश्च वृत्तिश्च वपुः वयश्च । एतान् गुणान् सप्तान् समीक्ष देहि । कन्यां प्राज्ञः शेषै अचिन्तनीयम्). They shortlist candidates based on these criteria, after which the boy and the girl finally see each other to settle the issue.
During marriage rituals, the girl is ceremonially cut off from her family tree to be united with her husband's family tree and advised to adopt that family as her own as they are. The groom gives an undertaking to his father-in-law that he accepts the girl as it is and will condone her 10 defects (निर्लज्जा चौरवृत्तिश्च डाकिनी व्यभिचारिणी । मुखरा हिंस्रका दुष्टा मिथ्यावादिन्यतोषिणी । पलायनपरभूयो दशदोषाः इति स्मृता). Then both take a vow to transform one's thought to harmonize with the other (यदिदं हृदयं तव तदिदं हृदयं मम). This ensures total acceptance of each other from both sides. Thus, after the marriage, when the girl finds herself in a new surroundings, she accepts it as her own and tries to adjust to that new situation. The groom and his family members also try to adjust with the girl. After a few days, both get adjusted and the irritants between them is removed. Thereafter, what remains is the good qualities in each other, for which they love each other. Gradually, they discover new virtue. This way, their love grows with time".
After I finished, the girl started crying inconsolably. When everyone asked for the reason, she said: "You have such a beautiful system in your country. Had it been there in our country, my father and mother would not have been separated".