Comments of Supreme court, as reported in media,
betrays the judges’ scanty spiritual knowledge.

Perks Without Liabilities

Last week I went to a friend’s house. Looking at the beautiful Chowpatty beach from the window of his third story apartment, we were reminiscing our old days when he gave me mild jolt.

“The bed you are sitting on,” he said, “for two years my girl friend lived on it.”

I shuffled a little. “She left?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he said. “She wanted to get married, but I told her ‘I am not ready yet,’ so she moved on.”

“After two years of staying together?” I asked.

“Yeah, then she married someone… I am still single,” he said and popped a handful of roasted almonds in his mouth.

I looked out. A young couple holding hands were walking on the over-bridge to the beach. I rolled the almonds in my hands, my mind turning over a recent issue rocked up by the Indian Supreme Court.

“Live-in relationships between the adult couples,” the court ruled, “cannot be treated as an offence.”  Drawing an analogy from the Hindu mythology, the media reported that the court said, “Even Krsna and Radha lived together.”

Living in or cohabitation, a popular concept in the west, is fast being accepted in India. More and more youngsters, like my friend, seem to find it a better option than getting married.

What is there in living-in, I ask myself, that a marriage cannot offer?  Couples live together, mate, share finances, emotions, and life in both. Living-in, it seems, offers all the perks of marriage without the associated commitment and responsibilities. This is a vital difference.


When we look to the history of the civilization, we find that societies all over the world honored the institution of marriage. The world religions, although having vast differences in practices, nevertheless always emphasized a culturally and legally sanctioned union between a male and a female that traditionally cannot be easily dissolved.

Does this universal practice indicate that marriage offers some social or biological advantage?

A loud chirping draws my attention to a nearby tree. Three baby birds, their pink skin glistening in sunlight, hungrily greet their mother and father crow, who have just returned to their nest with supply of baby food. As the parents feed their young ones and cuddle them, it is a picture of a happy family. When the young babies will grow up they will fly away, but until then, the family will be one.

  In animal kingdom, we find that parents stay together until the offspring grows up enough to fend for itself. Nature, recognizing the need for parental care, support, and training instills these basic instincts in the animal species. Same instincts are also present in humans, especially in the female gender. But, humans have power to overrule these basic instincts under socio-cultural pressure or trends. For example, animals have a natural sense of identifying favorable and unfavorable food available in wild and it helps in their survival. Humans, however, can suppress their physiological signals and indulge in harmful behavior. Every smoker gets severe bouts of cough on the first puff, signaling body’s violent effort to get rid of poisonous fumes; yet under cultural influence humans overpower these natural warning systems and begin to indulge in excesses. This overriding the natural instincts may lead to an occasional overeating at one end to sever intoxications at another. Humans, therefore, cannot be expected to follow responsible behavior if left alone, unless they are equipped with a suitable social training. After all, its only humans, among all animals, who commit suicide.

Seeing these human frailties, wise men and women since the early days of civilization ensured the system of marriage an institution that makes sure that precious children get all the support they need from both the parents, even when the initial “honeymoon” period has ended.

Live-in relationships, on the other hand, offer no solid commitment. Anyone can leave any time without any social and legal binding and hence the legal, emotional and physical future of both the partners and the offspring is insecure. Living-in seems to demand less but also offers less, both to the individual and the society.

The cost of raising kids in a single parent family is high. Studies have shown increased mental stress, disease, and criminal behavior in such kids. The entire society has to pay for the actions of few individuals. The seemingly free, flashy and sensational lifestyle creates a cyclic effect influencing the choices of more gullible individuals who get carried away by promises of immediate pleasures and fail to work for enduring gains.


By passing such comments, the judges betray their scanty knowledge of the immense spiritual literature available about the pastimes of Radha and Krsna. Lord Krsna, when in Dvaraka, lived in with His married queens and when in Våndavana, lived with His parents; while Srimati Radharani, who is younger to Him, lived with Her parents in Barsana. 

Krsna was only eleven years old when He killed Kamsa, according to Uddhava’s words: ekadasa-samas tatra güdharcih sa-balo ‘vasat. ‘Like a covered flame, Lord Krsna remained there incognito with Balarama for eleven years’ (Bhag. 3.2.26). At the age of seven years Krsna lifted Govardhana Hill, and the rasa dance took place during His eighth year. Before this pastime, Lord Krsna’s cowherd boy friends were kidnapped by Lord Brahma and then Lord Krsna expanded Himself to take the form of all the boys and in the subsequent year, these boys, who were Krsna Himself, married the gopis. So when gopis came to dance in rasa-lila, they were actually dancing with their own beloved husband, Krsna. Moreover, Radha and Krsna were married by Brahma according to Brahma-vaivarta Purana (Krsna janma khanda).

Although Radha Krsna’s conjugal pastimes may induce modern men and Supreme Court judges to derive inferences that suit their personal agendas, we have better judges with deeper insights. For thousands of years, pastimes of Radha and Krsna have been discussed, meditated upon and relished by spiritualists of the caliber of Ramanujacarya, Sankaracarya, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and many more. None of them ever induced their followers to indulge in licentious activities citing pastimes of the Divine Couple.

Radha and Krsna are one Absolute Truth manifesting in two forms to taste the mellows of love. Sri Krsna is the potent factor, and Srimati Radharani is the internal potency. According to Vedanta philosophy, there is no difference between the potent and the potency; They are identical. We cannot differentiate between one and the other, any more than we can separate fire from heat. To bring Their transcendental love to the level of mundane lusty affairs of ordinary man and woman is sheer ignorance. One needs great spiritual insight to understand the mystery of These two personalities.

Krsna left Våndavana at the age of eleven and did not return until the end of His pastimes. Srimati Radharani waited for Him for rest of Her life setting the topmost example of pure love and surrender. Alas! What example to justify living-in when the quoted lovers did not even live together!