Sunday, March 7, 2010

Married sages of India?

Celibacy and living in a monastery was always strange to Hindu religion. In fact almost all the great sages of Puranas and Vedas are householders. The few exceptions that come to my mind are Narada and Shuka. Among the gods, Ganesa (in south) observes celibacy and Subrahmanya (in north ) observes celibacy and God Ayyappa observes celibacy in Kerala. Ganesa has two wives in North, Subrahmanya has two wives in south and ayyappa has two wives out side Kerala.
Most probably observing celibacy and the monastery system came in to being in India though Buddhism and Jainism . Adhi Shankara who wanted to drive away these religions was the first great sage who observed celibacy and also established monasteries in different parts of India. Later saints followed this trend. So present day people think that to be a Hindu sage , you should never marry and observe celibacy. As explained above this concept was not there in Hinduism.
But in the present day concept clearly believes that a Swamiji (sage) should never marry and observe celibacy. This goes against human nature. Because of this many well known sages who come to the lime light are forced to observe celibacy. A common man believes that if a swamiji , indulges in sex(a very important human activity) he is doing a sin. Swami Poornanda Theertha of Parlikkad Ashram was a Swamiji and decided that he would get married and married his secretary. Similarly a musician Swamiji of the Madhwa mutt decided to get n married and did. At that time this was talked about by public but these people were soon forgotten. Besides this are happenings in Ashrams where the cornered Swamijis indulge in sex with available females secretly. Once this is brought to the knowledge of people, there is a big trouble,. All people talk about these swamijis for some time. The government talks of taking action, their photos are burnt etc.
Is it correct? Should we not go back to Vedic times and have great saints who had a family of their own?


Gokhale said...

Dear Thattha, indeed a very interesting thought among all those who are trying to blame those Swamijis. Even I was also one of them who thought of blaming the swamijis caught on sex scandals. Yours is a thought provoking, a timely one. Thanks for it. Let me contemplate on this further.

Gokhale said...

Dear Thattha, indeed a thought proviking and timely post. You are able to think differently and express the same unlike those who are totally biased and blaming those swamijis. The only painful point is that, if those swamijis decided to have sex, there is nothing wrong in it in my opinion, they should publicly announce the same boldly before doing such things. In my personal opinion, they will be swamijis only when they have such boldness and clarity in thoughts, words and actions. Let me contemplate more on why those swamijis are not trying to do that, perhaps he/they thought of doing so, but in the meantime, they are caught :)

maLe hani said...

Hello sir... First of all, you have a very nice blog..
To answer your questions..
The point is not to have celibacy or not.. Its about credibility of the self declared swamis.. Who gave them sanyasa? Are they really great like they proclaim? Why do they need so much money if they are swamis? If you look at his website, you will see a 14 day discourse @ his ashram which is priced 6000 US dollars.. that is 2.75 lakh rupees.. Why in US dollars? Why so much money for just 14 days? Why does he need so much money?

Anonymous said...

Recently a Sydney District Court judge Allan Hughes was speaking at the sentencing hearing of Robert MacGregor Fuller, 54, a Catholic priest has implored the Catholic church to end the "cruel" practice of celibacy for priests, implying it may encourage some priests to commit lewd acts against children.

Then there is the tale of RishyaShrinkar who bought up as a celibate who fell over at the first sight of a women.

There are also records of Mahatma Ghandi experimenting with celibacy.

All the stories of Rishi's tell us how they become undone by women.

I am not sure whether celibacy is a practical proposition. The age and the sex drive are also contributing factors.

Siva from Sydney

வழிப்போக்கன் said...

You are certainly correct.
The vow of celibacy and the donning of ochre robes seem to be an inheritance from Buddhism.
The Jeers, in Vaishnavism, are former grihastas though they done ochre robes.

Anonymous said...

Dear Thattha,

What about Lord Anjaneya? He is a celibate bachelor in every part of India.

Kerala Brahmin said...

Dear Anonymous,
Anjaneya is indded a batchelor in most parts of India. But in Hanumath Mangalashtakam, he is credited to have a wife called Suvarchala. He is ofcourse credited to have a son called Makshayantha Hanuman, Raja Thatha

Divya Balakrishnan said...

Very thought provoking article. I assume becoming sanyasi is not about observing celibacy, but to leave everything and concentrate only on learning. It is only knowledge that leads to moksha. With distractions of other things, concentration becomes difficult. Some texts like Brahma Sutrams require lot of effort and dedication which may not be possible if a person has duties. So it my assumption ( which may or may not be right) is they are absolved of their duties for the purpose of gaining knowledge.

P.R. Ramachander said...

I think you are right .I had completly forgotten that I wrote this about 5 years back.In these 5 years several saints were caught in scandal and every time this thought used to come in my mind,THanks for ferreting it out.