Love at First Sight: India, popularly and traditionally known as Bharat, is named after king Bharat, a legendary ruler of India. There is a beautiful love story behind his birth. Poet Kaalidaasa rendered this story into a great drama in Sanskrit, Abhignaana Saakuntalam. It is based on the love marriage between King Dushyanta and Sakuntala. The king meets Sakuntala in a forest and lo! there is love at first sight. (Sakuntala’s parents deserted her soon after her birth and she was under the care of Saint Kanva in that forest.) Dushyanta expresses his desire to marry her and with her consent marries her instantly. They unite in conjugal love. The king wants to go back first and then send his people to fetch Sakuntala to his palace. A son was born to them and he is Bharat. Of course, the story takes twists and turns and finally ends happily and Bharat becomes the king.
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A Variety of Marriages: The point to note in this story is instant love marriage. King Dushyanta explains to Shakuntala that there are eight types of marriages, according to Hindu scriptures. The one which is widely practised today is Prajaapatya. Gaandharva is marriage among one category of angels viz, Gandhrvaas and it is “Love Marriage” in the sense the decision regarding marriage is taken by the adult and mature groom and bride only and not by others on their behalf. Obviously mutual love is the factor that united Sakuntala and Dushyanta in Gaandharva Marriage.
Rukmini Kalyanam: The marriage between Lord Krishna and Rukmini is an example of another kind of marriage, viz, Rakshasa Marriage. In this type of marriage the bride is abducted by the groom and he marries her by force. The parents of Rukmini decide that their daughter should marry Shishupala, a prince of their choice. But Krishna comes and kidnaps Rukmini. The brother of Rukmini, Rukmi chases him and is defeated in war. (The exception in the story is that Rukmini sends for Krishna as she wants to marry him. So this is a love story with abduction as a part of it.)
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Swan Diplomacy: In good old days King Nala loved Damayanti and the “go between” for them was a swan. Though four gods, enamored by the beauty of Damayanti, were in competition, the true love of Nala succeeded.
Well. There are a number of such stories about love marriages, from days of old to the present day, in any society and Indian society is no exception to it. The difference is only in the number, frequency and percentage. They constitute only about 5% of marriages in India in spite of the mobile and Internet chatting facilities.
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The Modern Indian Mind: The mental make-up of a present day Indian is a lot different from what it used to be a quarter century ago. Globalization brought in keener competition and greater awareness of men and matters. Today children spend more time in school and with home work than with parents. Some are away from them in Residential Schools and Colleges in the name of better career. This definitely weakens the intimacy and the empathy (which is like the protective ozone layer) between them. Only in the absence of this protective-loving-care the person is made to think of himself/herself.
The West: In the western societies children are cared for up to a certain age only and then they are left to live on their own. This makes one feel that he/she is an independent unit and it forms the root of love marriage, or finding a spouse by oneself. In the name of schooling, advancement and civilization, the traditional Indian mind is gradually getting alienated from its oneness with the native society and is moving more towards west and love marriage. Here one has to be cautious about infatuation, neurotic and sadistic feelings of love.
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Success of Love: People believe that love marriages will be more successful as they are based on mutual liking and understanding of each other. But more importantly, the couple should be mature enough to accommodate each other and practice patience to bring in compatibility and make love marriage successful. The irony is that it is very difficult to find out the existence of these qualities before marriage as one sees or shows only the better part of his/her personality to the loved one. So do see and find the colour behind the rose to be happy ever after.
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