International or Inter-caste Marriages

Some people look at interracial marriages as cool, others have an inborn dislike for them, but each case is, of course,

We are the International Society for Krishna Consciousness; we know we are not this body; we are not American, Chinese, Indian or Russian. As an international society there are chances for international marriages and some have
worked out very well.

In Bengali “ISKCON” translates as “Antarjati Krishna Bhavanamrita Sangha”; or Inter-caste Society for Krishna Consciousness and therefore inter-caste marriages are not necessarily discouraged. Srila Prabhupada speaks about this principle in the Srimad-Bhagavatam:

“It is also significantly noted here that Kardama Muni was a brahmana, whereas Emperor Svayambhuvawas a ksatriya. Therefore, intercaste marriage was current even in those days . . . Intercaste marriage, therefore, was not prohibited in the olden days.” (SB 3.21.28, purport)

Of course, to steer the ship of marriage in a harmonious way, the shipmates need to possess similar training and share the same destination; similarly in any marriage, national or international, there should be compatible aims and purposes.

Looking for Common Foundations

The partners should have similar natures, similar priorities and– above all – the same goals in life. These conditions represent the foundation for a solid partnership. It’s essential that both partners to have compatible goals. If one wants spiritual growth and the other prefers material growth or puts economic development before spirituality, such difference can cause tension and arguments even over small things. The biggest goal in life determines the short time goals and also the daily activities. Partners should share a common objective. This doesn’t mean that they will agree on everything or that they will always choose the same flavor of ice-cream or that their favorite color will be the same. But they need to share common priorities, values and principles on which to build their lives and marriage.

In the beginning it can seem very romantic, exciting or fashionable to have an “exotic” spouse, someone out of your ordinary environment, from a far off land; but such superficial feelings of excitement last only for a few months at most. Clarifying the common ground of the relation is important in all cases; and even more in cross-cultural and international marriages, those between partners coming from different social classes (such as Indian inter-caste marriages), different races, different educational or economic backgrounds or different countries, different languages, etc.

This is an excerpt from the Bhakti Marriages Course “Get Ready for Married Life for Men” from ISKCON Congregational Development Ministry, prepared by Sri Radha Govinda Dasi.