The custom here, of marrying cousin within family kind of repulses me. Is this custom something that is acceptable?

At first I thought it was NOT acceptable, but now I would be grateful for wise advice.

I would be really grateful if you would spend a few words for this untamed mind. Thank you

—meera, india


Dear Meera,

I have been asked to respond to your question but I have never seen or heard my guru(s) [Paramhansa Yogananda, et al] nor my teacher, Swami Kriyananda, comment on the issue of marrying cousins. It is well established that there are medical issues in respect to FIRST COUSINS but some languages and cultures use the term COUSIN rather loosely, at least from a biological point of view. There are cousins by blood relation and cousins only by marriage. There first, second and third removed cousins! There are, no doubt, “half” cousins when there have been multiple marriages. So there comes a point when the term “cousins” doesn’t really mean very much, at least in blood relations.

That having been said, it is my general impression that down through the ages and in many cultures marrying a “cousin” is not that unusual and makes for family stability. From your note it is not clear whether you are referring to “first cousin.” (A first cousin would be the child of the brother or sister of one of one’s own parents. And I am excluding that as something ill advised for obvious reasons.)

Spiritually speaking, however, we are souls not bodies. History and principle both endorse the reality and possibility that two people, otherwise born as cousins in their current lives, could be true friends from past lives who could be appropriate marriage partners. So from a spiritual perspective, the question is not relevant (unless we were to speak of brother and sister or first cousins).

So, think of it this way: cousins could be those with past life connections, born into a family relationship in order to continue their friendship in their present lives. OK?

I hope this will be helpful.


Nayaswami Hriman