I have read somewhere that a chaste wife can compensate for her husband’s sins, and a man can also be destroyed by his wife’s concupiscence. And both should be loyal to each other, but in this modern era and specially in the West people are involved in multiple relationships, they fall in love ,and then breakup, and again find someone new, will they face serious karmic troubles in future? Is this the reason Yogananda did not make the Americans take the vow of loyalty unlike Kriya yogis in India?

—Aran, INDIA


Dear Aran,

Yes it’s true that the behaviour and consciousness of a husband and wife can affect one another. The exact mechanism for this isn’t necessarily one of taking on karma (though a saint or master can, when divinely guided, do this by knowing the means of metaphysical transfer of karma). Rather, and far more likely, it is the vibrational influence of one upon another. A wife who can forgive an erring husband might inspire him to mend his ways and seek forgiveness (perhaps only inwardly from God). An erring wife can psychologically devastate her husband’s equanimity and self-confidence.

In the West, it is true that loyalty, infidelity, and concupiscence are more prevalent but generally speaking, most couples are loyal to one another even if it is easier for them to divorce when one or both feel the marriage is unworkable (and not necessarily because of infidelity). So, yes, then later each finds a new partner or marriage but generally are loyal to the one to whom they have committed.

As Paramhansa Yogananda put it: yes, he acknowledged the negative trend of divorce in the West but then he added, “Well, at least here in America they find out more quickly that sex and romance can never truly satisfy the soul’s need to give and receive unconditional love.”

So is there “bad karma” attached with multiple marriages? Well, relative to what? A lifelong but unhappy marriage? A bitter marriage with secret affairs on the side? It IS better, spiritually, to have a stable, loving, mature, and respectful lifelong marriage. But how many of those actually exist? Relative to a happy and loyal marriage, of course, one can say that a series of marriages in one lifetime might likely generate more karma. But maybe multiple marriages work off karma, too. How many marriages have we had over countless lifetimes? It is not uncommon in America to see divorces where the couple remains friends and conduct the divorce on civil and respectful terms, the dissolution being on the grounds of irreconcilable differences or personal growth in opposite directions.

I have never heard that kriya initiation had anything to do with a “vow of loyalty.” Self-control, yes. And in former times, celibacy and complete abstinence, yes. But the strictures of celibacy and abstinence were lifted by Lahiri Mahasaya with the permission of Babaji long ago in the 19th century.

I hope this helps clarify your concerns and questions,

Blessings to you!
Nayaswami Hriman
Seattle WA USA