Marriage vs. Renunciation


I am 25 year old man from India. Attaining god is the sole aim of my life. I am not interested in anything else. I don’t want to marry and live a worldly life. I have heard many times that god can be attained even while living a worldly life but I am very sure that I will not be able to do my sadhana with the necessary intensity and focus if I get married. But my parents will never approve of this and will be very hurt and devastated if I don’t marry and live a normal life. What should I do?

—Shubham, India


Dear Friend,

Here in America and in the West we find it easier to go our own way in respect to the expectations and desires of our parents. I know this isn’t quite the case in the orient, generally, and India specifically.

Why don’t you conduct a test: ask your parents to give your one or two years away from home in a monastery or ashram where you would deepen your sadhana, perform seva, and live a celibate life in the company of others of like-mind. From that test period, you may discover from within yourself whether your path is that of traditional renunciation (monasticism) or the married life.

There is virtually no environmental, social, or spiritual support remaining unmarried but living in your parents home or otherwise in general society and working at a standard job. It is all but impossible to resist the worldly vibrations that surround one.

In the Ananda communities worldwide, including in India (, we have monks, nuns, married couples, single people, and families. At least in such an environment one can remain unmarried and yet have the support of those around you. But without some substantial support around you, it is all but hopeless.

Thus you must either decide, or at least (as I suggested above), experiment and “test the Spirits” (Jesus Christ) of your own karma to see of what they are made. The life of a monastic is simpler, for sure, but more difficult in a culture and planet that holds out as the highest the pleasure and fulfillment of married and family life.

In the end, YOU MUST MAKE YOUR OWN DECISION. If you follow blindly the will and desires of others (your parents) will regret it because you’ll never know if it was the right decision (especially when tests and difficulties come). It seems, therefore, to me that you need to live apart from parents and see what is right and true for yourself.

Blessings and may God and gurus guide you to the highest path,
Nayaswami Hriman
Seattle WA USA