Yogananda with His Sister and Husband

What is “Spiritual Marriage”?

Spiritual marriage means union with God, Soul, and Spirit. Marriage is not a man-made law. It is God-made. Man has abused the high purpose of marriage. Marriage means unity on the physical, mental, and spiritual planes. If you attract a person by spiritual magnetism, then you will meet your soul companion. Marriage is the communion of half-souls. In God we find highest communion. Unless human love is spiritualized, it will be a canker in your soul. Unless you are spiritually-minded and your mate is the same, you can never be happy.

Spiritual marriage means to marry your soul to the eternal love of God. Without God no marriage can be successful. The purpose of marriage is to know God, to be with God together, but this has been forgotten.

Do not try to attract the opposite sex through physical desires but through soul qualities. You cannot attract a spiritual soul through animal magnetism. Too much living on the sex plane causes health and happiness to fly away. When you have formed a tremendous friendship with a person that nothing can destroy, a friendship that has no compulsion in it and that increases constantly, you have found a true mate.

Balancing Reason and Feeling

In woman, feeling is expressed uppermost and in man, reason is expressed uppermost. In the married life, they bring out the hidden feeling and reason in each other, thus becoming more perfect. Every man and woman who have tried to seek a substitute for that spiritual quality through the sex instinct, have been disappointed. Reason and feeling in man and woman should be balanced. Like the softness of flowers, and the strength of steel, they are divine qualities.

God is all the love of all the lovers who ever loved. If you learn the higher forms of meditation, you can have spiritual marriage, or that communion with God which is the most beautiful of all love. Remember, no marriage can find its true purpose without man and wife first seeking God together. In marriage, love also grows through service to each other. When a husband and wife serve each other with the eternal inspiration of God, that is spiritual marriage.

People who rise above the physical plane and continuously strengthen the love of their souls find their oneness in God. When the love of two persons burns as one flame, above the physical plane, then it has intoxicating eternal qualities. The marriage that is lived in self-control and intense spiritual preparation becomes emancipated.

Man and woman should know that within themselves is the germ of the Infinite. If you cannot find your soul companion, do not marry. If you have found God, you do not need your soul companion. It is better to remain single than to enter into a wrong marriage. Transmute matrimonial love into love divine, and bring back your consciousness from the sex plane to the plane of paradise.

You may unite your feeling and reason by giving yourself to humanity. By having a bigger family, you have the right not to have a smaller, more limited one. For all those who are unmarried and wish to remain so, their greatest duty in life is service to humanity. If you do not marry physically, you must marry spiritually; otherwise you cannot be liberated. If you have no children of your own, adopt or teach the children of some one else, live an ideal life, and instill your soul qualities in them. What you instill in the souls of children is imperishable. Anything you do that perpetuates your life is, in a sense, your child. Thus fulfill your true purpose in life.

– May 1940


Marriage as a Path to God

Nayaswami Jaya shares his wisdom about what spiritual marriage means: a pathway to transform us and bring us closer to God.

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Swami Kriyananda Greeting People

Spiritual Marriage

Master [Paramhansa Yogananda] continued his reminiscences of those years. “A student of this work in Boston told me he wanted to be a renunciate. I said to him, ‘Your path is marriage.’

“‘Oh, no!’ he vowed, ‘I’ll never marry!’ Well, a week later he met a beautiful girl and swore to me that he was deeply in love with her!

“‘She isn’t the one for you,’ I warned him.

“‘Oh, but she is!’ he cried. ‘She is my soul mate.’

“Well, it wasn’t long after that that he returned shamefacedly. ‘I want to be a renunciate,’ he announced fervently once again. The girl had left him, having enjoyed spending his money.

“‘You have yet to meet the right one,’ I said.

“Some time later he told me laughingly of a fat, quite unattractive-looking girl who had been showing an unwelcome interest in him.

“‘Aha,’ I said, ‘this sounds like the right one!’

“‘No Swami, no!’ he cried, horrified. ‘You were right before. Please don’t be right this time!’

“‘She sounds like the right one for you.’

“It took him some time, but gradually he discovered what a good nature the girl had beneath her unglamorous exterior, and fell deeply in love with her. Eventually they were married.

“People are so often blinded by outward appearances,” Master continued. “Marriage in this country is often a union between a pretty shade of lipstick and a smart-looking bow tie! They hear a little music, fall into a romantic mood, and end up pledging their lives away.

“People must learn to look behind the veil of superficial attraction. Without soul harmony there cannot be true love.”

Master saw every human experience, including that of marriage, primarily as an opportunity for inner, spiritual development. Romantic notions of “wedded bliss” were, to him, simply and purely delusions. It wasn’t that he denied the satisfactions of a harmonious marriage, but rather that he wanted devotees to see all human experiences as steppingstones to the soul’s only true fulfillment, in God. Thus, he recommended to people who sought marriage that they first look for spiritual compatibility in their mates, and only secondarily for mental, emotional, and physical compatibility. He saw marriage not only as a fulfillment, but, much more importantly, as an opportunity for learning essential spiritual lessons in selflessness, loyalty, kindness, respect, and trust.

The New Path

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