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Hindus/marriage & caste


dear sir,
my question is based on intercaste marriage. i was in love with a guy who was a brahmin, i belong to sc . when he proposed me, he told i love you but cant marry you, so i scolded him but later both worked at smae place so both started to love from past 3 years, later when it came to marriage , his mother started to see a girl for him in his community, he told about this to me, i was very much affectionate to him so started to behave in a different way, and started to commit suicide, seeing this he told that he will talk abt me to his mother, as his father is not alive, but his mother did agree and he told that his mother chased him out of his home, mean time i got ill and was admitted in hospital, he did even come to see me, later his mother got heart attack and committed suicide itseems, so he stopped talking to me and agreed to marry the girl whom is mother will tell, the girl whom is mother saw was 10 years younger than him and got abortion seems, this what i guy told to my friend and told that since i went to ill state , so he was the reason for my illness and to get a punishment he is going to marry that girl.i feel guity that he spoiled his life because of me, he even  told that in next birth we both will surely get married dont worry ,what he told will happen how to believe this, its mymistake or his mistake

Dear Iavanya,

Thank you for your question. I am very sorry to hear about the pain you and the man you love suffered due to caste traditions.

There is always a risk in opposing the values and traditions of family. Marriages can be challenging even when both families are supportive, but opposition from parents can create terrible problems, as you experienced.

I only have your point of view as you told it to me, so I cannot make any definite judgement on your actions. However, based solely on what you told me, I would say that you are both victims of the outdated, hereditary caste system.

Caste, according to the Bhagavad-Gita, is determined by one's svabhava , "inner nature," not by birth. Western Hindus in the main do not even recognize caste as relevant at all. It remains important in India solely as an old social custom that families have been unable and unwilling to let go. There is no basis for it in our religion and philosophy beyond what I described in the Gita, and there it is solely a description of four, different types of human nature that each has an important place in our world; it is not a prescription, and it is not hereditary.

As a family counselor, I always acknowledge the importance of family support in marriages. For this reason alone, I would not usually advise reckless flouting of caste rules that are important to any given family, but I would encourage dialogue and understanding when there is a strong, mutual desires of children seeking to wed outside those rules. However, not all families are capable of such constructive dialogue, believing that children must always be obedient in every way to their parents. Parents may have greater wisdom about choices of a spouse, but in the final analysis the children alone have to live their own lives and experience the consequences of their behavior.

Again, you have my sympathy. I do hope you both will find happiness in whatever you choose to do in life henceforth.

Best wishes,

Brother William


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William Schindler, a.k.a. Brother William


I can answer questions about Vedanta philosophy, Patanjali Yoga philosophy and practice, Tantra, Bhagavad-Gita, Upanishads, Vivekachudamani (Shankara`s Crest-jewel of Spritual Discrimination), Advaita (non-dualism), the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda tradition, Goddess worship, meditation practice, Hindu monasticism (sannyasa), and Sanskrit.


I've been studying and practicing Vedanta and Tantra since 1969.

I'm the founder and spiritual director of Ashram West, a gay spiritual community based on traditional Hindu Tantra. I have been a member of the Vedanta Society of Southern California since 1969.


I hold a B.A. in Sanskrit (UC Berkeley 1975) and an M.A. in clinical psychology (Antioch University 1986).

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