(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 20 December 2011, Cape Town, South Africa, Srimad Bhagavatam 7.14.1)
Question: In the purport, Prabhupada first explained the brahmachari, vanaprastha and sannyasa ashrams and then at last he said, “Grhastha ashram for those who are so attached to sex life.” So it sounds like the only reason to go to grhastha ashram is lust. Is that what it is?
Well, generally speaking it is but sometimes, even self-realized souls take to the grhastha ashram to fulfil a purpose of the Lord; that also happens. Srinivas Acharya, for example, had two wives but he was fully self-realized; he was seeing the spiritual world. That was an arrangement of the Supreme Lord but for most of us, well you know…
It is like this, you are perfectly happy all by yourself and then suddenly, some sex desire begins to arise and then one comes to desire to have a relationship with someone. Some people may say that is not all there is to it; there is also companionship. Alright, I agree that companionship is important. We cannot just be alone in this world, we need to have other people but I think marriage, and I say that after twenty-four years of having tried it, that marriage is an unnatural arrangement! I will explain why.
I think that to give someone else so much right to just infringe on your privacy is too much. See, if you are not married to someone, you can nicely and politely say, “Thank you very much. I need a little time for myself!” But you cannot say that to your wife! I mean, you can say it but my God, see what comes next, “You never spend any time with me… you have no interest in me whatsoever… you completely cold and uninterested… you are always preoccupied with other things…”
And you are thinking, “I just want to finish chanting my rounds!”
So it does not allow you the privacy that you naturally need. Marriage is very intense. The infringement on privacy that it brings is an unnatural arrangement. As far as companionship is concerned, I think there is a need for that but I would not recommend marriage as the solution for that.