We Raised Marriage to Unnatural Standards
Is the concept of soul mates more useful than marriage?
“You are asking, ‘Is the concept of soul mates more useful than marriage?’ Concepts don’t matter. What matters is your understanding. You can change the word marriage to the word soul mates, but you are the same. You will make the same hell out of soul mates as you have been making out of marriage – nothing has changed, only the word, the label. Don’t believe in labels too much.
“Why has marriage failed? In the first place, we raised it to unnatural standards. We tried to make it something permanent, something sacred, without knowing even the abc of sacredness, without knowing anything about the eternal. Our intentions were good but our understanding was very small, almost negligible. So instead of marriage becoming something of a heaven, it has become a hell. Instead of becoming sacred, it has fallen even below profanity.
“And this has been man’s stupidity – a very ancient one: whenever he gets into difficulty, he changes the word. Change the word marriage into soul mates, but don’t change yourself. And you are the problem, not the word; any word will do. A rose is a rose is a rose…you can call it by any name. You are asking to change the concept, you are not asking to change yourself.”
Osho, The New Dawn, Talk #20
Marriage Has Become a Battlefield
“Marriage has failed because you could not rise to the standard that you were expecting of marriage, of the concept of marriage. You were brutal, you were, you were full of jealousies, you were full of lust; you had never known really what love is. In the name of love, you tried everything which is just the opposite of love: possessiveness, domination, power.
“Marriage has become a battlefield where two persons are fighting for supremacy. Of course, the man has his own way: rough and more primitive. The woman has her own way: feminine, softer, a little more civilized, more subdued. But the situation is the same. Now psychologists are talking about marriage as an intimate enmity. And that’s what it has proved to be. Two enemies are living together pretending to be in love, expecting the other to give love; and the same is being expected by the other. Nobody is ready to give – nobody has it. How can you give love if you don’t have it?”
Osho, The New Dawn, Talk #20
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Marriage Is Really a Dilemma
„Without marriage there will be no misery – and no laughter either. There will be so much silence…it will be Nirvana on the earth! Marriage keeps thousands of things going on: the religion, the state, the nations, the wars, the literature, the movies, the science; everything, in fact, depends on the institution of marriage.
“I am not against marriage; I simply want you to be aware that there is a possibility of going beyond it too. But that possibility also open up only because marriage creates so much misery for you, so much anguish and anxiety for you, that you have to learn how to transcend it. It is a great push for transcendence. Marriage is not unnecessary; it is needed to bring you to your senses, to bring you to your sanity. Marriage is necessary and yet there comes a point when you have to transcend it too. It is like a ladder. You go up the ladder, it takes you up, but there comes a moment when you have to leave the ladder behind. If you go on clinging to the ladder, then there is danger.
“Learn something from marriage. Marriage represents the whole world in a miniature form: it teaches you many things. It is only the mediocre ones who learn nothing. Otherwise it will teach you that you don’t know what love is, that you don’t know how to relate, that you don’t know how to communicate, that you don’t know how to commune, that you don’t know how to live with another. It is a mirror: it shows your face to you in all its different aspects. And it is all needed for your maturity. But a person who remains clinging to it forever remains immature. One has to go beyond it too.
“Marriage basically means that you are not able yet to be alone; you need the other. Without the other you feel meaningless and with the other you feel miserable. Marriage is really a dilemma! If you are alone you are miserable; if you are together you are miserable. It teaches you your reality, that something deep inside you needs transformation so that you can be blissful alone and you can be blissful together. Then marriage is no more marriage because then it is no more bondage. Then it is sharing, then it is love. Then it gives you freedom and you give the freedom needed for the other’s growth.”
Osho, Tao: The Golden Gate, Vol. 2, Talk #9
The Ordinary Marriage Is an Unconscious Bondage
“The ordinary marriage is an unconscious bondage: you cannot live alone so you become dependent on the other; the other cannot live alone so he or she becomes dependent on you. And we hate the person on which we are dependent; nobody likes to depend on anybody. Our deepest desire is to have freedom, total freedom – and dependence is against freedom.
“Everybody hates dependence, and that’s why couples are continuously fighting, not knowing why they are fighting. They have to meditate over it, they have to contemplate over it, why they are fighting. Everything is just an excuse to fight. If you change one excuse, another excuse will be found; if no excuse is left then excuses will be invented, but somehow the fight has to be there.”
Osho, Tao: The Golden Gate, Vol. 2, Talk #9
Without Marriage, Who Will Bother to Meditate?
“Religion exists not because of God or for God; it is because of marriage. Marriage creates so much misery that one has to meditate; meditation is a byproduct. Without marriage, who will bother to meditate? For what? You will be already blissful!
"Without marriage there will be no renunciation, Buddha would not have left the world – for what? His wife, Yashodhara, must have created the situation – Mahavira would not have escaped to the mountains. Without marriage there would have been no Buddha, no Mahavira. Just think: the history would have been very flat, without any salt, tasteless. Marriage keeps this whole “sorry-go-round” on and on. People call it “merry-go-round”…
“I am not against marriage – without marriage, ninety-nine percent jokes will disappear from the world. How I can be against marriage? I am all for it.”
Osho, Tao: The Golden Gate, Vol. 2, Talk #9
Marriage Is an Effort to Legalize Love
What is the secret of remaining happy and married?
“It is impossible! It has never happened – it cannot happen in the very nature of things. Marriage is something against nature. Marriage is an imposition, an invention of man – certainly out of necessity, but now even that necessity is out of date. It was a necessary evil in the past, but now it can be dropped. And it should be dropped: man has suffered enough for it, more than enough. It is an ugly institution for the simple reason that love cannot be legalized. Love and law are contradictory phenomena.
“Marriage is an effort to legalize love. It is out of fear. It is thinking about the future, about the tomorrows. Man always thinks of the past and the future, and because of this constant thinking about past and future, he destroys the present. And the present is the only reality there is. One has to live in the present. The past has to die and has to be allowed to die…
“You ask me, 'What is the secret of remaining happy and married?'
“I don’t know! Nobody has ever known. Why would Jesus have remained unmarried if he had known the secret? He knew the secret of the kingdom of God, but he did not know the secret of remaining happy in marriage. He remained unmarried. Mahavira, Lao Tzu Chuang Tzu, they all remained unmarried for the simple reason that there is no secret; otherwise these people would have discovered it. They could discover the ultimate – marriage is not such a big thing, it is very shallow – they even fathomed God, but they could not fathom marriage.”
Osho, Tao: The Golden Gate, Vol. 1, Talk #3
I have never heard about any perfect marriage
"I have never heard about any perfect marriage. They say perfect marriages are made in heaven. Nobody comes back from there so maybe it is true, but what kind of marriage will those perfect marriages be?
There will be no tension, there will be no individuality in the man or in the woman. They will never collide, they will never fight. They will be too sweet to each other. And too much sweetness brings diabetes!"
Osho, The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol. 7, Talk #10
Marriage Is a Plastic Flower
“You seem to be absolutely unaware of the phenomenon of marriage – which is destructive to both man and woman. Love is creative, marriage is destructive. But love is not dependable: this moment it may be there and the next moment gone. And man wants permanent things; he is obsessed with permanent things. He wants security, safety, he wants to cling. Hence love is not reliable, so he created marriage.
“Marriage is a plastic flower. Love is a real rose, but the real rose is beautiful in the morning; by the evening it is gone. Nobody can say when it will disappear, when the petals will start falling. Just a strong wind and it is no more, just a strong sun and it is no more. But the plastic flower will be there; come rain, come sun, come anything, the plastic flower will be there. In fact, plastic is the only permanent thing in the world.
“Marriage is a plastic flower – marriage is an institution. And who wants to live in an institution?”
Osho, The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol. 7, Talk #6
Marriage Has Created Prostitution
“What is the difference between a prostitute and a wife? One is a temporary arrangement, the other is a little more permanent. Marriage is a permanent kind of prostitution; deep down, it is not different. Hence marriage and prostitution have both existed together.
"If you go into it, it is marriage that has created prostitution. And prostitution will never disappear from the world unless marriage disappears; it is the shadow of marriage. In fact prostitutes have been saving marriage. It is a safety measure so the man can go once in a while, just for a change, to any other woman, a prostitute, and save his marriage and its permanency.”
Osho, Unio Mystica, Vol. 1, Talk #10
The Real Thing that Matters Is Love
“As I see it, out of a hundred marriages ninety-nine marriages are just licensed prostitution. They are not marriages. A marriage is only a real marriage when it grows out of love. Legal, illegal, does not matter. The real thing that matters is love.
“If love exists between two persons, it is blessed. If love does not exist between two persons, then all your laws put together cannot bridge them. Then they exist separate, then they exist apart, then they exist in conflict, then they exist always in war. And they create all kinds of trouble for each other. They are nasty to each other, nagging to each other, possessive of each other, violent, oppressive, dominating, dictatorial.”
Osho, Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol. 2, Talk #8
For a Woman Marriage Means Home
“When a man thinks about a woman he thinks about love, he never thinks about marriage. When a woman thinks about a man, she thinks about marriage. Love is secondary, security is first. She lives in a different kind of world – maybe in the future she may not, but in the past the only problem for the woman was how to be secure.
“She is fragile, she is soft, she is weaker, she is afraid. All around is a man-created world, and she is a stranger in it. She needs security. So when she falls in love, the first concept, the first idea, is how to be secure, safe. She would not like to make love to a man unless marriage is settled. Marriage has to be the first thing, then anything else can follow.
“Man is less interested in marriage, very much less interested. In fact not interested at all. If he agrees, he agrees only reluctantly – because marriage means responsibility. Marriage means bondage, marriage means now you are imprisoned. Now you are no more free to move with other women. For a man, marriage looks like a prison. For a woman, marriage looks like safety, security, a home. For a woman marriage means home, and for a man marriage means slavery. Total different beliefs, so they act differently. Conflicting beliefs.”
Osho, Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol. 2, Talk #5
Marriage Is a Way to Avoid Intimacy
Recently you talked again about the adverse aspects of marriage. Would you please talk about what you mean by intimacy? Particularly, when is staying together through difficult times positive and when is it negative?
“Marriage is a way to avoid intimacy. It is a trick to create a formal relationship. Intimacy is informal. If a marriage arises out of intimacy it is beautiful but if you are hoping that intimacy will arise out of marriage, you are hoping in vain. Of course, I know that many people, millions of people, have settled for marriage rather than for intimacy – because intimacy is growth and it is painful.
“Marriage is very secure. It is safe. There is no growth in it. One is simply stuck. Marriage is a sexual arrangement; intimacy is a search for love. Marriage is a sort of prostitution, a permanent sort. One has got married to a woman or to a man – it is a permanent prostitution. The arrangement is economical, not psychological, not of the heart.
“So remember, if marriage arises out of intimacy then it is beautiful. That means that everybody should have lived together before they get married. The honeymoon should not happen after marriage, it should happen before marriage. One should have lived the dark nights, the beautiful days, the sad moments, the happy moments, together. One should have looked into each other’s eyes deeply, into each other’s being.”
Osho, Tao: The Pathless Path, Vol. 2, Talk #4
Marriage Is an Outmoded Phenomenon
“Once two persons are tied together freedom is lost and anger arises. When freedom is lost everything becomes ugly. Love means that freedom remains intact: marriage means that freedom has been dropped. You have bargained for permanence, for security, and you have paid for it with freedom.
“Marriage is going to disappear, should disappear. And now the point is coming in the history of humanity where it becomes possible that marriage can disappear. It is already an outmoded phenomenon, it has lived too long and it has created nothing but misery. Marriage should disappear and love should flower again. One should live with insecurity and freedom. That I call intelligence.”
Osho, Tao: The Pathless Path, Vol. 2, Talk #2
Marriage Is a Substitue for Love
Why do you appear to put down marriage and yet tell people
to get married?
“To me, marriage is a dead thing. It is an institution, and you cannot live in an institution; only mad people live in institutions. It is a substitute for love. Love is dangerous: to be in love is to be in a storm, constantly. You need courage and you need awareness, and you are to be ready for anything. There is no security in love; love is insecure. Marriage is a security: the registry office, the police, the court are behind it. The state, the society, the religion – they are all behind it. Marriage is a social phenomenon. Love is individual, personal, intimate.
“Because love is dangerous, insecure…. And nobody knows where love will lead. It is just like a cloud – moving with no destination. Love is a hidden cloud, whereabouts unknown. Nobody knows where it is at any moment of time. Unpredictable – no astrologer can predict anything about love. About marriage? – astrologers are very, very helpful; they can predict.
“Man has to create marriage because man is afraid of the unknown. On all levels of life and existence, man has created substitutes: for love there is marriage; for real religion there are sects – they are like marriages. Hinduism, Mohammedanism, Christianity, Jainism – they are not real religion. Real religion has no name; it is like love. But because love is dangerous and you are so afraid of the future, you would like to have some security. You believe more in insurance companies than in life. That’s why you have created marriage.
“Marriage is more permanent than love. Love may be eternal, but it is not permanent. It may continue forever and forever, but there is no inner necessity for it to continue. It is like a flower: bloomed in the morning, by the evening gone. It is not like the rock. Marriage is more permanent; you can rely on it. In old age it will be helpful.
“It is a way to avoid difficulties, but whenever you avoid difficulties and challenges you have avoided growth also. Married people never grow. Lovers grow, because they have to meet the challenge every moment – and with no security. They have to create an inner phenomenon. With security you need not bother to create anything; the society helps.
“Marriage is a formality, a legal bondage. Love is of the heart; marriage is of the mind. That’s why I am never in favor of marriage.“
„Marriage is a hell, but sometimes people need it. What to do? So I have to tell them to get into marriage. They need to pass through the hell of it, and they cannot understand the hell of it unless they pass through it. I am not saying that in marriage love cannot grow; it can grow, but there is no necessity for it. I am not saying that in love marriage cannot grow; it can grow, but there is no necessity, no logical necessity in it."
Osho, The Essence of Yoga, Talk #2
A Marriage that Is Based on Love Is Bound to Fail
“In the West, marriage is collapsing because it is based on love. And a marriage that is based on love is bound to fail. There is a reason for this: whenever two persons fall in love, both of them present what is beautiful in themselves to the other and hide the ugly. When you fall in love, whether you are a man or a woman, you show your most beautiful face to the other – but it is not your reality, it is not your totality.
“It may be just one facet of your personality, or it may not even be a facet but only a pretension. You can show this false face with no problem when sometimes you meet on a sea beach, sometimes in a garden, sometimes under the moon and the stars, but when you really start living together then the reality starts surfacing. The real person is a hell and all that sweet talk that had happened under the stars becomes just lies.”
Osho, The Message Beyond Words, Talk #3
Love Can Never Be a Great Base for Marriage
“What is marriage now, or what has it ever been? – just a painful suffering, a long suffering, with false smiling faces. It has simply proved to be a misery. At the most it can be just a convenience.
“When I say this, I don’t mean that if you can love more people you will not go into marriage. As far as I see, a person who can love more will not go into marriage only for love. He will go into marriage for deeper things. Please understand me: if a person loves many people, then there is no reason to marry someone only because of love – because he can love many people without marriage, so there is no reason.
"We have forced everyone to go into marriage because of love. Because you cannot love outside it, so we have unnecessarily forced love and marriage to be together – unnecessarily. Marriage is for deeper things – even more deep: for intimacy, for a “co-inherence,” to work on something which cannot be done alone, which can be done together, which needs a togetherness, a deep togetherness. Because of this love-starved society, we fall into marriage out of romantic love.
“Love can never really be a great base for marriage because love is fun and play. If you marry someone for love you will be frustrated, because soon the fun is gone, the newness is gone, and boredom sets in. Marriage is for deep friendship, deep intimacy. Love is implied in it, but it is not alone. So marriage is spiritual. It is spiritual. There are many things which you can never develop alone. Even your own growth needs someone to respond, someone so intimate that you can open yourself totally to him or her.”
Osho, The Ultimate Alchemy, Vol. 1, Talk #6