The natural attraction between the opposite sexes blossoming into love and procreation has been conditioned by the norms of society as human civilization evolved and changed. Love and lust are two different things. Indian social norms and philosophy have always been guided by the teachings of sages passed on through generations through scriptures like the Vedas. Because our ancient knowledge always aimed at the purification of the soul and finally attaining nirvana by controlling our baser instincts, Indian society has always stressed on pure, unconditional love. Lust is to be controlled and it’s purpose should only be procreation and not a means of entertainment and unending self satisfaction. This was the reason that youngsters were taught to maintain virginity till marriage. There was freedom of choice of life partner in the form of Swayamvars. But gradually as the society changed with invasions after invasions, the rules of marriage and love became stricter to protect the innocent girls from the invaders of other race and caste. Arranged marriage became the norm. Because women were then mostly confined to the home, barring a few, gender mixing was hardly there and hence arranged marriages had little distraction. But as women began coming out of their confines and took up education and jobs, love, outside family approval, started budding. Couples had a tough time bringing their families together. But that time it was one love and love for life. If the couple could marry they stayed together all their life. If they had to succumb to parental pressure, they accepted that too with a broken heart.
But now with equal presence of men and women in every sphere, gender mixing is no more an issue. Parents too are no more uncomfortable with love marriage. This freedom and exposure has brought forth many newer shades of love. The Indian society is going through a transitory phase, witnessing lots of experimentation. Some trends of soul mate selection in our society today are-
Series of partners
Previously the first love was the love for life. It is not so any more. Youngsters date one person after the other whoever attracts or catches their fancy. It’s a series of testing relationships before settling on the finial relation. Some may even finally settle down for arranged marriage.
Not just a series of relationships, but some youngsters also openly go around with more than one partner at the same time. Enjoying and at the same time searching true love.
The word ‘beloved’ is not used much now. Instead a more open ended ‘girlfriend’, ‘boyfriend’ is used, allowing the scope to part ways.
One sided love had always been there. But while in earlier days, the person who loved took it as his/her own destiny, it is not so now. Spurned lovers are not able to accept the rejection. There is no respect for the other person. In today’s competitive world, love too is somewhat a competition. Love is no more about good wishes for the loved one. It is more possessive love these days. Rejection is humiliation. Spurned lovers cannot accept rejection and cases like throwing acid or killing the loved one are becoming common.
Love after marriage
Aamir Khan has very rightly said-‘Love can happen many times’. Yes it certainly can happen being a natural instinct. And it does happen too because people get to meet lots of people of the opposite sex for variety of reasons, at a variety of places. Even when a person is happily married, she/he can get attracted to someone else. If this attraction is not analyzed and controlled at the onset, then obviously comparisons and tension with the married partner begin, leading to divorce. Such breakups happen more now because parental/family/societal interventions are less.
Arm candies, toy boys, a certain person’s girl; such demeaning social terms and relations are measures of high society people’s status, married or unmarried. Love may or may not blossom in these relations.
This was best shown in the movie ‘3 idiots’. Love was something ‘Jaisa filmo may hota hai (like it happens in movies)’! The feeling of attraction and love is there. But there’s hardly any time or scope to pursue it seriously, because career has to be settled first. Romance takes a backseat till one settles down in certain other important aspects of life. Somewhat similar to the philosophy of the ancient Indian culture!
Whatever be the trend of society we do need to follow the ancient Indian philosophy of keeping our baser instincts under control. Otherwise there is hardly any difference between the life of an animal and a human. The west has and is facing the consequences of excessive freedom. Disease like HIV, high divorce rates, dissatisfied children, sexual violence are all the results of excessive sexual freedom. No one is perfectly perfect! So the quest for the perfect soulmate may actually become a never ending one, resulting in disappointment. Instead of jumping into every little attraction, we need to go back to the pure, sacrificing love of the olden days, when you patiently waited for the time to ripe, for the loved one to accept your love; the time when songs like- ‘Yeh shaam mastani….’ & ‘Pal pal dil ke paas’ slowly and gradually evoked the feeling and guided us on our path towards a firm relationship.