It’s easy to lose faith in love, especially after a ruthless kick by a third wheel, easier to condemn the whole idea even (well, love does equate well with destruction in my opinion) and stay at shore rather than drown. But why is there an existence of the abundance?
Right from our mythological academics, for instance, the Mahabharata, we have seen Draupadi, Lord Krishna and the Pandava brothers engage in the practice of polygamy at no rate and, yet, carrying their sacred simulacrum.
Draupadi was made a wife to all the five Pandu brothers over a faux pas by Kunti. It was pursued in order to avert any disrespect to the mother. But was it fair to the brothers, especially Arjun? Moreover, was it fair or “respectful” to Panchali herself? Was there a hierarchical order of morals? It’s ironical that the era, i.e. the Dvapara Yuga, when this tale took place, stood valiantly only on two pillars or religion: compassion and truthfulness. Does that sum up that polygamy came under the shadow of both these holy pillars?
From the book, The Palace Of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Panchali’s dhai maa says, “Why in all my years I’ve never heard of a woman with more than one husband! You know what our shastras call women who have been with more than one man, don’t you?”. I wonder what the shastras called the men.
As we go down the timeline of Indian history, the kings engaging in numerous courtships excluding their concubines were, in fact, a matter of praise. From Maharaja Ranjit Singh to Peshwa Bajirao, these men are remembered by the number of provinces they ruled, by the square metres covered by their palaces and not by the practices they adopted against the principles of their religion.
Further down, as we got closer to materialism and technology and further from spirituality, we favour brains more than hearts. Albert Einstein, a Jew physicist, the one who made us question the rules of cosmos right from scratch, has his life story recreated by many. Still, more are rather piqued by his theory of relativity primarily. The great scientist had one girlfriend, two wives and single-digit number mistresses (I hope).
He first married Mileva Marich, a Slav, who raced against her time to devote all her mind to the laws of nature, when there were no science schools for girls. Before Mileva, he was already attempting courtship with a Swiss girl, and while he was with Mileva, he had an extramarital affair with one of his second cousins. The process continued for he believed that monogamy was unnatural.
Why can’t we like Mozart and Jenar at the same time? In the present time, do we question his morality over his grand intellect? Is he the man who proved that time was a mere illusion or the one who committed the mere act of polygamy? All these examples of significant events make me ponder the sanctity of the institution of marriage and the unbreakable vows of being together for seven lives when even one is too unnatural to complete with just one partner.
The logic and compulsion behind this ceremony only go towards the formation of a basic unit of society and nothing more. For the transient feeling of love that is presumed to keep this institution intact has been running parallel to it for ages. Well, then is there a point of marriages after all? The answer, in my opinion, could be affirmative if I had options to commit to companionship but not be bound by it, weigh down its virtue and reduce it down to a private event.
In a nutshell, if I want to buy curtains for my new house, today, I’d have no lack of options even if I narrowed down to one colour and if I knew the shade too, my life would be easier. But would I be worried to miss out on the other colours?