In nature’s scheme of things, all men are shaped to husband a maiden, who in turn is endowed to become the wife of every man there is, biologically speaking that is. But this marital selection restricted on the basis of race, caste, creed etc. brought about a homogenous order for possible matrimonial harmony.
This hindered the free leanings of young hearts across these man-made boundaries (Sarat’s tragic tale of Devdas and Parvathi comes to mind) but despite its insensitivities towards the lovers, this social imposition, by and large, had been serving its marital cause rather well.
But now, as the newly erected astrological hurdle, relatively speaking that is, in the form of matching the horoscopes for compatibility of the prospective couples in the Telugu marital course I am familiar with (more or less same may be the case in the Indian panorama) is proving to be debilitating; its review seems overdue.
As a teen privy to the matchmaking in 1960s, I vouch for the fact that the hearsay about a bride’s family and the lure of the dowry, not necessarily in that order, that is apart from her ‘heard of’ looks were the prime movers to set the marital ball rolling. I was also an eyewitness to many instances of the groom’s father seeking the bride’s horoscope at the end of the bride-seeing ritual (pellichupulu) to use it as a ruse to negate the proposal in case of a new-found disaffection on the ground.
Nothing surprising about that as most of the marriages up to that generation (and even beyond for a while) were consanguine and solemnised on many an occasion by the elders’ word of honour much before the groom and the bride came into being, never mind their horoscopes.
Astrology was the in thing in the Puranic age of Maharshi Vasishtha who had fixed the muhurtam for Rama’s coronation but Sage Vishwamitra bothered to match neither the horoscopes of Rama and Seetha nor that of Lakshmana and Urmila for their marital compatibility. Moreover, Janaka, the wisest among the Kings of yore (Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita advised Arjuna to “Lead mankind in Janaka’s route / To moksha en route deeds selfless” (Ch 3, V20)) did not deem fit to match his daughter Seetha’s horoscope with all those whom he had invited for her swayamvaram.
That being the case, as our ancients as well as our grandparents, while laying store in astrology, gave no credence to matching the horoscopes of the prospective couples. It can be inferred that they either saw it as a futile exercise in our destiny-driven life or were unable to access the astrological tools to coordinate it with the marital hardware. However, strangely, with the advent of computer science, modern astrologers began to fancy that they could foresee the marital course of the referrals though with unforeseen consequences.
Astrology has come to such a pass that only ‘matched horoscopes’ have become the gate-passes for an entry in the arena of marital proposals that otherwise acquired a modern setting with progressive décor. Be that as it may, if only the astrological assurances had the final say in the matter.
Nevertheless, one can celebrate the modern astrologers as the new ushers in the marital arena. However, in reality, while well-meaning parents use the allegedly incompatible horoscopes as filters, compatible ones fail to catalyse the alliances on their own, effectually making these astrologers bouncers. What is puzzling is that the ‘better aware’ modern youth, too, are invariably going through the astrological rigmarole that tends to extend the unwelcome lien on their bachelorhood or maidenhood.
It is Havelock Ellis who said that for any boy or girl, in any given station of life, there can only be four matches to choose from. And as life would have it, they have to find one of them in the melee of the ever-growing populace. Given the futility of pursuing the illusory path of speculative compatibility, it is imperative for parents to revert to their ancestral route by trying to find the first one out of the ‘matching four’ for their children in the flower of their youth and not past their prime.
Besides, they cannot be oblivious to the fact that many astrologer-certified nuptial knots are being routinely untied in divorce suits. It is also high time for all to note that the astrologers, too, have not factored in empirical evidence in their predictions, for they continue to draw the compatibility charts with their failed premises. Thus, it is for parents to ponder how they can stake their children’s marital prospects on such unfounded advice.
So, what’s the way out of this ticklish marital tangle?
Strange though it may seem, it’s astrological to start with if one believes in it, and all said and done, this exercise is for them only. Given that the planetary positions in the seventh house in one’s horoscope carry one’s marital package, they are bound to take that person as a spouse who would unpack it to meet their destiny.
So, even if one were inclined to marry someone who wouldn’t enable them to meet their destiny, the match might neither have fructified for one reason or the other. Thus, the blah-blah of astrological compatibility is just much ado about nothing and the unfounded parental fear of a mismatch sans their astrologer’s approval is unwarranted.
Indeed, their astrological belief must make the elders realise that their kin’s marital package can be unpacked only by that spouse who has the wherewithal for that. As for the youth, the sooner they extricate themselves from the astrologers’ compatibility quagmire, the better it will be for them as then, and only then, would they be able to marry on time to make the best of their destined life.