Osho on Marriage – Marriage should be transcended
Question – Why do you appear to put down Marriage and yet tell people to get Married?
Osho – This is from Anurag. 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.
But the question is pertinent, relevant, because sometimes I tell people to get married. 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.
Love can become marriage, but then it is a totally different kind of marriage: it is not a social formality, it is not an institution, it is not a bondage. When love becomes marriage it means two individuals decide to live together — but in absolute freedom, nonpossessive of each other. Love is nonpossessive; it gives freedom.
When love grows into marriage, marriage is not an ordinary thing. It is absolutely extraordinary. It has nothing to do with the registry office. You may need the registry office also, the social sanction may be needed, but those are just on the periphery; they are not the central core of it. In the center is the heart, in the center is freedom.
And sometimes out of marriage also love can grow, but it rarely happens. Out of marriage love rarely happens. At the most, familiarity. At the most, a certain kind of sympathy, not love. Love is passionate; sympathy is dull. Love is alive; sympathy is just so-so, lukewarm.
But why do I tell people to get married? When I see that they are after security, when I see that they are after social sanction, when I see they are afraid, when I see that they cannot move into love if marriage is not there, then I tell them to go into it — but I will go on helping them to go beyond it. I will go on helping them to transcend it.
Marriage should be transcended; only then real marriage happens. Marriage should be forgotten completely. In fact the other person you have been in love with should always remain a stranger and never should be taken for granted. When two persons live as strangers, there is a beauty to it, a very simple, innocent beauty to it. And when you live with somebody as a stranger….
And everybody is a stranger. You cannot know a person. Knowledge is very superficial; a person is very profound. A person is an infinite mystery. That’s why we say everybody carries a god within. How can you know a god? At the most you can touch the periphery. And the more you know about a person, the more humble you will become — the more you will feel that the mystery is untouched. In fact the mystery becomes more and more deep. The more you know, the less you feel that you know.
If lovers are really in love, they will never reduce the other person to a known entity; because only things can be known — persons never. Only things can become part of knowledge. A person is a mystery — the greatest mystery there is.
Transcend marriage. It is not a question of legality, formality, family — all that nonsense. Needed, because you live in a society, but transcend; don’t be finished at that. And don’t try to possess a person. Don’t start feeling that the other is the husband — you have reduced the beauty of the person into an ugly thing: husband. Never say that this woman is your wife — the stranger is no longer there; you have reduced it to a very profane level, to a very ordinary level of things. Wives and husbands belong to the world. Lovers belong to the other shore.
Remember the sacredness and holiness of the other. Never impinge on it; never trespass it. A lover is always hesitant. He always gives you space to be yourself. He is grateful; he never feels that you are his possession. He is thankful that sometimes in rare moments you allow him your innermost shrine to enter and to be with you. He is always thankful.
But husbands and wives are always complaining, never thankful — always fighting. And if you watch their fight it is ugly. The whole beauty of love disappears. Only a very ordinary reality exists: the wife, the husband, the children, and the day-to-day routine. The unknown no longer touches it. That’s why you will see dust gathers around — a wife looks dull, a husband looks dull. Life has lost meaning, vibrancy, significance. It is no longer a poetry; it has become gross.
Love is poetry. Marriage is ordinary prose, good for ordinary communication. If you are purchasing vegetables, good; but if you are looking at the sky and talking to God, not enough — poetry is needed. Ordinary life is prose like. A religious life is poetry like: a different rhythm, a different meter, something of the unknown and the mysterious.
I am not in favor of marriage. Don’t misunderstand me — I am not saying to live with people unmarried. Do whatsoever the society wants to be done, but don’t take it as the whole. That is just the periphery; go beyond it. And I tell you to get married if I feel that this is what you need. In fact if I feel that you need to go in hell I would allow you — and push you — to go in hell, because that is what you need, and that is how you will grow.
Source: from Osho Book “Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, Vol 6”