The joining of hearts and souls.
My Mother was worried about my marriage. She felt that I needed to be tied in a marriage bond this time so that I would not run away again. She called my sister and talked about getting me married. My sister lived nearby, close to my native place, Rourkela. She knew a girl who was her neighbour, who she thought would make a good match for me. She asked me to come home for a week. I told her that was not necessary, as I wanted to become a monk and remain in the movement to spread peace and happiness in the world.
I did not tell her anything about the nature of my job. However, she convinced me about the proposal and asked me to visit my hometown for seven days. My mother fervently told me that I had been away from home for a long time. Their pleadings and yearnings clashed against my mind within. My conscience then ordered me, “How silly are you! If you want to attain the kind of Bliss you have been talking about, and experience it again, then go, wipe the tears of your inconsolable mother and meet your father and sister. I sent a telegram home to inform them about the train by which I was scheduled to arrive at Rourkela for my week-long stay.
I arrived at Rourkela. My brothers Gopinath and Loknath had come to receive me. I learnt from them that I was supposed to meet the prospective bride in the evening at my sister’s house. Reaching home, I paid my respect to my parents. My mother pulled me to her chest sobbing.
I had told my parents earlier that I would marry the first girl I go to meet. I do not like rejection by girls. I wore a kurta and pajama and looked like a Pundit. My sister asked me to change it, but I said if any girl selects me in this dress its fine, I was not about to put on Western wear. We four brothers sat at the would-be-bride’s place. The girl came to see us and was confused to see all of us. She was not sure which one of us was the groom to be.
The girl’s father, Er. Bidhan Chandra Ray was Additional Director of Industries, Government of Odisha, and her mother, Srimati Kalpana Ray, a housewife; and they were residents of Rourkela. They visited our place next evening and confirmed the proposal and requested my parents to go ahead with engagement formalities. After that, I left the place for New Delhi to join my duties. My engagement took place on 23rd December 1994, Gurunanak Jayanti, about three months after my visit.
Although it was three months after my introduction to the girl, I however became well acquainted with her; and we had grown quite close to each other. I admired her and respected her personality. I could not believe that she was the same girl whom I had met only three months back. This could only be possible for one who possesses a self-improving process of the highest degree; and in every sense, it was a part of her nature. It was a necessity equally from the ardour with which she sought it and from the spontaneous tendency of faculties, which could not receive an impression or an experience without making it the source, or the occasion of an accession of wisdom.
Up to the time when I first saw her, her rich and powerful nature had chiefly unfolded itself as an inherent feminine genius. From her appearance, she was charming and witty, with an air of natural distinction felt by all who approached her. Nevertheless, by her inner and inherent nature, she was a woman of deep and strong feeling of penetrating and intuitive intelligence, and of an eminently meditative and poetic nature.
We got married on 4 February 1995, Sarawasati Puja (Basant Panchami), in the Divine Presence of Sri Sathya Sai Baba in his Kalyan Mandap at Puttaparthy, Andhra Pradesh. All family members and relatives of both sides too visited the place. One of my younger brothers also got married on the same day. It was really a blessed day for me and my brother in our lives to solemnize the nuptials in the presence of my Guru, Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
My wife and I have personalities that are about as opposite as we could get. Yet, God has brought us more and more together so that we are starting to think more alike and want more of the same things every day. We still have two different personalities, and now we can see that God brought our differences together on purpose. It was not an accident. God knew each of our strengths and weaknesses would complete the other when we became one. The idea of saying, “Why aren’t you like me?” is no longer a question in our hearts. We realize that we need each other to be exactly who God created us to be. We no longer pick on each other’s weaknesses. Instead, we partake of our strengths and enjoy one another.
We have been married for 19 years. We have a lovely daughter and a son. We’ve had real challenges balanced with great moments of joy. A sure sign of a decision well made is that I would do it all again. I had gone from no-way to yes, from liking to loving.