Age diff. between husband & wife
Question : But in today's marriages no one seems to differentiate between higher and lower (heredity) races or varnas? Moreover, love, blooming from free mixing, has become the sole yardstick or principle of marriages in modern civilised society. Is it not?
Shri Shri Thakur Anukulchandra ji: Those who have lower cultural heredity, if they do not mix with people from higher cultural heredity, with regard, they cannot have that higher culture developing in them. If the mixing takes place in such a way that there is no arousal of regard, love etc., then it cannot bear any good result.
The relation between husband and wife should be in that same way - it should be nearer, deeper and yet there should be some distance. Otherwise 'the stony heart may not melt in one's own house'. The distance should be that much which is needed - for example, when a mirror is held too close to the eyes or nose the face cannot be seen. Thus there should be an honourable distance1. Along with this there needs to be difference of age between husband and wife.
Question : How much?
Shri Shri Thakur Anukulchandra ji: There should be a difference of fifteen to twenty years between a man and his wife2.
1 "So great is the human soul that some of its beauty is hidden by nearness. It needs distance between it and the beholder to be perceived in its true perspective." - 'Married Love' - Marie Stops
2 "A thirty year old man should marry a twelve year old hearty girl and a twenty four year old man should marry an eight year old girl. Suffice to say that the age of a man should be (nearly) three times the age of a girl. If the marriage takes place earlier than this then it weakens dharma (life and growth)" - (9/94) from Manu Samhita
[Ref: Nana Prasange Vol.1, Ninth Edition, Dec-2001, Page 66-67]
[Note : The original transcript is in Bengali and is translated here by Subrata Ghosh. The words, highlighted in bold are, however, originally used by Shri Shri Thakur Himself]