The mother-in-law is an infamous figure in the minds of many, but how did she come to develop such an unsavory reputation? Sadhguru demystifies the mother-in-law, enumerating various biological and psychological factors at play.
Q: There is a common saying in Tamil: “There is no man who has the right cattle for his farm. There is no man who has the right wife for his mother.” What is your perspective on this?
Sadhguru: This is a fundamental problem in most human beings. They are always looking for the best person or the best thing to do in their life. There is no best person, nor is there a best thing to do on this planet. Whatever you do, if you put your heart into it and really throw yourself, it becomes a great thing to do. Whoever is next to you right now, if you give yourself totally, if you show total involvement, you will see, just anyone is fine. This moment, whoever is next to you, if you show absolute involvement, it is great to be with them. If you think, “Is this the best person?” no one in the world is the best person. Even if you get married to God, not just your mother, you yourself will complain.
A Mother and a Woman
About satisfying the mother – when you say a mother, essentially she is a woman. Then she became a mother. When you say a wife, essentially she is a woman, then she became a wife. It is a secondary role. Her basic identity is that of being a woman. The next identity is maybe a wife and the next is a mother. It comes in that order.
Unfortunately, the same stupid relationship problems have been going on for centuries, endlessly.
Once it happened in America, a young man from a family in the Mid-west was going to get married to a girl. He told his mother and wanted to bring the girl home. It is a question of the mother’s blessing and also a little bit about her approval so that altercations do not happen in the house. At the same time, he was very fond of his mother, and he wanted to make it a little challenging and humorous for her.
So, he brought three other office colleagues of his, who were all young women, along with his girlfriend. They all came for dinner, and his idea was that the mother should find out who the intended girl was. He behaved just the same with all of them so that she would not make out. After they all left, he asked, “Mama, do you know which is my girl?” She said, “I know. The one who was wearing the red vest.” He asked, “How did you know? I did not even look at her. I was always glancing at the others just so you do not know.” She said, “The moment she walked in, I didn’t like her. So it must be her.”
There is an instinctive rejection or resistance to the new woman coming into the house because you are now required to share someone who belonged to you in an unequal proportion – not even in equal proportions. A mother wants her son to get married and be happy. But on another level, a mother is still a woman. You have to seek permission to share something that belonged to you. That makes things a little difficult. Unfortunately, the same stupid relationship problems have been going on for centuries, endlessly. It could be changed, but people have not decided to change it.
It is somewhat biological because it is all a process of procreation and protection. If a woman is not possessive about what belongs to her, she would not have taken care of her children. She would have just delivered them and walked away. It is biological, and that extends itself throughout life in some way or the other. However, if one is mature and aware, one can grow out of it.
Editor’s Note: Why are relationships such a circus for most of us? What is this primal urge within us that demands a bond – physical, mental, or emotional – with another? And how do we keep this bond from turning into bondage? These are the fundamental questions that Sadhguru looks at in “Compulsiveness to Consciousness”. Ebook available for purchase at Isha Downloads.