The True Purpose of Relationships

The Art of Meditation: Personal Development and Spiritual Growth:

Your relationship is not there to make you happy. It is not there to satisfy your needs. It is not there to help you escape your loneliness. Its purpose is not for you to procreate, although you might. It is not there to provide you with a tax break, although you should take that. It is certainly not there for you to exploit, by exerting power and control over the other. It is not there to hold together the so called moral fiber of society. It is not there because God mandates it. It is not there for divine male and divine female to merge through you and your partner. It is not there to play with Kundalini, although can be used for that. It is there as the mirror in which to see yourself clearly. That’s it.


Let me tell you a story. In a land far away a beautiful princess was about to get married to her dream man. She had been told he was the perfect man. Full of love, compassion, strength and intelligence – and of course handsome as hell. She was so happy. The wedding day came and went, the whole kingdom celebrated and all was well. The morning after an equally wonderful wedding night, the princess brought her new husband tea and biscuits in bed. He smiled, ate, drank, told her how deeply he loved her and then slapped her flush across the cheek. They had not lied, he was strong and the princess was knocked to the floor by the force of the blow. She was dazed, in pain but mostly just in shock. What was more surprising was the shock on the husband’s face. He was even more bewildered.

The husband convinced the princess that he was just as taken aback by what happened and was genuinely sorry. His kind eyes and sincere tone clearly indicated to her that he was telling the truth so she forgave him and they moved on. Some years passed and soon both forgot the ugly event, until one day just as suddenly it happened again…. Whack! Then, soon after it reared its ugly head again…. Whack! Now it was too much for both to take and so they decided to seek counsel. Being royalty, all the best medics were summoned and consulted. Various theories were postulated and several cures were tried. Calming oils, exotic herbs, exorcisms, but every so often… Whack! It would happen again.

Desperate, they finally went to see a mysterious sage who lived high up in the mountains and was reputed as the wisest medic in the land, but one who would rarely accept an audience. After a long, hard journey they finally arrived at the sage’s cave. He was sitting on a rock outside in deep meditation so they waited patiently. Several hours later the sage opened his eyes and noticed the couple and much to their relief agreed to speak to them. He led them inside and then heard about the problem. At the end of the narration he asked to see the husband’s hands and closely inspected his palms. Once done with the husband he surprisingly asked to see the princess’s hand and carefully began to check her pulse. Finally he looked up smiling and said, “I will tell you what is happening here, but in exchange you must not refuse me what I ask.” Anxious to have this mystery finally solved they both agreed.

“Well, my dearies”, said the sage still smiling and looking at the husband said, “You sir are a great, healer. Your hands contain great power and you my dear princess have a terrible disease that keeps re-occurring every so often. By slapping you he has been curing you of this affliction time and again. If it had not been for those slaps, you would have long perished by now.” What relief they both felt. Overwhelmed by what they heard they fell to the feet of the sage and tearfully thanked him. As for the payment, well the husband wound up and laid one directly on the sage…. Whack!

What is the point of this story? Relationship produces pain for you so that you may awaken to what needs to be worked on within yourself.  In the case of the princess she was lucky as the pain was benefiting her without her knowledge, but in most of our cases we need to utilize the suffering caused by the relationship to inspect closely the disease of our attachments. The pain, upset, discomfort caused in the relationship helps to reveal the attachments we have and the inner working of our minds. It could be as simple as feeling bad for not being complimented on a new dress or as complex as getting upset with your partner for giving away too much to charity. All the upsets, big and small, simple and complex have their roots in our attachments. The attachments could be to security, money, sex, power, prestige, name, fame, religion, children, family, country, comfort, food, etc. It does not matter, our relationships, specially the intimate ones, will poignantly reveal them to us.

As long as we have these attachments, and they are strong within us, we live in fear and misery. Afraid of not getting that which we want, afraid of loosing it if we have it and fearful of those on whom we depend on for their fulfillment. Any relationship upon which you depend for your personal gratification and security will eventually lead you to the mess of anger, control, possessiveness, jealousy, fear and hatred. This is relatively easy to see if we watch relationships in action. So measuring the strength of one’s relationship by the level of attachment is quite silly. In fact, life will not allow such relationships to endure and by producing a few storms she will eventually tear it down and force a new one to be built. On the other hand, when two self-sufficient people meet, adore each other and enjoy each other’s company we have the makings of something special.

Seeing the trouble that attachment brings and realizing that love and fear cannot coexist, what can be done? Change your attitude towards relationship pain. See it for what it really is, an opportunity for insight. Insight into the working of pleasure and its child – desire, or pain and its child – fear. The way of insight is through delicate observation. When any upset occurs watch closely how you react to it. Watch closely how the storm of thoughts start to take control. “I can’t believe he did this again, he does it every time, I have told him so many times before, he knows how important this is for me, he is so selfish and inconsiderate, I bet he would not treat his mother like this, why doesn’t he change, I am never going to speak to him again, … I am so right!” On and on thought takes over and one is caught in the chaos. This is childish and won’t help at all, and the worst part is that a golden opportunity is being wasted. An opportunity to observe the self in action and perceive the root cause of the attachment. Have you ever tried to observe the actual feeling, the physical reality of what is taking place without interfering and without getting carried away into all the mental threads? By doing so, you will allow the fact of what is happening, anger, jealousy, fear, etc. to reveal itself to you in its complete detail. This is to understand by direct perception and allow insight to blossom. This is the only approach that will root out and weaken attachment. Any other reaction on your part to suppress the feeling, or run away from it, or replace it with good feelings, or psychoanalyze it, etc, will simply leave the underlying causes intact only to have the outburst happen again when the time is ripe.

The princess had cancer, which was cured by life through her husband; life tries in the same way to cure the disease of attachment that we are afflicted with using our relationships. Observing carefully our internal reality, that is reflected in our relationships, is the beginning of meditation. And meditation alone brings freedom and self-sufficiency. Relationship provides the most useful opportunities for applying ourselves in this way, so be ready, prepared and poised the next time you get Whacked.

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92 replies
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  1. Kim
    Kim says:

    wahe guru…..facing the mirror or recognising that the other person is you… so amazing…..that image sometimes slips away and needs constant looking at….hugs and light……sat nam kim

  2. Lenin
    Lenin says:

    Hi Anmol/all,

    Relationship plays a vital role in all our life.And hence its very important to look at the ups and down it makes.This article clearly gives there is a way to look at the issues in each one’s perspective as it makes better to grow mentally and helps to come out of ego centric thoughts.Many thanks for the useful msgs and sure it is helpful to many of my friends all over world.

  3. Gloria
    Gloria says:

    Hello Trupti,

    Thank-you for this very insightful article on the real purpose of relationships. It really highlights the purpose of the pain that arises in the course of feeling connected to another. Its purpose is our liberation.


  4. Mamta
    Mamta says:

    Thanks Anmol….Its a v small word..for the servce you are doing…God Bless you always..Hope & pray that i am able to meet my SELF this Lifetime forever.. This article is surely going to help me pass the hurdles…maybe in Gods eyes the blessings… :) ..
    Hats off to you Anmol..thanks a lot again & again…
    Warm regards..

  5. Ana Benedict
    Ana Benedict says:

    I am from Guatemala and I sent this message to my family and friends. Many people need to know more about their self. Thanks for being there!!!!!

  6. Rodrigo Fonseca
    Rodrigo Fonseca says:

    I am thrilled with so much wisdom. It is the second time that you greatly surprise me with it my friend, and i’ve only read…two articles!

    Thank you for being a guiding light in my path. SINCERELY.

  7. Aishwarya
    Aishwarya says:

    I liked this article and the story was well told. But living unattatched but still being attatched is hard. If we are indifferent to the pain caused by a relationship, people would call us inconsiderate. I belive that if we love something, we always fear losing it.Whatever we have in this world has a life.Even sun and stars have a life period.

    I have heard from my father that Godess Sita’s father, Janak was an ideal man who was living a relationship but unattatched. He did all his duties but was totally unattatched.

  8. Hamty
    Hamty says:

    If you feel that you and your partner need help to save the marriage, then probably the way out is to consult the marriage therapist.

  9. Aadi Dixit
    Aadi Dixit says:

    hello, gr8 1. very usefull for leading a happy life. the thoughts in this site are more inclined towards “manav Dharma”. in my view too relationships and our life is more to gain experiences of various worldly tastes. offcourse it is difficult to accept failures in life, but many a times one can feel that some things occur , time and again, deliberately to teach lesson. some call it due to stars(grih), i think they are also guided by the master souls to decide wat is more important for us. my all the best to the moderator. please keep it up. hats off

  10. Rohan
    Rohan says:

    my girlfriend and i are now physically separated by the physical distance between our two countries.

    for the last 4 months we have been together constantly, almost every waking and sleeping hour.

    its been 5 days so to speak but i feel lost. its like i have lost the person that i once was before her. i feel weird and different. and suddenly it feels as if there is this void in me which didnt exist before. its like a deep well of sorrow has been opened in me and yet i cannot sink in its depths and disappear.

    what should i do?

  11. astrid
    astrid says:

    “the physical reality of what is taking place without interfering and without getting carried away into all the mental threads? ” or look what IS and be honest. thanks for the article and thanks for the posts.

  12. Anita
    Anita says:


    Sincere thanks for this article – I recently had an experience that was kind of like your symbolic analogy although there was no slap involved. :)

    It took me weeks to work through the feelings and finally come out on the other side and rise above ego.

    Finding this article is like a gift – it tells me that I have been travelling on the right path and to keep going. :)

    Anna > My husband betrayed me with a friend in June this year – it’s history! I’ve since discovered someone who I believe is my soul mate.

    Hope that you too are able to decide what you want out of life for yourself and find it!


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