The soul-mate, the individual who is intended to match your soul in this lifetime, the perfect partner, the person who helps one make life work. People are always seeking for just the perfect match, and there are any number of romantic notions about how this occurs in life. People then say that there is always just that one special person who is intended to fulfill one’s life and one needs only to be receptive and the meeting will take place.
There is of course a truth behind this concept, both based on experience in life by many people, as well as in the concept of karmic bonds spanning across lifetimes. The question however arises whether the existence of a soul-mate warrants all of the things that come along with that relationship if one is fixed on attaining results in yoga in this lifetime.
Some religious denominations encourage marriage among their priests in order to create a ‘helpmeet’ who aids the priest in fulfilling his life and duties. Some encourage marriage among devotees with the idea of living a devoted life while developing and maintaining a family experience.
Yet, for the spiritual seeker with a one-pointed focus on realisation, the entire concept of human vital interactions becomes a distraction. The great Tibetan yogi Milarepa devoted his life to intense sadhana and meditation and gave up on the idea of a marital relationship with his intended bride.
For the seeker of the integral yoga, everything depends on whether the individual is ready and prepared to take on the challenges of the intense focus needed for the transformation of life from a basis in the ego and the body-life-mind complex to a basis in the divine consciousness and a universal standpoint.
In an instance where the seeker is prepared to undertake the rigors of the path, the idea of such vital relationships becomes a way for the habitual energetic patterns of the vital being to try to impose themselves and convince the being, and the mental understanding, of the need to maintain such a direction and such a relationship. Sri Aurobindo makes it clear that this is one of the wiles of the vital nature to distract the dedicated sadhak from the focus on the goal.
Sri Aurobindo observes: “Regarding your question about a complementary soul and marriage, the answer is easy to give; the way of the spiritual life lies for you in one direction and marriage lies in quite another and opposite. All talk about a complementary soul is a camouflage with which the mind tries to cover the sentimental, sensational and physical wants of the lower vital nature. It is that vital nature in you which puts the question and would like an answer reconciling its desires and demands with the call of the true soul in you. But it must not expect a sanction for any such incongruous reconciliation from here. The way of the supramental yoga is clear; it lies not through concession to these things, — not, in your case, through satisfaction, under a spiritual cover if possible, of its craving for the comforts and gratifications of a domestic and conjugal life and the enjoyment of the ordinary emotional desires and physical passions, — but through the purification and transformation of the forces which these movements pervert and misuse. Not these human and animal demands, but the divine Ananda which is above and beyond them and which the indulgence of these degraded forms would prevent from descending, is the great thing that the aspiration of the vital being must demand in the sadhak.”
Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 10, Difficulties in Transforming the Nature, Sex, pp 299-308