One day I was reading some theology from the Vallabacharya lineage, which is a Grihastha (householder) lineage or sampradaya (as apposed to the Hare Krishna Iskon lineage, is Sanyassin [Renunciate]).
Someone asked their Spiritual Master (Guru)about the condition and fate of athiests and agnostics, who did not engage in any devotional activity.
The Guru answered "Each individual is fine just as they are. They are as they should be at this point in time, in this particular birth."
The world of sentient beings is like an orchard. The souls (jiva) are fruit at various stages, ripening.
Or like the worm, which becomes a pupa, metamorphosizes, and finally emerges as a butterfly.
Only at a certain stage is the butterfly beautiful.
Only at a certain stage is the fruit ripe and tasty for eating. Nor do all fruits ripen at the same moment. Only a few out of many are ready at any given time.
The western mind is always trying to eliminate all evil and leave only good,
eliminate all poverty and leave only wealth
eliminate all unbelievers and leave only Christians or Muslims, etc .
or, more specifically, leave only Roman Catholics or Lutherns, Sufis or Shiites, etc.
The western mind cannont accept or surrender to the samsara of dualities and antinomies.
Samsara is the "ten thousand and one things", the cycle of birth and death, this world... into which we are born... again and again... and dualities are the drama we see around us.. hot/cold, good/evil, truth/falsehood, pleasure/pain, being/non-being , etc.
At your stage of ripeness you seek and need and value certain things; perhaps a loving husband, a child, motherhood.
And this is good. This is as you should be in this life and this body of yours at this point in time.
But if you understood many other matters, not simply intellectually, but understood them spiritually (if your were ripe for them) then you would be seeking renunciation, japa, kirtan, meditation, etc.
But as Lord Krishna said to Arjuna: "Better to do YOUR OWN DHARMA imperfectly, than the Dharma of another to perfection."
Because I have given you with words a glimpse into these things, even though it is not your Dharma at this stage in this life, you are now forever transformed. Your soul will always retain an impression, an awarness, a knowledge of these things.
Wherever you go, what ever pleasures or pains you experience in the future, a part of your soul will be looking with a spiritual eye, with spiritualized vision, towards this greater scheme, towards the ultimate goal of ever jiva or soul, which is liberation, and freedom from future rebirths.
In a sense, it matters very little, what the future outcome is of your marriage, whether you have children or do not, from the perspective of these spiritual goals....
But right now... perhaps you can only begin to understand that intellectually, but not emotionally or spiritualy.
First, we must come to understand the nature of the physical and the spiritual world.
Second, we must SURRENDER to it.
Thirdly, we must transcend both it and ourselves,but this takes many re-births, as we are purified through suffering.
Lord Krishna tells Arjuna in ch. 3 of the Gita, "Out of thousands of people, hardly one seeks to find ME, and out of thousands who do seek to find ME, hardly one comes to KNOW my true nature.
So, you see, at any given time, in the orchard of Samsara, very few fruits are actually ripe and ready to fall from the tree.
We can easily see the truth and reality of these words every day,when we look about us on the television or in newspapers.
In any given century, how many Ghandi's or Mother Theresa's do we encounter.
Of course, for each one who does becomes famous and well known, there may be hundreds, even thousands, who are equally "ripe", but go unpublicised.
You must be patient and do what is your Dharma.
But first, you must recognize what that Dharma is.
Shankaracharya wrote a prayer which begins "Oh Thou from Whom all words recoil...".
You see words bounce off the DIVINITY just like water off a ducks back.
The Divinity is not to be described but to be experienced.
I will tell you a nice book to look for. It is by Mother Meera. She is in Germany. It is called "Answers".
In that book various people ask her questions, and of course she publicizes the answers in this book.
In one answer she explains: "It takes many many lifetimes.. many births, to achieve union with the Divine."
To come to a realization of even this seemingly simple fact, and to accept it, to surrender to it, is great wisdom and progress in itself.
Looking at things from a different angle... lets say an individual is immersed in a life of "bad things"...but one day... they come to a realization... that there is such a thing as "holiness", "sanctity" and that it is desireable to acquire to achieve....
Well, that realization in itself, is the first step towards holiness, towards sanctity..
Once you begin to look at everything in a different way with a spiritual eye.... you can never go back to the way that you saw things previously.
This true story about a holy man who lived in India in this century, in a little apartment in a city, and had a small number of disciples who came regularly to listen to him and ask questions.
One day... a stranger came... whom they had never seen before. Somehow this stranger had heard of the holy man, of his meetings and talks and had found his way to their little meeting place.
The stranger asked a number of "spiritual" questions and the holy man answered him with answers which he could understand given the strangers current "level" of ripeness. Then the stranger left, and never returned again to future meetings.
After a month or so, one of the students asked the holy man: "Guruji! Remember that stranger who came and asked all those questions? And now, we have never seen him again. Whatever shall become of him?"
The holy man answered, "For him, it is too late. Once a person begins asking such questions and seeking answers, there is no turning back. They have achieved a level of spiritual ripeness such that they will irresistably be drawn, like a moth to a flame, like a feather in a whirl pool, closer and closer to the center, closer and closer to Moksha, to Reabsorption into the Bramhajyoti, the Divine Light of Brahman, from which each Jiva is a little spark, a little ray."
Realization of this in itself,this spiritual truth, is the first step in SURRENDER.
You must be very patient. Do not think about these things, worry about these things... the mango does not worry about how ripe it is, or how sweet it will become. That is a western mentality.
But with these things in mind, use each day and each moment wisely.
If it is necessary to wash clothes or iron, you must do those chores, but you can still make your mind a Mandir (a temple), yes?
If you have free moments, you may choose television or instead you may have a little Gita in your pocket and read a page or two.
A drop of water falls into the ocean and dissappears, loses its identity, as it enters into the ocean, but, at the same time, THE OCEAN IS ENTERING INTO THE DROP, but the ocean does not loose its identity.
You are the drop and God is the Ocean.