Aang went through a lot of things before he was able to realize his destiny. But much before he was able to achieve his fate at the Spirit Bridge, he used to be an ordinary young monk living a life devoted to asceticism in an Air Temple. With time he slowly abandoned the ascetic lifestyle and married Katara and even had three children with her. But was it the right thing to do? Should Aang have abandoned his monkhood to marry or have a family?
Sources :- Ascetic Lifestyle
It was devastating for Aang to come to terms with the fact that all of the Airbenders and Nomads were gone after he came out of his century-long freeze. All that was left of the great culture and tradition that he grew up in was, he himself. Now he was in a dilemma as he had to make a choice, a choice either to preserve his great culture and tradition or follow his Avatar duties. Since the Monks and Air Nuns were not supposed to have a family as they lived an ascetic life, he was on a spot.
Aang was just twelve years old when he fell in love with Katara even though he knew that he was going against the culture and traditions of monasticism. But that can be overlooked because at that time he had no Nomads to show him the right way. But Aang had to later face ramifications for his love for Katara as he tried to unlock his seven chakras. When he was at the verge of unlocking the seven chakras, he came to the realization that if he goes ahead and unlocks it, he will have to deliberately abandon his feelings for Katara. Aang faced a very tough choice and chose his love over unlocking the seven chakras.
It will be tough to imagine how Aang’s contemporaries who had opted for a life of asceticism at the Air Temple would have thought about his fighting and his love for Katara. But given the situation, it would have been unjust of them if they failed to recognize the importance of his actions and to ignore what was at stake when he fought would have been utterly unjust. There is nothing wrong in choosing a life of pacifism or to struggle to find enlightenment but when the fate of the whole world is at risk, one needs to toughen up and make choices that otherwise would have seemed impossible to imagine. Sometimes destiny takes such harsh turns that all past convictions are challenged and a hard decision is to be taken. Therefore, Aang was not wrong in deciding to learn the four elements, and taking on Fire Lord Ozai. He did all of this for the greater good while at the same time he remained a pacifist as well by not taking Ozai’s life after defeating him, which many believed to be unavoidable.
As far as his marriage to Katara is concerned, that too turned out to be the right thing to do in the long run. They had three children – Kya, Bumi and Tenzin who were raised in the cultures and traditions of both of their nations. In fact, Tenzin had lived a lifestyle of Air Nomad culture which helped Aang revive and preserve his own traditions which stood at the verge of extinction. While Bumi was a non-bender but his siblings Kya and Tenzin were Waterbender and Airbender respectively, which meant that Avatar was not the Last Airbender after all.
But when he was the only Airbender he was free to decide the fate of the Air Nomad tradition as he wished. His choices turned out to be right as his son the Airbender Tenzin went on to have four children of his own whom he raised well in the culture of Air Nomads. After the harmonic convergence, the traditions of Air Nomads was reborn and followed the footsteps of Aang, who had modernized the traditions and culture. Soon the new Airbender arose as well, making way for the long-term preservation of the culture that Aang valued and loved so much.
While Aang did successfully preserve the traditions and culture he valued to a certain degree but because of his more modern outlook, some parts of the original heritage were forgotten over time. But this is a cost every society pays when it evolves into something new as it leaves behind some of its past elements to embrace something better. There can be a difference of opinion over the fact that the changes were good or not but there is no doubt that change is necessary as stagnation is the mother of corruption.
So, Aang’s choice to give up a pacifist ascetic lifestyle stands to be justified as he had a greater purpose to fulfil. If he hadn’t done so it would have been suicidal for the world, since Ozil would have wreaked havoc unchallenged. Moreover, if he hadn’t married Katara and had children with her, he would have brought the extinction of his own culture and also his love for Katara would have remained unfulfilled. It is only because of him that Air Nomad culture was preserved and flourished once again. There is certainly no doubt that his choices did to a certain degree led to the loss of some parts of his heritage as well, but in the long run, he stands vindicated for his decisions.
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