Respecting Parents

15th Dec 2010
Vinayasheel devi dasi

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev.

I was listening to our beloved Gurudev's lecture on BG 2.14 and thought of jotting down his nectarean words for the benefit of all.

mātrā-sparśās tu kaunteya śītoṣṇa-sukha-duḥkha-dāḥ
āgamāpāyino ’nityās tāṁs titikṣasva bhārata

O son of Kunti, the nonpermanent appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception, O scion of Bharata, and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed.

Above verse is a solution to three fold miseries. If we think carefully, we have no solution to adhyātmik, adibhautik and adidaivik kleas (problems). The only way to face them is to tolerate them. And same is told by Krishna herein that all the happiness that we get in our life and all kind of distress as well is temporary. They are to appear and disappear just like summer and winter season. So we should learn to tolerate them. This is a very important word in this verse: "Learn".

In this age of Supercomputers, we have learnt everything to earn our bread and butter. People around are still busy in learning new things to quench their thirst of knowledge. But actual application of learning lies in practicing them. Today Parents teach their kids all academic knowledge. They also teach them some mundane moral etiquettes. They are concerned in teaching them some extra curricular art, sports and many more things as per their own interest. But they forget one thing. They forget to teach their kids, how to face the problems of life, which is the most important lesson to be learnt. Kids learn on their own as and when they get good or bad experiences. This is Kaliyuga. A child without training is thrown into the world of miseries. The child's struggle starts as soon as he enters school, leaving the shelter of his parents even if it is for 3 to 4 hours a day. The child starts learning many things on his own. As soon as child is out of house, he is out of control of his parents. So what do parents do at this stage? They cannot monitor them 24/7. Here vedic culture comes into picture. Unfortunately today's modern families have forgotten small netegrities of it. Vedic culture is to train child in scriptural injunctions. Vedic culture is to enlighten the child about possible problems out there in world and the technique of facing them. As above verse in Bhagavad-gita clearly states that there is no solution to certain problems, only we can do is tolerate them. This is the knowledge that needs to be given to the new generation so they no more go into depression, anxiety or any other adhyātmik klea which can be result of adibhautik klea or adidaivik klea.

To give a real life example, I had a friend in school who had topped in school right from class 1st to class 10th. He was bright student in class with no competition. In class 12th however he scored very less marks, thereby affecting his career plans. His ego was totally crushed and dreams shattered as he was not used to failure. He went into depression and lost few years of his life in recovering through it. Recently I met him and he told me that, this incident was responsible for delay in his settlement. I just thought, how helpful it would have been, had he known about tolerating these problems. Just one verse from Bhagavad-gita would have helped him to cope up with this incident. I also learnt, how today's parents are failing in grooming their kids to face problems of life. Spiritual knowledge is very important to make a person strong from inside.

Srila Prabhupada in the purport of above verse says in first line itself that, "In the proper discharge of duty, one has to learn to tolerate nonpermanent appearances and disappearances of happiness and distress." Maharaj said, "This is the punch line of purport. If one has to get rid of attachment and hatred, i.e raaga dvesha vimuktaistu, then one should do his duty and forget about it. In this way one will not be worried about the result and get detached from it. We should do our duty properly and leave the rest to Krishna and depend upon His mercy. When we travel in aeroplane, almost 35000 feet high, who protects us? It's Krishna's mercy that we land after taking off. So we should concentrate on our duty, and do it sincerely. Sincerity is a must."

Then Maharaj stressed upon the point of discharging duty towards elders/parents. He was very much particular on this. He said, "If you are staying at home, you really help your father to the best of your ability. Father will bless you like anything. As it is, father and mother, they bless. But if the son is assisting them, then the blessing comes from their heart. The first thing we do is ignore our father and mother. That is the modern way. Know that we are fortunate enough to be with those souls. You will not get father and mother anywhere. Rest everything you will get but you will not get your father and mother anywhere. That's why you should respect the elders without any second opinion." Maharaj further said, "I become very very upset when kids disobey their parents. What have the father or mother committed offence to kid? Why should a child not obey his parents, when all they wish is good for the child? A father takes so much of efforts to earn and make a comfortable living for his family. A child is ought to be obliged and feel gratitude for his father. In return he should obey his father without any argument. A grown up son, should provide comfort to his old parents. In this way, Krishna also becomes pleased.

Everyone goes through non-permanent appearances of happiness and distress. But at the moment we have less distress due to Krishna's mercy. So we should help the people who are suffering from the non-permanent happiness and distress. That is Bhagavad-gita. Otherwise it has no meaning. This sentence is very powerful - "In the proper discharge of duty, one has to learn to tolerate nonpermanent appearances and disappearances of happiness and distress." Prabhupada says, 'in proper discharge of duties', not haphazardly. Wherever you are, do your duty. There is famous saying in Hindi: bhaago mat jaago. We should be awake regarding our duties. We should not run away. If we are sick, or have an accident then, we have to tolerate. Our body is younger than elders. Elders go through various bodily pains. They find it difficult to tolerate because their body is failing. They are moving towards end of their life. Time runs against us as we grow older. So please wherever you are, don't neglect the elders. Do your duties properly. So Krishna will like us. We should always stand on our toes to discharge our duty. We should be ready on our one toe. Because body is healthy now."

Maharaj repeatedly insisted, "Wherever you are, be sincere in your duty. In the material world those who are carrying Krishna with themselves, they are above masses. We don't hate anybody, we are not attracted to somebody. We don't unnecessary exploit anyone. If someone is depending upon me then I will not pay heed to him. that is material way. For devotees exploitation is absent. This should come out of our behavior."

Gurudev concluded with the instruction, "When you are alone, meditate on these purports."

I pray at lotus feet of Srila Gurudev, Srila Prabhupada and Krishna to give me strength to tolerate all kinds of miseries and I discharge my duties sincerely and never disobey my parents even in my dream.

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev
Vinayasheel devi dasi
Dalhousie, Himachal Pradesh.