Father-Son Relationship

Father-Son Relationship

Kalacakra Krsna das

Dear Vaishnavas,

Hare Krishna. Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva.

One of the basic impetus for progress in our life is the relationships that we have with various jivas like mother, father, children, sister, brother, aunt, uncle etc. But in the current world scenario, where everything is moving very fast (towards hell), mutual relationship among us gets a heavy beating. Forget about the extended relations, the close relationships like parent-child relationship becomes too clumsy due to lack mutual respect and care. A recent research study has found that those children who have better relationships with their parents fare well in studies, job and all other areas whereas those with strained relationships and broken marriages do not perform well in their area of work.

Again getting a solution for this crisis is possible only when we turn to the pages of Srimad Bhagavatam. In the 13th chapter of 3rd canto, interaction between Lord Brahma and his son Manu is worth meditating upon to understand the sublime nature of a father-son relationship. In SB 3.13.7, we can understand how to behave as a son from the respect-filled statement of Manu to Lord Brahma,

tvam ekah sarva-bhutaanaam / janma-krd vrttidah pitaa
tathaapi nah prajaanaam te / shushrushaa kena vaa bhavet

"You are the father of all living entities and the source of their subsistence because they are all born of you. Please order us how we may be able to render service unto you."

The lesson we can understand from Manu is that as son (children) we should be eagerly waiting to receive the order from our father (parents) and be willing to serve them at all costs. We always think that we can get anything we want from our parents when they are hale and healthy and financially able to supply our needs, but when they are old and dependent on us, we consider them as burden and disrespect them. But our original duty, beginning from the time of Brahma is reiterated by Srila Prabhupada in his punching statement in the purport - "A son's duty is not only to make the father the source of supply for all his needs, but also, when he is grown up, to render service unto him."

In reply to this respectful statement of Manu, Lord Brahma replies with all sincere blessings to his son as follows  in SB 3.13.10:

etaavaty aatmajair veera / kaaryaa hi apacitir gurau
shaktyaapramattair grhyeta / saadaram gata-matsaraih

"O hero, your example is quite befitting a son in relationship with his father. This sort of adoration for the superior is required. One who is beyond the limit of envy and who is sane accepts the order of his father with great delight and executes it to his full capacity."

Srila Prabhupada to 3.13.9 in this regard is worth meditating upon for lifetimes. He says, "If the son is unreservedly willing to be guided by the father, the father is ten times more eager to instruct and guide him by all means. The father and son relationship as exhibited here in the dealings of Brahma and Manu is excellent. Both the father and the son are well qualified, and their example should be followed by all humankind. Manu, the son, unreservedly asked the father, Brahma, to instruct him, and the father, who was full of Vedic wisdom, was very glad to instruct. The example of the father of mankind may be rigidly followed by mankind, and that will advance the cause of the relationship of fathers and sons."

Two points to note here in the above verse is that

1. 'gurau' not only means 'Father', but it means 'unto the superior'. All elders should be given the due respect and more specifically guru means spiritual master. Hence even if we are not able to respect all the elders (which is mostly the case in the current age), we should at least follow the orders of our spritual master and father at all costs.

2. shaktya  means 'with full capacity'. sa-aadaram means 'with great delight'.ie., we should try to fulfill the orders of our father/spiritual master with full capacity and with great delight. We should be joyful in executing their orders.

The concept of nuclear family is very common among the current generation. The parents live in a separate home (most often in the old age homes) rejected by their children and the grown up sons and daugthers live separately fully occupied with their daily chores. In this scenario, there is hardly any chance for the children to listen to the wisdom of their parents. The children act according to their own whims and end up being exploited by the cruel world. This danger is looming large over our heads and all those sons and daughters of today will soon because fathers and mothers tomorrow. If we are wise enough to understand this precarious situation, then we will sincerely take the lesson from the example of Brahma and Manu and try to practice it with our own kith and kins for a better tomorrow.

Thank you very much
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Kalacakra Krsna das