You, the Parent, and the Children

A lot of questions are pending from readers regarding parent/child relationships and Sanatan Dharma.
“I am down with frustration and depressed,” says a mother. “I am facing hardships and miseries due to my in-laws,” says a wife. “My children are not listening to me, I am worried about them,” says a father. “My parents are rigid, outdated, and a real pain in the ass,” says a son.
Let me ask a question: Who performed the last rites (Anteyshti) of Krishna?
To this day billions (not millions) worship Krishna. He had nearly 80 sons and some daughters. But no one was with him during his death. Puranas say Krishna’s dead body was lying somewhere in the forest and the last rites were performed by his friend/ cousin Arjuna. The cremation ceremony was attended by just a few tribals only. What happened to Krishna’s children? They fought and killed each other. Attackers enslaved the women – wives, and daughters.
You also know about Prahlad. His father Hiranyakashipu was an Asura king of the Daityas. You know that, right?
What does these incident tell us? Please try to interpret/analyze yourself. Think objectively. You can explain it to yourself. My personal views doesn’t matter here.
According to Hindu scriptures, parents are responsible for bringing up their son/daughter till their Upanayana (which means the introduction into any science or initiation ceremony). After Upanayana the son or daughter would go for studying at Gurukula (educational institution) depending on their Varna (profession). They have to work hard at Gurukula to learn. After learning, they get married and start a career.
“Uday, I have struggled a lot to make money. I sacrificed my entire life for children. Now they have put me down. I am all alone and suffering with multiple issues…” a complaint from a father and another similar one from a mother.
What’s the point in showing sympathy or empathy or solacing with hollow words? I said: “If you have taken care of children with love and passion, the happiness out of it is your sole reward. If you’ve done with expectations, well, it is a trade or business. Unfortunately, in your case, the trade/business is failed…”
You don’t OWN your children. Did they ask you to bring them to this world? It is a result of your actions. So you are responsible for your children during their childhood. Provide them with food and education. If it is a daughter, make sure that she is getting adequately educated to be financially independent. Let children work hard, earn their livelihood and create wealth (Artha).
It is said that nature (Parabrahma) is your teacher (Guru). Hence the proverb, ‘Guru Sakshal Parabrahma’. Nature teaches you everything.
Have you ever watched a butterfly struggling to emerge from its cocoon? The butterfly’s wings become strong when it tries its own. If you try to help it come out of its cocoon, it won’t have strong wings to fly and will die. Nature shows us the importance and value of struggle in offspring’s growth and development. If you want your children strong and beautiful like a butterfly, you should let them struggle.
At eighteen, they legally attain majority. Then they are independent, free, and equal individuals like you. In today’s world, it is more so. If you don’t accept it, well, you belong to the dark ages! What’s the point in worrying about them? Shouldn’t we let them experience and learn about life? The setbacks will make them strong.
What do the scriptures teach us about Purushartha (Purpose of life)? Remember my previous Broadcast? Create wealth Dharmically and use it to fulfill your Kama (desires), then only you get Moksha.
If you create wealth (Artha) for your children and provide them with all comforts and pleasures in life, you are refraining them from performing their own Dharma – that is, creating wealth for themselves and fulfilling desire. Is it Dharmic? Think.
By sacrificing yourself, you’ve also done a great injustice to your own body (nearly 100 trillion living cells that make up the human body) and mind – so you must be ready for the result of bad karma.
So, don’t complain again that you’ve sacrificed for children. Think clearly. Wasn’t it a result of your karma? Wasn’t selfishness towards your children fueling it?
The scriptures teach us that once the children attain maturity, the parent must follow Vanaprastha Ashrama Dharma (fulfilling our duty towards society). We must then share what we have (time, wisdom, skill or material wealth, whatever) with the needy society.
Look at today’s world. The joint agricultural family system is fast fading. We see that only a few children take care of their parents with love and affection. Most of the children do it out of fear (of karma results) or moral cowardice (what society might say). Some of them may need parents as unpaid servants to take care of their homes and children. For the most, parents have become a burden. Hard facts, eh?
In fact, Hindu Ashrama Dharma is literally followed in a modern, progressive, and developed world. You can see there that older parents are mostly living with their friends in a community and not with children. Today or tomorrow we will have to follow suit – whether we like it or not whether it is good or bad. Yes, we don’t have social security systems in place in India – but in due course, it has to come. Till then somehow you have to take care of yourself and your spouse if he/she is dependent on you.
However, we can’t go blindly as per the scriptures. We know that Dharma changes as per Desa (location), Kala(time), and Patra (individual). Hence, we cannot generalize. Situations are different for different people.
For instance, in the event of physically challenged children or bedridden parents, humanity demands care. You can’t escape that.
For others, our ancients told us to see and experience the world. Don’t be a crying baby at this age. You’re not dead yet. Use your wealth to fulfill your desires Dharmically. Then earnestly pursue Vanaprastha Dharma. It should make you happy.
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