Responsibility towards parents || Acharya Prashant (2014)

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Speaker: You see you’re young. Right? If you love somebody, do you want to chain him or her?

Listeners(everyone): No, Sir.

Speaker: Even a pet dog. Do you like to keep the dog in a closed room all the time or do you let it be free? Do you want the dog or caged bird to follow your wishes? Or would you rather have it fly, on its own? If you really love it, if you really know love, do you want to become a master, a controller? Would you say that take my permission before doing all this?

Listener 1: Sir, then why our parents do this to us?

Speaker: You maybe a parent but you are a man or a woman first, a person first. Just because you’ve become a parent, doesn’t mean that you have suddenly gained wisdom. You are what you are. It’s your culture that has taught you that just because a man or a woman is a biological father or a mother, he becomes worthy of reverence. Look at yourself, I mean you are grown up men and women. Accident may have it that you become a father or a mother in one year time. Will that mean that you have suddenly become enlightened?

Listener 1: No.

Speaker: Now how would it feel? Look at the fellow next to you. How would it feel if he or she becomes a parent and the kid starts worshiping him. The kid says, ‘He is a God because he is my Papa.’ (Listeners laugh) Now you maybe a papa, but you are what you are. Are you worthy of respect, really? Look at your neighbour’s face, and he is a papa. And the kid is saying, ‘God!’

If I really love someone I would try to share what I have. And as adults it is your responsibility that if you really love your parents, you should share the truth with them and not let them continue in darkness. You see there is this amusing story of this woman Gandhaari. Right? You know Mahabharat?

Listeners(everyone): Yes.

Speaker: The husband is blind. What does she do? She says, ‘I will put on a blindfold all my life.’ Now is this love?

Listeners(everyone): No.

Speaker: This is absolute stupidity. (Listeners laugh) Now, why must you do the same with your parents? If the parents are unable to see something, it is your responsibility to help them see the Truth. If you really love them, you will tell them, ‘I am no more 10 years old.’ And when I say that you tell them, I do not mean in a violent way. You will help them see the facts. You will not let them continue in their illusions. That is the action of love. To help the other one to come to the Truth. But I am asking you that is it really about your powerlessness in front of your parents, or it is just that you have become so used to certain comforts and privileges that you do not want to get rid of them? It is the comforts and privileges that are more important not the love for parents (Speaker chuckles). We need to honestly ask ourselves this question. I am not alleging anything, I am just prompting you to ask yourself this question.

Listener 2: The main problem is,  ‘What if we go wrong?’ Meaning, we have a feeling that may be we will go wrong.

Speaker: What do you mean by going wrong?

Listener 2: As in we will end up making mistakes.

Speaker: What do you mean by ‘mistakes’? Somebody said that something goes wrong. How do you define a ‘wrong’ or a ‘mistake’? What do you mean by ‘wrong’ or ‘mistake’?

Listener 3: Sir, harm to us.

Speaker: What kind of harm?

Listener 3: Something unexpected.

Listener 4: Any mental or physical harm, anything.

Speaker: Physical harm?

Listener 4: Any mental or physical harm.

Speaker: Let us be just reasonable. Let us just be reasonable. Sit on the internet, collect data about people who go on unplanned forays. Let us say unplanned holidays for four days. Look at the case study of fifty or hundred such people and find out how many of them met physical harm. And if you find that it is happening in one out of four hundred and fifty cases, then you know that there is a less than one percent probability. Let us just be reasonable. That one percent probability is there even while sitting in this hall, even while driving your car, even while watching a cricket match. That one percent probability is always there. People have died in very curious manners, in very unexpected situations. So that probability, that faint probability of dying is always there. You may as well get a heart attack right now and collapse. Who knows? Let’s just be reasonable.

Listener 4: Sir, that is why I said mental and physical.

Speaker: What do you mean by mental harm?

Listener 4: I mean everybody needs a little bit of guidance. And uh…

Speaker: Alright! So if you don’t get that guidance what will happen?

Listener 4: Sir, we’ll be heartbroken if we don’t get such a thing. For example, if we attach to something and we don’t get that, we will be heartbroken. If the person doesn’t have any guidance to help him through?

Speaker: Clarify that. Suppose you want something.

Listener 4: Yes.

Speaker: Right!

Listener 4: And if you don’t get it.

Speaker: Right!

Listener 4: You’re heartbroken.

Speaker: Right!

Listener 4: You obviously need some guidance to get you through that.

Speaker: Then take guidance. But guidance is not permission.

Listener 4: That is guidance is from…

Listener 5: He means moral support.

Speaker: No, that’s a different thing. See, you want to study engineering. You get into a particular laboratory. You do need the assistance of the lab staff. You get that. Where is the question of permission? And do you start worshiping the lab staff?

Listener 5: But, the experimentation needs permission.

Speaker: Yes, because the machine is outside of you and somebody else owns that machine. So you need a permission. But when it is your life, when it is your own life then? Obviously if you want to go somewhere using somebody else’s car, then you need take a permission. No doubt about it. If you need to use somebody else’s machine in the lab, you need to take permission. But I am talking about ‘life’. Now who owns your life? Tell me that. Who owns your life?

Listener 6: Parents.

Listener 7: Sir, we are someone else’s kids.

Speaker: Yes, right.

Listener 7: So then?

Speaker: For example, I own this mike. You own your mobile, you own that pen on the table.

Listener 8: Sir, the parents have been with us when we needed them, when we were two-three years old. We didn’t know that the pen is owned by…

Speaker: Wonderful! So what does that mean? What is your responsibility now?

Listener 7: To help them.

Speaker: To help them!

Listener 8: Maybe after fifty years, when they get old, they will be needing us.

Speaker: What is your age?

Listener 8: Twenty years.

Speaker: Twenty. Do you understand, that you are a fully grown up man? Do you understand that? They helped you. Wonderful! They did. So what is your responsibility now? To help! And how does one help an adult? How does a man help another man? How does he help? By acting like a kid? That you keep on supporting me. Is that how you help your parents?

Listener 8: I’m not talking about support, Sir.

Speaker: By always seeking permission? Is that how you’re helping them?

Listener 8: I’m not asking for the permission. But you’re saying that if we go on a learning camp for four days without, you know, that is being irresponsible.

Speaker: Wait! I am not yet saying anything. I have clarified that I have no ‘should’ and ‘should nots’. I am talking about the relationship between your parents and you.

Listener 7: Sir, we’re all linked to each other.

Speaker: Yes, that is what I am talking of.

Listener 7: Parents will also get harmed.

Speaker: Understand this. We are talking of help. There are two adults, how does one help the other? And they claim to love each other. And we wish that they love each other. Now how do they help each other? By one remaining parasitic, by one always clinging and the other commanding. Is that a helping relationship? Is that a loving relationship?

Listener: No.

Speaker: And remember, one is not two years old. One is twenty years old! This is the month, March. When Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev were hanged. Do you know what was the age of Bhagat Singh? Twenty one was when he lobbed that bomb. And twenty-three was when he was…

Listener 6: Hanged.

Speaker: Your age! And he was an adult!

Understand this. First of all, we are not eight years old anymore. And if you keep yourselves dependent, surely that is not love, that is some kind of selfishness, some kind of convenience that you are after, some kind of material gain. In real love you do not bother what will happen to you. You say, ‘If I love you, I cannot let you remain in illusions.’  You will not say, ‘ My mother has all these concepts, beliefs, so how can I disturb her?’ You’ll say, ‘No! Because I love her, so I will go and sit with her and I will say that let us talk like an adult talks to an adult. I cannot let you be in misery. I cannot let you be in darkness.’ I will not say, ‘Oh! She’s my respected mother. How can I talk to her like this?’ You must talk to her like this, if you love her. That’s what love does. Love is not about keeping each other blind. See, I have come to you. What is my responsibility? To let all of us float in a dream world, so that our illusions are not shattered, to preserve our falseness. Is that my responsibility here? Or is my responsibility to help us see better?

I do not know because you are the one in the hot seat. It is your relationship. You need to find out. You need to figure out whether it is really love or something else. Because love doesn’t bother for petty things. It’s not one’s convenient dependence over the other. It is not at all that. You need to look sharply, be very attentive. Not have prejudices in mind. Forget for a while that you are meant to behave in such and such way and just look at the facts. And then it will be all very, very clear. Initially you might feel a little uncomfortable because you have never done this earlier but later on you will find that you have accepted, that you are mature now. You must accept your adulthood and maturity. And in fact, later on you may find that even your parents are thanking you.They are saying, ‘Thank you for bringing this to us.We are glad that we are your parents.’ But that happens only in one out of thousand cases. (Everyone laughs)

In other other cases, the son is hell bent that I will be a Gandhaari, blindfoled love. That is what happens in the other cases. It requires the courage of a Bhagat Singh to break all illusions. You know chicken-hearted people? If you are adamant about remaining that, then remain that. You are on the hot seat. Your life. I can only indicate a particular way, Right?

Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yog’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session video: Responsibility towards parents || Acharya Prashant (2014)

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