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Question: Morally, we are supposed to obey our parents for several reasons, we owe them a lot. Is there any point where it is okay to defy them and take an independent decision going against their will and liking, when does this realization come?
Acharya Prashant: See, it all depends on how one looks at herself.
Parents, spouse, relatives all are representations of the body in the world. Whose parents are we talking of? We are talking about parents of the body because that is what they give birth to — the body!
So, one could say — I am the body;
one could say — I am the mind; or,
one could say — I am silence, “I am That”.
For sure, I am not identified with the body or the mind and what I am about that I would not like to venture to comment. But, one thing is certain — I am not ‘terribly’ identified with the body.
If, within you, are not deeply body-identified, then outside you, cannot be too identified with your parents. The ‘body-identified’ person will surely be deeply identified with those who are connected to his body.
With your husband or wife, you have a relationship of the body. Now, if you are body-identified within, then you will be identified with your husband also, outside. Within, you are identified with your body; outside, you are identified with the husband because with the husband you have a relationship of the body. Same with parents, the parents gave birth to you — the body. The parents must be as important to you as your body is. And what I am saying works both ways. They have to have a certain importance because for you, your body has a certain importance – you take care of it, you feed it, you maintain it, you walked on your legs to come to this place. So, the body has a certain importance. To the extent the body has an importance, parents too have an importance. But, there must come a point when you have to say that ‘In these matters I cannot listen to the body’; or, doesn’t there ever come this point?
You are sitting over here and your back might be aching a little, would you listen to your back? You know there is something extremely important, you really know, it is your dharma. And just as you’re about to engage in thick action, the body suddenly cries out — I am hungry, I want food; I am sleepy, I want sleep. Would you listen to the body?
But, you do listen to the body in the normal course of life, you do not unnecessarily punish yourself, or do you? If the body says I am thirsty, you give it a glass of water. You have no reason to unnecessarily quarrel with the body, right?
But, when it comes to the really important things in life then you cannot listen to the body, or do you? Similarly, when it comes to the really important things in the life, you cannot listen to your parents. In small matters, it’s alright. They want you to make a cup of tea, why must you go on a hunger strike? They want you to come back home a little early, to have dinner with them, why not? Have a harmonious relationship, sit with them, talk, discuss.
But, if you know you’re doing something right and important, almost like a spiritual duty, and then if parents try to interfere, you cannot listen to them. If you’re still listening to them, it only proves that you are a terribly body-identified being. You cannot see beyond your body and hence you cannot see beyond your parents. These are not happy omens. What one learns from here is that your life would be then dictated by the material because the body is material. Are you getting this?
The body-identified man would be identified with parents, with wife, with husband, with son or daughter, with relatives; mostly with people with whom there is a relationship of blood or body.
Mothers come and say — we cannot go, we have to take care of our kids. And it becomes clear that it’s anyway useless for them to go because who is talking? The body is talking; who else does bear the kid. Obviously, the body gave birth to the kid, and now the body is saying “My kid, my kid”. So, with this kind of an attitude, even if you go, it won’t help you.
“My wife is not allowing me” – what really is the relationship between you and your wife? Metaphysical love? Transcendental union? – you very well know what is the relationship. It is just that you know sometimes the testicles matter more than the heart! And when I see that it is nothing but a pair of testicles talking to me, I do not carry that conversation for long.
Wife! Wife! Whose wife? What do you mean by wife, really? Without the testicles, had there been any wife? So, you might be speaking from your mouth, but I can see from where the words are coming. The big gong is talking!
Man’s sexual nature and the fact of his attachment to parents are one and the same thing. They are very much the same thing. Morality keeps them as opposites. If you talk to a moral mind, he will say that the relationship with parents and the relationship with wife are different. But if you talk to a spiritual man, he will tell you they are the same thing; both are body-centric relationships and hence it is alright to call both of them as sexual relationships.
Man’s journey from the beginning till the end as a body is nothing but a sexual journey. In fact, those who have known, have clearly said that the child’s relationship with the mother is a deeply sexual relationship.
But, the moral mind squirms to hear this. He says — “No! Sex is something that you do with a woman of your age. The child is so small and the mother is offering unconditional-divine-love to him, how can there be a sexual relationship. Sex is bad, dirty. What non-sense are you talking? Do you see only sex everywhere? Look at the compassion in the mother’s eyes, do you see sex there?”
Yes sir, it is sex! You may call it compassion or passion, but it is that. That is the reason why the fellow who is so terribly attached to the mother takes no time in being equally attached to the wife when the wife comes. And then the wife and the mother-in-law fight. From one sexual relationship you have moved to another sexual relationship. And the new woman is younger, she wins in most of the cases, right?
But, here in India specially, we have this strange thing about men who are 20 years old, 25 years old, 30 years old being ‘terribly’ attached to their mothers.
Get a girlfriend, your mother is a poor substitute for all that. Or, get the Gita! Even the girlfriend is a poor substitute for that.
How long will you run after the body?
When you really have a loving relationship with anybody then that relationship is not dependent on your blood relation, on relationships of the past. Then you don’t look at your mother as someone who gave birth to you or raised you or nourished you or cleaned your clothes or fed you. Then you don’t look at your father as somebody who gave you protection and education.
When you can forget that your father is your father then there is some possibility of Real love between you and your father.
When you can forget that you mother is your mother only then you can probably, really, relate lovingly.
Don’t you see what is happening? You are not asking me a question. You are asking me to validate your inner rebellion.
Some part of you already knows what I am saying; what I am saying is not at all new to you. But you wanted this thing to be validated from the mouth of some kind of an authority. You are using me, otherwise, you know, very well know. If you are being strangulated, if what you know is right is not being allowed to happen by the authority of your parents, then you already know that things are not right.
When you know something is not right then rise up. Have the honesty and the courage to act. Don’t think you are going against your parents.
Everybody is on a journey of learning in this life. When the parents will see that the daughter is doing something truthful even if she has to go against the pressure applied on her then they will learn something about life. By accusing to the unfair dictates of your parents, you have prevented them from learning an important life lesson.Let them learn this lesson, let them know that the Truth is bigger than the body.
When somebody who is attached to you via the body, sees, that the command of the body is no more being followed by you and by the other person, then all of a sudden he realizes the tremendous power of Truth. He sees — that there might be an entire past of many decades connecting me to this person yet when the Truth shines then past has no meaning.
Your relationship might be of sixty years, but one moment of Truth, one glimpse of Truth obliterates all those sixty years. In the language of morality, this sounds like being disloyal, does it not? “That one moment of some god-damn realization and you forgot our age-old real relationship! Is this your fidelity? Is this what our relationship means to you? So cheap!” Tell them — “yes”. One moment of Truth is bigger than sixty-years of any relationship or sixty-thousand years.
You say that morally we are supposed to obey our parents. Which scripture of morality are you trying to quote? And it would only be a document of morality that can say such a thing. I do not know where the Upanishads are saying that the parents are bigger than the Truth. Show me one place where the Upanishad say that when it comes to choosing between the parents and righteousness; when it comes to choosing between the body and the Truth then you should go with the body, show me one place! Show me one place where the scriptures tell women that taking care of your baby is more important than listening to the Teacher. But we claim ourselves to be spiritual beings; we do not see that we are doing is obviously against the scriptures. We are violating and disrespecting the scriptures at every step.
The scriptures talk of only one father and that father is not made of soil or bones or skin. You are talking of parents, right? You are talking of morality, and I am talking of spirituality.
You have only one Father. When Jesus says — my Father commands me to talk to you. Which Father is he referring to? The partner of marry? We all have only one Father. The other father – whose name you keep quoting, whose name you keep filling in all the forms – is a very secondary father. He is not even a surrogate father. He is father only in name.
You have only one Father and only one Mother, both rolled into one. Know that ‘One’. And if you know that ‘One’ then it is quite likely that you can do justice even to your earthly parents; otherwise, we all know that our relationship with our parents is mostly of frustration. Even this question is born out of frustration.
The one who is devoted to the Real Father is likely to have a loving relationship with the physical father also. But if you ignore the Real Father then the father on earth is of no use, no value.
So, be very careful when you use the term ‘parents’. If you are a body then your parents are just physical beings. But, if you can see your Real nature then you will also be able to see your Real Father.
Be devoted to the Real one, the rest will follow. All your other relationships will then be Real and loving.
The first has to come first. It cannot be supplanted.
L1: Why does the earthly father hate the Real Father?
AP: Because the Real Father is the Real one. In front of the Real Father, the earthly one stands no chance. He has been saying: “My son, my son, my son,” for so long. And when the Real one comes, whose son? Son, whose son?
He is the Father of all fathers. In fact, this is a very common observation — the earthly father will hate the Real father; the earthly lover will hate the Real Beloved. Wives are terribly angry when husbands go to Krishna, very angry, just as the spurious one is angry at the Real one.
In fact, that is one way to test the love of the wife. If the wife spurs you on, supports you when you are moving towards the Truth, then you should know that she loves you, but if you are moving towards the Truth and the wife becomes jealous and possessive, then you should know that she already knows that she is fake and false.
Just a couple of days back, I had emailed you, how Tulsidas’ wife — Ratnavali, she had told him that you are so attracted to my body of flesh and bone, had you been really so devoted to Ram, then you would have crossed the traps of this world. Now this wife is a Real wife, she really loves the husband. She is saying “Don’t come to me,” she loves him so much. The false wife will tell to the husband — “Come to me, come to me, stay here! Don’t go to the Truth!”
The Real beloved will send you to the Real beloved and that is the only mark of the Real beloved.
The false lover tries to bring you to himself.
The Real lover tries to bring you to the Truth.
The false lover tries to bring you to himself, and misses both Truth and Love.
The Real lover forgets about himself, and tries to take you to the Truth, and he gets both Truth and Love.
The world of Truth is a strange world. Here, you get so much if you are prepared to drop; here, you gain everything when you surrender.
When the wife surrenders the husband, she gets a lover.
But most wives do not want a lover, they want a husband. In fact, if the husband is too loving, they become irritated — I am washing the utensils, can you please postpone your love for two hours, and by that time the neighbour would have fallen asleep, the kids too would have gone to their room. Too much love is too much sweetness, it is diabetic!
If you really love somebody, do not make yourself important for that person.
Let the Truth be important.
That is the action of Love.
~ Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.
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