No matter how wise and intelligent people may be, there is discord at home: father and son, husband and wife, mother-in-law and daughter-in-law, and brothers and sisters are often at loggerheads. People tend to want things their way. That is the root cause of family discord. It is also the main reason for all political and professional differences.
However good a family may be, wealth drives a wedge between brothers. One begins to find fault with the other. This shatters the fabric of the family business, causing it to slide from riches to rags. If one lets go, there would be peace.
There are many such family issues. So, the only way to get peace is to cultivate wisdom, understanding and to know the glory of God as he is. One should realize that one is atma, worship Parmatma and believe that he is the all-doer. All the pleasures and pains one experiences are due to the will of God. With such understanding there is no misery.
It is the ego which is at play in all quarrels. Even if one is not at fault, one has to forgive and forget.
One should also cultivate samkhya understanding, otherwise there will be no peace.
Gunatitanand Swami rightly says that only right understanding leads to happiness. If one has it, even the poor feel happy, and without it even the rich feel ill at ease.
When does such understanding remain? Daily satsang and reading of our religious texts will solve all problems. We should also turn the mala, worship, visit the mandir and hold ghar sabha for harmony in the family. Ghar sabha is a cure for all discords, but this is not understood. Even if there are verbal duels, hold ghar sabha and sit together.
Parents spend money for their sons and daughters, but they have not reached their hearts. Parents don’t spend time for their children to share their thoughts and listen to them. This distances both father and son. So, when he grows up, he tells his father to leave home.
A boy once told his mother to ‘get out’ of his home. The mother said, “My son, do you realize what you are saying? I have brought you up and educated you by putting in hard work and by grinding grains to feed you. Now I have grown old. You should care for me. I have spent a lot of money bringing you up. And now you want me to get out?”
The son was educated, so he said, “You breastfed me. So just tell me how much I have to pay for the milk?”
If this boy had been brought up in a religious environment and persuaded to give up bad company, he would not have asked his mother to leave home. He would have thought of serving her, knowing that she had brought him up and fed him, while she herself remained hungry at times.
When we were kids, our mother washed our nappies and fed us, while going hungry herself. We cannot imagine how much she suffered. Is it fair to disown our mother when we have grown up?
This would not happen if parents take care to know their children and share their thoughts. Children should develop affinity towards parents. Such feelings are developed through satsang and ghar sabha.
Men tend to care more for their spouses after marriage. They should care for them, but there is a family too. It is their duty to care for their parents when they fall ill. A wife refuses to live with her mother-in-law. Where would the old go? You too are going to grow old, and will be treated likewise. You should spare a thought for this.
Ghar sabha and daily satsang are the sure cures for this.
Fathers also don’t get the respect they deserve. The son treats whatever the father says as nonsense. The father spends money to raise and educate the son, and in that the father’s wisdom is negated.
This is the scenario we have today. The only way out of it is satsang, ghar sabha and spiritual discourses. If the family members sit together, even for half an hour and hold ghar sabha, this will slowly change the atmosphere at home.
Every morning should begin with puja, worship and a visit to the mandir. Then, begin your work.
After dinner you should sit together to read our spiritual books and worship God. You should narrate stories from the shastras and share news of each family member’s difficulties and successes; how they tolerated and cared for their family. Then only you learn to pass through such times remaining united.
We think that happiness lies in riches, whether it is money, bungalows, cars, flying by plane or going abroad. That is mere materialism. Unhappiness lies in not cultivating a spiritual understanding. We may have all the riches but without such an outlook, we end up having verbal duels. We lose respect for one another and family unity dies. This would not happen if we talk lovingly to the children. By sharing both mealtimes and worship with the family, love and respect grows for one another. There would be no disputes. We should try to know each other’s problems.
God is the source of all peace. If we take refuge in him and worship him together, there will be no differences. We should sit together at least once a day. But we don’t even have time for that. Some waste time till late evening by dining out, taking drinks and eating meat, so how can there be peace in the family? So we should respect all the spiritual injunctions.
Ghar sabha is very important. But we find it tiring because it is often the same spiritual stories. Yogiji Maharaj used to relate a parable about a farmer. He had a small farm on which he grew only grams. So he had to eat grams in a variety of ways. Once, he didn’t have his lunch. By evening he was very hungry. He asked for food. His wife served the same food. The husband got angry saying, “The same food?” The wife said, “You have only grams to make both dal or roti. It is only with this that you will be able to satisfy your hunger.” So, we speak of worshipping repeatedly, but that is the only thing which will bring peace and happiness. When you take ill, and take medicines, you get well slowly. It takes a few days or even months. You have to follow the regimen.
So worship is the only way to resolve all differences. That is for all. Everyone in the family should make it a point to put an end to discord in the family and hold ghar sabha. Worshipping God has that magic.
Results are not attained overnight. There are members with different natures. You cannot change the nature overnight. It’s not that easy. It takes time and patience.
All scriptures prescribe daily satsang. It does not help to get cross with each other. It is only with love and understanding that we can find harmony.
We honour the injunctions Matru devo bhava, Pitru devo bhava. But how should one deal with their temperaments? Often a person’s nature only dies with them. So the children question, “How long do we have to bear with them?” But our culture emphasizes tolerance. You might argue, “How long?” I would say till we leave for Akshardham. We have to thank our parents for bringing us up, feeding us and educating us. We should not forget this and should be grateful to them.
So we have to develop understanding. If we take the nature of a person as it is, there would be no problems. Ghar sabha educates us on this.
Extracts from blessings by Pramukh Swami Maharaj
Translated by: Kaushik Joshi