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Celibacy/Abstinence/Why parents should be treated with respect



I wish to ask you a question regarding treatment of parents:

You have often said that parents should be treated with respect, and should be treated well. You have also said that the debt parents give to us by raising us should be repaid to them once we achieve the self. There are several points I wish to give you in response to your claim. I do not mean to be impertinent or rebellious but I merely want clarification.

1.) Parents give birth to us and raise us primarily for selfish reasons. They give birth to us not as a duty to god, but primarily because they wish to increase their prestige in society and have their son or daughter fulfill certain obligations and become a prestigious member of society. Because parents have so many desires locked in their children, they constantly impose certain requirements in their child to become a "certain something;" through constant criticism and scolding, parents can make a child timid and weak and lack self-will. If the child does not fulfill certain expectations, the child is ignored and not loved. If he fulfills expectations, the parents may love him but then desire more from him. Parents also wish to raise children to collect upon them retirement. Once the parents retire, the parents often depend on the child.

2.) Parents develop an emotional attachment to the child and wish to use the child to support themselves emotionally. If the child wishes to realize the self or pursue the self, the parents attempt to squash any indication of spirituality in the child so to force the child to console them in old age and whenever the parents feel lonely. This is not love because it does not involve selfless giving but it rather involves emotional attachment. It is comparable to the love between husband and wife; it is merely emotional satisfaction gained by the company of another without much concern's for the other's priorities.

3.) Parents are hypocrites. They live their young lives in opulence and live in a licentious way in their youth, and through passion, they create a child. Then they expect a child to abide by certain codes, even the same codes that they themselves did not abide by in their youth.

4.) Parents obstruct the way to the self and prevent the child from achieving the self by trying to force him to marry and making him worldly. They don't understand spirituality, sattvic nature, or anything related to god and religion. If they hear the word, brahmacharaya, it makes them very scared.

5.) Sri Ramakrishna has said that if a mother or a father stand in the way of the self, then they are not parents at all. Swami Sivananda has said that I have had millions of mothers, fathers and parents in previous lives, and parents are unreal. I have no mother; I have no father; I have god and god only and he will help liberate me and give me self realization.

Why then, should parents be treated with respect? They are selfish, cunning, manipulative and emotionally attached to the child and prevent him from realizing the self. It is selfish love, such as the love between a man and a woman.

I wish to treat my parents in a certain way. If they say something foolish or stupid or not conducive to self realization, they should be ignored or ridiculed. If they say something that is true or correct, they should be respected. One should not blindly respect someone who is foolish at times; otherwise, he will stumble and make mistakes.

ANSWER: 1. While these traits in a parent are the result of 'Agnyana' (ignorance), the fact that the two Jiva-s (parents), knowingly or unknowingly shouldered the responsibility of bearing and rearing the child does not change. While they themselves might not know it, parents are the medium through whom the Lord ensures continuation of the race and thereby evolution (journey towards the Atman).

Had one's parents not taken such a responsibility, one would be unable to acquire a physical body to work out Prarabdha karma. Without working out karma, realization of the self is not possible. And the Jiva which has not realized the self is ever unhappy & incomplete, not being itself.

Therefore, one must always see the Lord functioning through one's parents, and show respect, with a sense of duty and a feeling of Love, whatever be the individual nature of the father and mother.

2. It is one's own past karma, the result of Agnyana which stands in the way of realizing the self. There is not such a force, with form or formless, anywhere, outside, which stands in the way of realization. The issue is within and not without. When one negates the ignorance within, realization occurs all by itself.

Self-realization is not attained by learning something new. It is the result of letting go of identification with what one is not (the body & mind). Hence, none are to be blamed for lack of it, for it is an internal matter and not external.

3. Marriage or the lack of it has no connection with the state of Brahmacharya or self-realization. It is not that all those single succeed in Brahmacharya, nor that those married cannot achieve the state.

4. If one's parents are not supportive to his practice of Brahmacharya, it is one's own past doing, which has taken the form of nonsupporting parents. Hence, it is for oneself to win them over with dedication, love and understanding.

5. Even if one's parents as individuals exhibit base traits, it is something concerning those Jiva-s, the karma of which they will have to answer. Why should you reciprocate at the same base level, thereby polluting your state of being, when one's true state is that of Love, forgiving and silence? He who knows the code of conduct and yet indulges in hate is lower than those indulging in base thoughts/deeds without knowing the code of conduct.

There is a higher power, which is running the show, watching all, knowing what should be done, to whom and when. Do your Dharma and be quiet, remaining free from hate, anger, disdain and bitterness. All Jiva-s are progressing towards the self, at their own pace, in the way required. It is not in one's business to be judgmental about other's when there is much work unfinished, inside.

ॐ तत् सत्
(That Supreme being is the absolute truth)

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: In the world, there are many who try to manipulate the Jiva. Manipulation, domination and cunning are necessary for worldly success and simply surviving in the world. Parents try to manipulate me as well; my father, for example, wants to take my salary to pay off his expenses and take a vacation. He used the excuse of "I am your father. I raised you and deserve your money." Everyone in this world seems to use rhetoric and bogus moral causes to get what they want from others. My parents use the vedic injunctions and various codes to manipulate me and prevent me from pursuing the self. Everyone is the world is a wolf that tries to kill others to get what they want. Indeed, the world is a jungle and one must constantly guard himself. No one can trust anyone else.

You seem not to understand the nature of others. One cannot win over his parents for the practice of Brahmacharaya through love, dedication, and understanding.  First of all, love is bondage, do you not understand that? Love for parents is anther word for attachment. Second, showing my parents love will not win them over, it will further bond them with me, and increase their amount of worldly influence in my life. One must use cleverness and diplomacy to survive in the world for the sake of yoga; not doing so will lead to others, specifically parents, manipulating me. Trusting parents is like a lamb trusting a lion.

If one is about to be manipulated and will be exploited to a point to where yogic practices may be threatened, can one use worldly cleverness to survive?

ANSWER: Realize the truth first. The meaning of love will later be known.

ॐ तत् सत्
(That Supreme being is the absolute truth)

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------


1.) Can one show an external reaction of anger and confrontation in normal interactions? That is, is it alright for one to be externally aggressive but remain internally silent on the inside? One shows a fit of anger, but feels no anger on the inside. I normally have an aggressive personality.

2.) It is very difficult to control these feelings of disgust, disdain and hate towards my parents. My mind highly dislikes them. You say one must show respect and duty towards one's parents. What does this mean?

3.) I keep convincing myself that I must deal with these parents so my remaining karma can be worked out. Is such an attitude fine?

Eagerly awaiting your response, sir.

1. One should enact the role as required, with the necessary external reaction, as warranted by the situation. One should however remain internally calm and completely detached, without the least anger. Also, one should not harm or hurt another.

2. The one feeling disdain should be gradually annulled.

3. Displace the Ego which is the source of negativity, through residence in the self. All will be well

ॐ तत् सत्
(That Supreme being is the absolute truth)


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Questions concerning the practice of 'Brahmacharya' to know the self, & the means required are dealt with here.


The term 'Yoga' is a derivative of the Samskruth verb 'Yuj' which refers to union. 'Yoga', also called 'Brahma vidy‚' is the eternal dissolution of the individual 'Aham' (Ego) into the Atman (self) for 'Mukti' (liberation). Mere indulgence in '¬sana' or physical postures is not Yoga. ¬sana is only one limb or 'Anga' of Yoga. The eight limbs viz. Yama, Niyama, ¬sana, Pr‚n‚y‚ma, Praty‚h‚ra, Dh‚rana, Dhy‚na and Sam‚dhi are the means to Yoga. Brahmacharya or spiritually based continence is one of the important components of 'Yama'. 'Brahmacharya':- "Brahmani charyathey ithi" - "To surrender one's Ego and go with the will of the Almighty."


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