Chapter 6.3 from "Study Circles for Divinity"
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6.3  FAMILY

WISE SAYINGS FROM DIFFERENT FAITHS

"For God said, "Respect your father and mother, and whoever curses his father or his mother is to be put to death". But you teach that if a person has something he could use to help his father or mother, but says, this belongs to God, he does not need to honour his father. In this way you disregard God's command, in order to follow your own teaching."   Jesus Christ

"Haven't you read the Scripture that says in the beginning the Creator made people male and female? And God said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and unite with his wife, and the two will become one' So they are no longer two, but one. Man must not separate, then, what God has joined together."    Jesus Christ

"Since we can never fully repay the debt of gratitude to our glorious ancestors, let us live in such a manner that our living may be an honour to the departed dead."  
 
Zarathustra


"Many a good deed is done by the mother, or the father, or any of one's kin so kind; but a still greater service is done to man by the well-directed mind."   
 
Buddha


FROM DISCOURSES OF SAI BABA

FAMILY - A SCARED TRUST

Hold all your property and wealth in trust for the Lord who gave them to you; even your family, you must treat as a sacred trust, as persons given to you by the Lord to love, foster and guide. Thus, you must elevate your attachment into worship and make it an instrument for spiritual progress. (141264)

The family is essential for the blossoming of human personality; how can the helpless baby grow and learn, talk and move forward without the home? The home needs the community around it to keep it safe and happy. Even a bird in the bush cannot survive isolation from its kind. Man has to expand his knowledge, his emotion, his sympathies, his love. Expansion is Life, expansion is Love. (040273)

Marriage is a sacred bond and it is a promise you are making to each other because wife is half of the husband and husband is half of the wife. Half plus half equals one. Half plus half is not two but one. Before marriage you were an individual 'I' and she was an individual 'I'. Now, 'I' plus 'I' becomes 'we'. You are not 'I' but 'we'. In all difficulties, all joy, all sorrow and in all the pleasures of life, you are not individualised. When husband gets into trouble, the wife shouldn't think 'he' but 'we'. When she gets into trouble you mustn't think 'she' but 'we'. This is the real sacred promise. (251277)

The family is like a chariot. Husband and wife are horses. Righteousness is the charioteer. Family or the bundle of worldly desires is the path and enlightenment is the goal. Thus the horses, namely the husband and the wife, can lead the chariot of life to enlightenment if they follow the path of right conduct. (SSB 74,64)



MOTHERS AND WIVES

I want of you mothers to be a Queen of your household. The Queens watch the world from the inner apartments of the palace, through interstices in the walls or enclosures, they can see, but they are safe from other eyes. That is the highest women's duty, as laid down in the Sastras; you should not be seen or talked about; you must be away from public gaze; you must be silent invisible partners, inspirers and teachers.

If you desire that others should honour you, you should honour them too. If others must serve you, serve them first; love begets love; trust engenders trust. (120963)

Establish the status of the mother in the home, as the upholder of spiritual ideals and therefore, the teacher of the children. Every mother must share in this effort - the expansion and steady manifestation of the God-consciousness latent in every child.Children are the crops growing in the fields, to yield the harvest on which the nation has to sustain itself. They are the pillars on which the foundation of the nation's future is built. They are the roots of the national tree, which has to give the fruits of work, worship and wisdom to the next generation. (100774)

The ideal for woman is the status of the faithful wife, the loving mother. This right conduct is very laudable. The Indian ideal of marriage is that the right half is the husband and the left half of the same body is the wife; husband and wife are complementary parts of the same unit. When Shankaracharya challenged the famous ritualistic scholar Mandanamishra for an intellectual duel, the judge who was to hear the arguments and counter-arguments and decide who has won, was Udayabharathi, the wife of Mandanamishra, himself a contestant. The other contestant agreed to this! Imagine the faith that they had, not only in her intellectual eminence, but more than that, in her utter impartiality and integrity. (180466)

Women should take to the right path. Then men will also take to the right path. Because the woman can be a leader, she shares half the body of the man. She can change the men either today or tomorrow if she has good thoughts. So women should inculcate compassion, love and sacrifice. There is no quality greater than sacrifice. (191195)

Women have to cultivate the qualities of sacrifice and detachment, of virtue and wide vision, so that they can lovingly transform their mates and children into seekers and aspirants, on the way to success. (080771)



FATHERS AND HUSBANDS

Men have to think today that they should not make the women shed tears. They should respect and revere them. Then only there will be prosperity and happiness. Wherever the women shed tears, that house will go to ruin. Men have to carry on their lives by respecting and revering women to the extent possible.

A women is like a field, while man is just like a seed. If we do not have a field, the seed cannot sprout. For all life on earth, woman is responsible. Great people, great saints and even great Avatars have come into the world because of the help given by women functioning as mother. Thus the strength of woman is really very sacred. (SSB 78,120)

Observance of Righteousness is the sign of manhood. Everyone must engage in tasks infused with righteousness, while putting into action the goals of human life of right action, wealth, desire and liberation. As faithful action is for women, celibacy is for men. Just as women should consider one person and one person only as her master and husband, man too has to be faithful to one woman and one woman only, as his mate, his wife. (Dharma V 41)

But, let me tell you that married life and being a householder will not bar your way to Realisation. Look upon the wife and the children as a sacred trust, and serve them in that spirit. Prepare yourselves for a celibate and spiritual discipline from the age of fifty; the five senses have to be mastered, by the time five decades of your life are over. (210271)



RICHEST INHERITANCE

Children must be given every facility to develop the divine talents that are in them. Parents must feel that they are servants appointed by the Lord to tend the little souls that are born in their households, as the gardener tends the trees in the garden of the master. They must arouse the latent goodness in these tiny hearts by telling stories about the saints and sages of the past. They must see that children do not develop fear and become cowards afraid of walking straight. (250758)

Children should have the love of parents. The child should grow with the mother for the first five years of life. Many children do not know what the love of the mother is like. The mother should not hand over her responsibility during those years to someone else and be called simply "mummy" as if she is some doll with which the child likes to play. Now, the children of rich and 'educated' parents are severely handicapped. They are deprived of the love and care of parents. They are handed over to the care of servants and others, and they grow up in their company and learn their vocabulary and habits and styles and thought. This is very undesirable.

When a boy is five years old, the father has to take up the task of bringing him up. Then, he must be entrusted to a Spiritual Teacher; the Teacher must teach him a standard of value with which to deal with the family, the village, the country and mankind. (190562)

It is the duty of parents to set children on the right path from their early years. They should not hesitate to correct them and even punish them when the children take to wrong ways. The best way they can show their love for their children is to do everything necessary to make them follow the right path. (050284)

Parents today tend to lavish too much affection on their children. But such affection alone is not enough. There should be control also over the children. There should be both 'love' and 'law'. Only when both love and restraint are present will the love prove beneficial. For all the evil habits of children, who are naturally innocent and uninformed, the parents are primarily responsible. They do not make any efforts to teach proper ways of behaviour to the children.

It is up to parents to teach the children to cultivate right attitudes and moral qualities. To encourage them merely to get on in life is not proper. Parents should feel happy only when they see their children leading blameless lives, acquiring a good name and behaving properly. ( )

It is an unfortunate fact that today ninety percent of the children are spoilt by the parents themselves. The parents do not exercise timely control over the children. If the wrong actions of the children are corrected then and there, they will grow in the proper way. The parents should show no indulgence towards children who go astray. It is misplaced affection to let erring children go uncorrected. (060587)



ATTITUDES OF PARENTS

Before getting married each of your love was separate. Now all of your love will come together and blossom for the better. Marriage means your life, a whole lifetime together, not just a few days, or a few weeks, or a few years. Marriage means one's character. Marriage is not like changing one's bush shirt. Marriage is an eternal bond.

When a child cries it is given sweet meats. In the same way for human beings, who are governed by the senses, God has created this Union of Marriage so as to satisfy them. It is for self-control that two individuals get married. Selflessness is God. Or, self which is selflessness is God. To feel mine and thine is ego. Ego is very harmful. It is to kill the ego in us that two souls are brought together so they can learn to adjust to one another and forget their egos. Mutual understanding is very important for marriage. Both of you have got to understand each other. Do not think in the past; let bygones be bygones. There might have been misunderstandings but don't regret over it. Don't anticipate the future because we do not know what the future will be. Live in the moment and do one's best.  (251277)

Why blame the boys and girls that they do not respect the elders or obey their parents or believe in God or adhere to high principles of character? The elders are not providing them examples to show that those traits of character are useful or valuable or essential. They themselves do not know the secret of happiness; they offer to guide the children in the darkness, but their torches have no cells! (230461)

Today the parents give unlimited freedom to their children which is highly disastrous. If the children are not controlled at the tender age, they can never be controlled. (SSB 93,109)

You have to propagate the idea of God in every street. You have to see that everybody follows the right path. There is no easier path. So the feminine principle is something good, virtuous and wonderful. It is only when the woman is good, that children of India will also become great. If the nation has to prosper, the mother and father have to improve. So we have to increase the sense of peace and harmony in the world. (191195)

The Vedas declare that the mother and the father have to be revered as Divine; they must consider the children too as Divine, and foster the blooming of the Divine Principle. Whether one is doing it sincerely or not can be left to each one's conscience. You are the best judge of your sincerity. (020771)

ATTITUDES OF CHILDREN

The parents have to be worshipped as visible representatives of the God-head; they are responsible for your very existence and for all this joy and adventure in the physical and spiritual spheres. For this reason they have to be tended and respected and worshipped.

The parents gave you this body and fostered the intelligence and love that are embedded in it; so, gratitude is their due. If you do not honour the parents who are the creators in human form, how can you learn to honour the creator in Divine Form? Moreover the parents reveal to you the glory of God and the means of worshipping Him; they are the first representatives of authority which you meet with, authority modified by love and care. Learn to bend before that authority and you will learn how to submit to the Lord. As the twig is bent, so the tree is inclined. (180466)

If you honour your mother, the mother of the Universe will guard you against harm. If you honour your father, the father of all beings will guard you. This is as true as the fact that if you honour your parents, your children will honour you. (190864)

Love for the mother has to be fostered by everyone. Today this love is prompted by greed  -  desire for wealth and gold  -  than by spontaneous affection for the mother. Barely one in a million realises that he owes his food, blood and life itself to the mother. Whoever she may be, a mother is verily divine. (060587)

Revere knowledge as you revere your father; adore love as you adore your mother; move fondly with righteousness as if it is your own brother; confide in compassion as if it is your dearest friend; have calmness as your better half; treat fortitude, as if it is your own beloved son. These are your genuine kith and kin. Move with them, live with them, do not forsake or neglect them. (091064)

It is obvious that most of us have to live normal family life, but it is not a life in which you should be wholly immersed. It is not Samsara (family) that follows us all through. It is the samskara, the purity, that you have achieved. (060587)


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