WHY FOLLOWING DEVOTION NEGLECTING PARENTS IS WRONG?– CASE STUDIES!
Following devotion neglecting parents is wrong and I never support such attitude of leaving old parents without care to follow devotion.
This happens in many devotees in most of the centers of devotional practices.
The attitude of a (late) Sankaracharya, Sri Chandrasekarendra Swami of Kanchi Kamakodi Mutt, near Chennai, is the best example to be quoted here.
(How should a devotee face the ailments and deaths of Parents & relatives? READ HERE!)
Let me give these two incidents in his career as acharya/ head of mutt:
INCIDENT – 1:
Swami announced a scheme called Handful of Rice (Pidi arisi – in Tamil) Scheme.
The organizing youth should daily go to every home in their area and beg for a handful of rice to be donated to them into a sack that they carry.
The people cooperated and donated just a small handful of rice to the visiting organizers everyday.
They collected the rice like this and cook and fed the poor in the mutt.
Once an old brahmana couple came to the swami who had camped in their area.
They prayed to the Swami like this:
“Swami, you have instructed the youth to collect the handful of rice everyday from the nearby residence. My son goes to collect everyday and he does not help us even in the basic duties of the son. In this old age, I have to do all the works related to the family. Why do you engage our son in this service without advising him to help us also?”
Swami seriously felt for those parents.
(Can I take my parents, wife and children to Krishna’s Kingdom Goloka? READ HERE!)
He immediately begged pardon from the parents with folded hands:
“I am sorry. It was my mistake not having advised the youth to help their parents and family duties first and then go for collecting the rice. Please forgive me. I will advice them accordingly. Don’t worry.”
Immediately, he instructed all his followers to finish all their family duties first and then go for collecting the rice after getting permission from their parents.
Thus, he established that one should take care of their helpless family members and then serve for the Lord and society.
INCIDENT – 2:
A rich person one day came to meet that Swami. As Swamy had Divya Dristi, he had understood why that rich man had come to him. As 100s of devotees were assembled there, Swami called him as the last person.
That rich man told him:
“Swami. I was going to take part in the marriage of Sri Venkateswara Swami (Tirumala, Tirupati) and Padmavathy in a ceremony in Tirumala temple that is performed every year. So, I am taking many jewels and donations to offer there. On the way, I came to you to have your darshan. Please bless me”
(My parents object my ekadasi fasting. What to do? READ HERE!)
Swami smiled and said:
“First help for performing the marriage of Padmavathy.”
That rich man was confused. He asked: “Swami…Why do you say like this? How can I perform marriage for Padmavathy without Venkateswara?”
Swami said: “You will understand very soon just when you go out of this room”
The rich man offered pranams and left. When he went out of the chamber, his younger brother was coming fast into the ashram for the first time. He asked:
“Hey brother.. Why are you coming here?”
His brother said: “Just to have the darshan of Maha Swami”
Both of them came to Swami. The rich man asked Swami: “Swami… You told me that I will understand when I go out. But, I met my brother only. Why did you ask me to perform marriage of Padmavathy?”
(What to do when my parents criticize me for Vaishnava appearance and devotion? READ HERE!)
Swami smiled said: “Don’t you remember that your brother has a daughter and he is struggling to perform her marriage due to poverty?”
Then, the rich man realized that her name was also Padmavathy and she is not yet married and she is crossing her age year after year.
He asked swami: “Swami… I realised the meaning of your statement. What shall I do now?”
Swami concluded: “First help for the marriage of this Padmavathy who is struggling in poverty within your family circle. You can attend the marriage of Padmavathy and Lord Venkateswara later. Allowing the poor Padmavathy to struggle for marriage, if you attend the marriage of Padmavathy- Venkateswara, the Lord will not accept it. First help your family members including that Padmavathy who are also devotees. That is why, Lord has given wealth to you – to help the needy”
The rich man realized his mistake of not caring the daughter of his brother (who is like his daughter) and later helped for performing her marriage.
(My Parents do not allow me to go to ISKCON. What shall I do? READ HERE!)
This is the Divya Dhrishti of that Swami. Those who follow strict brahmacharya and sanyasa will have Purity and Divya Dhrishti.
He could have advised that the rich man’s brother and daughter are struggling because of the karma and hence he need not help them and he can attend the marriage of Venkateswara-Padmavathy and please them. But, He did not advise so. He first advised to care the persons within the family. Simultaneously, to help for the service of lord also.
This is the satvic and right mindset. If you have this type of ADAPTIVE MINDSET, you will respect all people and help them.
Your parents gave birth to you, fed you, protected you so far, gave you education, etc, etc. If you leave them in their old age for following devotion neglecting parents, where will they go?
You may say that Krishna will protect them.
(Can a working girl be a sincere devotee and take care of her parents? READ HERE!)
Even giving you for them is the arrangement of Krishna to keep them safe in your hands. Do you expect that Krishna should come in person and protect them? Then, why should Krishna give the relations?
I have been telling in our posts: Only Attachment is to be avoided. Not the duties. Unless the parents have any other person to take care of them, it is the duty of the son or daughter to take care of the parents.
Following devotion neglecting parents is not at all recommended. Following devotion even while performing your duties for the parents and family is the best suggestion for devotees. Do them as your duties without developing attachment with the relations.
Detachment should not prevent you from performing your duties. Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita two important points:
(i) One will not incur sin by performing his assigned duties;
(ii) One will not escape from sins by abandoning his assigned duties.
(I like to quit marriage as I love my parents only. What to do? READ HERE!)
Without knowing this fact, some devotees escape from their duties and make his family suffer. I too lost so many things in my personal life just because of performing my assigned duties! But, Krishna gave Himself to me in a subtle way. I feel His presence in all the turn of events and I also feel satisfied now for not having escaped from my duties to my parents. Now, after the demise of both my parents, Krishna is pulling me into His service more and more even by escaping me from death last year.
This is the way how Krishna acts if you follow devotion and perform assigned duties without attachments.
My simple advice is:
Follow devotion as sincerely as possible and also continue your assigned duties.
Nothing else! Please do not forget this throughout your life.
(KARMA : PUNISHMENTS FOR HURTING OTHERS AND DESERTING PARENTS! READ HERE!)