HOME - SWEET HOME
The home is a temple where each member of the family is a moving temple and is nurtured and nourished. The mother is the high priestess of the House of God. Humility is the incense with which the house is filled. Reverence is the lamp that is lit with love as Oil and Faith as wick.
Home is heaven when there is Love and understanding and the same becomes hell when there is distrust and hostility. The home and the family is the basic social institution everywhere in the world. When the home improves, the whole world will be better.The home where the name of the Lord is not heard is a cave and nothing more. If the home is filled with clean fragrance of contentment and peace, all its occupants will be happy and healthy. The elders have, therefore, a great responsibility towards the generations that is coming up.
That home, where the husband and wife are bound together by holy love, where every day both are engaged in the reading of books that feed the soul where the name of the Lord is sung and His glory is remembered, that home is really the Home of the Lord. The homes in which the Bal Vikas children grow, as indeed all homes, have to be clean, with vibrations free from hatred, envy, greed, spite and hypocrisy. The food that the child eats must be wholesome and pure. Between the ages of two and five, the child's mind is profoundly affected by the behaviour of those nearest to him, so the parents must take care to set a good example.
The family is essential for the blossoming of human personality; how can a helpless baby grow and learn, talk and move forwards without a home? Home is the dwelling place of Right Conduct. A home is a home if the woman is honoured and respected within it. Such a home is the heaven of prosperity and peace.
In former times, the tradition and custom in our homes was, when women were pregnant they used to listen to sacred stories, to fill their minds and hearts with pure and holy thoughts, thereby creating in the foetus "the purest vibrations". In contrast, women of today when they are pregnant prefer to see three films a day and hence, the babies born are inclined to "cinema children" possessing all low and vulgar propensities. The ancient sages knew this truth. No wonder that the children born under such conditions had noble nature and heroic virtues.
Children do not come to you, but through you. Parents must feel that they are servants appointed by the Lord to tend little souls that are born in their households, as the gardener tends the trees in the garden of the Master.
First and foremost, you should show gratitude to your parents. Your blood, your food, your head and your money are all the gifts of your parents. You do not receive these gifts directly from God. All that is related to God is indirect experience. It is only the parents whom you can see directly and experience their love. So consider your parents as God. God will be pleased and will manifest before you only when you love and respect your parents. Once when Sita was teaching how to worship God, Rama intervened and said, "Oh simple minded one, who is greater in the world than the mother and the father? They know our difficulties and needs. They are able to understand our feelings. They are able to fulfill our wants. Having such known entities who take interest in your welfare, why should you go after unknown entities?" At all times, the parents are looking after you. You have to worship them. The mother can be compared to the earth and the father to the seed. Unless the seed is sown in the earth the plant will not sprout. You cannot ignore the father and mother who are responsible for your birth and growth.
A mother is God's nursemaid and the duty of a mother to her children is God's Grace and this Grace is God's monthly salary to her. For lakhs of students and children who go to school, the mother is the first teacher. The first Guru is the mother; her example, her advice, her admonition affects man the deepest and the longest. Women should realize that, irrespective of their education or position, their foremost obligation is to protect the home. Women are the mothers of the coming generation; they are the teachers of that generation, during the first five years of life, The Dehamatha must reveal to the children the glories of all the other four; so her responsibility is the greatest and the most crucial. Establish the status of the mother in the home, as the upholder of spiritual ideals and, therefore, the Guru of the children. Every mother must share in the effort-the expansion and steady manifestation of the God-Consciousness latent in every child. The mother's lap is the school for every man. Only, dedicated mothers can offer to the nation who will strive for a great future for the country. A good mother is a national asset. The mother is the most decisive factor in life. A child's future is moulded by the mother. Mother is given utmost importance in human life. There may be a wicked son, but not a wicked mother. It is because of the noble feelings of the mothers that sons become virtuous, intelligent, attain exalted positions and earn name and fame. It is the mother that holds the child with her hands and it is the mother that feeds the child and teaches, it how to eat. It is again the mother that teaches the child to utter meaningful sounds and to speak. Therefore the mother is the foremost teacher. The feminine is the foundation on which a peaceful world is to be raised. When women are true and brave, kind and compassionate, virtuous and pious, the world can have an era of peace. There is nothing in the world sweeter than the love of a mother for the child. It is said that love has no form. But love has a form. The mother, who loves her child, expresses the form of love.
Rama's divinity blossomed under Kausalya's loving care; Lava and Kusa could become powerful and famous, due to their noble and virtuous mother Sita the love and care of Jija bai made Shivaji a great warrior, Fostered with the love of his mother Putlibai, Gandhi became a Mahatma. Is there anyone in this world who can take care of you the way your mother does? Amma (mother) is the first word that man picks up in life. The first letter of the world 'Amma' also happens to be the first letter of the alphabet.
Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was a noble soul. He was born in a poor family. He was living with his aged mother. He used to feel very sad seeing his mother wearing old and torn Saris. After he completed his studies, he took up a job and started earning some money. One day he sat by the side of his mother and said, "Mother, please tell me if you have any desires. Now that I have started earning money, I am in a position to fulfill them". She said, "Son, I don't have any desires. It is enough for me if you lead a noble life". After some time, he got a better job and started earning thousands of rupees. Then again he asked his mother to tell him if she had any desires. She said she had three desires and could not live in peace unless and until they were fulfilled. "Ours is a small village and there are many children who are wasting their time without going to school. So, please construct a small school out of the money you have earned." As per the wish of his mother, Vidyasagar got a school constructed in his village. Then he asked his mother to express her second desire. "Our villagers are suffering for lack of medical facilities. There is nobody to take care of them when they are affected with fever, cough or cold. So, I want you to construct a small hospital". Vidyasagar built a hospital too. Then after some time, he asked his mother, what her third wish was. She said, "The villagers are suffering due to lack of drinking water. They are being affected with various diseases as they are drinking polluted water". Immediately, he got a few wells dug and provided drinking water to the villagers. Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar spent all his earnings to fulfill the desires of his mother.
Easwaramma also had similar desires. Once she told Me, "Swami, our Puttaparthi is a small village. As there is no school in the village, the children are forced to walk long distances to attend schools in the neighbouring villages. I know that You are the ocean of compassion. Please construct a small school in the village". I asked where she wanted the school to be built. She said she had a piece of land behind her house. She wants the school to be constructed there. As desired by her, I got the school constructed. Though it was a small school, the inaugural function was a grand affair, attended by many devotees. The next day Easwaramma expressed the happiness over the inaugural function and said that she had one more desire. She wanted a hospital also to be built in the village. She said, "Swami, I don't want to put You to trouble. If You are troubled, the whole world will be in trouble and if You are happy, the whole world will be happy. So if it gives You happiness, please construct a small hospital." As per her wish, I got the hospital constructed. Bejawada Gopal Reddy, a highly reputed person in those days, was invited to inaugurate the hospital. The inaugural function was a grand one, attended by thousands of people from the neighbouring villages. Easwaramma did not imagine that this would be such a grand affair. Next day, she came up to Me and said, "Swami, it does not matter even if I die now. I have no more worries; you have fulfilled my desires and mitigated the suffering of the villagers to a great extent." I said, if you have any more desires, ask Me now. She replied hesitantly that she had yet another small desire. "You know that the river Chithravathi is in spate during the rainy season. But, in summer it dries to a trickle and people do not have drinking water. So, please see that some wells are dug in this village." I told her that I would not stop with these small wells and that I would provide drinking water to the entire Rayalseema region. Easwaramma said, "I don't know what Rayalseema is. I am satisfied if our village is provided with drinking water."
Fathers who allow their sons to go astray are not real fathers at all. Prahlada declared: "He alone is a father who tells his son: Child, realise God. He is a true Guru who leads the disciple to God". The heart of the father who fosters the child and develops his personality is also sweet. While there are lack of fathers who can guide their children on the right path and set before them some lofty ideals, some parents preach high ideals, but they cannot correct their own children at home. Who will listen to their sermons? It is easy to speak, but difficult to practise. The father symbolizes Vishnu as the protector.
It is the mother who teaches you the sacred principles like love, compassion, forbearance, tolerance and sacrifice. Mother shows the father, father takes you to the preceptor and preceptor directs you to God. That is why among mother, father, preceptor and God, Mother comes first. The earlier years of life are the most crucial, and so mother and father have to share the responsibility of proper upbringing. The parents must lay the foundation strong and straight. The child must grow with the mother for the first five years of life. When a boy is five years old, the father has to take up the task of bringing him up. The father must encourage the son by example more than precept.
The father and mother must supplement at home the training given by the teacher at school. They must acquaint themselves with the lesson the child receives at school and see that their conduct and advice do not conflict with what the child learns from the teacher whom he adores. Children must be led into good ways of living, into simplicity, humility and discipline. All parents must be persuaded lovingly, through the example of bright, cheerful and co-operating children in Bal Vikas classes, to send their children also to these classes. Teachers should not be content with merely teaching the children. They should contact the parents and ascertain how they are behaving at home. Knowledge can be given by the teacher; however, the discipline, the rigorous control of the senses and behaviour must be administered by parents. Then the children become sacred souls, holy, sanctified individuals.
Children have unselfish love; they are innocent onlookers; they observe the actions of the elders and learn their lessons from the home much earlier than from school. So parents have to be very careful in their behaviour with the children and between themselves. Mother and father are the first examples of social behaviour that the child sees before it learns to imitate.
Unfortunately, today because the parents themselves have no purity of character and lack refined qualities, and do not lead regulated lives, evil practices and wickedness are growing all over the world. When the parents get up from their beds abusing each other, their children get up assailing each other. Because of the malefic effects of the Kali age, parents tend to be quarrelsome. Fathers are behaving like Hiranya Kasyapu. Because of such parents, Bharat is witnessing the spread of unrighteousness and evil practices.
The parents themselves are not competent to guide children; they dote on them and do not know how to correct them, they have reprehensible habits and ways of life. They smoke, play cards, gamble, drink and fight in the home. They utter falsehoods, talk, scandal, boast and slander, in the presence of the children. How then can they lead their children on right lines? You will have to persuade such parents to mend their ways and be inspiring examples, rather than enemies and obstacles. See that the atmosphere of the home is free from hatred, pride, slander and greed; see that Love is the flywheel of the home, that faith in God is the bedrock on which relations between members are built.
I must give the elders-the parents who are in large numbers some advice. Do not set bad examples for these children to follow. If you are truthful, calm under provocation and full of love in all your dealings with others, these children too will grow up in Truth and Righteousness, Peace and Love. If you tell your son when you are actually at home, and someone is calling on the telephone to reply you are not at home, you are sowing a poisonous seed which will become a huge tree. Let me tell you a story to illustrate the danger of such small beginnings. A mother carried her son on her shoulder when she went to the market. A woman with a basket of fruits passed by her; the child lifted a banana from the basket and started eating it. The mother noticed and when she was told that he had cleverly lifted it from the basket of a passing fruit seller, she complemented the son on his smartness. This made the child indulge in petty thieving and picking pockets as he grew into a boy and in actual house breaking and dacoit. Once during a dacoity, he even committed murder and when he was caught and failed, he expressed a wish to see his mother before being hanged. The wailing, weeping, desperate mother was brought before him. She was sobbing at her son's fate. The son asked to come closer to him; suddenly he tried to strangle her and the guards separated them. The son said, "She deserves the punishment; for it was she who brought me to this doom. Had she reprimanded me when I stole a banana when I was a child of two years instead of complimenting me, I would not have fallen into this evil way".
In the tender hearts of the children, there is much potentiality of devotion and attachment to higher ideals and objectives; this can be developed and cultivated, by you. Do not think that they do not know anything; that you can direct them any way you wish. This is a mistake. Recognize the great potentials of the child; adopt such methods as the child himself must suggest or indicate. Help the child to reach Godliness and become aware of its high destiny. Do not presume that the child is some inferior personality or that is incapable of attaining the heights.
Parents are concerned solely about the material welfare of their children and have no concern for their moral and spiritual well-being. When a child is born, the parent�s desire that he should be educated, sent abroad, encouraged to make as much money as possible there by whatever means. This is all that they teach their children. This is all that they teach their children. People today earn money in so many different ways, from begging to dacoity. It is not wealth that is important. Character is primary. Parents do not teach the children to cultivate good qualities. They do not control the children who go astray. They condone the lapses of the children and often encourage them in their bad habits.
It is the duty of the 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. It is only when parents show firmness in dealing with their children that they will develop along right lines. It is because parents and teachers fail to enforce discipline that students behave in most irresponsible ways and indulge in disorder and violence. The father, to teach the child the truth May chide, reprove or beat.
The mother may pinch the cheek To make the child drink the milk Forget not at any time These marks of paternal Love. Doing good deeds, One will never reap bad results; Wickedness will never yield good fruits; Will the neem seed produce mango fruits Or the mango seed yield neem fruits?
When you have to reprimand a child for some misdemeanor or delinquency, do not pounce all of a sudden or terrorize by shouting. Instead speak to them: "If another child did the same to you, or took something belonging to you, or hurt you, wouldn't you feel hurt? When you do not like someone else to do harm to you, in turn you should refrain from doing harm to other". Children will quickly understand and will feel sorry. They will resolve not to repeat such an act or word again. They yield to affectionate advice.
Parents toil to leave their children a pile of riches; but they do not teach them the proper�s sense of values by which they can know how little the riches are worth, and how best to utilize the riches for their genuine advancement. Take the example of Dhruva. His step mother told him that he can win the favour of the king, his father, only through God's Grace which he had to win through penance! So the five year old boy went into the forest and practiced austerities that were unparalleled in the history! As a result of the penance, his desire was so sublimated that, in the end, he declared, "I do not care for royal favour, or even the worldly throne! I shall attain the Kingdom of God; I shall sit in the lap of God". Thus, he rejected the lordship over humans and preferred the joys of being a child of God, with God. The child learns to worship money and things which money can buy; he admires cruelty and cunning rather than sympathy and love. So the home, the school and the society-all three have to arouse themselves to take up this challenge to the future of this great land. Children should be taught to live like lotuses in the lake of worldly life, being in water; yet they will not allow water to enter! Be in the world, but see that the world is not in you. That is the secret of successful living which they do not teach to the young.
Whenever the children go astray, wittingly or unwittingly, parents should hasten to correct their faults and bring them back to the right path. Condemn the wrong and extol the right as soon as you see either in your children; that will settle on the straight path. Today the parents give unlimited freedom to their children which are highly disastrous. If children are not controlled at the tender age, they can never be controlled.
If Gandhi, who was an ordinary person, was able to achieve greatness and world renown, it is because of the lessons in the good behaviour which he learned from his mother.
The mother used to observe a vow she would take her food only after the cuckoo sang in the morning. Once when Gandhi was a boy, the mother was waiting for a long time to hear the call of the cuckoo. Observing this, Gandhi went out of the house, imitated the call of the cuckoo, and came in and told his mother that the cuckoo had sung and she could take her food.
The mother, who saw through her son's trickery, slapped him on the cheek and said, "You wicked fellow, what sin must I have committed to bear a son like you?" She felt sad that such a child should have born to her. Her grief touched the hearts of Gandhi. From that moment Gandhi took a firm resolve never to utter a lie again.
Parents have to combine Love and Law. It is not wrong to love children. But parents should learn how to love them. But parents should learn how to love them. The obligations of parents do not end with providing food, schooling, and knowledge of worldly matters. The children should also be provided with right values. They should be made to think that acquisition of wealth is not the be-all and end-all of life. While teaching with love, there must also be present the aspect of discipline. Discipline must be given to children with their physical, mental and spiritual abilities are developing, so that they can control and reform the mind, desires and senses. It is important for them to develop the ability to control the senses, mind and thoughts and direct them towards God. So, guide the students to learn that the end of wisdom is freedom.
The snake-gourd has to be made to grow straight by tying a stone to it from its tender stage. Likewise, the stone of discipline and devotion should be attached to a boy from his infancy. You must have seen gardens were snake-gourds are grown on raised pandals. When the gourd starts growing, the gardener hangs a small stone at its end, so that the pull may make it grow straight. When it grows larger, a heavier stone is used. So too, according to the age level, the discipline enforced must become harder and harder in order that the child may grow straight forward, steady and strong. The stone shall not be too heavy. Avoid extremes, at all times, in all cases. Disciplinary rules have to be well thought out and adapted to the age group they wish to correct.
The children should be made to develop the habit of getting up early in the morning; by the time the cock crows they should get up. Then they should say their prayers, finish showering or taking a bath, eat breakfast, do their homework and attend the school. They should be good at studies. The child should be trained to cultivate such healthy and sound habits. But unfortunately, the situation today is that the parents themselves do not get up before nine O'clock. They have late nights by attending obscene cinemas or wasting time at clubs. Some parents take pride in this because such a life is the concept of civilization. Parents must bear in mind that the years of youth are the most precious years in one's life, and they should not be wasted or misspent. To let the children watch television from 6 PM to 10 PM is to make them forget all they have learned at school and college. I insist on regulated food and play. Regulate the food habits of the children; food determines to a large extent health and intelligence, emotions and impulses. Set limits to the quantity and quality of food, as well as the number of times it is consumed and the timings. Recreation, has also to be moral and elevating and in the company of the righteous and God-Fearing.
Many parents feed and fondle their children and then, in the name of freedom, leave them to their own friends and pleasures. They take them to films regardless of the impressions they create on their tender minds. They entertain the friends of their children, but do not enquire abbot their background or habits. Children should not enjoy the infliction of pain or be allowed to suffer physical pain and mental anguish. Teach children not to receive anything for nothing. Let them earn by hard work the things they seek. Indian traditions and Indian modes of living are now being fast cast away; crude manners of dress and speech and personal appearance are replacing them; children should be taught to look upon these with disgust, they should know them for what they are aberrations and vulgarities! How can you tolerate the obscene pictures, these posters publicizing pornographic films, this most objectionable type of dress, this brazen behaviour and appearance? Do everything possible to root out this evil. Train the children and the young to remove this blot from the face of Mother India. Even tenth standard students are taking to drink and drugs. The parents are nor restraining them.
Money has to be given its own place of importance. It has to be used in the best way possible. Because you do not make the best use of any given thing, you cannot understand what it is there for. You should, for instance use the power of intelligence to avoid the misuse of money.
Parents are leading children to ruin when they give them all the money they demand, provide them the clothes they fancy, gift them cars or motorcycles to go to places and allow them the license to indulge in every desire. Children should grow up with a sense of amity and brotherly understanding with each other.
Children of rich parents normally have a tendency of lavish and over-spending habits displaying ego and vanity. Their parents pamper them by giving them more money than what is really needed. The children of poor people, will feel an inferiority complex and may nourish feelings of jealousy against their rich class mates.
Children must learn thrift and the proper use of money. When children learn how to use money with care and without waste, the future will be bright.
In every home, a certain length of time must be fixed every day in the morning as well as evening for reading from spiritual books and recital of the Name. Parents and Children must join in singing the glory of God. In fact, all one's time must be dedicated to God; as a first step, a few minutes may be devoted to the adoration of His glory or the gauging of the depth of that Glory. Gradually, when the sweetness of the habit heartens you, you will devote more and more time and feel more and more content. In some houses, parents quarrel in front of their children, which is an unhealthy practice. If there is any difference of opinion among parents, they should resolve it in the absence of their children. Children cannot concentrate on their studies if they are disturbed by family problems. So parents should never discuss problems in front of their children. Consider the life of a house-holder with his wife and children as a training ground of spiritual life. You wear glasses to correct the vision, to improve the sight. Use the opportunities confronting you for developing detachment and self-sacrifice. If you do not, you are the fool who puts on wrong glasses and spoil the vision. Failures are no boulders that block your way, remember they are stepping stones to victory.
Parents ought to advise the children: "Be convinced that there is God, guiding and guarding us". To instill in the minds of the young the value of prayer, humility, and loving service to others, the homes have to be the first schools. The parents have to imbue with faith in the basic universal truth of all religions. They must be seen worshipping at the family altar, meditating in silence, forgiving faults in others, and sympathizing with pain and grief. The children should not see them worried, helpless, discontented, and distressed, as if they have no God to lean upon, no inner resource of strength and courage to fall back on. Every mother must share in the effort-the expansion and steady manifestation of God consciousness latent in the child. Every householder has to uphold the ideals of justice and truth and promote them by his/her actions.
Do not get the work done through cooks, servants, ayahs and others in the home; women must not depend on these, for the care of their children or attendance of their husbands. Earning leisure for Dhyana through these servants, is not a spiritual gain. Do all household work as worship of Him. That is more fruitful than hours of Dhyana gained by entrusting this precious work to paid workers. The children 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 the responsibility during these years to someone else and be simply 'Mummy' as if she is some doll with which the child likes to play. Now, the children of the rich and 'educated persons' are severely handicapped. They are deprived of the care and love of the parents. They are handed over to the care of servants and ayahs and they grow up in their company and learn their vocabulary and habits and styles of thought. This is very undesirable. The father and mother become casual strangers. The mother, as teacher, attends school, leaving of her natural role as the teacher of her own children! This is indeed a tragedy!
As far as possible, the mother must herself should do the cooking, taking only the minimal help from others (servants), if required. When the food they eat is not prepared by loving hands and served with affectionate smiles, the savor disappears and the vibrations are often vile. Mothers must assume this responsibility and not throw it on nannies. Of course, nannies are industrious and sincere. I have nothing to say against them. But, the child that is brought up by the nannies loses the essential fertilizer for growth - Love. The child is denied the most health-giving vitamin-Love. Parents should not be quarreling before children. When parents exchange words, children exchange blows.
Parents must not find faults with others in the hearing of the children or show their hatred or envy of others before the tender minds.
A house holder has to uphold the ideals of justice and truth and promote them by his actions. He must feel the innate majesty of mankind and live in accordance with that high status.
Heads of family have to adhere to the schedule of rites and worship prescribed for them. They have to supervise the behaviour and conduct of all members of the household; they have also to equip their sons and daughters with the processes by which they can have mental peace and equanimity under all conditions.
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 to spiritual progress.
It is not my view that women should not be educated. They should have education. You may also take up jobs. But you should live up to the obligations and duties of motherhood.
If women are to go out for jobs, who will take care of the homes? If husband and wife go to offices who will look after the children? Earning money may solve some problems, but how will it solve domestic problems? Truly speaking, working women do not enjoy much happiness.
Many mothers are worried about the future of their sons if they adhere to the righteous path. They fear that such children may not be successful in life. In ancient days, mothers thought otherwise. They would be immensely happy if they found the children devoted to God. They should feel happy with the thought: �My son will be a good man. He will earn a good name." There are parents who are proud when their children join them in card games or even drinking and gambling; there are parents who get angry when their children read religious books, attend temple rites and sit quietly for a few minutes meditating on the awe and wonder the creation evolves in them. How can such parents claim to be well-wishers of their progeny? They are the greatest foes of their progress. They do not equip their children with the armour which will render them safe in the turmoil of life. Parents too must encourage children when they evince any interest in spiritual advance and study.
It is a matter of shame for any mother to say: "My son will not heed my words". If the mother had brought up the son as right lines from the beginning, he would not behave like this. Ninety percent of the blame of spoiling the behaviour and character of children, go to parents. They show too unintelligent affection and give to indiscriminate freedom to them. There is nothing great about being a father. No father can rejoice merely when a son is born. Only when the people praise the virtues of the son will the father rejoice over his birth.
To earn real respect, you should do what you say. First "Be", Second "Do" and Third "Tell". Without the first "Be" and the second "Do", you cannot merely "Tell".
IN A NUTSHELL...
Parenting is the step to self-fulfillment.