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The Parents Role

Sri Swami Chidananda

The Present Situation
The entire modern civilisation had engendered a way of life in which parents are responsible for their child's development based only upon material consideration, and never in terms of the spiritual level that is the only real and correct basis. There is a great spiritual dryness in the entire relationship parents have with children. It is based upon ignorance, attachment and mostly a total identification with the physical aspect. The child is thought of only as a physical being who has come into the family upon this physical plane through our own physical bodies. Therefore, everything is physical. The relationship is totally physical, never spiritual.

Humanity itself has lost that vision and, therefore, it is no wonder that when children of the present generation reach adolescence, reach the teenage years or young adulthood they have no direction, they have no goal or clarity of perception. They have not perceived the meaning of life and are therefore aimless, adrift, without purpose. Their life becomes a wild fling in all directions, trying to get what little happiness or satisfaction they can from this sense-experience or that sense-experience. It is all sense driven upon the physical level, because they know of nothing better. They have no alternative. They are like children lost in a jungle or a traveler lost in the desert.

Yet they are not to be blamed if they are in pursuit of pleasure. The whole modern life is pleasure-seeking, sensation-seeking. How can you blame the children? That is how they have been brought up, blank, empty inside, yet madly driven in their search for happiness. In childhood they are taught that to have a good time means going to places or doing things or getting objects. And so, children grow up in this delusion. The adults who are produced are at the mercy of things that are outside of themselves.

Today our teenagers are a nightmare to their parents, to their teachers, to the society. Their own professors and principals are afraid of them, and the police don't want to be bothered with them. They are a constant headache. Why? Because of a basic error right from the very start. Their life unfortunately was started upon the wrong note. Confusion and chaos are inevitable where there is no goal, no ideal, no sense of direction, no purpose, no vision, where the significance of life of this grand gift of God, is nowhere within their ken. That is the great error. But even a grain of proper understanding of this world, as it really is, instilled into young people, would grant a rich harvest in terms of happiness and joy.

Children! Little Sparks of Divinity
The great ideal put before us from the Upanishads, Bhagavatam, all our great scriptures, says that children are little sparks of Divinity that have come into our circle due to some mystical past connection, some karmic connection. They are souls on a great pilgrimage, on their way towards attainment of a divine destiny. Therefore, we have to perceive of them as such, as souls on their way to divine perfection. And whatever we can do in order to help them on their onward journey, their ascent into divinity, is the need of the hour. In what way can we touch the inner depth of being of this little beautiful creature that is to be awakened? Through our affection, through our intuition, through our vibrations, what can we do?

It is the impressionable and formative years of childhood that constitute the correct time to set the child going in the right direction, to mould it, to make it wise and aware of its goal in life. During the early years the parents fill the entire world of the child, so that whatever they radiate to it, that is what it receives.
"That person indeed is the real mother,
That person indeed is the real father,
That person indeed is the real relative,
That person indeed is the real well-wisher,
Who right from infancy and childhood
Manages to impart to the child a love
For the Divine and the Divine Name."

Who is father? Who is mother? Who is relative? Who is well-wisher? That person who right from the very start of your life manages to impart to you a love for that which is high, that which is sublime, a love for God and God's Name, who manages to impart devotion. That is what the scriptures have to say about this.

Queen Madalasa-An Enlightened Mother
We also have the lofty example of queen Madalasa. She made full use of all the privileges her queenly status gave her to cultivate the company of scholars, of people learned in the ancient lore. A standing order was given to all the ministers of the royal court that any holy man, any sage, any saint must be brought to the palace and presented to the king and queen. And whenever a holy man was presented at court, queen Madalasa never missed the opportunity of having a little satsang with him, of imbibing whatever spirituality it was her God-given good fortune to receive. So gradually she developed discrimination, right enquiry, philosophical thought and knowledge. Ultimately she became enlightened and was full of inner spiritual awareness. She knew that her aspect as queen was only something secondary, a little temporary part she was playing in this life's drama. But in truth, in reality, she knew she was the ever-pure, ever-awakened, ever-free, ever-perfect Atman-nitya-suddha, nitya-buddha, nitya-mukta, nitya-paripurna atma.

Queen Madalasa bore four sons. And as she placed them in the cradle, what was the lullaby that she sang to her children? The queen sang to them wondrous wisdom songs:
"Thou art the ever-pure Atman, o beloved child.
Thou art the ever-awakened Atman.
Thou art spotless, the perfection of purity.
O my darling baby, thou art that Atman
Which is beyond darkness, beyond the veil of Maya."
"Suddhosi bhuddhosi niranjanosi"
(suddhosi means ever-pure, immaculate
buddhosi means ever-awakened, illumined
niranjanosi means spotless)
"O beloved child, thou art the ever-pure,
the ever-awakened, the ever-spotless.
Thou art completely free from maya,
free from the illusion of this earth-life.
Already thou art awakened."

So, she put these positive suggestions into the children's consciousness right from their infancy. "You are not bound by maya. You are already beyond illusion." Why not? Born to such a mother it is no wonder! This was the thought and feeling she gave when she suckled them. And with the milk of the mother came this wisdom milk of Vedantic awareness into the consciousness of the children. And the Upanishads say that as the children grew up, they grew with the radiance of awakened consciousness in their inner being. They not only flourished physically, being royal princes; they also had the good fortune of being blessed with a mother who was an illumined being. They grew up into jnanis. By the time they were sixteen they were purna-jnanis.

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