Why Is There So Much Difficulty Within Family Life

[Krishna's lotus feet]“The Blessed Lord said: It is lust only, Arjuna, which is born of contact with the material modes of passion and later transformed into wrath, and which is the all-devouring, sinful enemy of this world.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 3.37)

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Friend1: Do you know people who don’t like their parents?

Friend2: Of course.

Friend1: It always bothers me a little.

Friend2: Why? Upset that parents would not do their jobs properly?

Friend1: No, because in my thinking it takes a lot to dislike someone that close to you.

Friend2: You mean by transgressions and the like? I take it that the parents would have to commit serious mistakes in order to elicit those feelings from you?

Friend1: Crimes, probably. There is always some appreciation there, anyway. Life is so difficult. Who is perfect among us? To err is human, after all. I can’t simply ignore that truth and take part in a blame-game.

Friend2: From the Vedic perspective there are the four principal defects. Committing mistakes. Imperfect senses. Easily illusioned.

Friend1: And cheating. It is the natural urge. I understand. I recognize these in myself and also in other people.

Friend2: Not everyone is so forgiving.

Friend1: Here is the thing I have noticed. Discord within family is the common condition. The son hates the father. The brother is bitter towards the sister. The wife constantly yells at the husband.

Friend2: For sure. You get much worse, also, where violence is involved.

Friend1: I don’t understand any of it. These are people automatically on your side, so to speak. You don’t have to win their favor through some service. There is no need for reciprocation of good deeds, since the love is there from the beginning.

Friend2: You know I always joke that in this world there is only one rule: everybody hates everybody.

Friend1: Okay, but why? What is the cause?

Friend2: Look at world wars. Study the problems between nations.

Friend1: Trade imbalance. Desire for more land. Feeling insulted over not being invited to a meeting. The leaders not liking each other.

Friend2: There you go. It’s the same thing at the community level. In the most granular analysis, the family is a community. It is the anatomical unit of society. You put many families together and you get a community. Many communities is a state, many states a nation, and so forth.

[community]Friend1: With countries there isn’t a family relationship, though. Why does it seem that we treat strangers better than people we have known since birth?

Friend2: The cause is always the same. It is explained in the Bhagavad-gita by Shri Krishna, after getting the question from Arjuna.

Friend1: Is that the verse about the all-devouring enemy?

Friend2: Yes. Kama and krodha. Lust turned into wrath. Break down the terms further. Lust is material desire. Wanting something relating to the body. The hankering doesn’t have to be great at first. It could be something as simple as wanting to get to work on time. There is the desire for the traffic lights to go your way.

Friend1: All green.

Friend2: No congestion on the roads, either. Once something goes wrong, when the lust is unsatisfied, you could get wrath.

Friend1: Anger at other drivers. Being upset over your bad fortune. Blaming other people for the troubles.

Friend2: There you go. Lust and wrath combine together to metaphorically devour you. There should be peace. There should be understanding that other drivers are also on the road, with an equal right to reach their desired destination. There should be acknowledgment that the red lights actually keep you safe, that they maintain a steady and orderly flow of cars and trucks so that every person gets their chance to proceed.

Friend1: In the family it’s the same, then?

Friend2: Sure. Children fight over inheritance, over affection from the parents. Parents get spoiled by their children in old age, demanding this thing or that. They think, “I did so much for them when they were young, so it is time to return the favor.”

Friend1: People argue over rooms in the house, too.

Friend2: It is my turn to get the big one. That old car should be passed on to me, since I need one. I paid so much for repairs, so I deserve special treatment within the family. The list goes on.

Friend1: What is the solution? Krishna consciousness?

Friend2: It is a sort of meditation and mediation simultaneously. At the very least you can sit and listen to the chanting of the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

Friend1: What if people are not willing?

Friend2: You should take the remedy, first. Keep yourself sane and fit before trying to rescue others. Bring that example of peace, deliberation, and proper vision to the family and community at large.

Friend1: Alright, I will try. It’s not easy.

[Krishna's lotus feet]Friend2: Desire cannot be eliminated altogether. Better to purify it. Send it in a different direction, towards the interests of the Supreme Lord. See the example of His beloved eternal consort, Shrimati Radharani. In the spiritual land of Vrindavana she has troubles within the family. So do the other gopis, but their only interest is seeing the pleasure of the all-attractive one. They can survive in any condition, even the distressing state of separation, through their meditation and remembrance.

In Closing:

Though in family life not thriving,

Through meditation surviving.

Remembering too His beautiful face,

Next meeting troubles to erase.

Due to uncontrolled kama so,

Though understanding should know.

But ways of the world, to nations extending,

Better guard bhakti life defending.

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