“I am the Self, O Gudakesha, seated in the hearts of all creatures. I am the beginning, the middle and the end of all beings.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 10.20)
अहम् आत्मा गुडाकेश
अहम् आदिश् च मध्यं च
भूतानाम् अन्त एव च
aham ātmā guḍākeśa
aham ādiś ca madhyaṁ ca
bhūtānām anta eva ca
So, you thought this was going to be easy? Nothing would change in life, eh? The wife and extended family would take care of everything. Sleeping would continue on the normal schedule. Watch as much television as you desire on a given night. Drive around here and there, but no extra responsibilities falling upon you.
Of course, things turned out a little differently. You can’t even remember what life was like before becoming a father. Raising a child is a full-time responsibility. One of the aspects that catches your interest is the use of trickery. It is almost a requirement, as the child otherwise remains stubborn.
They want to run from here to there. If you tell them to come closer, they think it’s the beginning of a game. Noticing the tone in your voice, they immediately run the other way. The challenge is made: come catch me, if you can.
You put food out into a bowl for them to take. There are suction cups underneath, so everything won’t spill at once. Yet the child doesn’t just take the items in their hands and eat normally. They first feel the need to drop each item, one by one, on the floor. From there they may or may not eat.
The last resort is to trick them. Pretend that a toy is nearby, get their attention, and then quickly shove some food into their mouth. You have to repeat this process, and sometimes it becomes easier if they notice that the food meets their ever-changing taste requirements.
Milk is the all-important item, and even in this area there is difficulty. They would rather take milk from the mother, who gets tired from feeding day and night. The bottle is a good alternative, but what effort goes into successfully feeding in this way! Lay the baby down, hold their mouth, shove the nipple in and hope that they realize the need to continue drinking.
This particular child loves to move around. They are not so much interested in toys. Climbing is more to their liking. They have just learned to get onto the sofa by themselves. They go from side to side, teasing you with the prospect of jumping off. No concern yet, as they have even figured out the proper way to descend without getting hurt.
At night, they simply will not fall asleep on their own. Your friends happily share secrets with you:
“Oh, you have to keep the baby in a separate room. Pick a specific time each day and just leave them in the crib. They will cry for a little bit, but eventually they get used to it. It’s a gradual process, but after a few days they will be sleeping on their own.”
In your situation, this option is not available. Only a single bedroom and no space for a crib. The baby sleeps on the bed with the parents. Laying them down and telling them to sleep doesn’t work. They would rather jump up and down.
The foolproof method thus far is the stroller. Move them back and forth for a while when they are tired and sweet success arrives soon after. Yet getting them into the stroller is not easy. As if tipped off to the process, they maintain stiffness in the legs so that they won’t be able to be seated. The only way to succeed is to distract them first with a bottle that rattles. This takes their attention away from the struggle just long enough to get them seated.
3. Going to school
This could apply to going anywhere undesirable. Seat the child in the car and tell them you are going someplace fun. Then drop them off at school. Listen to the dreaded screaming, the desperate call for a familiar face in what seems like abandonment.
As they grow older, they become wiser in this area. Faking an illness. Pretending that it’s a national holiday. Promising to go the next day if they can simply stay home for one more.
This review is helpful in resolving some contradictory teachings found in the Vedas. In one place the recommendation is to do a certain thing. In another place the exact opposite is taught. How to decipher the proper course of action?
One area of confusion is demigod worship. Known as devas in Sanskrit, they are like administrators in charge of the material creation. They work at the pleasure of the original person, the one who remains forever in His transcendental form. He is the beginning, middle and end of everything, and yet He has no beginning or end.
That original person explains in the Bhagavad-gita that the devas should be respected. A miser takes what others give and offers little respect in return. Like a spoiled child, the person forgetful of the efforts of the people residing in the heavenly realm simply exploits nature for their own sense gratification.
The proper way is yajna. This is sacrifice. Behind the scenes, under the hood, so to speak, the devas get fed. There are the literal oblations poured into the sacrificial fire, and from there the authorities receive their respective share. When the devas are pleased, there is sufficient rainfall, which leads to grain production, which solves the basic economic problem.
In another area, Shri Krishna says that only a person who has lost their intelligence takes to demigod worship. This is because the fruits are temporary. Why worry so much about enjoying the senses when death eventually takes everything away? If the devas have a benefactor, why not approach that person directly?
It seems like the latter advice supplants the former. That is to say listening to Krishna about direct worship of Bhagavan seems like it would take care of any issues resulting from neglect of worship of the devas. The question, then, is why demigod worship is mentioned in the first place.
The trickery involved with raising children helps to explain. The individual, having forgotten devotional service for so long, may not be inclined to worship God directly. They need some encouragement. As money, fame, power and prestige are desirable, show the way towards success while creating some type of connection to spiritual life.
The animals don’t engage in yajna and yet they eat just fine. They are not taught about the process because they lack the capacity to understand. The human being can reason, and through following Vedic teachings, even with an ulterior motive, there is some progress made. Fortunately, in this age the recommended yajna satisfies all conditions. The chanting of the holy names brings the highest benefit to a person: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Child not listening to me,
Running away when to see.
That some food ready to eat,
Resisting when in stroller to seat.
Trickery the last resort,
For success truth to distort.
Similar with demigod worship so,
Real aim towards Vishnu to go.
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