“Thus I have explained to you the most confidential of all knowledge. Deliberate on this fully, and then do what you wish to do.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 18.63)
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इति ते ज्ञानम् आख्यातं
गुह्याद् गुह्यतरं मया
यथेच्छसि तथा कुरु
iti te jñānam ākhyātaṁ
guhyād guhyataraṁ mayā
yathecchasi tathā kuru
“I think this is unique to the Vedic culture. At least I have never heard of the same thing occurring within families inheriting a different kind of faith. I’m sure it takes place, but not nearly as often. There doesn’t seem to be the same level of desperation on the opposing side.
“I am speaking of children taking an interest in spiritual life, serious to the point of dedicating full-time efforts towards it. If someone wants to study theology or even become a priest, I am not sure that parents will freak out. The decision may be peculiar. It may stand out from the rest of the children in the community, but there isn’t this overwhelming level of sadness.
“Contrast with Vedic culture. Parents are so afraid of what might happen to their children that they hide books like Bhagavad-gita, Shrimad Bhagavatam, and Ramayana. They want their offspring to be interested in dharma, to follow righteousness, honor, duty, truthfulness, dedication, and so forth. Take an interest, but not too much of one.
“The overarching fear is giving up on life and becoming a full-time ascetic. I must say, think of how well that speaks to the philosophy presented. Bhagavad-gita must be really powerful if someone will just renounce the world and dedicate themselves to God after reading it. Maybe that philosophy needs to be shared with many people, if it can make such a dramatic impact.
“Aren’t parents justified in their concern? There is a story within Bhagavata Purana itself describing a similar situation. The sons of Daksha have a chance meeting with Narada Muni. The saint speaks to them in a way that the sons decide against family life. Daksha wants to grow the population, and since Narada is the reason his sons changed their mind Daksha becomes so angry.”
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada gives a nice response to this concern. If following genuine spiritual life, with a true understanding of the distinction and similarity between the individual and the Almighty, then the concern over abruptly renouncing the world is unfounded.
He gives the example of Arjuna from Bhagavad-gita. The message came directly from the source. No intermediary. No empowered representative. No middleman. No prophet travelling from place to place to save the world.
Shri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, guided Arjuna while both were on the chariot in the middle of the battlefield. The Kurukshetra war would have to wait. Arjuna needed some doubts settled first. He needed to understand things properly.
At the end of the presentation, which involved question and answer, Arjuna had the choice. It was up to him on how to proceed. Krishna did not compel the disciple. Arjuna had to think for himself.
The warrior reached the decision to proceed forward. Remain in the occupation suited for the nature of the individual, but maintain a consciousness, a link to the Divine, while carrying out prescribed duties. Arjuna did not become a sannyasi. He was a family man and remained so.
Thus it is not guaranteed that a person assimilating Vedic culture, sanatana-dharma, will automatically renounce the world in a formal way. Informally, they will certainly lose interest in the pounds and schilling concern, in the competition to beat others towards a post that remains for a very short amount of time.
They will become fully dedicated to the Supreme Lord, who is the primary source of bliss, who is always standing by, ready to guide from within. They will make the dedication in guidance and protection of the parents fruitful. In other words, the best way for a child to honor their parents is to become a pure devotee of Bhagavan. Every time such a person chants the holy names so many others benefit simultaneously: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Parents should be delighting,
Each time children reciting.
Holy names in chanting steady,
Showing that for liberation ready.
Not guaranteed work to relent,
Or that on sannyasa life bent.
Like Arjuna in war to proceed,
With Krishna’s presentation agreed.
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