|Karyakar Din, 24 August 2002, Amdavad
In the evening assembly, four scenes depicting real-life situations that are encountered by devotees both in the mandir and outside were enacted. Following each skit, Swamishri was asked a question based on it.
Scene 1: Father-Son
Background: Father and son often clash and argue over studies, satsang, family matters and personal habits. The young son wants independence in playing sports, personal preferences and social entertainment. On the other hand, the father and other elders in the home want the son to be obedient and follow only the route they've decided upon. This is a common situation in many households.
Question: How can the gap between father and son be reduced?
Answer: This happens in every home. Their thoughts are such that the gap between father and son is not reduced. The father never becomes free from the thoughts and activities of attaining material pleasures. He does not even think of sitting with his children. What are they studying? Where do they study? He doesn't have time to ask them. He doesn't even have time to talk to them about God, or engage in bhajan-kirtan, arti or puja. So the distance is certain to increase. If they get together several times during the day, if they eat together, then their minds will also remain together. Also if they engage in spiritual discourses, discussions and kirtans their minds will remain together and they will be able to understand each other's questions very well. But nowadays, they are not even prepared to understand each other's questions.
The father pressurises in his son's education. He has big dreams about his son becoming a doctor, attaining a high degree, becoming a scientist, etc. But the son is not interested. And still when the father insists, the son gets upset, since he has interest in another line of studies. You want him to become a doctor but he wants to become an engineer or take some other line... then you should be flexible in that way. The father tries to explain to him a couple of times but (now) it is not his wish so he will do well in another line as well. Since, if he undertakes a subject in which he is interested he will get through it smoothly and successfully. Support him in this way in his studies. You should provide facilities and make it convenient for him. But if the father is not interested then he does not even arrange convenient facilities for his son and says that he does not do things as told; calling him stupid or a donkey."
Does it befit a father to call his own son a a donkey? At this age? If you speak like this, the son will speak more than this. When the son grows older, you should be like a friend to him - then he will remain enthusiastic from within.
There are also some complaints about the children. They have demands such as, "Because I am studying I should get a motorcycle." But they should understand the situation of the father. If it isn't possible then they can even go by bus. Make do with whatever means are available. You may even have to go walking. Children should also think that they should not unnecessarily place a financial burden on their parents. Take special care in studies and put in total effort to attain first class. Children should get first class, that is Swami's (Yogiji Maharaj's) instruction. But they go there (school/college) and get into the wrong company. They roam and (waste time). Then it's natural that the father gets hurt. He works hard to earn money. In these circumstances, the children take to enjoyments, take the wrong path and waste money - but that is not good. After studying for 12 months if one fails, the whole year is wasted, money is wasted and even his life is disrupted. So children should understand and consider when parents encourage and talk about studies. Their intention is for our good.
In the home, arguments between husband and wife also have a negative effect on children. Since, if the husband and wife talk in rough language to each other, then that impression will fall on the children. Even innocent children become disturbed in this. Some children come with complaints, "Swami, my parents fight so much, quarrel so much that from this I get other thoughts!" The children cry. If my parents are fighting my studies are disturbed. I tell them, "Do not spoil your studies. Let your parents quarrel. But you study well. Pray. I will pray to God as well that they are both blessed with good thoughts." The message is that fighting among each other also leaves a bad impression. When the children grow up then they too will fight.
So if, every day, we get together once, twice or thrice then your minds will stay united. And if your minds are together, they you can understand each other's thoughts. You can have an exchange of each other's thoughts. And if you work by understanding each other's situation, good results can be attained.
Scene 2: Two Non Satsangis
Background: Two non-satsangis meet in the mandir. One is in contact with a satsangi whose behaviour does not befit a devotee and so has developed a negative impression of the Sanstha and devotees. The other is in contact with a satsangi whose behaviour is ideal and so has developed a positive impression and goodwill towards the Sanstha, sadhus, devotees and Swamishri. They ask a question to Swamishri.
Question: What should the behaviour of a satsangi be like so that others who are not satsangis develop a favourable impression?
Answer: All this is a matter of perspective. One sees good and another sees everything as bad. One who sees bad, even if some day, somewhere, there is some good, still he sees bad. Since he has one type of vision - to see bad in everything; to see the faults in everyone; to assess everyone in one's own way.
All people are liable to make mistakes. So, there is likely to be some mistake. But by seeing it, one does not benefit.
If one's life is virtuous, if one's behaviour is good then it will positively impress others. It will give inspiration. We gain inspiration from the lives of great people. Those who see the good have certainly benefited. Those who want to see will see everything as bad. If one has jaundiced eyes, everything will appear yellow. So, whatever the vision, that is the creation. Yudhishtir had a positive vision, so he saw everyone as good and Duryodhan said that everyone was bad, useless. Yogi Maharaj saw only the good, so he had no bias or enmity towards anyone. This satisfied everyone. Thousands of people were inspired on seeing his life and walked on the path of God. Those who were not devotees become satsangis. Those who did not believe in God began to believe in God. Those who were wayward improved and adopted a good life. Because his life and behaviour were like that. So, if a satsangi's behaviour is good, then even those who are not devotees will become satsangis. If one's behaviour is inappropriate then many people are discouraged. Everyone has a problem in telling him. So, Shriji Maharaj has said that one's behaviour should be good. On seeing the lives of 500 paramhansas, people understood the glory of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. So if the behaviour of devotees is good, when they sincerely observe Maharaj's commands and remain firm in satsang, then others will certainly see the positive side of this.
We have not come to see the faults of others. We have come to see our own faults. Gunatitanand Swami taught that we should see, "Everyone is good and understands properly. Only I don't understand." And thus our focus will remain continuously on God and our lives will become virtuous.
Even a sadhu's life should be virtuous. The life of the 500 paramhansas - renunciation of wealth and women and observance of the five vartmans - positively impressed hundreds of thousands of people. Yogiji Maharaj's and Shastriji Maharaj's lives were according to the niyams, agna and upasana given by Shriji Maharaj and replete with saintliness. And our Satsang has grown because of that. Even good scholars were favourably impressed, not by their scholarliness or logical talks, but because of their observance of niyams and saintliness. Because of them (Shastriji Maharaj and Yogiji Maharaj), today, this Satsang has grown. Even their opponents praised them. Those who caused trouble said that what Shastri and Yogi have done cannot be done by anyone. If we live like that then no matter the type of person, he will be transformed and will walk the path of God, the path of virtues. If a satsangi behaves well others will be impressed. And if sadhus live virtuously then satsangis will be satisfied.