Revealing the formula of home assembly (ghar sabha), Pramukh Swami Maharaj provided an extraordinary solution to repairing fractured families, solving individual problems and defusing societal unrest. Here are his thoughts and blessings regarding the importance of doing ghar sabha
A devotee’s home and family should be ideal. Having furniture in the house is not the only way to make a home beautiful. In fact, having dharma, values and peace are the true reasons that make a home beautiful. A home should be such that by entering it one experiences peace. But how can that happen? The answer lies in bringing back our foundational values in life.
Today, in the West, we find homes bereft of family feelings. Everyone is independent in their own way. When a son turns sixteen his father cannot tell him anything. And when the father falls ill the son does not go to see him. Whereas our culture is emotionally oriented. If something happens to someone in the family, the other members feel the pain too. However, recently, the Western influence has affected innumerable families in India. Divorces have increased manifold in India.
Today’s age is one of materialism. Science has progressed a lot and it is required and necessary. We have street lights and roads. Science has sent man to the moon. It has given us the television and internet. Because of TV, email, internet and other things there are ‘fires’ in homes. All are burning in that fire. Today, televisions are found in all homes, and all enjoy by watching various programmes. Parents, sons, daughters, daughters-in-law, little children – all sit before the TV and watch things that they should not. Then, how can children learn to respect their elders? All family members should respect elders and conversely all elders should behave in such a way that all are inspired to respect them. But, by watching TV (indiscriminately) how can our children learn our values and exercise discrimination?
How many learn good things from television? In fact, people learn to become violent, stoke commotion, steal, commit adultery, drink liquor and gamble. Because of these vices, they lose their pride, wealth, self-worth and everything. We have forgotten our values. Formerly, when people used to wake up in the morning they would immediately perform their ablutions and daily puja. Today, instead of (giving importance to) a home mandir the television has become prominent.
If we wish to have peace then we’ll need to go back to our fundamental values. An increase in materialism and wealth often results in more vices in people’s lives. Subsequently, everyone’s mind in the house will split from each other. Only if there is spirituality in the home will the members be saved. For that, everyone should sit in the ghar sabha every night and read the scriptures or good books and engage in spiritual talks. Also, by sitting together during meals everyone’s minds come together. By doing satsang and reading the scriptures one is able to cultivate vivek. So, our scriptures teach us to accept good things and give up bad things. Our hearts become pure by reading or listening to our spiritual books and the biographies of ideal persons. Children, too, imbibe good values. We make arrangements for our children’s education, but miss out in teaching them values. If they do not receive good values at home, they are not going to get them from outside. Do you want to make your children good? Then hold ghar sabhas. Read our scriptures to them. When they read, listen or learn all this from a young age they will be instilled with good sanskars and feel proud about being Indian. Instilling such pride will be a great service to society.
By reading our scriptures one is inspired to introspect and is awakened with sentiments of respect towards one’s parents, teachers and guests. Because children are not taught such values from early childhood problems arise in the home. Many parents believe that their children know a lot of things. But what do they know? They know only about worldly things! And parents believe this to be important, but (the reality is) that children lack sanskars. So, it’s important to do ghar sabha.
People do not have time because all their time is utilized in earning money. Because one leads a householder’s life, money is required. In addition to going to work or doing business, you must also take time out to sit with your children for half-an-hour daily. If you want to bond with them, you must sit, talk and have fun with them and teach them good things. Then, as they grow up they will obey your wishes. Make your young children sit with you when you do your daily puja and also eat together as a family. At night, during ghar sabha, you can ask them what they have learnt in school. Tell them small incidents and a few inspiring words so that they receive sanskars.
One must always reserve a little time for children. The reason why kusang takes over lies in us not giving quality time to our children and, as a result, no mutual bonds develop. The lack of bonding leads to conflicts and unrest in the house. Never scold your children. Similarly, a husband should never rebuke his wife and vice versa. Talk to each other with love. By so doing, the other person will accept what you say. Talk gently with your children and with love. By becoming angry on your children nothing is accomplished. Talk and listen to them with love. Try to understand what they say and they will understand you. The more loving your bonds are with them the more peace and happiness will prevail. To develop such bonds do ghar sabha.
During former times, after the evening meal was over, all the family members would gather together and talk about satsang. One can talk about incidents that impact us from the Ramayan and Mahabharat – who was Ram and what was Ram rajya like. However, today, one finds the sovereignty of Ravan in most homes – in other words there are conflicts and commotion. Bhagwan Ram was maryada Purushottam. When you have Ram in your heart you’ll know how to conduct your social affairs and behave in society. But if you have Ravan in your heart then there will be explosions around. Till one does not remove him one will not experience peace in one’s heart and family.
Today, people do not spare time to listen to such talks because they keep roaming outside and thus never come home in time. Subsequently, one thinks that by doing this one has advanced and become a better person. But, in fact, one has become spoilt. There are no prohibitions in earning money but one must observe moral disciplines (maryada).