Question: What should be the place of our parent’s views in our decision making?
Acharya Prashant: Who will decide the importance given to anybody’s views? Parents views or anybody’s views? Who will decide that? You will decide that. Even if I give you some answer right now, who will decide how much importance to give to my answer?
I am giving you lot of answers. Who will decide how important these answers are? You will decide, right?
Already, so much has been told to you by families, society, your normal education, moral science, convention and tradition. You already know that parent’s views are important. And this knowledge is coming to you from outside. When you were small, since you were small, you are being fed this knowledge. Now you want me to give you some knowledge, and this knowledge you’ll integrate with your previous beliefs and come to some kind of conclusion.
And you would be doing that. You would again be making the decision based on your own education, your own beliefs.
Would it not be far far better to just say that why do we need to decide at all? You’re asking how important are the views of parents, I’m saying, “Why do you need to have a decision in this regard?” Because you already have so many decisions ready-made with you, by way of knowledge. Why do you need to have one more decision coming to you from an outsider? Am I not an external agent? Am I not?
Just like everything else is external, am I too not external? If I give you a direct answer, a ready-made answer, I’ll be doing exactly the same thing that has been happening to you over the last many-many years. So, as I’m saying, far far better it might be to not to answer at all and to say, “We’ll see. I am young I have the faculty of intelligence, and be it parents or be it anybody else, and when something is being said to me, I’ll listen attentively and I’ll see. If it is worthy, surely I’ll consider it. And if it’s not worthy, I’ll not take it even if the president of the world is saying it.”
The question of parents comes to you as the question of authority. What to do when elders, when people sitting in position of authority are saying something to me. It does not come to you as a question of love, otherwise there is no need for asking.
One never asks what to do in love. You already know. There is no need to ask. You’re asking this question and this question is parallel to the question, how important are the views of a teachers? How important are views of other authorities in my life? The answer is, do not decide in advance. There is no need for a ready-made decision. When the situation comes just pay attention to it. Listen carefully to what is being said. And when you listen carefully, then the right response will come.
Sometimes you’ll accept, sometimes you may not accept. Sometimes you may just give them a hug. Sometimes you may say, “This is not proper and if you talk like this again then I’ll become angry.” Sometimes you may just understand that what they’re saying is again coming from their own fears, so there is a need to actually help them. Sometimes you may see that they are becoming just greedy, so you need to tell them “Mamma, why are you acting so greedy, there is no need to be greedy”. Sometimes tears may be the right response. Sometimes just a smile may be the right response. Why do you need to decide in advance?
Do you want to have only one kind of fixed answer to everything, that if the man sitting on the podium here says “Do not accept what the parents say,” then even before the parents open their mouth you’ll say, “I’m not going to accept it. Don’t even speak.” Or, if the man sitting here says “The views of parents are the words of God, so stick to them like a religious duty,” then even before they open their mouth you’ll fall down to their knees and say, “Please, command me and my head is at your service”.
Life is flexible. A real relationship is very liquid. It’s free to take all forms. It does not bind you. That’s the test of a real loving relationship. You are free to respond. You are not confined and hesitant. You do not say that if I say this to Papa then Papa will get very angry, so whenever Papa says something I must respond in one particular way. If that is the relationship then you please be cautious. There is something wrong somewhere.
In a real relationship, you can sometimes hug Papa and if needed even hit Papa. It’s alright. Just sometimes, not always. Have you not seen little kids do that? Have you not done that yourself? That happens in love. In military you cannot do that. But is your house a military cantonment where you cannot disobey your seniors?
In love you’re free to disobey, and you’re free to obey. You obey in your freedom, you don’t obey in fear. You obey because you love them. And because you love them you also have the license to disobey. There need not be one ready-made response. I am repeating that again and again.
Someday you wake up and you’re feeling delightful, you can just go and embrace Mumma “What a brilliant morning this is”. And on another day you wake up and you’re feeling absolutely down, you may not say anything. You may walk past your sister, mother, father, and may not say anything. It’s alright. Why should there be a routine. Why should there be a pattern?
But this requires freedom. This requires love. This requires real closeness. It’s a man to man thing, an individual to individual contact, in which great space are available to both parties. Your views and there, my views are there, and everything can be accommodated. I look at everything in the light of intelligence. It’s not martial law. There is no law at all.
-Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: In love you are free to obey and disobey
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