Hello and welcome to episode 111 of The Ask Sri Vishwanath Show. Today I want to talk about family people. Can they attain the heights of spirituality that men and women of God can?
Today’s question comes from Susanne and she says “I see so many people talking and reading about spirituality but I find that most lack application and all they end up with is comfortable spirituality. Do you really think family people can see God?”
Thanks for the question. You are right. Vivekananda said that comfortable religion and spirituality is just that, comfortable whereas the real deal is about realisation. Most people only speak comfortable spirituality and comfortable desires. They just want their desires to be met.
Ram Krishna said it’s all about the mind so family people can attain these heights but obviously they have a lot of distractions like relationships and children and goals at work. These distractions can then become obstacles because the consciousness requires immense levels of attention. To achieve the highest goal you need tremendous attention not mediocre efforts. This is where most people fail. They think they can attain things with minimum effort.
To stop these distractions becoming an obstacle we must be alert. We should stay focused and concentrate on the words of Krishna.
Ram Krishna shared a wonderful story about a sage who had a lot of disciples. Some of them were family people and one of them said he wanted to join his organisation and leave his home but he couldn’t because he loved his family so much. He couldn’t live without them. The sage said that this love was great but it was not true that he could not live without them and he could prove it.
He gave him a pill and told him to take it. He said that after taking it and walking home he would collapse. He would be unconscious but his family would think he was dead. The sage said he would come then and they would see what would happen. He took the pill and went home and soon he collapsed. They all thought he was dead.
The sage came in disguise and entered the house. He saw all the family there crying. The sage told them not to cry, that he could heal this person. He told the family that there was a medicine to heal him but it must be taken first by a family member. He said that person who takes the pill will die and then he will live. There were many family members so he asked one to come and take the medicine so that the man could live.
First of all he asked the mother because she was old and had lived her life. She said that yes this was true. She was about to take it but then she stopped and said no, she couldn’t do it because she had other sons to take care of. Then his wife came and took the pill in her hand. Then she said no she couldn’t take it because she had to raise the children.
At that point the man got up and looked around the room. None of them were willing to sacrifice themselves for him. He then looked at the sage and told him that he was going with him.
Obviously this is a story and we have to try and see the humour in it. I’m not suggesting that every man leave his wife or every wife should sacrifice her life for her husband! The point is that yes we love our families but the love is at an intellectual level. It is not at a conscious level. People say they would give up everything for their families but if it actually came down to taking that pill, 8 out of ten people would not do it. Only two out of ten would pass. Those are the ones who love on a spiritual level. Those are the ones who would genuinely give up their lives for the ones they love.
So family love is at a level of attachment and all of the great sages say that we must try our best to overcome this intellectual attachment. It is only then that we will be able to realise the yoga of Krishna. This is why RamaKrishna says that family people are cow dung. He calls them this because they are always in an attached mode. Men are attached to women, women are attached to men and both are attached to desires, power and entertainment.
RamaKrishna says when the rice dealer stores a lot of rice he keeps puffed rice before the real rice. It is cheaper. Real rice is ten times more expensive. This is so when the rice come they nibble on the puffed rice and then go. By keeping the real rice behind he is protecting it and he will make a greater profit.
RamaKrishna says that family people are like the puffed rice. Worldly people are like the rats nibbling that puffed rice. This puffed rice represents entertainment, power and desires. They nibble at the puffed rice and then they retreat and do the same thing all over again the next day. They never get to the real rice. They don’t even know the real rice exists and that is 100 times better than the rice they eat every day.
This is why, by knowing our position we can be in that 20% and can take complete advantage of the Yoga of Krishna. Krishna says there are two entities on earth: the enlightened beings and the yogins. The enlightened ones know their purpose from the start. The others, the yogins are us. The ones who only realise halfway through that there may be something better. Remember all people, good and bad fall into the category of yogins.
But remember you don’t have to worry about it. You only have to realise that you are a yogin. Then you have to draw your gunas in and be detached from outcomes. We must keep mediating meditating and connecting with the consciousness. The secret is that yogins can also attain enlightenment. We just have to know that we are one and know what we have to do to attain the level of spirituality of the great ones.
I hope I answered your question. Remember you keep asking questions and I’ll keep answering them.