Hello and welcome to episode 58 of The Ask Sri Vishwanath Show. Today I want to talk about family problems. How do we practice deep spirituality in the midst of family problems?
Today’s question comes from Jack who lives in the UK. He says “a lot of my time is wasted and a lot of my attention is diverted to my family. I’m not able to spend time in meditation and reading books so I’m not progressing spiritually. I have the desire but I don’t want to upset people. What can I do?”
I’m glad you asked this question. A lot of people don’t talk about this, they just supress it. A lot of people have this issue, both men and women. Let’s see what Krishna says about this.
In the second verse of the Bhagavad Gita Arjuna had the same problem. He had to kill his teacher. The one who brought him up and taught him everything. They were on the opposite side and he had to fight against them. He was terrified. Fear took over him and he said he wouldn’t fight. This is how the bhagavad gita begins. Because of Arjuna’s despondency.
He was too afraid to fight. His knees were weak and his bow was slipping from his hands. Through the hole of the Bhagavad Gita Krishna speaks about dharma, about the jiva which is the consciousness. Arjuna is fearing an illusion. Krishna says to him “Oh Arjuna you grieve for those who ask for no grief and yet you utter words of wisdom. The wise grieve for neither the death nor the living. There was never a time when you or I did not exist. You know them not, I know them all.”
Krishna is saying that Arjun’s relationship with his teacher is causing him the pain but that was not the first time that this relationship existed nor would it be the last. He has had this relationship 1000 times before. He just doesn’t remember it. Those people call for no grief. They have died before and they will die again. He had to do his duty. His duty as a warrior was to fight. He was grieving about things that were no more than an illusion. The spirit is eternal, it never dies.
Don’t forsake it
So when your wife, children or parents are not happy you should know that you should practice dharma. Nothing else should bother you. Don’t intentionally upset people but don’t ever forsake dharma to please someone else. Don’t be like Arjuna. Don’t run away from your fears. Stand up against them. That fear happens because your mind is out so draw in inwards.
Now I’m not saying that you need to wage war at home! You can do this in a very peaceful way. We don’t want to turn your home into a battlefield but I just want you to make sure that you never forsake dharma. It really is that blunt and that simple.
Now I want to give you a few simple tips that will make everyone happier. First you need to learn to draw your mind inwards so that you can stay calm in these situations. Doing this will allow you to meditate successfully and the peace will spread throughout the whole house. The fear of displeasing others is holding you back and it is baseless. Don’t think about family issues. Don’t grieve for those who call for no grief.
Krishna talks about 3 types of penance. Sattvic, tamasic and rajasic penance. Tamasic penance injures the jiva and others and it is stubbornly performed so don’t do this. Don’t worry about not being able to do this or that. It will only make you feel bad. I used to be the same. I would be very forceful and I would upset a lot of people. You need to focus on broadening your personality.
So draw your mind in and it will really broaden your personality. When you do this you will raise the energy in your house. The love in your house will also increase when you do this. You will love your wife more, your children more and your parents more. Don’t worry about their attitude. This is only the gunas. Your real personality is ten thousand times broader. Your whole family will be happier and they will want you to meditate because they will see you so much happier than before. This should be your attitude.
Body, verbal and mind
Sattvic penance Krishna says there are three types. The body penance, the verbal penance and the mind penance. The body is where someone focuses on external beauty. Don’t misuse the elements of the body. Be calm and pure. Eat sattvic food and be pure. Remember the body is the greatest temple on earth because it houses your consciousness. Worship it. Don’t destroy it by indulging in worldly pleasures.
Verbal penance is an utterance that does not offend and it truthful and pleasing. Reading the scripture daily constitutes verbal penance. Pick up one or two verses and read them. This will allow you to draw your mind in and prevent those feelings of worry, anxiety and fear.
Mind penance is mental calmness self-control and silence. Krishna says “he who nurtures these three penance (body penance, verbal penance and mind penance) with supreme faith, knowing me Krishna Paramhansa to be above all reaches me”
Broaden your personality
So focus on broadening your personality by drawing your mind in and work on the three types of penance. Don’t worry about doing five hours of meditation oy two hours of meditation. You can do all that but you must still focus on body penance, verbal penance and mind penance. You do this by simply drawing your mind in and enjoying the bliss. Read a verse of the Bhagavad Gita every day. Remember the verse I have talked about before:
“Him the weapons cannot cut, fire cannot burn, water cannot wet, wind cannot dry. The self cannot be cut, dried, burned or wetted…Eternal, all pervasive, stable, immovable, everlasting the Self Reigns”
I think you should choose this one and a few more that you like and meditate on them every morning. This can be your verbal penance. This will increase your energy and it will allow you to love people more. Your intentions will be genuine so your whole family will be a lot happier. Just remember to never ever forsake dharma for anyone or anything.
I hope I answered your question. Remember you keep asking questions and I’ll keep answering them.