Episode # 67 – Taking care of our parents during old age – How important is this today???

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In the previous episode we had witnessed yet another important aspect explained by Vidura wherein he says that wealth would not belong with three categories of people in unison – A wife, a servant and a child. Even if the wealth outwardly seems to belong to any of these people, it would automatically be considered to be owned by the wife’s husband or the boss of the servant or the father of the child. Adding more to this discussion, we saw the significance that our “Sanaathana Dharma” gives for women and how they are special in the structure of a family too. Also we discussed yet another important point on the transparency between the husband and wife at home, especially with regards to money matters. Each of them should know how much money is spent for what purpose and such decisions are to be taken collectively and not individually.

Now moving on to the next discussion, Vidura explains the next “trio” wherein he says that the following three aspects in life are extremely harmful activities and that would pull us down in our lives miserably! What are those three activities?

“Haranam cha parasvaanaam para dhaaraabhi marshanam!

Suhrudascha parithyaagaha thrio doshaaha kshyaavahaaha!!”

Here Vidura explains that if we happen to involve ourselves in the following three activities, our lives would definitely be ruined! Those activities are, grabbing the wealth or property of others, going behind another person’s wife and leaving behind those people who are our well wishers. This same advice is also given by Bhishmachaarya in a different place in the Mahaabhaarata wherein he says that if we happen to come across money or any kind of wealth of others, it should remind that this is nothing but a fateful poison and should be scared and run away from it. Similarly if we see another person’s wife in front of us, we should immediately think “Oh! Why is this “Dharma-Devata” trying to examine our resistance in this way?” Thinking thus, we should develop a fear within us and run away from that spot. Similarly if we have well-wishers with us who are working for our welfare round the clock, we should make sure that we should never leave them helplessly at any point in time.

How applicable is this “trio” to our everyday lives? Of course for the first point, almost all of us would agree – Desiring for others’ property (including money, land, house, etc.) itself is a sin! Yet, how many of us keep desiring it every passing day? For instance if there are three brothers in a family and their aged parents are trying to divide their property amongst the three children, how many times have we seen brothers fighting with each other over “equal share” of property? Because of such fights, how many families and relationships get broken once and for all? The worst case is that, because of the conflict, children are even going to the extent of deserting their aged parents! Why is all this happening today? It’s only because of the ego between brothers and sisters that the properties of their parents are not split equally and legitimately!

This also explains the third point that we should never leave behind our well-wishers at any circumstance! Now who can be a better well wisher than our own parents who have brought us to this world, grew us up, nourished us with the best of the best food that is available, educated us, supported us to achieve the level that we’ve achieved today? Hence all of us should realize that we should never desert our parents at any instance because of any issue pertaining to them. Nowadays people talk about sending their aged parents to “old-age homes” because they have become a burden to them to handle! At this point I’m too pained to also share one such instance that I recently came across in a newspaper – A son deserting his 89-year-old father near a famous temple in Chennai just like that! He comes in a car, drops his father in front of the temple and assures him that he would park the car and join him! However, he leaves the place just like that, by deserting this poor father, who still waits with hope that his son would come to him! How pathetic is this! Where are we heading towards as a society? Is it the way we treat our parents who have strived all their lives to bring us up? Shouldn’t we step up as a society to curb this menace?

Of course, few of us would have a concern here – Money is important for our survival and as a consequence, it is hard to balance between our job and taking care of parents. Yes, I agree. Our job and money are extremely important for our day-to-day survival. But again, my question here is that, is money more important than our parents? Of course I’m not saying that we should sacrifice our jobs to come and look after our parents. All I’m saying is that, we need to find a balance between both, especially at a stage when parents are aged and become physically immobile. It is at this time that we should show our gratitude towards them by taking care of them like our own children. What better service can we do to our parents apart from this?

Hence the message from today’s episode is that, we need to develop that attitude of balancing between money and relationships – Especially when it comes to our parents, we need to keep in mind that it is our bound duty as sons and daughters to take care of them specially when they are old and immobile. So for today, let us ponder this important point and realize the significance of our parents’ contributions to our well-being today! Let us pay our tributes to our parents by serving them in the best possible way. We still have one important aspect that we need to discuss with respect to this sloka itself – Going behind others’ wives! How dangerous is this aspect in our lives? How can this be detrimental to us? Let us wait till the next episode to find out! Stay tuned! 🙂

Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham in Kerala, India. A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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