May 27, 2013

Duty towards parents

Question from devotee: I have some question regarding duty. If someone becomes a Karm Sannyāsī (renounces the world), isn't that person forfeiting the duty to the parents? Isn't that a sin before the True path?

Answer by Swamiji: We do have duties towards the biological parents. But God is our spiritual Father and Mother. We have a duty towards him as well, and that duty is even more important than the worldly duties. In the answer to the previous question, it has been explained that we have social duties towards society and spiritual duties towards God. If one gives up social duties due to irresponsibility, laziness, frivolity, etc it is definitely a sin; but if one renounces the social duties to embrace spiritual duties, it is not considered a sin. When we surrender to God, we are automatically taking care of all duties, just as when we water the root of a tree, the water automatically reaches all the branches, fruits and flowers of the tree. Even in the world, if someone joins the army to discharge his duty to the nation, he is forsaking his duty to his parents. He could be killed on the battlefield, leaving the old parents without a support. But his joining the army is not considered dishonorable; rather it is an act of bravery. This is because that person is giving up a lower duty to take up a higher one. Similarly, the Karm sannyāsī does forsake the worldly duties to parents etc, but he accepts the higher duty towards God, and so he is not committing a sin. However, the path of Karm sannyās should only be chosen under the guidance of a Guru. For the majority of the people, the path of Karm Yog is more suitable. This has been described in the chapter on Karm Yog.