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Filial Piety and the Rigour of Life

By Karmayogi

Our ideas of affection sometimes touch the Ideal. A young woman who was deserted by her womanising husband drifted to political patronage which assigned her to their woman's wing. That asylum saw her through her old age. In her old age, after a long interval, the truant husband sought refuge in her. She was delighted that at least at that late hour she had the opportunity to serve her abandoned husband. Shortly he died of incurable sickness, a result of his dissipation. His funeral procession was attended by hundreds of women whom the wife faithfully served. There was a time when this was adored as feminine loyalty. Often with parents and children, there arises a situation when one is undeserving and the other is idealistic.

Filial piety is psychological, confined to the human domain. Life is wider than psychology, spread all over the universe. The rules of life are rigorous and inexorable. Beyond a certain limit, life does not honour human sentiments, however laudable they are, especially when one runs counter to the other. The virtues of joint family are great but when some people start using them to exploit others, the virtues turn into vices. Virtue or vice, the child's emotional heart longs to serve the parents, however undeserving they are. The mother cannot see any blemish in her children, nor is the father capable of denying the most unpardonable request of his daughter or son. Life puts an end to such ‘generosities' and keeps one on the track of progress. We all know several examples of this.

There is a truth of life beyond these sentiments. Spirit goes beyond and opens ways for the parent or the child to rise to his own expectations. Shankara's returning to his mother's funeral is an example of high souls not applicable to ordinary mortals like us. When the Force of Supermind is invoked, it opens up legitimate spiritual satisfaction to both - parent and children - as it has the power to go beyond the rules of life which we call karma. Should one of them - preferably both - accept the higher Force, the limitations of society, individual psychology and even life's rigours can be bypassed. It did happen in the lives of more than one devotee. Space does not permit the details of examples, but the Spirit will permit the longing of the human heart to serve undeserving offspring or elders.
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