Maintaining a connection with one's parentsSome parents are very nice, very sincere, very kind to their children. They themselves won’t practise Yoga; either they are afraid of the path or they feel that it is too late for them. I don’t blame them, although in the spiritual life, there is no such thing as too late. When you start soulfully, that is the hour for you. God’s Hour for you is the day you wholeheartedly accept the spiritual life. But if the parents are good, if they are not accepting our path or any path but they are allowing their children to come, then certainly the children should maintain a connection with them. In Indian villages, the parents may be farmers who have no education, but they want their children to go to school and be cultured. These parents are so nice. They work very hard in the fields and make a little money so they can send their children to school. They could not study when they were children and now they feel they are too old, but they want their children to go to school. Here also, if the parents have never practised spirituality or Yoga and now they are forty or sixty years old and feel that it is too late for them, then I wish to say that you have to be very, very nice to them. They do appreciate the value of the spiritual life, inner life, inner joy and so forth, but they feel it is not for them.
But if the parents are totally against your spiritual path, no matter which one you follow, then you have to be brave. At that time you have to feel the necessity of your own spiritual life; that is to say, your spiritual life must come first and foremost in your life. But I am using the word “totally”. If your parents want to make a compromise — that you follow the spiritual path and also keep a connection with them — then you should agree. You will say, “All right, you follow your own ideas, although I can’t wholeheartedly appreciate your ideas. Now you also have to give me some freedom to follow my ideas.” If you have some function at home or if somebody in the family is getting married or is sick, then naturally it is your bounden duty at that time to go and help. You should feel that there was a special reason why God brought you into that family. But if your parents are all the time against your spiritual life, if they do not understand anything or they do not want to understand, if they feel that you are wasting your time and that one day you will come to realise that you are making a Himalayan blunder, if they are preventing you in every possible way from pursuing this path, then you do not have to keep any connection with them. If they do not understand you and if they stand against you, they are in no way better than an enemy. But you should still offer your inner gratitude to them. For twenty-three or twenty-four years they have fed you, they have nourished you, they have brought you up. So you have to offer your gratitude to your parents, although they have not been totally divine. They have made mistakes and now they are making more mistakes in not allowing you to follow your own path, but still you have to show your inner gratitude. But to offer your inner gratitude is one thing and to mix with them, in spite of knowing that they are standing in your way, is something else.
So each one has to know how much opposition he is getting from his parents. There was a time, four or five years ago, when a few parents were dead against us. They felt that I had taken their children away from them. But the parents do not realise that I have not gone to anybody’s house and pleaded with them to give me their children. The children came to me on their own. And then I tried my best to give them good ideas. I have not told any son or daughter, “Leave your parents.” Oh, no, no! On the contrary, I always say, “Try to compromise.” But if the parents are totally against us, then I feel miserable. I have come here to take the side of God and not the side of ignorance. If I see that somebody is getting tremendous opposition from his parents, and if he is very sincere, very dedicated, very devoted, how can I tell him to swim in the sea of ignorance along with the parents? That I cannot do. But my request to all of you is to try to keep as much as possible a good connection with your parents, a normal connection. But if you feel that it is your duty to mix with your parents, although they are very unspiritual and undivine, then I wish to say that you can do it, but your progress will be very, very limited. You have to make the proper balance.