Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Care for the living

“A farmer got so old that he couldn't work the fields anymore. So he would spend the day just sitting on the porch. His son, still working the farm, would look up from time to time and see his father sitting there. "He's of no use any more," the son thought to himself, "he doesn't do anything!"
One day the son got so frustrated by this, that he built a wood coffin, dragged it over to the porch, and told his father to get in. Without saying anything, the father climbed inside. After closing the lid, the son dragged the coffin to the edge of the farm where there was a high cliff. As he approached the drop, he heard a light tapping on the lid from inside the coffin.
He opened it up. Still lying there peacefully, the father looked up at his son. "I know you are going to throw me over the cliff, but before you do, may I suggest something?"
"What is it?" replied the son.
"Throw me over the cliff, if you like," said the father, "but save this good wood coffin... Your children might need to use it."
As I read this story told in different ways, one thing struck me. What we do returns to us sooner or later, may be in this birth itself or in the next birth too, if you believe in Law of karma. This law in its essence is found in many great faiths and cultures. Put it differently; do unto others as you would have them do unto you. The lesson is parents who respect and treat their parents with affection unconsciously teach children certain values who in turn would care for them with love in their old age. The converse of indifference or neglect is also true. The parents and children are just an example. It applies to all other virtues or vices.
As per Hindu religion, every person is born with four debts to be discharged during one’s life time.
The first debt is to God to be repaid by regular prayers and worship, and selfless service to all of God's creatures. The second debt towards the sages and saints, who have revealed truths in scriptures is discharged by service to the needy, handicapped, sick and poor, and less fortunate. The third debt is to one's ancestors, parents and teachers and a fourth debt--a debt unto mankind
The third debt enjoins on us the duty to treat our parents with respect and do all that we can, to keep them happy and  in comfort. We cannot adequately compensate  for all the sacrifices they made on our behalf.
Dignified treatment of parents irrespective of their nature and taking care of them while they are alive falls under this duty. Neglecting them when alive and shedding tears and doing rituals, after they are gone, smack of hypocrisy. This does not also mean blind obedience to do certain things bidden by them or tolerate actions from them that militate against the dharma or law of land.
The concept of old age homes, though does not fit in our culture, has become necessary due to changes in life style, breakup of joint family system and the compulsion to work in far away places.While there be no regret on this score where inevitable,this however does not absolve the children from extending due care whenever needed for their well being monetarily and otherwise.


  1. This is a beautiful post. Everything said here is true.
    Thank you for sharing your wise insights and thoughts.
    I hope to read more of same here or in your other blog.
    Blessings to you and your family.

  2. So happy to see you here..please keep writing...I love to read such posts.
    I believe in karma totally and I have face many incidences where I have realised that what you do always comes back to you..

    I believe in looking after parents whole heartedly, but always finding amicable solutions to retain your own life too....And for this even parents must adjust, I have seen that most of the parents think that they should be always the first priority for the children,but none of them thinks that their children are also ageing and they have their own life to live also, parents should take a back seat in the plan of children's life.

  3. Great post KP! I had not heard of that little story; it was a bonus. :)
    Happy Pongal to you and your!

  4. Very heart touching post.. I totally agree with u, we should respect and take care of them those who have worked hard through out their life