Family



What sort of family do I have ?
What sort of family do i want ?
How can I create a utopian family of my own ?

These are some of the questions answered by our scriptures.  However, scriptures do not point these things out like Dummies Guide.  They are more subtle.  In the traditional Indian way, scriptures explain everything as a story, someone else's story.  That way no one's feelings get hurt and everyone feels slightly superior for "being better than them".

Scriptures list a huge number of families - everything from families of Devas, Danavas, Siddhas, Gandharvas, Nagas, Sages and Humans.  There are families created by the children of Prajapaties - Daksha being foremost of these ancient beings.  Devas and Danavas are brothers who share a single father and their mothers - Diti and Aditi - are sisters.  Sages have sired great being like Dattatreya, Durvasa, Garuda and even Hiranyakasha.  Born of a sage, Gandharva king Kuber is a step brother to the Rakshasha king Ravan.  Danavas have such families as those of Prahalada, Bali and Banasur.  Amongst humans, scriptures give examples of families of Dhruv, Manu, Dashrath, Rama, Kansa, Krushna and Kurus (Pandavas & Kauravas).

Scriptures invite us to look at all these different examples of families and ask ourselves, what sort of family do I want to emulate ?  Do I want to be like Vali and Sugrive or Rama and Lakshman ?  Do I want to fight for my inheritance like the Kuru cousins or do I want to let go like Krushna and Balarama ?  Do I want to try and control my kids like Banasur or be open minded like Manu and Ashwapati (fathers of Devhuti and Savitri) ?  Do I want to be unreasonable in my behaviour like Ansuya's husband or be understanding like Tara's husband ?  As a couple, who do we want to emulate ?  Is it Vashishtha & Arundhati, Rama & Sita, Pandavas and Draupadi or Shiva and Shivaa ?

Scriptures tell many tales.  Tales of tragedies and triumphs, happiness and horrors.  They highlight the good, the bad and the ugly qualities we find in all of us.  Even the best amongst us has something unseeming in our behaviour, some character flaw, some weakness that mars us.  Nala and Yudhisthir, paragons of kingly virtue, had a weakness for gambling that their enemies exploited to the hilt.  Even Balarama had a soft-spot for the villainous Duryodhan.  Cards dealt out to us by life are never "fair" in our own eyes.  But the simple fact is, everyone has been dealt with a mixed deck of cards, some good, some OK and some absolutely useless.  How you play your hand is up to you.  Can you maximise on your good cards ?  Can you use up the useless ones at the appropriate time to minimise your losses ?  Life is life.  Scriptures teach us to "get on with it" and deal with life as it is.  Don't complain - it's pointless to do so.  Make the most of what you have - that's all you CAN do.

Success or failure in life is largely decided by our attitude to life.  How we deal with life's ups & downs, how we interact with others around us, how we carry ourselves & behave under stressful situations - these things will define how you are perceived to be.  No one is perfect, but the secret is to get perfect at being as good as you can be.  You may never measure up to your own exacting standards, but as long as you have tried hard enough, no one will blame you for not trying.  People are not fools.  Even if you manage to fool some of the people some of the times, people will figure you out in time and realise the games you are playing.  People will know you for who you are.  Scriptures give plenty of examples of this.  Greed of Sahastrarjun could not be veiled in his ulteristic sounding desire to "look after the Kamadehnu for the benefit of mankind".

In life, we all make mistakes.  Sometimes we make big, BIG mistakes.  Secret to a successful life is not to avoid making mistakes - you can't avoid it even if you tried - secret is how you deal with your mistakes.  Having made a mistake, have you tried to cover up for your foolishness ?  Have you tried to blame others ?  Have you tried to blame the situation or fate or God ?  Have you taken ownership of your mistake and made amends ?  Have you apologised for your mistake to those impacted by your actions ?

 

What have you done ?  

 

This is what defines you.  Not the mistake, but how you dealt with it.  Shakuntala made a mistake of keeping her relationship with a foreigner secret .  Dushyant made a bigger mistake of abandoning a woman he had a fling with.  The pair made up for it all by not letting Bharat suffer for their mistakes.  Why should the innocent victim of your mistake suffer ?  Dushyant made immediate reparation and accepted Bharat as his own.  This resulted in the happy situation of founding an empire so great, an entire subcontinent is named after that dynasty !

Make your family so special, that others should want to emulate you.  Scriptures can give you guidance.  But only "YOU" can do it.  You owe it to yourself, your family, to do this.

 

For further information on some of the great people mentioned here, visit other pages on this site.

© Bhagwat    Bhagwat_s@Yahoo.com

 

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