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Offline JR

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« on: February 24, 2007, 01:10:55 AM »
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  • Responsibility of the Elders

    Everybody likes to be the eldest in the family, because he usually commands the juniors and the servants in the household. He expects everyone in the house to obey him and to give him due respect. The juniors in the house feel that this person is enjoying a unique position in the house and they sometimes even envy his lot; but little do they know that, "uneasy lies the head that wears a crown". The head of the family has to take care ef all the persons in the house. He has to guide them and also to .give them a piece of advice when they are in difficulties.

    The responsibility of the head of the family does not end here. He is quoted by the juniors in the house as an example especially when that is in their favour. If the head of the family happens to be a drunkard or a race goer or a gambler, then if these vices are seen in any of the children, no other person in the house is able to pull up these wayward children; because they at once say, "What is Papa doing? Why don't you first bring him under control?" It is really not correct to say that because the father is vicious, the sons also should be vicious; but when vices are so clearly seen in the father, it be¬comes difficult to curb or to advise the children. Hence it is the responsibility of the elders to see that they do not present a bad picture of themselves to the juniors, otherwise there is every danger of the juniors making a capital out of it.
    Knowing this danger fully well, Lord Krishna has clearly hinted that the elders should behave well by telling that the elders are being followed and that whatever they declare as standard is taken as such by the juniors. In the third canto of the Shrimadbhagavadgeeta, Lord Krishna is explaining to Arjuna the importance of Karmayoga. The Lord first tells Arjuna that no person in this world can remain without doing something and that hence Arjuna should not try to renounce the Karma. After this he tells that Janaka and , others obtained Siddhis by doing Karma and not by renouncing it. He also explains at the same time that looking at least to the ways of the world he has to do his duty. He further tells him thus-
    Lord   Krishna   states in   the above   verse that   whatever is practiced by the  (the eldest or the best) is followed by others (family members, followers etc.) He further adds that whatever he considers as standard is accepted by the people. Lord Krishna has only given the maxim. He has not stated that because of this policy of the people to follow their leader, the leader himself should keep his conduct quite exemplary. He has how-ever stated in the next two verses (viz. 3/22 and 3/23) that though he himself has now nothing to gain, still he always keeps himself busy; because if he himself wastes his time in idleness, the people at large will point out to his example and follow him in idle¬ness. It will thus be seen that though Lord Krishna has not pointed out the moral of his statement that, 'it is the responsibility of the elders to be aboveboard,' still he has hinted it by giving his own example, allowing the elders to conclude how they should behave in this world and set an example to others.

    The example of the eldest person in the family given before can now be extended further. In good old days when monarchy was the common form of government, accepted in all the countries of the world, the king was considered as the father of his subjects. The subjects were naturally expected to be treated as the children of the king. The best king was expected to be   i. e. he who fondles his subjects as his children. Because-of this expectation from the king, the subjects held the king in high esteem.   is a saying which expresses the high degree of respect that the subjects used to show for their king. The respect that was shown for the king for generations was because the king was considered to be a part of the god. The king thus became an ideal to be followed by his subjects. It is because of this traditional position of the king that the saying
    came into existence. The subjects of a kingdom are like the king who rules it. If the king is pious and religious, the subjects will be righteous and honest. While if the king is cruel and vicious, then the subjects will also be of the same type Here also the king is the   from the point of view of the citizens, as meant by Lord Krishna in his verse quoted before. The king naturally therefore, has to shoulder the responsibility of being followed and of remaining aboveboard.

    If we look to the behaviour of all the ideal kings in our Puranas and history, we find that they realised the unique posi¬tion that they held in the eyes of their subjects and always tried to behave accordingly, so that no citizen in their kingdom should get a ground to complain against their conduct. The glaring example of Prabhu Ramchandra, as the king of Ayodhya, can surely be quoted as an example in this respect. While ruling in Ayodhya, he was particularly watchful about the comments of the public against him. He was always directing his spies to tell him clearly whatever they might have overheard, so that he should not be lowered in any way in the eyes of his subjects. It was because of this consciousness of being the   as described by Lord Krishna in Geeta that Rama abandoned Sita, on account of the comments of one washerman, who compared the behaviour of his wife with that of Sita. How much Rama was conscious about his image in the mind of his subjects and how much he wanted to woo them is indicated clearly in the following verse.
    Rama has stated here very clearly that his duty towards his subjects is of utmost importance to him. He has to keep them contented and pleased. For doing that he says that he will not at all be sorry even if he has to cast away friendship, mercy, pleasure or even his wife Sita. In other words Rama wanted to maintain his clear image as a   in the eyes of his subjects, so that there would be no ground for complaint among the follow¬ers following him. This consciousness in Rama that he is being followed by his subjects is identical to the thought expressed by Lord Krishna in his two verses from the Geeta stating why he cannot afford to be idle.

       Leaving aside this consciousness in Rama, as he is a perso¬nality, which we come across in the Puranas, we can point out to so many rulers of historical and modern times, in our country, who have tried to keep their responsibility as elders, who are likely to be followed by others and are likely to be quoted as examples. Chhatrapati Shiwaji Maharaj, Peshwa Madhavrao and Devi Ahilyabai Hoikar will easily he accepted as examples of such ideal rulers in the historical times. The behaviour of all these rulers in political, religious, social and even in family matters was exemplary and it is no wonder that their examples are often quoted in various contexts by all.

    Even after the coming of the British rule we come across several rulers of states who behaved like trustees of the state and set example before their subjects It will not be out of place if the names of Sayajirao Gaikwad of Baroda and Shri Bhavanrao Pant Pratinidhi of the Aundh state are mentioned here. In both these rulers we see the same consciousness that was present in Rama or Shiwaji or Ahilyabai. If we come across some people staying in both these states, they will at once start praising the ideal way of behaviour of these rulers. This is therefore, the correct role of the    who are at the helm of affairs.
    During the pre-independence days, the leaders of the people were scrupulously honest about their dealings. They cared very much for their public image and tried to see that it never got blurred.
    Lokamanya Tilak, Mahatraa Gandhi, Rajgopalachari, Motilal Nehru, Bhai Parmanand, Pandit 'Madanmohan Malavia and such other names will remind us about the honesty of pur¬pose of these personalities. The patriotism of these leaders, their selfless work, their sacrifice all go to point out that they lived their life in such a manner that it was an example worth follo¬wing for their followers and admirers. It appears that ail these leaders were fully conscious of the duties and responsibilities of the   as described by Lord Krishna in Bhagawadgeeta and were behaving in conformity with that description.

    All our political woes after independence appear to be due to the   that are at the helm of our political affairs. No¬body now worries about what Lord Krishna has said in Bhag-wadgeeta. The people at the top are themselves prone to corru¬ption, partiality, nepotism, highhandedness etc. They rarely think that they have to set an example before their juniors and followers and that they must have a very good example to follow. It is therefore, not at all strange that our political sky is hazy and full of clouds. The followers are following their leaders in toto and it is because of this that corruption has become so ram¬pant in the rank and files. The movement, now launched by Shri Jayaprakasha Narayan against corruption and malpractices could have been averted if all our ^s had understood the pre¬aching of Lord Krishna, which is quoted before, and behaved accordingly during the last twentyseven years of our independence.

    "Caesar's wife should be above   suspicion"   is a very   well known phrase  in English.    Here   Caesar and his   wife are  mere symbols. They indicate persons of high rank. It therefore, appears that in the western world also there was consciousness that the persons of high rank have to be spotlessly clean, because their example was being followed by others. The ideas of Lord Krishna about the duties and behaviour of the elders or the best   therefore appear to be more or less parallel to the afore¬said saying. The responsibility of the elders of behaving properly is therefore more or less a universally accepted fact.
    It appears from Shri Sai Baba's life that he was conscious of being a   as contemplated in Geeta. From Chapters 39 and 50 of Sai Satcharita, we know about Baba's discussion with Nanasaheb Chandorkar about a verse from Geeta. Hence we can easily conclude that he must have had complete mastery over that sacred book. His behaviour was therefore, always such that it should set an example to others. It is often said that Shri Sai Baba did not have an army of disciples, because his life itself was his teaching and those who studied his life well got the lessons automatically. We, the devotees of Shri Sai Baba follow his example because he consciously set it before us.

    In some field or the other, we are known as  . It may be in the family, or in the office or in the village, district or community, as we may be known, that we are the   for a certain number of people. The persons considering you as a   may be many or few in number according to your status in your village, town or city in political and social circle; but the fact remains that every one is a   for a big or a small number. Hence according to the preaching of Lord Krishna, quoted above, everyone of us has got to be conscious that there is a following behind us, which is trying to imitate us. Hence it is the responsibility of all the elders, in whatever field they are considered 'elders', to behave in such a manner that their example should be worth following. Their behaviour should be spotless, flawless and ideal, which should attract the followers and inspire them.
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