Spiritual instructions for Householders

Family life

”A griha (house) can be converted into an ashram. An ashram is a place where people devote all their time and energy to the remembrance of God, doing selfless service and developing qualities like love, patience and respect for others. They do spiritual practices to help them see unity in diversity. Family life can also be like this. It was like this before, in the olden days. That is why a householder devotee is known as agrihasthashrami, a person who leads an ashram life while remaining in his house. He is a person who tries hard to attain the supreme goal, bliss, even while living with his wife and children. This is possible if you sincerely try.”

Duty

“Children, stay where you are and do your duty with love and dedication. If you are married and settled in the world, don’t run away, abandoning your job and your responsibilities as a husband or wife, and parent. Don’t think that God will accept you only if you renounce all your duties and wear ochre-coloured clothes. No, that is not how it is. Continue to wear the same clothes, perform your duties, stay at home, and do your work. But at the same time, learn to live within your true Self. This is the most important art that we should learn. We learn everything else but never this: the art of dwelling in our own Self.”

Adapt to situations

“Whether you are living all alone or with a family, your life will not be happy and successful unless you have the mental capacity to adapt to any situation. This is one of life’s most basic principles.”

House

“The family house should not be a place where a group of individuals live together in conflict, always fighting and arguing. It is not a place for just eating and sleeping, thinking that this is what life is and that this is what enjoyment is. That makes family life hell. It will cut your personality to pieces. Family life such as this is equal to death. A person who leads this kind of life in his family is nothing more than a corpse. This kind of family is like a prison where the inmates have no personal contact; they are just there, adjacent to one another. But you can turn your family into a haven, your house into a home, an abode of happiness and bliss, a place of peace and love. There definitely is effort involved; it can be a kind of sadhana (spiritual practice).”

Liberation

“While remaining in the house, they should live for God. It is possible to carry on a spiritual life while living in the world. The only thing is that one must perform actions selflessly without any attachment. One should not worry about the past or the future. Live in the present, surrendering your actions and their fruit at the feet of the Lord. Perform your duties as sincerely as possible, keeping in mind that all is entrusted by God. Be satisfied with whatever is provided by the Supreme. Anyhow, when we act with an attitude of surrender and devotion, it will bear the best fruit. But do not confuse your mind thinking of the fruit. If you perform your duties in the present, sincerely and wholeheartedly, considering it as your duty entrusted by God, then the future will become your friend. Live today with dedication then tomorrow will be your friend. Get rid of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ and consider everything as God’s.”

Dharma

“We should try to live according to our own dharma. We should never try to adopt someone else’s dharma, for that would be as dangerous as it would be if a dentist were to act as a cardiologist and treat someone afflicted with heart disease. It would be dangerous for both him and his patients if he tried to do something that he is not qualified to do. Needless to say, the dentist should stick to his own job. He has enough to do in his own field. By diligently performing each action with an attitude of love, dedication and self-surrender, he can attain perfection.”