The sorrows of old age

Never forget your duty to your parents

Children, the mother holds the highest place among all relatives. From the time of conception, her sacrifice, dedication, love, concern and care are incomparable. Babies grow up drinking the life-nourishing breast milk of their mother. She protects us from all danger. Our mother is also our first guru, educating and training us to lead a noble family life. Until the very end, our mother will go on protecting us, with utmost dedication and care. A mother is always prepared to undergo even the most extreme sacrifice for the betterment and safety of her children.

Often, the love, respect and attachment people show their parents when they are children are lost when they become adults. We even see young children fighting over their parents, saying to their brothers or sisters, “She is my mother, not yours!” or “This is my father, not yours!” When those very same children grow up, due to disinterest in caring for their parents, they will say just the opposite: “She’s your mother” or “He’s your father.”

Once, an old man went to a phone repair shop. He handed his mobile to the shopkeeper and said, “Please, see if there is anything wrong with my phone. I’m unable to receive any calls from my children.” His fatherly heart was unable to even consider that his darling children, whom he loved so much, were not calling him. Parents like to believe that their children are regularly calling them but that the calls are just not coming through because of some problem with their phone.

Our debt to our parents is unrepayable. We must consider any opportunity we get to serve and care for them as God’s grace. Amma often hears people say, “I wish my parents were still alive. I feel so guilty today when I think of how I neglected them when they were alive.” Make sure you are doing everything you can to prevent an opportunity for such a feeling to ever arise within you. The past can never return. While they are alive, we must do our duty to love and care for them to the best of our ability.

The duty of being a child doesn’t end with calling your parents on the phone every few months or on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. This is like giving a very thirsty person ice cubes instead of a long drink of pure water. Young people should remember that very soon they will also be in the same state that their parents and grandparents are in now. Don’t ever forget that it is what we give today that comes back to us tomorrow.

Understand the hearts of your elderly parents and behave accordingly. May the pain of their old age melt away to nothing in the light of your love. No greater grace comes from anything else.