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Absolute-Truth Forums » Perfect Question, Perfect Answers

Serving Parents or Serving God?

(1 post)
  1. Anonymous

    Question: I can say I have practically no knowledge of the scriptures; but I believe in GOD - in all gods. Prior to coming to the US, I used to pray a lot. However, after coming here I have reduced that, apparently for no particular reason. But I have started praying to my parents, because I feel that by serving one's parents, one can serve God. I would like to understand what really is a person's duty - is it to serve God directly or to serve his parents and reach God through them?

    Answer:True service or proper service, to any being, can be rendered when we are in knowledge. Action done in ignorance, despite all good intentions, could turn out to be a disservice to others. For example, if someone is very ill, it would be a disservice to feed them opulent, fatty foods. Just as we acquaint ourselves with knowledge of the material world from the worldly authorities (physicians, scientists etc), in order to understand our ultimate duty in life and how we can serve others best, we need to acquaint ourselves with scriptural authority. When our actions are based on scriptural knowledge, they will be beneficial for all living entities. Any other man-made plan is bound to be defective and imbalanced.

    From scriptures, we learn that real service is done by serving the Personality of Godhead, Krishna, just as by watering the roots of a tree all the branches are automatically nourished. Any amount of extraneous care of the branches of a tree would be futile if the root is neglected, or if the branch is disconnected. Similarly Krishna is the source and sustenance of everything, and all the multitude of devas are the limbs of His body. The demigods, and indeed all living beings, can be satisfied by worshiping the Supreme Lord and by connecting them to His service. (Cf. SB 4.31.14)

    Thus, in answer to your question, our foremost duty is to DIRECTLY serve God by chanting His Names, hearing about Him and worshiping Him. This means that all other duties, such as towards one's family and society are not to be neglected, nor should they be done independently, but should be done AS A SERVICE to God.

    Service to one's parents is not only noble but an important duty for everyone. They have been the Lord's instrument in giving us the gift of human body, have nourished us and sacrificed much, at least for one's material well-being; in turn we express our gratitude through service and care. But what should that service be? Again, we learn from scripture that service to the material body, without caring for the spirit soul, is like saving the coat of a drowning man or like polishing the cage of a bird while neglecting to feed the bird.

    Thus a very important aspect of one's service to his / her parents is to facilitate their onward spiritual journey, if possible, by giving them the opportunity for performance of devotional service. Even if that is not possible, however, scriptures conclude that if one dedicates one's life to Krishna's service, out of affection for such a devotee, the Lord liberates not only their parents but many generations of his forefathers! This is the ultimate service one can render their parents.

    Answer By H.H Romapda Swami

    Posted 7 years ago #

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