Following my post on the Ashrama system of life, I got some backlash. Some fumed, “Are you suggesting that we throw out our parents? Is that what Sanatana Dharma says?”

I’m writing this post to clear the air. First, I never remotely mentioned that children should throw out or stop talking to their aged parents. Second, please don’t shoot the messenger! Because I merely wrote what’s recommended by tradition.

The Goal of Sanatana Dharma

According to the Vedic scriptures, Sanatana Dharma’s aim has always been Moksha, the ultimate freedom. The Ashrama way of life helps a person live a holistic life. Ultimately, it also leads them to Moksha.

Now, what if a person isn’t interested in Moksha? Aren’t they considered the followers of Sanatana Dharma? Honestly, I don’t know the answer to that. The Vedantic scriptures assume that everyone will want Moksha at some point. Even if not in this lifetime, in the future ones for sure.

Candidly, I can’t see why anyone would say no to Moksha. Maybe people enjoy their lives so much? That, they wish to return to this planet to live over and over again? Well, I’m not one of them. I’m peaceful and happy with my life, but I also agree with what Swami says, “Earth seems too artificial for me, and I have no plans of coming back here again.”

Attaining Sanatana Dharma’s Goal

A mandatory requirement to reach that state of Moksha is developing non-attachment. That includes becoming detached from objects, people, and even ourselves (our body and mind). To experience that level of non-attachment, a person has to be in solitude at some point in their life.

Those living as a Grishathi may not have the luxury of solitude in their heydays. Therefore, the Ashrama way of life recommends doing that, at least when we’re close to death.

Even as a senior, if we run after people and the world, we can forget exiting Samsara, the cycle of birth and death! If that’s what you desire, to keep returning to earth, then you’re welcome to ignore the Ashrama way of life (and all of my posts).

Should I ignore my aged parents?

Nowhere did I say that the kids should send their parents into solitude! Let me repeat; I never said that anyone should ignore their elderly parents.

Here’s what I said: the seniors who desire Moksha should leave this world and live in solitude. If that’s what the parents wish to do, children should wholeheartedly support them. Also, when everyone lives a purposeful life, it would create lesser family issues and promote a better environment for the newer generation.

The Ashrama lifestyle is about you and your journey to Moksha. It’s not about what you want others to do. And, it’s not about what others want you to do. Ultimately, this is your life, and you can live it the way you like!

Questions about My Life

Frankly, I don’t owe an answer to anyone about my life. Still, I’ll share a little bit because a Grihastha-Sannyasin isn’t common in today’s world.

  1. Why did I leave my parents and in-laws? Typically, renunciates like SwamisSadhvis, Brahmacharis, and Sushrees don’t stay with their parents. That’s because they’ve chosen the Sannyasin way of life. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m also a renunciate by attitude. In other words, the love and detachment I feel are the same for everyone. So, just like I stay away from everyone else, I stay away from my parents and in-laws too.
  2. Then, why do I stay with my husband and son? In response, let me ask you why our beloved Vidya Swami devotedly cares for our esteemed Om Swami? As a sincere disciple, it’s his Dharma to love and serve his Guru. Similarly, as a wife and mother, it’s my Dharma to love and care for my husband and son. Just because I feel non-attached, I can’t run away from my realities.
  3. If so, don’t I have any Dharma towards the elders? In the past, I’ve cared for all of them to the best of my ability. If you don’t believe me, you can read my father-in-law’s blog (here) or my mother’s comment (here). To liberate me from this world, Nature created such situations that I had no choice but to let my parents, in-laws, relatives, friends, and everyone else go. Further, Swami has indicated that he’s taking care of my parents. So, I don’t have to worry about them.
  4. What situations did Nature create for me to make such drastic decisions? That’s way too personal for me to share here. However, I can tell you that my conscience is clear. Also, I’ve relayed my reasons to the concerned people. After listening to me, everyone had their reaction to my life choices. At that point, the non-attached person in me did what she felt was apt – I left each person to think whatever they thought was right.
  5. How do my husband and son cope with my non-attached attitude? I’ve been lucky there! My husband has had a detached view of life ever since I have known him. And, my son was born content and non-attached. He hasn’t asked us for anything to date, and he even gave away his entire income from towards charity. Of course, we all have our differences of opinion. But, for the most part, living with these two feels like living in a serene Ashram.

I hope that clears some confusion. If it doesn’t, sorry, but I tried!



Image: Photo by Matthew Bennett on Unsplash

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