The relationship between parents and children continues not only during the period that they live but also after death. The parents always live for the welfare of the children. They would sacrifice their needs for the sake of children. They pass on the benefits of hard work to their children. The children do not realise the sacrifice that their parents make till they become parents. Nowadays, they do not realise even when they become parents but they realise when their children ignore them.
The expectation that the children must look after the parents is not fair. If the parents look after their children with an expectation they would look after them after they grow up, would not that be a selfish motive? It looks like that I do it for you now, then, you do for me later. Then the greatness of parenthood diminishes. Did the parents expect anything from children in the olden days? The answer is definitely not. That is the reason the parents left the household after retirement on Vanaprastam or on Guru Seva. They would go on pilgrimage, would stay in the Guru’s ashram and do service. If the children request them to come back, they might come back after their pilgrimage, to help their grand children in their growing up or bringing good values to them.
If we look at any other living beings, they do not have the concept of their children looking after them. Only human beings think because of attachment and the expectation of doing post death rites.
When a family has old parents staying with them, their experience helps running the family well. When the children grow under the guidance of the grandparents, it helps them to remain disciplined. It also puts control on children so that they do not end up going in wrong directions. Now, we see the parents going to work and the children remain unsupervised as the grandparents and elders live elsewhere. It results in increase in petty crimes and mistakes committed by the children. This is also contributing to the decaying of the society.
So, the parents must go back to the olden tradition of taking Vanaprastam or staying with their Gurus or going on pilgrimage or living a detached life after retirement. Let the children make their own decisions once they have grown up. Give advice when the children require them. It also would help one to spend some time for the soul. If the parents continue in their Grahasthasrama, when would they give time for their souls? If they still would like to continue their day-to-day life, they must live a life without attachment and spend their time on serving Guru and God. On the other hand, the children have the responsibility of taking care of their parents when they live and doing their ceremonies for the parents’ souls after they pass away.
To conclude, there must be a good understanding and love between parents and children. It is in the hands of parents whether to go for Vanaprastam or stay in a family without any attachment. Sriom