We should respect our elders and parents. Today sons have no respect for their fathers. By disrespecting your father, how do you expect respect from your children? As is the food so is the belch, as is the seed, so is the fruit. Once there was a rich man. He lived with his wife, son and his aged father. One day the rich man and his wife thought, “Why should this old man be with us in this house? He is a nuisance to us. It would be better to keep him outside, in a small room in the verandah”. And so the rich man made his aged father stay in a small room in the verandah, serving him his daily food in an earthen vessel. The rich man’s son, however, was very fond of his grandfather. He would go to his grandfather’s room and tell him, “Grandfather, tell me about your experiences, and what had happened in your life time”. The child’s parents were recipients of modern education, and hence thought that their child would get perverted if he pays heed to the old man. And so they kept the child away from his grandfather. This little boy had a tender heart. He thought, ‘Whose property are my parents enjoying? It is my grandfather’s property. My parents are having a good name because of my grandfather. My parents are enjoying this property at the cost of my grandfather’s suffering’. Thinking so, one day the little boy hid the earthen plate which his parents used for serving his grandfather. The next day, when the parents were searching for the plate, their son came and asked, “Father, mother, what are you searching for?” The parents replied, “Nothing in particular. We are just searching for the earthen plate in which we serve food to your grandfather”. The boy took courage and said, “Father you don’t need to search for the plate. I have hidden the plate myself”. Hearing that his own son had hidden the plate the father started reprimanding him and started asking him the reason for such behaviour. To this the son replied, “Father, just as you are serving your father in the earthen vessel, I too will have to serve you in the same vessel once you become old. Therefore I have hidden it so that I can preserve it for your old age”.
As you take care of your parents, you will be taken care of by your children. Therefore, at this age, we must know the value of respecting our parents. I tell the boys many times that your blood, food, head and mind are given by your parents. So first you must pay your respect to your parents. Since parents have given you birth and have brought you up, you must first pay respect to them, even before God. God has given us mud and water, but the pots are made by the potters and not by God. In the same way, God has created our parents, and they, in turn, have given us this form. We owe this form to our parents. Your parents are the foundation of this body. Therefore it I said, Matru Devo Bhava, Pitru Devo Bhava – Mother is God, Father is God. Parents are Divine. Even today, we may find a wicked son, but never a bad mother. Parents bring you up with so much love. You should never forget your parents’ love. Remind yourself of their love and lead a life of integrity and morality.