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It is said East is the East and West is the West and will never meet. But nowadays due to modem means of transportation and communication, we see that they are coming nearer to each other. Celebration of the Father's Day, Mother's Day and Valentine Day which started in the West are practiced in India too.

Different Civilizations

Western and Eastern civilizations were quite different and are still quite different in certain parts of the East where modern means of communication and transportation are scare. Generally speaking, western civilization is self-centered whereas eastern civilization is family oriented. In the West parents do not fee! that they are responsible for their wards when they are adults. They are happy if they flow out of the family nest, select their future course of action , choose their life partner, many and live as they like while in the East parents are considered responsible for the education, marriage and well -settled life of their wards.

In the West, most of the adult wards often have formal relations with their parents and do not care much for them. People say that the practice of Father’ and Mother's days is due to the fact that in the west the children leave their parents quite early and these days are meant to tell the parents they have not been forgotten They will take their parents for a dinner and present them a gift on father's/ mother's day. In case the parents are dead, they will be satisfied if they put flowers on their graves. In the East, sons are considered responsible for old parents for as long as they are alive. In my childhood, I read a story when a son named Sarwan carried his blind parents in a Wahngi a piece of wood with ropes at each end for cany ing weight carried across the shoulders) for a pilgrimage to fulfill their last wish. Even these days, an obedient son is called 'Sarwan Put' meaning son like Sarwan. In India there is a law which forces sons to take this responsibility while in the West, the state gives social security assistance in the shape of money to the aged parents.

What Does Gurbani Say?

Gurbani also advises the wards not to fight with parents who brought them up. Prithi Chand was not on good terms with his father,Guru Raam Daas, as the Guru nominated his younger son, Guru Aijan Dev, to to be Guru afiter him. The Guru advised Prithi Chand in these words:-

kwhy pUq Jgrq hau sMig bwp ]
ijn ky jxy bfIry qum hau iqn isau Jgrq pwp ]1] rhwau ]
- (SGGS:1200)
“O son, why do you argue with your father? It is a sin to argue with the one who fathered you and raised you.”

Mostly, money is the cause of bad relations between the father and the son. The Guru has also pointed out the futility of wealth in the next line:-

ijsu Dn kw qum grbu krq hau so Dnu iksih n Awp ]
iKn mih Coif jwie ibiKAw rsu qau lwgY pCuqwp ]1]

“That wealth, which you are so proud of - that wealth does not belong to anyone. In an instant, you shall have to leave behind all your corrupt pleasures; you shall be left to regret and repent.”

Bhai Gur Daas whose compositions are considered key to the Gurbani has also written in stanza 13 of his 37th ballad (Var) that all means to reach God are useless if one forsakes one's parents:-

mW ipau prhir suxY vydu Bydu n jwxY kQw khwxI[
"Renouncing the parents, the listener of Vedas cannot understand their mystery."

mW ipau prhir krY qpu vxKMif Bulw iPrY ibbwxI[
"Repudiating the parents, meditation in the forest is similar to the wanderings at deserted places."

mW ipau prhir krY pUju dyvI dyv n syv kmwxI[
"The service and worship to the gods and goddesses are useless if one has renounced his parents."

mW ipau prhir nHwvxw ATsiT qIrQ GuMmx vwxI[
Without service to the parents, bath at the sixty-eight pilgrimage centres is nothing but gyrating in a whirlpool.

Harsimar Khalsa ~ [email protected]  

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