Blog Love Relationships

Love in marriage?


Scene 1: (morning)

Wife to husband: I am going to throw the garbage… why are you still reading the newspaper? Arent you getting late for office? [I asked him to throw the rubbish, he simply doesnt care to help me!]

Husband: Is the breakfast ready? [Everyday I have to remind her that I have to leave office by 8.00am. I’m always reaching office late!]

Wife: Breakfast is there on the table. Please help yourself as I have to throw the garbage now. [when I ask him to do some work, he immediately picks a reason to bash me up]

Husband: Cant you do that later and serve me breakfast instead? What is this, Upma again? [Aman always tells how nicely his wife serves him everyday]

Wife: Do you have anything else except complaints for me? [I am fed up. What happened to all the love he was proclaiming he had for me after our marriage?]

Husband: Look, don’t start off another duel of words early in the morning. My whole day gets spoilt. Its an important day for me at work. [I better leave now, before another war of words starts. I have to call Raman and ask him to check on the meeting preparations].

Wife: If work is the most important thing for you in your life, why did you marry me? [feels hurt & breaks down]

Husband: I dont have time for this now, I’m leaving! [angrily slams the door as he’s leaving]



Scene 2: (morning)

Wife to husband: Oh dear, will you please throw the rubbish. If I dont start making the dosas now, you’ll get late.

Husband: Sure dear..anything for you and your simply wonderful dosas!

Wife: [Smiles] Stop flattering me! oh! I forgot completely that its an important day for you at work today. You get ready dear and I will throw the rubbish later.

Husband: Thanks Uma. You are so understanding, it takes the pressure off me! I’ll come early this evening and let’s go for our long forgotten walk in the park, what say?

Wife: [All happy] Okey-dokey! Breakfast is ready!

Husband: I’m more ready!
[both share a good laugh]

The secret to happiness and love in marriage, Radhanath Swami says is when there is culture of service and appreciation. Srimad Bhagavatam identifies the major enemies that attack us from within and pit us against one another as lust, pride, envy, greed, sinful activities and vanity. By learning to subdue these enemies within ourselves, we become happy and peaceful in our marriage relationships, and indeed in all of our relationships. These enemies can gradually be subdued by spiritual practices, such as chanting the holy names of the Lord.

“In everyday life, our relationships with one another are practice for the divine relationships we will eventually experience. The quality of our interactions indicates how well we are preparing ourselves for association with the Supreme Lord.”(HH Bhaktitirtha Swami)


The greatest enemy of all

Overcome the greatest, all devouring enemy of all!


The Bhagavad Gita claims that ‘Lust’ is the greatest enemy of the living entity and it covers the living entity by different degrees. It is said that this lust is never satisfied and the more you feed it, the more it burns like fire, just like you cannot douse a fire by pouring more and more fuel into it, it only grows bigger. Vedic scriptures call this material world as maithunya-āgāra or the shackles of sex life. While one enjoys sense gratification, it may be that there is some feeling of happiness, but actually that so-called feeling of happiness is the ultimate enemy of the sense enjoy-er as it keeps him tied down to this miserable material existence birth after birth.

Radhanath Swami answers the question – what truth is? He reiterates that our true identity is that we’re eternal souls. We’re stranded like strangers in a foreign land. For the eternal souls to try to be happy with the cheap thrills of temporary pleasures of this material existence is really an embarrassment, he says. But, sometimes when a person is so intoxicated and consumed, he puts himself to do things that are so humiliating and embarrassing that he does not even know that he’s doing it. That’s the deluding potency of the material energy or maya. So, how do we get out of the shackles of this material energy? Radhanath Swami gives a simple answer. He says, all we have to do to get out of it is to choose to ‘get out of it.’

When a living entity comes in contact with the material creation, his eternal love for the Lord is transformed into lust. His service unto the lord is transformed into the propensity for sense enjoyment. Bhagavad Gita gives in detail the process of how this lust develops in our minds. It says the starting point is when we contemplate on the sense object, desire/lust to enjoy it arises. The senses, mind and intelligence are the sitting places of this lust. Through them lust covers the real knowledge of the living entity and bewilders him. The cure is also given in the Gita, ‘In the very beginning curb this great symbol of sin [lust] by regulating the senses, and slay this destroyer of knowledge and self-realization.’

Sense regulation has a great place in the lives of those who want to achieve higher spiritual goals. Human life is meant for tapasya i,e voluntarily acceptance of some inconvenience and regulation of senses is also tapasya. Eating in moderation and eating only sanctified food, sleeping in moderation (getting early to bed and rising before sunrise), sex only within marriage and for the purpose of begetting children according to vedic samskaras, help us develop cleaner habits. The subtle form of tapasya is to curb and control the habits of our mind. While regulation of external senses helps us develop cleaner habits externally, controlling the mind helps us clean up the corners of our dirty mind. Krishna tells Arjuna in the Gita, that one who has an uncontrolled mind, it is the worst of his enemies. So, our enemy is within us!

How do we regulate our mind? The example is given of a tortoise who uses his senses only when required and withdraws it whenever it is not required. Similarly, we need to regulate our mind by withdrawing it (in the very beginning) from wherever it is wandering. Now the point is where to fix it? Mind needs an object to rest on otherwise it becomes restless. If the mind rests on any material object, it eventually develops lust for it. The remedy is given by the Lord Himself- ‘Mayy Asakta manAh,’ He says, rest your mind in Me, develop attachment for Me by performing devotional service. ‘yoga-kshemam vahamy aham’- He also assures that those who worship Him with exclusive devotion, He will certainly come to their rescue in times of their need. Without the help of the Lord Himself, it is certainly impossible to overcome this greatest, all devouring sinful enemy!

Radhanath Swami narrates the story of Lord Rama killing lust personified Ravana. The goddess of Fortune, Sita devi is the wife of Lord Rama and she is eternally in loving service of Lord Rama but Ravana wanted to take Sita for himself. This is called kama or lust. In Caitanya Caritamrita, a holy scripture of the Lord, the author Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami describes love as the natural inclination of the soul wanting to give pleasure to God. But when that natural affection for God is misplaced, we are trying to enjoy the property of God for our own selfish desire, then that love is transformed into lust. Prema or love is when our energies are directed towards God. When it is directed anywhere else, it is called Kama or lust.

So, Ravana disguised himself and stole Sita. He was so powerful that no one could defeat him, demigods were living in utter fear of Ravana and he was unconquerable. Lord Rama shows us how powerful lust really is. Everytime He tried to cut off the heads of Ravana, another one grew. Doesn’t that sound like our own material desires? Everytime you perform some yajna or sacrifice to give up one material sinful desire, immediately another one shoots up.  Those on the spiritual path know that as soon as you cut down one lusty desire, 10 more grow. It is seemingly an endless battle. Finally, Lord Rama shot His arrow into Ravana’s heart. When the arrow pierced the heart, Ravana fell to the ground.

Radhanath Swami concludes that the Lord is the only one who has this invincible arrow. The arrow cannot be obtained by any mortal, living entity. It is the exclusive power of the Lord. That is why Lord Krishna says in the Gita, that this material energy of mine is very very difficult to overcome. But one who surrenders unto Me, I fight their battles with My own hands, I will conquer lust. I will conquer Ravana within your heart. So, when we surrender our sinful desires and propensities to the Lord, the merciful Lord appears within our heart. Through the process of Bhakti i,e by remembering the Lord, by worshipping Him, by constantly chanting His holy names, by offering loving service unto Him, we make place for the Lord to appear within our heart and with His mighty arrows, He can shoot right into the heart of Ravana and make our sinful desires disappear forever from our hearts. That is the recommended process in the vedic scriptures.






When do we finally stop?

Nothing-is-enough-for-the__quotes-by-Epicurus-77Nothing is enough for the man to whom enough is too little- Epicurus.

In 1930, Keynes, the most influential 20th century economist, predicted in his notes, ‘Economic possibilities for our grandchildren,’ that, within a century, per capita income would steadily rise, people’s basic needs would be met, and no one would have to work more than fifteen hours a week.

Per capita income seems to have increased as he envisioned but it seems people are working for fifteen hours a day now! Was he wrong? I don’t think he was wrong. If you read carefully, he says, people’s ‘basic needs’ would be met. It still makes sense. So then, is it our ‘wants’ that seemingly have gone unsatisfied or rather berserk?

Authors, Robert & Edward Skidelsky in their book ‘How much is enough?’ argue that economics is moral science. They have beautifully traced the concept of the good life from Aristotle to the present and tried to show how our lives over the last half century have strayed from that ideal. It is an impressive presentation and certainly helps bring about a perspective to those battling with the aforesaid question.

Recently, a friend was visiting me. She and her husband have shifted their base to a remote village where they are inspired to lead a more natural life, growing their own food and vegetables and tending cows. Though they had no background whatsoever, they were determined to quit their successful IT jobs (against all odds and oppositions, mind you!) and with a deep belief that, ‘God is the provider,’ they took the plunge to lead a more sattvic, god-conscious and surrendered life. The day she visited me, another friend and her family left the country for good, to go to a western country for better economic prospects. I was contemplating on the motives behind these two moves-the conditions that led one family choose to go to the village for a ‘better today’ while the other family left for another country with the hope that they will have a ‘better tomorrow.’

There are many others who have defined their comfort zones in the swelling cities and are day in and day out working hard like asses to make more and more money. ‘Working- to earn good money’ seems to be in the centre of every house holder (grihasta) these days. We see this as the only means to provide for food, shelter, clothing for the family and education of our children. Ofcourse, along the course, we will also invest in properties, have a couple of Fixed Deposits in banks, buy an apartment, to secure our so-called ‘future,’ and graduate to our next cars as well.

‘Insatiability,’ Skidelskys say, is the psychological disposition that prevent us as individuals and as societies, from saying, ‘enough is enough,’ directed by a desire for more and more money. Capitalism, they say, has made possible improvements in material conditions whereas it has also exalted some of the most reviled human characteristics, such as greed, envy and avarice.

We’ve forgotten the art of living a simple life in the complicated mire of city life and are getting more and more conditioned. Though we’re trapped and choked, we’re afraid to say so! But deep inside we know what an artificial life we are leading! So, my dear friends, let’s take stock of our lives and before it is too late, let’s see if we really need to stay in this rat race or step aside and lead our lives according to natural principles where ones life is truly simple, ones needs are truly lesser, one has more time on hand to focus on his higher goals and one is more satisfied and happier.

Its not an easy task to overcome our own conditioning as our truant mind leads us astray but when we take shelter in the wisdom of great thinkers, philosophers and spiritualists, we get the courage to step aside and make the right decisions for ourselves and for generations to come.

Radhanath Swami recommends plain living and high thinking for everyone. He defines simplicity as finding balance in our life by which our mind, our body are in the most optimum condition. Desires are endless, he says, the more we have, the more we need and we are never satisfied. We need to do everything in right proportion as per our minimum requirements.

Srila Prabhupada, the founder of International Society for Krishna Consciousness, said, “The Krishna consciousness movement is therefore establishing various farms to show how to be happy and content with minimum necessities of life and to save time for self-realization.’

Blog Relationships

Life’s precious gifts

Life's precious giftAt the funeral of his dearest friend, Anand reflected what a kind and genuinely loving soul his friend had been. His friend led a life dedicated to serving others and Anand could not remember a single instance where his friend spoke negatively about someone. Then, he looked around and saw that a large number of people had gathered to bid a loving farewell to his friend. He felt touched. His friend’s wife was being comforted by her entire family, her children and visitors as well.

At this point, he wondered how many people would turn out at his own funeral? How many lives had he touched so far? None, was the scary answer that popped up in his heart. How could he have? He had been leading a shallow life entangled in crazy superficiality which he takes much too seriously! He had been living a life with a closed heart, he gathered, a life where he had put his own needs and pleasures in the centre and had cared very little to find out what others needed or what pleased them.

He then thought of his wife, who was sincerely dedicated to him but he failed to recollect when was the last time he expressed his gratitude to her or genuinely expressed his affection to her? He had a long list of priority in his life. He was a super busy executive who had many things to achieve and prove his worth to the world. He thought of his children who were sent to the best schools in town but he felt a fear..that the children did not care too much about him as he had spent less and less time with them over these years. Then, he thought of his parents, who had raised him with lot of love and care. He remembered how his father took a huge loan to enable him to study and all their sacrifices so that he has a better future. Today, they live with a hope that one day their son will visit them.

Uncontrollable tears rolled out of his eyes. He had a desperate longing to see his parents, touch their feet and seek forgiveness for his brashness and ingratitude. At this point, he felt the hands of an elderly gentleman stroking his back and gently speaking words of wisdom, ‘God has his own unique ways,‘ he said. Anand could only nod.

As he was driving back home, recollecting the words of the elderly gentleman, he said to himself, ‘God, indeed has his own unique ways.’ After a long long time, he felt close to God. He wanted to thank Him for letting him see the reality of his life. Anand immediately decided to make amends and hereon lead a life dedicated to others including his family members, expressing his affection for others more consciously and in sharing life’s precious gifts that he had been endowed with in the funeral of his dearest friend.

‘We should be in harmony with our own consciousness; our mind, body and soul should be one in interest and in purpose. And in that unified condition, we can actually express that natural innate love that we have found in our own life in everything we do in the world.’ – Radhanath Swami

– Mrs. Preethi Dhiman
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Blog Parenting

Who is to blame?

childcareRecently I was listening to a conversation between two mothers. It sounded all too familiar. Both of them spared no stone unturned in pouring out their frustrations in dealing with their respective 7 to 8 year old children.

Mother A: Until I show him cartoon on TV, not a morsel of food will enter Hrishikesh’s mouth. He is such a troublesome eater. Not a single day has he eaten without getting a scolding or even a beating from me. Look, look, how innocent he is acting now! [Hrishikesh looking towards his mother and keenly listening to her conversation]

Mother B: Oh, don’t tell me about it Shanta. My boy is no less. Its not only in eating, but also in making him do his homework, waking him up in the morning to go to school. These days he is pestering us to buy him some video game that all his classmates have. My mother says raising her three kids was a breeze as compared to raising this one child. She calls him ‘chota shaitan,’ isn’t it Rohan! [Rohan runs amok in the courtyard screaming, ‘I am chota shaitan….I am chota shaitan.’]

Both the mothers had a good laugh. The conversation went on and each of their child’s not-so-glorious qualities was discussed and then their helplessness in the matter shared. Then they moved on to the glories of children of their own generation and worried about what is in store for mothers of the future and soon they realized that it was time for them to depart. So, they did.

My dear readers, it is the general habit of a mother to complain about her child’s non-cooperative behavior. But if one has the best interest of the child, she will realize that it is the worst thing she can do to cure it, especially to discuss your child’s negative behavior and tendencies in the presence of the child. When the child hears conversations after conversations of his own negative behavior, it has a reinforcement effect. The tendency is to discuss negative behavior most not only with one friend but with as many as we talk to- with other family members such as the husband, parents and in-laws and neighbors too. The child listens to it and absorbs it all the time and it also does not help in building a healthy relationship with your child.

Now, try this exercise. Put your own self in place of the child and imagine someone else (maybe your parent) project you as non-cooperative, disobedient etc and that they are fed up with you. They discuss you negatively in their conversations with family members, friends and neighbors. How will you feel at about it? What happens to your self-esteem? Will feelings of injustice and resentment stir inside you?

As parents, our foremost duty is to think of our child as a human being with feelings and emotions and secondly every action of ours has a deep and indelible impact on the child at every stage of his life. How careful we must be in handling the child!

A child is a god given gift to learn about your own shortcomings and fill those gaps. Parenting is an art. We, the parents, are the sculptors and the child is the sculpture. If we handle the sculpture roughly, the sculpture might break. If we donot chisel it carefully, it might look ugly. So, how we want the sculpture to turn out, is in our hands. We cannot blame to sculpture to have turned ugly on its own, can we?

It is never too late to bring about changes in your child’s behavior.

  1. Change your attitude towards your child – stop complaining about your child to all and sundry. If you ever want to do it, do it in private either with your spouse or a close friend with the purpose of finding a positive solution. If you are simply pouring it out to someone, you are wasting your time and spreading negative energy.
  2. Own the child’s responsibility with maturity – check if you respond to the child or you react to the child. Are you able to remain calm and steady and seek a positive solution or are unable to check your own anger. Do you handle the child and his unending demands patiently or are quick to show impatience?
  3. Bring in your creativity to solve a persistent problem- Eg: The child gives you a hard time to eat his dinner. Change the feeding pattern. Try to include the child (as young as 2 yr old can be included) into preparing the meal and proudly announce to all family members that your child has cooked something delicious today. Lighten up your mood for dinner and narrate a funny story to the child as you feed the child. Or play hide and seek (at the table) or invent a game that interests the child. Make mealtime interesting and not a session where the child gets a mouthful from you every time he has to gulp down a mouth full. Become a creative problem solver.
  4. Positively reinforce the child: When we speak positively of the child, the child is encouraged to behave positively. Do make it a point to share the good deed of your child with your spouse or your other family members. Eg: when the child completes his homework, tell him you are proud of him. Tell others about it.
  5. Accept your child with love: Accepting your child doesn’t mean you accept his negative behavior or agree with all of his choices. It does mean that you accept him at a basic level of being human– with his own feelings, flaws and struggles.
Blog Parenting

Dealing with your Child’s ‘Bad’ Behavior

Child Bad behavior“Seeing other people in terms of their desires rather than your own is the basic principle of loving them.”—Radhanath Swami.  

As we discussed previously, a child is a product of the environment that he or she grows in. In the formative years, the child learns everything by imitating others around. In this way, the basic skills of walking, talking, smiling, etc. are learnt. Later, more advanced skills such as putting on dress, taking a bath, reading, writing, speaking gently or harshly, etc. are learnt from people around.

So, whatever a young child knows, he or she knows it from the family. Parents are the biggest influencers of a child’s personality and character. So, when a child is doing something out of bounds, the parents have to take time to analyze their own behavioral patterns and the kind of environment they have provided their child.

What Does Your Child Need?

A child seeks two things- love and attention. So, this is the biggest quadrant that parents need to invest in. Love, as in most cases, is an action oriented word. A child, till he or she gets into puberty, perceives parental warmth physically. Parents must, therefore, add in lots of physical acts of love such as holding the child in one’s lap, cuddling, hugging and talking sweetly to the child etc.

Girls and boys act and react differently. While girl children may run up to their parents to seek such warmth, boys after they cross 5 years of age seldom run up to their parents for such warmth although they need it. The general tendency of parents, to mistake their child to be a grown up boy who might not need so much of physical affection, must be avoided.  Especially the father has to shower a lot of physical affection on his young boy. Add in this component if it has gone missing in your family; you will solve a great deal of issue with your child, including insecurities that are bound to creep in when the child does not get positive touches(physical) from the parents. These insecurities fester into social problems later in adulthood.

The second thing the child looks for from parents is attention. An infant acts coy and cute and attracts the attention of many people and the family showers the child with attention. But as the child grows up, while it still needs attention, most parents get busy with other chores and seemingly have little or no time for the child. A growing up child needs undivided positive attention up to the age of 5 and thereafter regulated time with the child every day. Note that this is not the time you spend with the child to get the homework done! Spend time with the child reading a story for him or her, or go cycling with the child, cook together something special for the child or simply play with the child.

Why Do Children Misbehave?

When the child does not get this kind of positive attention, it brings it into an incompatible situation where his or her need is unfulfilled. In such a position, the child tries various ways to get attention of the parents and what catches their attention unfortunately is when the child behaves negatively. So, the child concludes that he or she has to behave like this to get the attention of the parents. This spins off a saga of ‘so-called’ bad behavior on part of the child and reactive or abusive parental behavior. The child is gradually branded for this kind of bad behavior.

What To Do When Your Child Misbehaves?

Take heart parents! No parent is proud of such a situation in their life. But the good news is that child behavior can be changed with patience and love. This is the beauty of being a child. A child only wants love and positive attention. So, the moment you realize that you have driven the child to seek negative attention, you can break the cycle and create new and positive impressions for the child. Here are few things you can adopt to make that alteration-

  1. When the child is angry or behaving badly or throwing a tantrum, walk upto the child and in the most genuine and understanding way hug the child and rub his back. Nothing works to disarm the child like physical affection. In matter of minutes, the child will calm down.
  2. When the child is angry or not obeying you, the child wants to tell you that he/she needs to be understood or heard out first. So, take time to listen to what the child has to say. Tell the child that you understand that he/she is angry.
  3. Be careful to be controlled in your own state of mind. You cannot get angry. Have a stable core when you have to deal with your child’s temperamental behavior. The child draws his/her energies from your core. So, when you have a peaceful inside, the child will draw from that peace and soon reflect that energy.

Giving positive attention does not mean succumbing to every material demand of the child.  By defining the boundaries for the child, the child, over a period of time understands what is a legitimate demand and what is an illegitimate demand. So, stay firm on the boundaries that you draw for the child.

Remember to fill the child’s world with positive impressions from where he can draw upon in times of need. Building the child’s account with positive impressions helps the child obey you in times of your need.

Next, we will learn to say ‘no’ to a child and get the child to understand what it means.

– Mrs. Preethi Dhiman
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Blog Parenting

My child does not listen to me!

childA child learns through imitation till the age of 7, reflecting the actions, language, culture et al of parents and immediate family. For example, if a child is born in a family that prays before meals, the child too learns the same; if there are loving exchanges among the family members, the child learns how to exchange love with others; if the members of the household pick up fights with each other, the child learns to fend for himself or herself through fights. Therefore, the home environment is the primary source of learning in these formative years.

So, when we deal with our child’s problem, more than correcting the child’s behavior, we have to first look at what the environment is. As parents, we have to closely look at our thoughts, our actions and our outlook in life, which the child is closely observing and absorbing every second of the day, before we can conclude where the problem is.

Let’s look at what are the needs of a child. A child needs two primary things from parents: love and attention.

A child naturally seeks love from the parents. Love is the basic need, not only of a child but of human beings at large. What it means for a child is not that you buy the next toy demanded, but that the child needs to know you really care. It could be that you set aside some time that you will spend with the child, like playing with the child every day, reading a bedtime story, cooking meal that the child likes with the child on your side etc.; basically, spending some time exclusively with your child. You can figure out how your child wants you to spend time with him or her in specific, and make it happen for the child. Mind you, the child looks for attention from both the parents, so both have to put in that effort. The child has the intelligence to perceive how much effort you put to take your precious time out to spend with the child and the child will value it. When the child values you, the child will listen to you and make an attempt to understand what you are saying.

Love also means a lot of physical closeness with the child – hugging, kissing, cuddling, snuggling etc. from both the parents. You might think your 10 year old is a grown up boy now and might have weaned out of physical affection of the parents. That is unfortunately not the truth. Every child (unless there is a medical condition needing therapy or intervention) needs physical affection of the parents. It reassures the child and builds his or her sense of security. And only the parents can give this through their affection and attention.

A child seeks parents’ attention as it is his or her birthright and when the parents get busy with other priorities in their life, the attention seeking child resorts to negative tactics to gain the attention of the parents—crying, bawling, breaking things, not listening to instructions, nagging and even anti-social behavior, the list is a long one! When this happens, repairing the situation means to really take a deeper look at your priorities in life and see how you can make changes in your lifestyle to accommodate the needs of the child.

Upbringing of your child is an art and a long term investment of time and effort. There are no shortcuts to it. Recently, one of our family friends applied for one year leave to take care of his new born child. This is his second child. He had previously quit his job to take care of his 1st born child as well. He wants to invest time and effort in bringing up his children in the most loving environment and that is the secret of getting your child’s attention.

As parents, you have the prerogative to create a healthy environment for your child so your child has the opportunity to blossom under your loving care.

In the next few articles, we will discuss how your listening skills can affect the child and what undivided attention really means; when to say ‘no’ to your child and how to say it; and how to create a nurturing environment of love and care for your child.


– Mrs. Preethi Dhiman

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