It is never intended that one should neglect one's family and other responsibilities while pursuing spiritual practices. As one begins to realize one's true nature and purpose of human birth, one automatically is able to discriminate between necessary and optional duties. Some of our responsibilities or duties which we take as "the most essential", may lose their hold on our mind. This is not negligence, but broadening of vision. We tend to become more and more selfless, we 'let go' the thing of minor importance in favor of somewhat higher importance.
In this connection the following parable of a woodcutter as told by Sri Ramakrishna is most appealing:
A woodcutter used to make his livelihood by gathering wood in the forest. But soon he found it difficult to make two ends meet. Then he met a sage to whom he put his difficulty and asked for way out. The sage said to him: "Go forward".
The woodcutter obeyed the injunction and went forward to discover a forest of sandalwood trees. He collected and sold the costly wood and became rich. After a few days he reflected, 'the holy man had asked me Go Forward. He didn't tell me to stop here.' So he went forward and found a silver mine. After a few days he went still farther and discovered a gold mine, and next, mines of diamonds and precious stones. With these he became immensely rich.
This 'Going Forward' came to the mind of woodcutter on reflecting upon the words of the wise person. The woodcutter had faith in the advice of the sage who he believed had knowledge of the treasures ahead! A question might arise in our mind: why did, then, the sage himself not seek the treasures? The answer Vedanta gives is, because the sage had found a treasure of higher value: The Treasure of God.
Dr. Vidur Jyoti's Acknowledgement
Life appears to most of us as an unending endeavor in search of some goal or the other but little do we realize that all goals achieved, all destinations reached are at best just like milestones which keep on reminding us of some more distance yet to be traversed. In the midst of all these incessant endeavors, ongoing turmoil and turbulences we are likely to encounter some islands of peaceful and tranquil guidance in the form of realized souls, saints and sages who tell us about a destination where all milestones merge and all distances cease to exist, from where onwards no goal is to be sought and no desires to be satisfied. That stage does come for all of and gets facilitated by an ever vigilant, sincere, and single pointed efforts in all our endeavors.