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My write up on ‘Need to understand Vanaprastham’ might have raised a number of questions in the minds of the readers. One reader has rightly sent me a query on ‘how to practice vanaprastham in the present day society of urban or rural way of life?’

Indeed, a valid question.

As my understanding of puranas and early literature, the kings and queens after handing over the throne to their heirs opted for vanaprastham which nothing but a life of exile; that is going to the forests and lead a life of saints and wait for the end to come. Have we not read that even Lord Krishna once attained his ripe age went to the forest and slept under a shade of a tree to invite his end that came through the arrow of a hunter Jara?

That sort of Vanaprastham must definitely be dreadful for any of us who have lived a life full of comfort, conflicts, power, position, family, love and affection. It is impossible for any of us to lay down power or responsibilities that easily, more especially the former. But, strictly speaking, once the sons and daughters have come out on their own, it is good for the responsible and matured parents to keep away from their activities unless advices are asked for. We should learn how to develop detached attachment towards every worldly aspect.

It is definite that those who live and settle abroad generally do not prefer to keep the elders with them unless warranted like child birth, taking care of the house in case of both being employed with growing children. Here, may be some parents’ presence is useful. But, weighing between the premiums to be paid for the medical insurance as the elders invariably suffer from blood pressure, sugar, cholesterol and whatnot, it turns out to be wise for the children to keep them in India and call them when they need.

The blame game has no value or meaning. With ageing we become less useful to people who are around us except a few. So those who can afford today settle in Old Age Homes with all comforts including medical aid and good ambience. This is the way one can take up Vanaprastham in the present day milieu.

The above suggestion holds good for the haves; but what about the have-nots?
In case of economic and physical dependency, the elders have hardly any option except to be with their wards and also learn to take things on their stride; like neglect, insults, outbursts of anger, frustration etc from the children. After all, life will never be fair to everyone. Those who could not take up or tolerate suffer. They can migrate to some remote village and lead a life of austerity and await death.

I may definitely sound cruel to several, preposterous for those who enjoy wonderful family and children. But with ageing, mental and physical weakness leading to death are inevitable. Today, we claim we are more educated and enlightened than the previous or older generations. Vanaprastham in the modern times is to prepare oneself mentally for the worst and physically relinquish most of the worldly things gracefully.  

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Comment VANAPRASTHAM is not possible in present situation of life.

08/01/2015 12:27 PM

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