Possessiveness, for a grihastha
By Radhanath Swami
According to the shastra, the way to counteract the very deeply strong tendency for possessiveness in the grihastha life is to giving charity to the Vaishnavas and the brahmans, to the mission of the guru. According to the shastra, the first fifty percent you have give it to your guru’s mission. And then whatever else you have, maintain, that is the ideal standard. You never be possessive if you do that, because the first priority with whatever you get goes to Guru and Krishna. You cannot do fifty percent; you should aspire to come as close to that as possible. But that should be the first thing you do with your Laxmi or your wealth or whatever you have. Not that I will take care of my own needs and whatever little is left will see. This is how a grihastha suppose to be trained according to the shastra. Then you will not be possessive, for you should give in charity and you should also always be aspiring to be the humble servant of the servant. And very important that you are always looking of to those who are in a renounced order of life. To the degree the grihasthas have respect for the dignity of the brahmacharis and the sannyasis, to that degree they will advance properly in Krishna consciousness. This is always been the teaching of Srila Prabhupada through his books. But this is very important for the first class brahmacharis and grihasthas. Because although grihasthas might be very very expert in whatever they do, often times they are very very expert. He may be expert managers, expert preachers, expert at giving donations and managing affairs, business, and doctors whatever. They will become proud and they will become possessive and they will become attached. Unless they have a very very deep and high esteem for those in the renounced order of life and they are thinking when will I become like that?
And we find the great kings like Yudhishtra, who was more an expert grihastha than him? When Narada muni or some great soul would come, he will simply bow down and say when will I become like you? You are really great, look at me. Dasharatha maharaja same thing, these are the real great grihasthas. They might even be better than those who are in renounced order of life. Ambarish maharaja was thinking that way towards Durvasa muni. He was far more advanced than Durvasa muni, but his humility was as a grihastha, that when will I become like you? You are so renounced and so great. So that high esteem for those in a renounced order of life is a very very essential ingredient within the heart, necessary within the heart of the grihastha. And therefore that high esteem must manifest in aspiring to be the humble servant of those in the renounced order of life.
And as far as brahamachari counteracting possessiveness, that comes by serving the other Vaishnavas. By keeping nothing for oneself, but being a servant. Whatever we keep we should understand it’s like holding on when we are trying to swim in the ocean, it’s like holding on to some heavy weight. Bhagavatam says, when one is drowning in the ocean and he is attached to beautiful golden crown, it might look nice, it might give him pride and prestige, but it only helps him sink faster and deeper. Nothing is ours, everything is Krishna’s…..voice missing…., dive for ourselves, we should know its bondage, and it’s going to cause us suffering.
A question is asked on how should we deal with our relatives, wife, children.
Possessiveness means that you are meant to protect them on behalf of your guru and Krishna. They are not yours, they are not your slaves, and they are not your servants. You are their servant, you may have to train them, you may have to discipline them but in the mood of being their servant. Because they are Krishna’s children and Krishna has entrusted them and He has entrusted them to you. But they are His sacred property. Therefore you must always be in a mood of being the servant of all Vaishnavas, all family members, everyone. Sometimes we may have to serve them by disobediently following the order, Sometime you may have to serve them by disciplining them, by giving them instructions, But the mood is always service, there is nothing is yours. It is the sacred property of God, every devotee. The temple president is the servant of the people who are under him, he doesn’t think they are mine, they are my servants. He is serving them because they are his guru’s property. He must engage them in guru’s work. The father sees the children and the wife in the same spirit and the wife must see the husband and the children in the same spirit. This is an essential necessity of all our relationships, but nothing is ours. We are the masters over no one; this is ego and the servant. These people are my guru’s property, they are more precious than me. I have a great responsibility in my relationship with them.
We are not takers, we are givers. Even when we receive we are actually giving them the chance to serve, we are not taking something from them. When we expect something for someone, we should not expect it for ourselves; we should expect it for them. It’s like when you are a doctor when he expect someone to take medicines, is it for your good or his good? Devotional service is a medicine, if someone is serving you as the representative of the guru, we should not be expected for our self, and we should be expected for their benefit. It’s a medicine that will heal them. That should be our spirit. Therefore we are not attached, we have no personal attachment. But out of compassion we are diligently trying to engage them in their duty. A wife is meant to serve the husband, but the husband should not be proud thinking that she is serving me. By some inconceivable arrangement, I am supposed to be the representative of guru to this person. Therefore in serving me she is actually purifying her own existence because she is serving a guru. It’s not for me; I am not attached to what she gives me. I am only attached that she makes spiritual advancement. Then you are always in a mood of a servant, not an enjoyer. This we must cultivate, this consciousness being the servant of the servant.