Dear Friends,

Relationship starts with birth and goes on through the life. Some carry on after this life. Some bind us. Others liberate.

What is the best relationship to have? What is the best way to develop a relationship with anyone or anything? We discuss on these lines in this article.

Relationship starts with blood – with parents and spreads to blood relations on either sides. From there it spreads to all other relationships.

Mother-child, husband-wife, employee-employer, neighbours, teacher-student, friendship, the list of relationships are endless.

However, the underlying thread is common to all – manas or mind.

Manas bridges two persons who are otherwise physically separate entities.

Love is the basis for any relationship. As long as love exists in one, there is no dearth for relationships.

Love takes different shapes and gives varied hues to relationships.

Out of love, parents assume complete responsibility for their child’s life, as if they are dependent on them. Under this assumption, they rub their values, principles, ideas, desires, likes and dislikes on their children. From toys and education to friends and career, they would like to put their stamp. They do not hesitate to make sacrifices, big and small for the sake of children. This is nothing but improper expression of love.

This approach puts restriction on the child’s inherent nature from blooming. In the initial years it goes away smoothly.

As the children grow they get more exposure to the world. This facilitates their inherent nature to bloom and they start expressing their likes, dislikes and desires. Parents find it difficult to accept and pose restrictions to this.

This is the starting point for differences and misunderstandings in the family. As long as the child is dependent on parents, they lie subdued and pretend to abide by parent’s wishes.

Further parents brainwash children, their judgements of people around them, especially relatives. This develops unwarranted distance with some. As they grow, children develop a different perspective based on their own experience. However, they do not express this as well, freely. Parallel to this, they have their own bunch of differences with others. Unaware of how to manage these differences and lack of proper guidance they feel directionless. Developing good relationships become a challenge. This becomes another reason for distance between parents and children.

This increasing distance becomes a matter of concern for parents. To address this they start narrating the sacrifices they made over the years, their efforts to give them the best nourishing and justification for their upbringing – what worked and what did not. Children pay attention to this initially. However, as time passes, these narratives turn into lamentation and a cause of irritation.

Children now become nuisance value. To bring things under control parents become bosses of children rather than remain what they are meant to be – parents.

It is quite common, to see members in a family live independent lives, even though they share the same roof. The relationship and love becomes superficial.

In some cases, parents pamper in childhood out of love. Pampering a child yields no benefit.

Responsible parenting serves the purpose.

  • In pampering ‘No’ to a child’s wish is unknown. In responsible parenting, ‘No’ is meant to benefit the child’s progression.
  • Responsible parents continue to do what they believe is in child’s interest irrespective of how they perceive.
  • They reprimand the child, as a responsible parent.

When parents understand this and turn into responsible parents, children get confused. They do not understand this evolution and mistake it as diminishing love from parents. This is another reason for children to distance and turn defiant.

To understand what it means to be a responsible parent, we need to understand what responsibility is!

Responsibility is,

  1. To be sincere in what you do and do what you need to
  2. Take guidance where required
  3. Leave no scope for greed, injustice or negligence

Accepting responsibility demands ability. When parents assume full responsibility for the child’s life, they need to possess extra-ordinary ability.

However, by nature we humas are limited. When our abilities do not match the responsibilities we undertake, it leads to loss of respect and gives rise to fear and concern.

Limited abilities convert responsibilities into burdens and become obstacles in relationships.

Taking up responsibilities without ascertaining our abilities cause a dent in our sincerity and commitment. To ensure that they succeed as a good parent, people take short cuts and cross limits of sincerity and discipline. Dhrutharashtra is an example for such relationship.

We have looked at responsibility in a child-parent relationship. This principle applies to all relationships. What starts as love turns into pain, when we do not draw boundaries.

Does that mean we should not develop relationship with children and blood-relatives? Should we shy from responsibilities?

To answer this question, we need to understand another relationship. The relationship with God.

God is omnipotent and having him by our side expands the bandwidth of our abilities. He is undemanding. Ever giving.

All relationships have expectations. When we do not meet expectations, differences and distance crop up. God fills this gap.

While all relationships bind us, relationship with God liberates.

Children doing well in studies, finding a right life-partner, keeping good health, getting the right job, finding good opportunities, whatever we claim as our accomplishments are but by the grace of God.

When we ask those who do not have these, we realise our limitation and appreciate God’s grace on us.

While relationship with people expose our abilities, relationship with god fills the gap in our abilities and help us have good relationships and fulfil our responsibilities better. Arjuna was smart in making the right choice in relationship. This helped him fulfil his responsibility towards the injustice meted out to his wife Draupadi.

Having born as humans, we alone have the ability to make a choice. No other creation has this privilege.

If we observe a dog’s life for a day, we will understand our blessing to be born human.

This understanding of the difference in relation with god vis-à-vis relationship with people around help us understand their value and prioritise them better.

The next question that comes to mind is – “How to develop a strong relationship with God and know where to draw boundaries in relationships with people?”

Scriptures have the answer to this and Guru is the mentor or guide who is adept to explain this.

One who has the guidance of such Guru will develop great relationships and reach great heights in this life and thereafter, while others stagnate where they are.

One who has the right guidance of a Guru and only under guidance of Guru, we can develop a strong relationship with God. PERIOD !

  – Translated by Balaji Gorantla, from Telugu original by T T V Ramanamurthy, Rajam

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