Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
I think you should keep this question in your mind, and keep bringing it up again and again.
What I would say is, you should engage your children to do some service activity, so that they are not always thinking about themselves. Send them to camps where they do some service activity.
When children start sharing and caring for people from a very small age, they become very aware when they grow older. They don’t become so self centered and always think, ‘What about me!’ Instead they will think, ‘What can I do? How can I contribute, how can I make this world a better place?’
This sort of spirit in a child will always keep them in the right path. If you make them too selfish, all the time thinking only about themselves, they will not even care for their parents.
There is a story about a dacoit who turned into a saint.
Once a dacoit met a saint. The dacoit came and the saint looked at him and asked him, ‘Why are you doing this?’ The dacoit had killed many people.
The saint told the dacoit, 'Do you have any idea who much sin you have acquired?'
Then dacoit thought about it and said, ‘Yes, I have sinned a lot.’
The saint asked, ‘Why are you doing it?’
He said, 'For the sake of my family. I have to support my family and so I’m stealing and killing people'.
The saint said, ‘I have a question for you to go and ask your family, will you do it?’
He said, ‘Okay, I can consider that'.
The saint said, ‘Go and ask your family if they will share your sins? They are sharing your wealth, but will they share your sins?’
So the dacoit went and asked his father, ‘Father, I have committed so much sin to run this household, will you share my sins?’
The father looked down and said, ‘No’.
Then he went and asked his wife, ‘Will you share my sin?'
She said, ‘No. I will only share your wealth, I can’t share your sins. You have to bear your own cross’.
So it suddenly dawned on him, everyone wants comfort from me but nobody wants to take my burden. So he went back to the saint and the saint smiled at him and said, ‘The world is only concerned about what you can do for them, they don’t want to share your sins, or your problems’.
Then he realized, and at that moment he transformed to be a very good person, a good saint and a good poet. The whole transformation happened from that moment on.
He had loved his wife so much, and she said, 'No, I am only concerned about your position, your money and your growth. I don’t want to take your burden.’
Without much words she conveyed that she was not willing to share his sins. That struck him! Ah, all these years I was blind! I didn’t sit and think for myself. Now is the time I have to look within. What is the purpose of this life? Where am I going? What will happen?
It is said, when someone dies, some people mourn for a day. They say, ‘Oh, he was a nice guy’. Some others mourn for a few days. The wives and children will mourn for a week, ten days or a month, and then that is it! Everybody is back to doing their own work. They take care of their life, their things, and you are nowhere in their picture! Gone!
It applies to the women also. A woman spends her whole life for her family. Day and night she lives for the kids, for the elders, for the family, and then what? Nothing! You are left all alone. Under the ground, or on the pyre and everyone disappears.
So the hard truth of life is that all this is changing and our life will be finished in another 20 years. Nobody will be here. We’d all be gone!
What goes with us is the impressions that are in our mind. What goes with us is the anger, or the frustration, or the happiness, or the peace, or the love and care that we keep in our heart. Only that goes with you and that is what we come back with to life again.
So attend to yourself, attend to your mind. Save your mind from all these unwanted impressions and keep it fresh and alive.
Kabirdas (Indian poet) says, ‘I came to this world with a spotless cloth, and I’m going back with a spotless cloth. I lived here spotlessly.’
The purpose of all this singing and meditating is to fill the mind with positivity which stays with us forever. That is why the practices are called Sadhana. Dhana means wealth, sadhana means true wealth that goes with you wherever you go.
The positive vibrations are the real true wealth that you acquire in your life. Doing good service and meditation, all this is complementary.