Swami Chidananda Giri, president and spiritual head of Yogoda Satsanga Society of India/Self-Realization Fellowship (YSS/SRF), recently visited India and gave inspirational talks on the Kriya Yoga teachings of Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda (author of the Autobiography of a Yogi and founder-Guru of YSS/SRF). During his stay in India, Swami Chidanandaji was interviewed on matters of import affecting different strata of society and the world. Here are some excerpts:
Q: How can we interest children in Paramahansa Yoganandaji’s yoga-meditation teachings? Do YSS and SRF have literature to introduce children to meditation?
Swami Chidanandaji: “Parents can introduce children to the teachings by being happy, by being fulfilled and by being the model of the qualities that they want to see in their children. You cannot say to children, ‘Do as I say, not as I do.’ That never works. On the other hand, the one who says nothing but lives in a way that embodies kindness, dignity, and respect for others and self-determination, ‘my life definitely is what I make of it,’ makes an impression on his children.
“…Parents have to be the example for their children who are, by their very nature, always in a learning mode. Their brains and nerves are switched in high gear to learn and absorb in those earliest years. The mind of a child is so plastic, so malleable and so able to be moulded in either negative or positive directions. I feel very strongly about this because there hasn't been enough emphasis in today’s world on the responsibilities of the parents. If you are going to bring a child into this world, you have to be responsible for it. It does not mean that you have to buy all the latest video games, clothes, this fashion and that kind of gadget and so on. No, you have to be the kind of person that your child can look up to.”
The Situation that Women are in today Is A Transitional Phase
Q: In India (and perhaps globally as well), the mother is usually at the centre of the household – juggling family, household duties, work, and expectations of all kinds. How can women follow the routine of twice-daily meditation prescribed by Yoganandaji without compromising on their multiple responsibilities and without disturbing harmony in their homes?
Swami Chidanandaji: “That is quite a duty list, isn’t it? Let me say one thing to put this into context. The situation that women are in today in India and other more developed nations around the world is a transitional phase. Ladies being asked to do so much comes from a generation where women were more stifled and pigeon-holed into ‘You just stay home and do the cooking and cleaning’ and all that. That’s barbaric and primitive. At the same time, we are in the sort of intermediate stage where women, rightfully so, are able to explore other avenues for their personal development and their own unfolding of personal interests. But the real life of a spiritual balance would be an appreciation of a balanced role for men and women, creating a life of harmony in the home and in the business world.”
“I totally understand and I don’t know how women put up with it. In general, women are stronger than men, because they have to bear so much of the responsibilities. Women need not think that they have to “have it all” - be a corporate executive with two or three super-achieving children, two to three nice big houses, a perfect body, perfect health, and so on. These are a set of tensions which are not sustainable, and unfortunately society at large is still going through a discovery process to find the right balance. But we do not know how to get there yet, and what you are describing is this situation that has to be endured until it is outgrown. The sooner we outgrow it the better.” Further info.: yssofindia.org