New Man : New World: [02] Familial Harmony

Published: 03.12.2008
Updated: 04.12.2008

Familial Harmony

There was a time when everything was based on and centred upon the married couple. Organized life revolved around the couple. The concept of society was not yet born. There was no management and no planning. Today we see not only organized societies but also an explosion of population. Hence family planning methods are being employed. In the pre-society era there was a built-in balance in nature, which has now vanished. In many countries, there are more boys than girls, which has resulted in an imbalance. This problem is growing in China. The reverse is also true, where there is a dearth of boys. Thus many problems relating to planning are emerging. In the past, nature balanced things and it lasted a long time. With the formation of social groupings and families came the problem of planning. In fact, any expansion brings into its wake the need and problems of planning. The growth of the family system gave rise to the need for planning.

There are three major requirements of man:

    1. Assurance
    2. Trust
    3. Development

Assurance

Man wants assurance. Who will take care of us and protect us in old age and when we are ill and in adversity? Who will really help and cooperate? Man wants an assurance on this score. Family came into being to afford this assurance.

Trust

The second requirement is trust. Who can be trusted to come to our rescue in our hour of need? Whom can we trust enough to make him or her the custodian of our wealth? Who can we confide in? Who can be our friends both in prosperity and adversity? The feeling of trust has played a major role in building the institution of the family - deep and profound trust which outsiders cannot breach.

Development

The third requirement is development. Every man wants development - to go forward and grow better. Development too needs an organization and the family was deemed to be the fittest organization for the purpose because it provided ample opportunities of development.

Collective Morale is Essential

Collective morale is essential for development. It has a very important place in Social Psychology. J ames Drekker speaks of three constituents of morale:

    1. Self-control
    2. Self-confidence
    3. Disciplined Action.

Collective morale does not exist in the absence of the above three factors and no organization, big or small, can function without collective morale, thereby making development impossible.

Self-control

The first constituent of collective morale is self-control. Nobody can be suitable for an organization if he cannot control himself, cannot bridle his instincts and impulses. In fact he proves a hindrance to the organization.

Self-confidence

The second constituent is self-confidence. It is not possible to run an organization or any development to occur in a situation where people live a life full of doubts and uncertainties. If someone undertakes a task, he should say to himself that he shall carry it out under all circumstances and without the slightest doubt. The following incident is mentioned in a Jain Agama:

Draupadi was kidnapped by one Padmnabh, ruler of another island. It became known and resulted in a war. The army of Padmnabh was ranged against that of the Pandavas on whose side was Vasudev Krishna, who told the Pandavas to fight Padmnabh and his army. The Pandavas did fight but with misgivings since they lacked self-confidence. They were assailed with uncertainty “Shall we win or will Padmnabh win?” Not surprisingly, they were defeated. Then Vasudev Krishna led the war with the declaration “I will win, not Padmnabh”, and he vanquished Padmnabh.

Self-confidence is the chief key to success. No one can ever succeed if he lacks self-confidence and is subject to doubts and uncertainties. Self-confidence is truly essential for collective morale.

Discipline

The third constituent is discipline. Every thing a successful man does is disciplined. There is no arbitrariness or haphazardness about it. It contributes to the growth of collective morale, which in turn creates organizational strength, and sense of unity.
Collective morale has two aspects:

    1. Mental aspect.
    2. Social aspect

Morale: The Mental Aspect

Man develops an attitude of acceptance of rules approved by the community willingly and without argument. This attitude shapes his behaviour according to the collective rules. He does not trespass them. It represents the mental aspect of collective morale.

Morale: The Social Aspect
It pertains to the development of a social sense, which is very essential for purposes of management. It consists in pushing individual selfishness in the background and giving importance to the collective or social sense. There is a very important maxim given by Chanakya:

An individual should be sacrificed in the interest of the family, the family should be sacrificed in the interest of the village, the village should be sacrificed in the overall interest of the country or society at large and everything should be sacrificed to serve the spiritual interest. In terms of management principles, a smaller interest should give way to a larger interest.

Modern Principles of Management

Methods of management have greatly developed so that they have acquired a scientific character. However, management principles were practised even in olden times. We should examine and deliberate on them both. Principles of modern management comprise nondiscrimination, justice and compassion. It is obvious that good management is impossible in the presence of discrimination, injustice and cruelty.

Ancient Principles of Management

Four out of twelve components of the ancient principles of management are the following four qualities:

    1. friendship
    2. sublime joy
    3. compassion
    4. considered disregard

The greatest need of an organization, irrespective of its size, is friendship or mutual affection. There are six characteristics of friendship - giving, taking, inquiring about secrets, revealing secrets, eating and entertaining to a meal:

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Anyone having these six characteristics is a friend. In practice, this is what friendship means, but in the context of management it has a lesser connotation. It simply means “caring about the interests of others”. No family can be said to be well-managed if its head and other members do not take care of one another's interests. The same is true of other organizations. One of the main reasons why families are disintegrating these days is lack of friendship. Individuals care for themselves, not for others. If the reverse is the case, the organization becomes too strong to suffer any breach.

This Field is Mine

Here is an instructive incident. The Maratha Commander Peshva Bajirao attacked Malwa. At that time, the Marathas had the glorious reputation of being unfailing winners. They conquered Malwa. On their way back, they ran out of food stocks. Military officers were ordered to procure food from wherever they could. But as a result of their scorched earth policy, everything was destroyed and no food crops could be seen anywhere around. That is why there is no greater curse than war. A single war brings destruction whose effect lasts for fifty years. Even after wide spread search, they could find no food anywhere. Everything had been destroyed during the war. After a long search they came across an aged man, who promised to show them the field from where they could gather a rich harvest. At a short distance from there, they faced a big luscious green field and said they could get enough food in it. But the old man took them some distance away from there to another field and told the officers to collect food from there. The officers wondered why they were brought to the second field even though the first one was bigger and had a richer crop. The old man answered by saying that the first and the bigger field was not his, while the second and the smaller one belonged to him. The officers were taken aback by the honesty and selflessness of the old man.

Only he who can relegate his own interests for the sake of those of others can in reality be the head of an organisation.

Sublime Joy

The second principle of management is sublime joy. That organization proves strong where the merits of others are recognized and appreciated. No organization can even be conceived where there is bullying and grabbing and where each one tries to pull a fast one on another. We know how big families disintegrate because of mutual wrangling and factiousness.

Compassion

The third principle of management is compassion, i.e., trying to solve the problems of others. Today the word compassion is being used in a narrow sense. In our use it means feeling concerned when someone faces some difficulty or problem and trying to find its solution. It presupposes eschewing cruelty altogether.

Considered Disregard

The fourth principle of management is considered disregard. There is no organization in which all members are alike. There are differences among them. One of our problems is born of gradation or distinction of emotions. People do not have the same emotions. Psychology recognizes some basic instincts, each one of which has related emotions which arouse those instincts. Thus anger is the emotion, which rouses the instinct of pugnacity or belligerence. Fear rouses escapism. People differ in the development of their instincts and in their emotions. It becomes extremely difficult to harmonize them. Emotional divergence becomes a major cause of the disintegration of a family. One member is given to utmost obedience, while another comes up with several reasons for not agreeing. How to solve this problem? An important principle preached to meet such a situation is: Show discreet disregard occasionally. A certain individual is not very desirable and yet has to be kept in the organization. For it discreet disregard has to be practised. In other words, some degree of neutrality has to be observed. Neutrality is an important component of good management.

It All Depends on One's Own Desire

One of the Acharyas made the following submission to Lord Mahavira: 'I want to travel in that particular region'. Lord Mahavira tried to dissuade him but he did not relent. He kept insisting on going there. Mahavira saw that he was obstinate. He knew the harm accruing from that travel, but there was no way of dissuading Acharya. So Mahavira just kept quiet disregarding the submission. In this context the following couplet is very apposite:

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Arhats (the 24 Jain Tirthankaras or Jain saints) are very powerful, but can they force an individual to perform a desirable action? They can merely inspire. It is up to a man's own desire if he wants to lead a good life. Can anyone forcibly make someone else righteous? No, it is not possible. Therefore it is necessary to practise discreet disregard as the time and place demand.

Even though these four principles of management  - friendship, sublime joy, compassion and considered disregard - belong to the past, they have unquestioned relevance for present-day management. It is for this reason that modern management, while adding some new principles, has retained a few old ones too.

A Vital Principle of Management

Anuvrat has put forward an important principle of management. It is “Life is truly self-restraint”. Self-restraint is a vital principle of management. Modern management has either ignored it or has not given it the importance due to it. Anuvrat reiterates an old truth - life is truly self-restraint. Only that organization will last which has individual completely dedicated to self-restraint. And it is only such an organization that can be a source of inspiration.

Speech Restraint

One of the components of self-restraint is speech restraint. For any organization, be it political, social, religious or familial, speech restraint is vital for its head to observe, because in its absence, either the organization will not form at all or, if formed, will soon disintegrate. Utmost care has to be taken in this regard, for sometimes, even the use of one wrong word becomes the cause of the destruction of an organization. Lord Mahavira, Lord Buddha and Acharya Bhikshu were all subjected to abusive language and other unworthy treatment. But they kept quiet; not a word escaped their lips that could have harmed the organization. We know that sometimes a single expression became responsible for a war. Maharana Pratap and his brother Shakti Singh became sworn enemies on the single question of who actually killed the deer, since both shot the arrows at it at the same time. Each one kept saying: 'I killed the deer' and this single utterance caused all trouble.

Life is Self-restraint

It is obvious to people that food, water and, more importantly, breath mean life, but they wonder how self-restraint can be life. They forget that eating and drinking water are life, but not eating and not drinking water are better life. As for breath, it is indeed life, but the Acharyas of Yoga have pleaded in favour of breath-control, retention of breath, deep breathing for living a longer and healthier life. Breath control and control over eating and drinking water prolong life.

Control of Desires

One of the important components of self-control is control over desires. Everything desired is not necessarily desirable, for, the same desire in another man may result in a clash causing destruction and death.

A wise man knows how to curb and birdie his desires. He does not set about fulfilling each one of his desires. Desires keep multiplying and it is not possible to fulfill all of them. A wise man, an organizational head and a disciplined member of an organization do not go about proclaiming that once they have a desire, they invariably satisfy it.

Body Control

Physical control is also very essential. If one acts on the impulse and slaps another member of the family for the flimsiest reason, the family will be harmed. The hand has to be kept under control. Anger unexpressed harms the angry person himself; it does not harm any one else so long as it is not expressed. The Agamas explain it thus: making a failure of one's anger and making success of one's anger. Anger fails if kept to oneself. Anger manifests in two ways - hurling abuses or using physical force to harm or kill. Preventing anger from succeeding is physical restraint. Correctly understood, self-control can prove a vital part of management.

Nondiscrimination

One of the principles of management is non-discrimination. I would not aver that a family is completely free from discrimination. Some discrimination, even in the mind, cannot be ruled out. But it should not be such as others would find disagreeable, and as knows no end. When collective will-power is discussed in social psychology, it is held that there should be as little discrimination as possible.

Practice of Balancing Emotions

Let us step forward and add a new principle of management. It is the practice of balancing emotions. It is not being practised today, but it is the greatest need of the day. No proper equation can be struck if we do not go beyond admitting that there are gradations of emotions. What we need is training in balancing emotions. How is it possible? For it, we have first to have the conviction that it is possible to balance emotions. We lack this deep conviction. On the other hand, we take it for granted that emotions will remain as they are - that anger, fear and lust are beyond change. Such a state of mind rules out the possibility of emotional balance.

Destiny can be Changed

The Jain mode of spiritual practice concedes that human effort can change destiny. It is my firm belief that new directions of development, change and management can open if only we believe in the principle that astrological predictions based on horoscopes and lines on the palms of the hands can be falsified and refuted. Let us accept the fact that the future can be shaped and that it has happened in innumerable cases.

Revered Gurudev was once spending the four rainy months in Rajaldesar. An astrological prediction stated that he would not be able to leave Rajasthan. When he did move out of there, the prediction was made that he would not be able to hold the Maryada Mahotsav at Sujangarh. That too was duly held. Then the third prediction said he would not be able to proceed to Delhi. He reached Delhi hale and hearty.

I must say that the foretellers were also not wrong. I too know astrology a bit and believe in it too. The predictions were not inaccurate at all, but they were rendered inaccurate. Strong character, willpower and self-confidence reduce those predictions to nothing. They would have come out true in the absence of those strong qualities. But now the foretellers have been rendered speechless.

What is the reason? Let us consider both the sides. Let us not blame astrology either, but let us understand well the principle, which Mahavira laid down for us. If our endeavour is earnest, if we are self-confident, if our resolve is firm and if we exercise restraint at the same time, everything can be changed, can be left behind. We should accept the idea that emotions can be balanced and harmonised.

Contemplating Harmony

Constant practice and experimentation are essential for contemplating harmony. You should know how much effort by way of experimentation and practice had preceded the falsifying of the above predictions. Kayotsarg was practised for hours and self-contemplation was done during Kayotsarg together with experiments in fortifying will-power. No transformation is possible without repeated practice. One of the types of contemplation practised as part of Preksha Dhyan is contemplating harmony, reconciliation and balancing emotions. Practised over a long period it enables a man to balance his emotions and balanced emotions make one a natural manager.

A Good Son: A Good Father

Let us try to analyse the present state of the family. Parents are often heard saying they are in no position to say anything to their sons, even to ten-year olds. How can one think of a good and well-managed family under these circumstances? What is the cause of this lack of discipline? The answer is simple - because the habit of discipline has not been formed. According to an old saying one who has not been a good student cannot become a good teacher. On the same analogy it can be said that one who has not been a good son cannot become a good father. Given early instruction and practice in discipline, no child shall in later life be guilty of breach of discipline and obedience. Parents themselves do not practise friendliness, nor do they care for the well-being of the son. How can then there be in the son a feeling of respect and discipline? The thing most needed is friendliness and concern for well-being. What today's parents are worried about is how to get their sons admitted to a public or a convent school, to Mayo College or Doon Public School, so that after receiving exclusive education they might earn big salaries and marry rich girls. They rarely worry about their sons' future.

Worrying about the Loved Ones

Worry can be on two counts - worrying about the loved one and worrying about his well-being. People do worry about the former but not about the latter. The building of a good life is related to the latter. If a fond mother falls a prey to the instinct of maternal love and gives the child something prohibited by the physician to eat, she does indulge her love but in the process does infinite harm to the child's well-being.

Worry about the Well-being

Love takes a back seat when the focus is on the well-being. But in today's families it is the former that has driven away the latter. It accounts for the fact that discipline is on the wane, homogeneity is lacking and the collective feeling is not developing. And in their absence the joint family loses its very raison d'etre. The head of the family must realize the fact that he should not worry only about those things desired by the family but also about the well-being of the family.

We have had a brief consideration of management in the context of the family. By combining the modern principles of management and those enshrined in ancient Indian culture, the foundation of the family can be strengthened and its proper development can be ensured.

Sources
Edition 2005
ISBN No. 81-7196-019-7

© Adarsh Sahitya Sangh
210 Deendayal Upadhyay Marg,
New Delhi-110 002

Edited by:
Muni Dhananjay Kumar

Translated by:
Prof. R.P. Bhatnagar

Published by:
Kamlesh Chaturvedi
Adarsh Sahitya Sangh,
210 Deendayal Upadhyay Marg
New Delhi

Printed at:

R-Tech Offset Printer Delhi-110032

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Acharya
  2. Acharya Bhikshu
  3. Acharyas
  4. Agama
  5. Agamas
  6. Anger
  7. Anuvrat
  8. Arhats
  9. Bhikshu
  10. Body
  11. Buddha
  12. Chanakya
  13. Contemplation
  14. Delhi
  15. Dhyan
  16. Discipline
  17. Fear
  18. Gurudev
  19. Kayotsarg
  20. Krishna
  21. Mahavira
  22. Malwa
  23. Maryada
  24. Maryada Mahotsav
  25. Pandavas
  26. Preksha
  27. Preksha Dhyan
  28. Rajaldesar
  29. Rajasthan
  30. Sujangarh
  31. Tirthankaras
  32. Yoga
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