We stand as one family bound to each other with love and respect

– Understandings from Swami Mitrananda’s talks for Youth Empowerment Programme 6th batch

Chinmaya Mission Pledge starts with these words – We stand as one family bound to each other with love and respect. The pledge was dictated out by Swami Chinmayananda in one of his inspired moods. Swami Mitrananda explained the first line with a great emphasis on three words – family, love and respect. Three words that we use daily but seldom do we think on its meanings in depth.

The feeling of a family is the strength. A family can achieve a lot more than separate individuals. When a group of individuals, be it among friends or at the work place or in a social organization, operate in the world with a feeling of a family, there is no bounds for what they can achieve.

When can we get this feeling of a family? Mere group of individuals will not make a family. In a family, there is a lot of bonding among the members. For each member, the welfare of other members is more important than his own. Everybody else’s needs become primary and our own needs become secondary. There comes a feeling of sacrifice and service to others. Only then the group of individuals can be called a family. Otherwise, even if a mother, father and children don’t carry these feelings for each other, they can’t bring out the essence of the family. Such a family is not strong and they can’t achieve much as individuals nor as a group.

Bonding requires love and respect. Women expect to be loved and men want to be respected. Many a times, we can see that both love and respect are demanded from the other person. But however hard we try, we cannot get love and respect by demanding. Love and respect can only be received by giving it to each other. In a relationship, if the man expects respect, he should be able to give love to the woman. And if the woman wants love, she needs to learn to respect the man. When love and respect is given 100% unconditionally, then there will be a good bonding and both man and woman will be able to operate with love and respect. Love is the price man needs to pay to get respect and vice-versa.

What is love is the next question? One of the best definitions of love is what Swami Chinmayananda has given – Love is not a passive ‘taking’ but a dynamic ‘giving’. If a person expects love, he is a beggar. One should be able to give love generously like a king. People in love usually say, “I cannot live without you”. That is not love. That is attachment. Today we have mistaken attachment for love. Expression of love is – One will be keen to see the person he loves to be happy. One will be ready to sacrifice (without expecting anything in return – not even the other person’s love) to see the other person happy. Expression of attachment is – When we demand something for our happiness. That is indeed a pathetic situation. It is like living the life of a beggar. Even if a person shouts or demands or forces his loved one to do something for him, he is only begging in a different tone.

The term ‘Love-Failure’ is a wrong one. Love can never fail, but attachment can. In ‘attachment’ selfishness dominates and in ‘love’ selflessness dominates. When we are able to grow out of our selfish desires and are able to act selflessly, others also learn this from us and they start reciprocating this attitude to us. It may take time, but it definitely happens; for, that is the law of nature – For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. If attachment and selfishness dominate in us, we need not be surprised when the person we love gives in return the same thing.

A combination of love and respect is called Yagna. When people come together with a common goal, they should have Yagnabhava (attitude of Yagna). Collective-Thinking brings Collective-Action. To unfold our personalities and to achieve common or collective goals, we need to live in harmony like a family who are bound to each other with love and respect. For such a family nothing in this world is impossible. All we need to remember is three words – family, love and respect.