Family life is base for spiritual life, because the material world is setup by God so that there is family life and within family life, there should be bhakti (devotional service unto God). This will lead to liberation for all family members. In the Shrimad-Bhagavatam, Canto 7 is titled ‘The Science of God’ and chapter 14 is titled ‘Ideal Family Life’. Chapter 1 of the Bhagavad-Gita mentions the importance of religion and women in family. When the women become degraded, whole generations become degraded. Thus, religion in family life is prescribed and women should be protected from becoming irreligious.
“When irreligion is prominent in the family, O Kṛṣṇa, the women of the family become polluted, and from the degradation of womanhood, O descendant of Vṛṣṇi, comes unwanted progeny.” (Bhagavad-Gita 1.40)
Millions of families have been broken apart because gurus and Temples neglect to promote family values as very clearly prescribed by the Vedic scriptures. In many cases, the gurus are responsible for breaking families due to their nonsense teachings. Gurus only focus on service to God and themselves. There is no consideration for the well being of families. There is failure to realize that we are all parts of God (Bhagavad-Gita 15.7) and thus service to humans is service to God. Instead of continuously building and making improvements to temples, there is an urgent need to continuously build family values to keep families together. Honoring vows; caring, serving, and loving each other are basic family values.
The family members must always come first.
“The highest religious duty for a woman is to sincerely serve her husband, behave well toward her husband’s family and take good care of her children.” (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 10.29.24)
“Accepting her husband as the representative of the Supreme Person, a wife should worship him with unalloyed devotion by offering him prasāda. The husband, being very pleased with his wife, should engage himself in the affairs of his family.” (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 6.19.17)
“My dear wife, whose body is so beautiful, your waist being thin, a conscientious wife should be chaste and should abide by the orders of her husband. She should very devoutly worship her husband as a representative of Vāsudeva.” (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 6.18.35)
Many gurus give guidance whimsically, because they don’t have proper knowledge of Vedic scriptural injunctions, or they lack practical life experience. Those who have no family life experience can never understand the problems in family life. Thus, they cannot give proper guidance to those in family life. They will give random advice based on how they feel on the day. In some cases, this advice will create more problems for those in family life and the result in many cases is family breakups. We do have to use our head and not blindly accept everything that the swamis tell us.
“Uncultured men will accept charity on behalf of the Lord and will earn their livelihood by making a show of austerity and wearing a mendicant’s dress. Those who know nothing about religion will mount a high seat and presume to speak on religious principles.” (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 12.3.38)
There are many gurus who are expert speakers, expert in reciting and explaining the scriptures, but they don’t have the heart of a vaishnava, because they will not help us when we are in need. A vaishnava is one who feels the pains of others. A genuine guru will be very caring and will not sleep if any of his followers are in distress. He will work very hard to resolve the problems with his followers.
“A person’s spiritual position will be ascertained merely according to external symbols, and on that same basis people will change from one spiritual order to the next. A person’s propriety will be seriously questioned if he does not earn a good living. And one who is very clever at juggling words will be considered a learned scholar.” (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 12.2.4)
The Vedic system is that the mother is the first guru, then the father, and then for a girl, the husband. These are the primary gurus, all others outside the home are secondary gurus. The guidance from the primary guru must override the guidance from the secondary gurus, if there is a clash between the two. This is because when we are sick, it’s our parents or husband who will care for us, the gurus from outside the house are not going to care for us. Our family members will help us to pay our bills when we are in need, those from outside the house will not pay our bills. The gurus from outside the home are only useful for getting some knowledge. Only our family members will care for us and love us.
Service to Family is Important
Females can get hyped up about their guru and neglect the husband. This is very sinful. Service should be given to the guru but only after service to the family. For a wife, service to the husband is more important than service to the guru, because it is the husband who will take care, protect, and financially support the wife. Also, the wife will get 50% of the benefits for the pious deeds performed by the husband. The husband is the primary spiritual master for the wife.
“Aditi accepted her husband as her guru…” (Purport by Swami Srila Prabhupada, Shrimad-Bhagavatam 8.16.23)
“Between the husband and wife, one person is sufficient to execute this devotional service. Because of their good relationship, both of them will enjoy the result. Therefore, if the wife is unable to execute this process, the husband should carefully do so, and the faithful wife will share the result. (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 6.19.18)
The gurus will say ‘without a guru there can be no liberation’. Off course they will say this, because they want followers, money, and free servants.
The scriptures do recommend getting a spiritual master, but they also recommend accepting the parents and for girls the husband, as spiritual masters. Due to Kali Yuga, the age of ignorance and irreligion, there are very few genuine gurus and there are many cheaters. So, we need to be very careful and not blindly accept anyone as a spiritual master and never blindly follow all teachings.
“…approaching a bona fide spiritual master” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-Gita 13.8-12)
The Arjuna of the Bhagavad-Gita directly accepted Lord Krishna as his spiritual master, no middle man. In the current times, since there are too many bogus gurus and we cannot be sure of anyone. It’s better to be safe then to get entangled with the wrong guru and get mis directed and ruin our family life.
“Now I am confused about my duty and have lost all composure because of miserly weakness. In this condition I am asking You to tell me for certain what is best for me. Now I am Your disciple, and a soul surrendered unto You. Please instruct me.” (Arjuna to Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-Gita 2.7)
The Guru is Never God
The genuine guru is a representative of God, but he is never God. Any guru who claims to be God should be immediately rejected and exposed as a cheater. God is very pleased with those who stand up for the truth.