Giving back to parents

Acharya Prashant
6 min readJan 14, 2022

The following excerpt is from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

Question (Q): I feel that I should give all the things to my parents, and everything. I internally feel that. That is nothing coming from the society. I feel that they gave me so much so I should give them too.

Acharya Prashant (AP): See, it’s a very obvious thing if you would see. There is a recent case. I think just happened three or four days back. Probably, in Hyderabad or some other city in the South. A mother is refusing to breastfeed her newly born girl. Have you read that case?

Two babies were parallelly born. The nurse takes one out and calls out for the parents. Accidentally, the parents of the other baby that happens to be a boy, this first one is a girl, they come out. They take that baby so they get swapped. Within hours it is discovered that this mistake has happened. And when the hospital staff tries to correct the mistake, both the mothers insist that the boy belongs to them. One of the mothers is 22 years old, the other is 20 years old. Not old really. We have graduate students of that age. Correct?

Don’t you see what we call parental love or filial love, what is that? When you say that somebody gives so much to you, so you want to give it back in return, with all due respect for emotions and everything I want to ask if one is actually willing to give if giving is his nature, will he ever be selective and exclusive in giving? Isn’t this something that is taught to us and imbibed by us that this is the way a good life is lived — you produce kids and you would do all these things with your kids, you would do all these things and if you do these things you will be certified as a caring parent?

Even the definition of care is a foreign definition. A lot of things that are done in the name of care are not care at all. Real love is not about following protocols. I surely want, I desperately want that parents must have loving relationships with their kids. But, love is not about reciprocity. They did so much for me and I must also do something for them. This is the language of trade.

Love is something very different, very subtle, very unpredictable, very unique, very local, localized, belonging to that point. It cannot be something general.

Acharya Prashant