A few months back, a wife of one of our volunteer came and requested that I close down one of our local offices, as her husband was neglecting the family and his earning responsibility and sitting in the IAC office, all day. Next day, another volunteer’s daughter called me requesting that we stop her father from being part of the movement as he was neglecting his earning responsibilities. I have been hearing similar heart rending stories of our volunteers neglecting their family duties for the national cause. Yesterday, in the volunteer meeting attended by over 250 volunteers, I asked “How many of you have problems at home and work due to participating in the movement?” and over 50% raised their hands.
When I first heard of this issue, I could not sleep well for many nights, as I pondered on what to do. We did not start the movement to break families, nor cause misery to previously happy wives, children and in some case, husbands and in-laws. There is no tangible benefit of money, fame or recognition.
So why did Anna not marry? Why did Arvind quit his job? What propelled me to leave my employment? Why did so many give up their lucrative career to join? Why do thousands of ordinary people leave behind the comfort zone of family, social life and entertainment to spend time, effort and money on doing what normal people would call “crazy stuff”? What drives people to take such extreme steps? What is the future of these volunteers – more pain at home? And more importantly, what should be my response to those who come for guidance or solution?
Some say that all men are born equal. I disagree. Everyone is born different, with unique levels of intelligence, sensitivity, empathy, creativity. But, through free will and choice, people can either evolve or decrease. Looking at the broad spectrum of humanity, I have broadly divided people through their overriding characteristics and attitudes.
Level 1: People who live on a “I, me and myself” attitude. These are the people who are completely focussed on their own existence and own existential issues. All that he is interested is his own pleasures, material comforts and needs. When you hear of a father raping his own child, it is most likely someone living on this level.
Level 2: People living on the next level have expanded consciousness which encompasses themselves as well as their family and close society structure. Peer approval and appreciation, name, fame, money, entertainment, holidays, material show-offs are some their motivations. Most of humanity lives at this level.
Level 3: This is a level at which a small part of humanity lives, in which one has evolved beyond just oneself and close ones. This is the level that most of our volunteers are approaching or have reached. Someone who is at the highest point of this level, is listening attentively to the world and to the people. He is aware of their individual and collective problems. With a sense of objectivity and detachment coupled with involvement and participation, he can find out relevant solutions to their problems. Sensitivity to society, love for all and empathy for the needy manifests as charity and service to others are his characteristics.
Level 4: Who am I? What is existence? What is my role in existence? And, how do I play that role? questions like these occupy the minds and lives of people at this level. Not for them, the mundane issues of the world. Sri Aurobindo was a great revolutionary and freedom fighter at level 3, but soon his evolution took him to this level to explore the dynamic potentiality of the Universal energies and its workings.
Most of our new volunteers are generally the good, simple people, who have been living at level 2. While everyone has been watching the injustice and suffering around the nation, it is only these few people who are ready for transformation, that by force of circumstances and internal change are slowly stepping into level 3. While they may be consciously unaware, there is a great internal change happening within them.
Transformation is happening in their mind, which manifests itself in different ways – some will come out on the streets shouting slogans, some will write poetries, some sing songs, some paint, some make cartoons and some just come and sit in the office soaking in the atmosphere. While they are bewildered and nonplussed with the higher calling, the exhilaration and enjoyment of being in the higher level makes them want to come back time and again. The earlier joys of family, evening with relative and friends and the entertainment pales in comparison. They want to spend more and more time and energy for working for others.
It would be futile to expect their families and outsiders to understand their internal changes. Someone who is at a lower level will never understand the one who is more evolved, nor the process of his growth. Most of his earlier contacts will sneer at him, insult him and run him down – calling it a desire for money or fame or worse.
So, it is an evolutionary and life-altering growth that our volunteers are going through individually. He is bewildered and in a strange world. His environment, his family, his friends and social is still the same, but he has changed and so have their reactions to him. He is torn between the changes happening within, the reaction of his near and dear ones and the feeling of wanting to spend more and more time with what is pulling him.
So, what should I advice him?
Best solution : Live in balance, share with your family and make them understand your predicament. Try to bring your wife in some meetings, avoid friends and TV and spend some more time with the children and family members.
Second best solution: If the above is not possible, then continue working with the movement, in spite of the home strife. You are evolving, and evolution process is eternal, not just of this lifetime. If your family is at a lower level, you need not go to the lower level. Try to pull them up, if possible.
What do you think?
Read in Hindi…