The Elders and Their Advice

Pt. Shriram Sharma Acharya
Many times the elders insist that children should do this and do that, but such adamant expectation is against all appropriateness, against religion and duty. Under the situation,we have to choose between the elders’ advice on one hand and what is right for us, on the other hand. On facing such a dilemma, preference is always to be given to the religion, to the right and to our duty. A father wants to employ his children in his own trade, but the talent and aptitude of the children make them comfortable in quite another direction. Is it proper to sacrifice children’s ambitions just due to predominance of the elders’ systems? Had that been the trend, then almost all great men of the world would have been miserable persons obediently running their trivial ancestral businesses.

There is no scarcity of wise old men in this world. Their experience and knowledge provide guidance to the new generations for future, hence importance of their services can not be overlooked. To care for their comfort, their teaching and their instructions is considered our duty, and surely we have to do that. Not only full attention has to be paid to their physical happiness and comforts, but if any of their suggestions or orders are impractical, we should not respond in an insulting tone. Keeping silence in such situation saves us from any clash on the spot.

In the dilemma of choice between the appropriate and the orders of the aged, importance has to be given to religion and duty. The aged, no doubt, are superior, but religion and duty are even supreme. Instructions of elders should be followed, but prudence should prevail even before that. The appropriate statement even if from a child’s mouth is more important than an unfair statement from an aged man. Growth in knowledge is greater than the growth in age. Age is surly important, but not more important than prudence and wisdom. We may follow instructions of aged, may even try to make them happy and satisfied by all means, but when they ask to do something unjust, irrelevant and unfair, we need not be prepared to fulfill that. The respect to age is given due to knowledge, wisdom, religion and vision. If these attributes are missing, the person is simply an old man and not a grown up mature elder. We must follow knowledgeable matured elders, but not necessary that any imprudent old man can lead us just due to white hair.