I have been asked by Mrs. I to seek your help and guidance. On 28th, when I was discussing my problems with her, she asked me to write to you.
My parents’ marriage was an unsuccessful one; they lived separately in the initial stages. Even now they always quarrel with each other. Father is always on drinks and mother is asthmatic. We are four – father, mother, myself and my younger sister. My mother is of a very dominating nature and we have no say in the house. She has been very strict with me; I was not allowed to move out of the house or talk to anybody (male or female). Her dominance has made me a nervous wreck. I cannot mix with people or talk face to face with any one. Even the slightest problem makes my limbs tremble.
I am nearly 35 and not yet married. My sister is 28. She is neither married nor in any job, primarily because of my mother’s dominance. We have no friends.
I have started a business ten years back, but am not successful. Though the quantum of work is quite much, irregular record / report / billing cause considerable loss. I find it very difficult to pay my workers, and sometimes-even fall short of my traveling expenses. This happens in spite of having regular business.
I have no vices as such. To my knowledge, I have never harmed or cheated any human being. But still I have mental torture. Even my workers take advantage of my psychology; they do not work properly. They do not listen to me and try to scare me by saying that they would stop work. Many have extracted money from me by threatening. Of late I have also become arrogant and short-tempered.
I must admit that no one in our family recites the daily prayers or goes to the church on Sundays. I try to recite the prayers reading from the book, but am generally distracted by something or another.
I seek with joined hands Swamiji’s help and guidance. I hope Swamiji will definitely help me.
Yours faithfully, A.
Poojya Swamiji's Reply
17th June 1992
Dear and blessed Soul A,
Harih Om Tat Sat. I have read your letter more than once, making the very reading and the attention involved as a ready help, blessing and inspiration to you in the present state. Austerity works that way.
I have been keeping you in mind ever since the letter arrived. It is one thing to know about one’s problem (psychological plight) and it is altogether different to go ahead for removing or resolving it. In your case, the first part has already been done, and naturally the second part will be facilitated. So, be confident, sure and hopeful about relief; but to get at the relief and strength, your cooperation is important. Be sure about this too.
Everyone’s mother or father will have a special nature sometimes sweet and sometimes bitter or mixed. As children we live with it; as a grown up son we observe and feel our own responses and evaluation about it. But the truth remains that they are themselves, and whatever they have knowingly or unknowingly extended to us has become a history – past, which cannot be altered. On the other hand, our present responses and attitude towards the past can always be changed, corrected and sublimated. This part of the development rests with us and us alone. Herein lies the keynote for success and growth.
As an adult, evaluate matters well, and believe in the ability to deal with the situation well – the ability to deal with yourself, your family as well as the business. I would set a time limit of 3 months from the date you receive this letter. Everyday must bring a note of improvement. This will start with your feeling a pleasant note of hope and confidence at the very reading of this letter.
Every present brings up the child only to make him grow into an adult and pursue life independently with the worth and integrity they have been able to imbue in him. Once the child becomes an adult, it is for him to observe and evolve his stand and responses. In his observation, the parents also will remain as focal points. He has to find out the lacks and bruises in them and deal with them as maturely as possible. Whatever irregular or uncomfortable traits are there in the parents, a true son must understand them with clarity. He must equip himself to look after the parents with maturity, without causing them undue pain and without bringing for himself unjust troubles and difficulties.
In the process, the son must make sure that at no time he feels any sense of decline or weakness in his interactions with the parents. This is achieved primarily with the constant thought:
Whatever my parents are, whatever their nature or behaviour lacks, I must learn to adjust with them successfully. Maybe I shall take 6 months or 1 year to grow to this level.
This ascendant note brings in the psychological dimension needed for the growth. If you think the opposite way, then the possibility as well as the effort to grow will be completely lost.
So, dear A, if you have missed such personal confidence so far, generate it now, just at the moment of your reading this letter. Then you will find that each day adds to the store of confidence in your mental plane. Before your father and mother, you are now a full grown son, having the task of fathering and mothering them in a way.
After this is ensured, comes the taks of facing the challenges in the business front. Act upon the following points. Take them as instructions or suggestions given to you, implying that you have the power to implement them. About the power, you are surely not the judge; instruction –giver is the judge and accept the judgement faithfully.
- Knowing that books and billing are not regular, give attention to that area and send the bills without delay. In 10 days, you must prepare and present Rs.2.5 to 5 lakhs worth of such accounts. Do not think of any hindrances. Doing is growth. Doing gives confidence.
- Between workers and their master, the master is the creator and runner of the industry; the decision to run or close rests with him. Laws can come in to impose some obligations on the owner in the event of running or closing. But even such laws accept that this can be done only when the resources of the industry permit the burden. So you have the right to lock out or close; the workers are none to interfere. Understand your status as the owner.
- Call the workers one day giving them a date in advance. Do not disclose the purpose. Tell them in the meeting taking your seat gallantly in front, that the Company accounts and financial situations are both alarming, and the fate has to be retrieved for the survival of the owners as well as the workers. They should realize the situation and help you in meeting it. A wage reduction they must willingly accept as a first step. When the fate improves, the reduction will be compensated for.
- You have some personal problems also which does not directly concern the employees. But the person being the same the personal front affects the business also. You should wish your employees to realize this truth. If they have anything to say, invite their comments, give a patient listening. Have your own time to evaluate them. Dissolve the gathering.
Grow with this new ego and event. Make the employees aware of the fact that their master is now behaving differently.
Evidently, you have to grow in your mind to make this attempt. The process is like climbing steps. Unless you lift your backfoot from the lower step and raise it to place on the higher one, the ascent will never be. So, here is the next step. Lift your mind and place it there. Crisscross sentiments like fear, apprehension, timidity, resistance will parade the mind, but they will be overtaken in moments and hours as you make the attempt. Till then, my words are to be the source of inspiration and strength.
Generally you will need some specific thought or formula to be revolved or repeated in your mind as a support and psychological succour. What will that be? Usually I give it in the form of a Sanskrit sentence. But your religious background being different, your mind may not naturally take to it. So this point will be decided after you see me or speak to me on telephone.
But, do all this, you must and will. Here I make a thread from my heart and send it to yours. You can cling to it confidently; go ahead!
I want you to record a clean profit in the next 2 or 3 months. I also want you to behave like a full adult with your parents. Realize their plight and be helpful to them in carrying on with them. I wish you peace, strength, prosperity and wellbeing.
With love and blessings,