If the son practices bhakti, then will his non-devotee parents’ get a good next-life destination due to their son’s bhakti?
Transcription by– Keshav Gopal Das & Ambuj Gupta
Question: If a son is practicing bhakti but the parents are not practicing bhakti then will the parents get some good result like a good birth in next life because of their son’s practice of bhakti?
Answer: Certainly son’s practice of bhakti will benefit parents.
Specific nature of benefit will depend primarily on their attitude towards Krishna. Our result from this life to next life will firstly depend on our karma and nature. That is a material factor. Now if parents are living in satva guna naturally they will get saatvik destination and whatever modes they are living they will get that destination. But beyond that their relationship with their son will determine their attitude towards Krishna. If they have an appreciative attitude towards Krishna then that is also very-very helpful for them. Krishna talks about broad principles about reincarnation that whatever we remember at the time of death that’s what we will attain. Prabhupada writes in the purport of one of the verses in Prahalad’s prayers 7.9.10 viprād dvi-ṣaḍ-guṇa-yutād aravinda-nābha, there he says that a Brahmana with twelve qualities is not as glorious as a devotee dog eater who is devoted to Krishna, such a person will deliver his whole dynasty. Prabhupada writes that we have practical experience that the mother of one of our students, she was enquiring about Krishna at the last moment of her life and by thinking about Krishna she left the body. So in this way we see that the sons are delivering their parents and this verse is coming true.
As sons, as devotees, we always try our best to help our parents to come closer to Krishna. Even if they don’t want to come closer for whatever reasons, if we provide them adequate opportunity not just in the terms of every time trying to give Krishna to them, but also being respectful, proper human beings, good sons in whatever way is possible within the principles of devotional service, then through that attachment of their son, they can be attached to Krishna. Often old age and then proximity to death does bring a lot of spiritual wisdom or at least openness to spiritual wisdom. So lot will depend on what can be done during the last days for them and if we help them to remember Krishna and that time come closer to Krishna and if that happens if they remember Krishna at the time of death and they have a heart which is open to Krishna then supreme auspiciousness can also result. But even if that doesn’t happen but just a fact they have a son and they attach to their son and through him they got some appreciation for Krishna consciousness then that will also elevate them. Krishna talks about in the sixth chapter that somebody just started the practice of yoga but then gets deviated such a person goes to heaven and if somebody is very advanced but is not able to complete that person is born in devotee’s family. Generally if you want to place the parents anywhere in this hierarchy, definitely it will not be on the second level, but on the first level since they just started the practice. In the Gita verses 40,41,42 verse of sixth chapter that because this seeker having a enjoyment mentality, Krishna fulfills that enjoyment mentality by taking that seeker to heaven and after profuse enjoyment seeker can come back to the world and continue on practicing in this world. So that way normally what is the reason that the parents don’t practice bhakti. In generally it is because they feel that there is so much you can do in this world. In that sense also they will fall in this category. If they would have done some amount of bhakti or some amount of appreciation in bhakti then certainly that will be carried over and they’ll get an opportunity to practice bhakti in next life. Specific destination we can’t say, even for a devotee it is difficult to say because all devotees are not equally serious and we can’t say that just because somebody is initiated and chanting sixteen rounds, he or she will automatically go to Krishna. Prabhupada has said that but that is to assure us. It is not meant to make us complacent. We also have to make an endeavor. Prabhupada’s point is in saying this is that we should do this at least. We do this sincerely then there is a very great likelihood that we will remember Krishna at the time of death also. So that’s the principle and definitely they will be benefited and if they are almost at the level of some kind of seekers then surely they will go to heaven and then they will come back to earth. Either way because of their connection with Krishna auspiciousness will come in their lives. Thank you.