Chetana, mother of Jai & Rahika. Living in Melbourne. Grew up in India in a Margii family.

YS: Chetana, you grew up in a Margii family in India, at a time when Baba was still physicality present. What sort of perspective do you think this has given you, on spirituality, family life, and raising children?

Chetana: My parents always taught me that we follow the approach of “subjective approach through objective adjustment ” very well. They observed 16 points with strictness and they were our role models in real life. We would see them take moment to take second lesson every now and then. They would tell us Baba’s  stories and we would have discussions about what would be a sadvipra’s approach to the situations. The ways of Ananda Marga became natural to us. However it was very different form all the other families in the community.

I guess there were some advantages to growing up in India. For example, being vegetarian wasn’t weird. At the same time, there are so many religions in India, and people have a very dogmatic and confused understanding of GOD. However because of growing up in a Margi family it was always very clear where we have come from and where we have to go and knowingly or unknowingly we all are in the same path (we either go forward or backwards).

YS: Did you ever see Baba as a child? What was that like?

C: Yes many times!! my parents used to take us to Ananda Nagar twice a year , sometimes to calcutta too (every opportunity they could get to see BABA). I feel incredibly lucky …..I have his glimpse set in my mind of how he used to talk, walk , smile, clap, joke 🙂

YS: What was your first memory of Baba?

C: I remember BABA was sitting in DMC hall in Ananda Nagar giving discourse on something (which i couldn’t understand at all). I was just looking at Him and I asked in my mind “please look at me now”. He turned and looked at me straight away 🙂 . I did try this trick lot of times later on but it never worked . hahaha!!

YS: How was Baba explained to you as a child?

C: My parents explained to me that BABA is GOD (creator of this universe ) and that he took the form of human being to come and show us how to follow the path to find happiness in life and make this world a beautiful place to live in.

YS: How do you explain Baba to your children?

C: I explain Baba just the same as how my parents explained him to me.

YS: Did your view of Baba change as you grew older?

C: I don’t think my view of BABA changed. But it got stronger as I came to understand him and his philosophy better. It continues to do so even today.

YS: How did your parents approach your sadhana? I know some Margii parents feel strongly that their children take initiation and meditate, while others leave this more up to the children. What is our opinion on this?     

C: I was initiated early. Going to DC and seminars or kirtan was regular thing. Doing meditation was not imposed. I was, and still am slack at it (but i am trying to work on it). I am also following the same approach as my parents. I don’t feel I can impose meditation on my children. But I introduce it to them and give them the environment so that they don’t find it too hard to do if they choose to practice in future.

YS: Do you explain sadhana and Baba to your children? Or is Baba and Ananda Marga just part of their life, in a way that might not need explicit explanation?

C: Ananda Marga is just part of our life !!! But sometimes when the opportunity comes I explain them about Ananda Marga. I’ll wait for them to be little older to explain the rationale / logic side of it.

YS: Earlier in the organisations history, Baba put a lot of pressure on creating Whole Time workers. Did you ever think of becoming a Didi?

C: It was always open and clear (as clear as it can be in theory ….of course the practical side is always different ). To me the pros and cons of both being a grihi or WT worker were clear. However, I thought that I was not emotionally strong enough to be a whole timer and therefore I chose to be a grahi (family margi).

YS: As a child, how did you experience meditation? Did you ever experience meditation just as something your parents wanted you to do? Or did you have a devotional connection with sadhana yourself at an early age?

C: I wasn’t very regular with my meditation and I always found deep concentration to be very hard. So no, I had no devotional connection or experience while meditating . But I have had devotional connection while doing kirtan, listening to BABA’s talk, during Prabhat Samgeeta, and reading his books  and on few fasting days.

YS: Has your experience of meditation changed as you grew older?

C: Yes there is progress but not as much as I would like it to be 🙁

YS: Did you experience Ananda Marga to be very different in India, compared to Australia?

C: Not very different!!  Ananda marga is same but different people are attracted by different aspect of it. Generally in India its the devotional side of it where as here in Australia it is more the scientific or logical side of it that attracts people.

YS: What do u think are the unique challenges and advantages to being a born margii?

C: As for advantages, Ananda Marg is just part of life….so a lot of the things like being vegetarian, fasting, following the 16 points were natural. Another advantage was that there was always someone to talk to or maybe have a check on you and that you are not getting too much involve in material world so that it was stopping your progress in the path. Sometimes it is easy to get caught into material world or easy to go backwards on the path.

YS: How would you do things differently with your own children? What kind of approach do you think would work as far as raising spiritual children is concerned, given the environment today?

C: I want to provide this spiritual environment for my kids where they have a inner sense of relationship with BABA, where they can feel HIS enormous love and guidance in everyday life. (How??? I am sure BABA will guide me there!!)

Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the official views, policy or position of Ananda Marga.


Leave a Reply