As seen earlier in the land of ancient wisdom progeny comes forth after a sacred act of procreation. The father and mother undergo months of preparation praying for a noble offspring. There are cases where the prayers are answered fully and also instances where imperfections in the offspring occur. The progeny, if a son, is welcomed with great hopes and joy. He is to play the role of a worthy successor to his father, fulfilling his unfinished responsibilities if he inherits a large family of brothers and sisters. He has to look after his mother, educate his brothers and sisters and arrange for the marriage of sisters. It is a heavy responsibility on his shoulders, which is dutifully discharged. If his father is alive he looks after him and learns from him.
At an early age of 7 or 9 or 11 years, he is initiated to the knowledge of the Ultimate Truth through a ceremony called ‘upanayanam’. He learns mantras, which are intended to take him nearer to God. This ceremony marked by wearing a sacred thread, is second birth for the boy. He becomes a Brahmin, one who is seeking God. He is equipped to acquire more knowledge of the scriptures. He is to function as a lamp of enlightenment. He acquires divine knowledge from a teacher (Guru) with great reverence and devotion. After mastery he goes out to practice, preach and propagate that knowledge concerning the Ultimate Reality.
He gets up early morning before sunrise, completes his morning routine, prays and worships his parents before engaging in any activity. The sons are categorized under four types. This is based on their calibre and their innate sense of responsibility. The first is called the noblest (uttaman) category. He anticipates precisely the needs and wishes of his parents and acts promptly without waiting for instructions or their command. The second category is the medium (madhyaman) one. He does not anticipate but is most obedient. He carries out his father’s commands and wishes as soon as he comes to know or is asked to do. He does not question them. He obeys instantaneously. The obedience is spontaneous.
The third category is ‘fallen’ (adhaman) one. Here the son carries out his father’s command but after raising doubts and questions. The obedience and execution are not instantaneous unlike the cases stated earlier. He shows some reluctance in implementation of the commands but ultimately carries out. There is the fourth category, which is described most reluctantly in spiritual discourses. The son in that category known as equivalent to human execreta, is an unwanted one. He disobeys his parents. He does just the opposite of what is wanted and harms the parents. Such a son is a great liability to the family and to society. He is tolerated and his presence is allowed just out of compassion since it is not in the nature of parents to reject him outright and send him away. He is a stone around the father’s neck.
While praying for progeny the parents implore on the Almighty to bless them with an offspring who belongs to the first category, worthy of the lineage and who is useful to society. (To be continued)