Living with Baba

Living with Baba

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A Family Affair

A Guru's teachings take many forms. Sometimes, an important message is transmitted through a formal discourse, sometimes through humor, sometimes through punishment, and sometimes through a simple story.

I recall one such story. It took place in the British period, during the British occupation of India. A British man once witnessed a heated argument in an Indian family. The quarrel was getting out of control. The man wanted to interfere, with a view to settling the dispute amicably. As he tried to settle the dispute, the quarreling wife expressed anger at his interference and lashed out, "It is my family affair. Who are you to interfere in our personal family matters?"

The man was momentarily stunned at this outburst and withdrew immediately. He actually wanted to help, not to interfere needlessly in a family matter. His shortcoming was that he did not understand local customs, which strongly discouraged an outsider from meddling in another person's affairs. Privacy is a precious commodity in Indian culture.

Baba, too, followed this principle strictly. He never wanted any personal, family, or even organizational matter to be made public. Such matters should be kept strictly confidential.