19. The Ideal Householder

An ideal householder should try to provide food for the maximum number of human beings and animals.

Disadvantaged persons and guests: Do not remain indifferent to the service of disadvantaged persons and guests. Do not consider their lineage, culture, or religious beliefs while serving them.

Service to animals: Milk-giving animals should be properly respected and looked after like human mothers. Even after an animal loses her ability to give milk, do not harm or kill her.

Beggars: The best way to serve beggars is to feed them. If cooked food is not ready in the house, give food items (cereals, pulses, or any vegetables). If necessary, also arrange for their medical treatment, clothing, or accommodation, because as long as the beggar problem persists and the state does not shoulder the responsibility of solving it, the householders will have to bear this responsibility. Begging should not be encouraged, but arrangements will have to be made so that those who are genuinely distressed do not die of starvation. Do not give cash to a beggar, for this will encourage others to adopt the practice of begging.

Sadávrata: The type of public charity that every sádhaka should undertake as an individual or that sádhakas undertake as a family or as a community will be known as sadávrata.

1965, Jamalpur

20. Birthday Ceremony

A birthday celebration should begin with collective Iishvara Prańidhána. Then the birthday person should receive blessings and the auspicious tilaka mark [sandal paste, kumkum, etc.] from the elders; accept salutations, garlands and sandal paste from the juniors; and then accept presents and food. Incense, candles, blowing of conch shells, etc., are not essential for all auspicious occasions, but they may be used if people so desire.

1965, Jamalpur