Letter from a devotee
I received the following letter from a young devotee, which rather nicely illustrates the conflict. I will reserve comment for now, but I want to stress that the question has complex aspects, which I would like to continue discussing.
My father abandoned our family when I was only 5. It was an agony for him to stay. He was an artist - a musician, a bard in the classical sense. His muse and his heart demanded that he flee the family home and seek his fortune on the wide open road. Quite the romantic!
To this day I remain so fundamentally damaged from being abandoned by him that it infuses every aspect of my life. There is no situation so mundane, trivial, or grand that it escapes the filter of the absent father.
Dharma dictates various karmas. These karmas are unique to each person. Dharma is mysterious and hard to fathom. By following dharma one does not escape pain in this life nor karma in the next. It is simply done because it is dharma.
The pain and psychological wounds that I carry because my father broke dharma to pursue his highest heart's desire will never be forgotten in this body. I hold them in my heart and my son will feel them also. He is two. I can feel the scars in my heart when our two hearts rub up against each other. Does that make sense?
My wife is not a Vaishnava. My family are not Vaishnavas. I have no support for sadhana. I dream every day about leaving everything to live with the sanga. Anywhere at all. Just to live with the sadhaka samaja. This desire will only get worse with time. However, I know that a certain cowherd boy would see me sink into Maya and abandon Him utterly if I were to leave my family and my responsibilities to them.
I was once told a story of a disciple of Papa Ram Das. She was told that her 13-year-old child was dying of fever and calling for her in his final hours. She begged her guru to absolve her of the duty of going to see him. She said, "Baba, all over the world children are being born and dying. What does this have to do with me? Please let me never leave you."
This used to be somewhat inspiring to me. That one could so lose their my-sense and ahankar that they could let their only child die alone and in agony, abandoned in their final hour by the only human truly responsible for them, due to having created their body and raising them. Now, I spit on her memory and all those who revere it.
When I become a perfect sadhaka, then maybe I will have the adhikar for leaving all responsibilities and running to Krishna's charan. Until then, it is better that I burn in separation and fulfill my dharma in the filthy samsara of home life than run away to Vraj and take my samsara there. When I am chanting 64 rounds in secret while my family sleeps, relishing smaran when people think I am dozing, and feeling real humility and not the mocking pose that I feel now, then I will go.
I think I wrote this to give you the perspective of a child who has lost a parent to the parent's dream. Your situation I am sure is quite different. Maybe I used this opportunity to think out loud and wasted your time. Please accept my most sincere apologies and feel free not to post this or delete it later. You are my senior and are owed my pranaams and respect.
Joy Nitai! Joy Gaur!