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Answer: Parents Who Had Police Arrest Their Teenage Daughter

From: dgp.1@mananerssmarket....
Date: Sat, 12 Jan 2013 21:58:43 00:00)
Subject: Answer: Parents Who Had Police Arrest Their Teenage Daughter



Many replied to the recently posted article (link below) about the parents who had police officials arrest their teenage daughter and her friend. Here below is a point-by-point evaluation, according to the tenets of Ananda Marga teachings and philosophy.

The following then is in response to the query: Was it appropriate and beneficial for the parents to have their daughter and her friend arrested?


- As parents, they are responsible for imparting proper ideals to their children. But this they failed to do: They are the cause, not the kids.

- Those parents had the power to forgive those kids for doing wrong as it was a mistake in personal life, not collective life. That is Baba's teaching: To forgive people for personal mistakes, i.e. if they harm you personally.

Baba says, "In individual life you can extend maximum forgiveness – rather, the more forgiveness, the better." (1)

But those parents did not take such an approach. Rather, by arresting their teenage daughter, those parents acted out of vengeance and spite.

-  When the parents took that big step to call the police and have their child arrested, then they essentially ruined the short and long-term relation with their child. Instead of acting as benevolent parents watching for the welfare of their priceless child, they acted like agents interested in punishing a wrongdoer. Naturally, that child will always recall how their parents acted towards them.


Here are some of Baba's key teachings on this topic:

   "When the parents are about to go on a trip or go to a show, or when they are invited to a pleasant function or a social outing, the children may start whining or nattering to accompany them. At such times many parents tell lies without a qualm; somehow they dupe their children and leave. When the children realize what has happened, they also learn to tell lies; and to hide their intentions or their actions from their parents, they gradually start lying more and more."
   "Parents deceive their children in many ways. By calling sweet things bitter and pleasant things unpleasant, they prevent their children from enjoying them. But by disregarding parental injunctions and prying inquisitively, as is the wont of human nature, children discover the truth. Then they realize that their parents have been deceiving them. As a result they start deceiving not only their parents, but their friends and classmates as well. So it is abundantly clear that children are taught the first lessons in the arts of lying and deception by their own parents at home."
   "In a family it is natural that differences of opinion will arise among the adults; when they do, the adults should reconcile their differences considering each other's opinions. Unfortunately they often lack the requisite mental make-up to reach an amicable agreement – each tries to convince everybody else of his or her viewpoint without caring about the opinions of others. The result is an outburst of unreasonable obstinacy – the adults lose all self-control and behave in a gross and vulgar manner. The effect on the minds of the children is disastrous. Children thus learn obstinacy from their elders. If the mother or those with whom the children spend most of their time is obstinate, the neglected children will, in most cases, become noticeably obstinate, and they will have to carry this psychic ailment around with them for a long time. If, on the other hand, as is sometimes the case, the wishes and desires (if they are not unreasonable) of children are fulfilled, the children will not have the opportunity to learn obstinacy." (2)


"It must be the teachers' responsibility to impart knowledge, teach restraint in social life, and give instruction about all the various aspects of collective endeavour, but the parents will have to take on most of the responsibility for the moral and spiritual education of the child. It should be the duty of society as a whole to ensure that the children of immoral and unrighteousness parents are brought up as virtuous citizens. If possible such children should be removed from the unwholesome environment of their parents." (3)


"The mental outlook of children has already been moulded in a particular fashion by the influence of their family environment before they start school. No matter what or how much they learn at school, it is extremely difficult for them to free themselves from the influence of their family. Drawing on what they have learned in the family, the immature minds of children begin to learn about the world and understand it, and to receive ideas and master language so that they can express those ideas. Unhesitatingly they adopt their elders' way of looking at the world. Hence the primary responsibility for acquainting children with the world lies with their parents or guardians. Children will become assets of society in the future to the extent that their parents or guardians discharge their duties properly." (4)

   "But who will impart moral training or education? Parents find fault with teachers, and teachers in turn argue that they cannot give personal attention to an individual child in a crowd of two or three hundred children. Although it is true that most parents are either uneducated or semi-educated, and while it is not unreasonable to expect that teachers will be well-educated, it is not proper to place the sole responsibility for children's moral education on the shoulders of their teachers. Increasing the number of teachers in educational institutions may partially solve the problem of moral education, but the key to the solution lies with the parents themselves. In cases where the parents are unfit to shoulder this responsibility, the teachers and well-wishers of society will have to come forward and demonstrate their greater sense of responsibility."
   "Remember, humanity's very existence is based on morality; when morality leads human beings to the fullest expression of their finer human qualities, then alone is its practical value fully realized. The concerted effort to bridge the gap between the first expression of morality and establishment in universal humanism is called “social progress”. And the collective body of those who are engaged in the concerted effort to conquer this gap, I call “society”." (5)


"Some parents may claim that it is impossible to maintain a balanced life in an age full of problems, where they are extremely busy with numerous activities. I maintain, however, that it is possible for an intelligent parent to avoid the mistakes I have discussed. If parents fail to carry out their basic duties, I am compelled to say that, although they live in society, they are guilty of encouraging an antisocial mentality. By encouraging their children to develop a criminal psychology, they give unnecessary trouble to the police. The main point is this: for want of a little care, children are deprived of the opportunity to become complete human beings, even though they have a human structure. (6)


"Whatever thoughts any small child, or boy or girl, or adolescent, youth, middle-aged person or old person may have in their individual lives, in family life it is the responsibility of the guardians of the family to control them. Children are generally like their parents. But the overall responsibility of guardianship lies with the samája gurus. They should see that no one's thoughts cross the line from that which it would be better to forsake, to that which is actually punishable. And as in individual life, so in social life, the samája gurus should see that the collective thinking does not cross the line from that which it would be better to forsake, to that which is actually punishable. If, in spite of everything, people's defective thoughts do reach the stage of punishability, indiscipline will affect the entire social structure. To put an end to the indiscipline and restore order to social life is the major responsibility of a sadvipra. For this reason there is no place for carefree relaxation in a sadvipra's life. A sadvipra has to bear, and staunchly bear, the entire responsibility of protecting society. If the mentality of any group of the society reaches the punishable stage, sadvipras will have to form another and more disciplined group." (7)


   "If the parents or older members of a family are quarrelsome, the children will also become quarrelsome due to constant association. Similarly, if the women of a family have a highly critical nature, the children will invariably become critical because they will learn how to criticize from their elders. Children will also tend to become depraved if they associate too closely with older children in schools or colleges. When they stay among children their own age, however, they generally play in an innocent, joyous way. Childhood companions should be selected with great care, but young children are incapable of doing this."
   "The base propensities which lie dormant in everyone are easily stimulated by constant association with bad people. Through the united efforts of parents, people living in the locality and educators, it may be possible to save children from bad company. But it is very difficult to save them from the evil influences which reside in their own homes or preponderate in their neighbourhood. The only way to overcome such influences is to popularize the ideals of dharma, spread moral education and train an honest police force."
   "In the modern world there is a wide variety of films which excite the passions and have a degrading influence on boys and girls, adolescents and young men and women. Such films create in cinema-goers the desire to emulate in their individual lives the criminal activities, the vulgar expressions of love, or the adventurous behaviour that they see enacted on the screen. This is another example of how keeping bad company causes depravity. Many cinema-goers imagine that the characters that they see on the screen are their actual acquaintances, but when they try to emulate these characters, they discover that the real world is much tougher than the world portrayed by the cinema. If their family ties are weak, if they are their own guardians or if they have no high ideals to inspire them, it will be extremely difficult, although not impossible, to save them from bad influences.
   "As long as those who become criminals due to keeping bad company are not transformed into habitual criminals, they will return to their normal good behaviour as soon as they give up the bad company. Therefore, during the trials of such criminals, corrective measures should be taken only after giving due consideration to the company they keep and the influence of this company on their behaviour. But in the case of those who have become habitual criminals, simply removing them from bad company will not suffice, because they themselves are their own bad company. For them, stricter measures will be needed." (8)

With regards to the current case, certainly those teens must have gotten such an idea by reading novels, watching films, or playing video games etc. That is why we say that society is responsible.


By reading Baba's above teachings it is clear that kids are not responsible for their wrongdoing. The responsibility lies first and foremost with parents. They must inculcate moral and spiritual codes to the child. Next, teachers are responsible for inspiring students and imparting knowledge. And finally, society is responsible for the upbringing of the child.

According to Ananda Marga philosophy, here is the hierarchy of responsibility for the child's proper growth and development:
1) Parents;
2) Teachers;
3) Society.

Here following are points for how to address the situation if the kids are older and more mature (i.e. above 18 years of age). Then these following steps are important considerations that may help to resolve some of the issues.



- Another key point to bear in mind is that in Ananda Marga, if anyone does any wrong, then we follow Baba'a given steps for shasti - rectification. And the first step is: "First attempt to bring the guilty person around through sweet words." (9)

As the article did not indicate that the girls were repeat offenders etc, then we can safely assume this is their first offense of this nature. In that case, according to Ananda Marga ideals, the parents should have talked to the children in a kind and gentle manner. Most kids are soft-hearted and by explaining things in the soft and safe way, the children might have immediately felt terribly about what they had done. This is a highly possible outcome, but it seems such an opportunity never came their way.

Yet this approach would have helped so much: The children would have understood their wrong; the children would have realised that their parents really do love them and are not out to get them per se; the children would have gained a greater perspective of the situation; and, the teens would have realised they themselves could have done things differently.

This is a distinct possibility if Guru's teachings on shasti had been followed:

"First attempt to bring the guilty person around through sweet words." (10)


- From the outset, the parents may not have tried to teach and show their teenage daughter that their rule about internet use was for her well-being. If they spoke in a gentle manner, this could have been conveyed. But the kids were never lovingly taught this idea. Instead they felt that a harsh and unfair rule had been imposed on them. So they took action to side-step this rule.


- First off, we have to bear in mind that these two girls are just teenagers. Their minds and bodies are not fully developed; their brain is not fully developed, including the frontal lobe which is critically important for evaluating risky situations. Being teens, only 15 years old or so, they cannot assess the inherent dangers of a situation. They did not consider the consequences of their action. The following article explains more about this:

- It seems quite clear that their intention was not to seriously harm their parents. If so, they would have inserted a lethal dose of that drug. Instead, they aimed to put their parents to sleep earlier. That does not justify what they did, but it does give a perspective of their overall motivation and intention.


- Once parents take the radical step of having their child arrested by the police, then it is basically certain that those kids will never remain at home again. As soon as possible they will leave their parents and never look back.

- Kids prison is not the right place to learn good habits. Rather in such institutions, detained youths (inmates) brag about the wrongs they did. When those kids tell everyone what they did, then those inmates will not be impressed. Rather they will say, "You should have done more." In kids prison, prestige is earned by how much harm one has done. Teens will get all the wrong teachings in such a detention center.

- Kids prison itself is not the solution - that is purely a punitive measure where teen inmates will become emotionally and psychically scarred. Here we have to remember that in Ananda Marga, our approach towards justice is towards rectification; it is not punitive in nature.

Ananda Marga philosophy says, "People only have the right to take corrective measures and not punitive measures...for the preservation of society, if people want to take measures against others, those measures will have to be corrective, not punitive. Even if the judicial system is defective, if only corrective measures are taken then there is no possibility of anyone coming to any harm." (11)


- Ultimately, the parents want their kids to be good. But one cannot make others become good through force - i.e. by threatening them and by having them arrested etc. That does not make a person good; goodness cannot be achieved through forced. Rather, to make a person good one must persuade, nurture, and encourage them.

"You can help someone to become good by making him understand, but no one becomes good through the application of force. You may persuade, you may bring them onto the path of righteousness by helping them to understand. This you can certainly do. If the sinner is engaged in sinful acts or keeps moving ahead on a sinful path, you can prevent that person from doing so by the application of force. But you cannot rectify him in this way." (12)


- After being arrested, the kids will have a poor self-image. They will not think highly of themselves, but will rather feel that they are lowly. This is the unfortunate psychic complex that they will suffer from: low self-esteem, i.e. that they are not good people.

- After being arrested, the future of those kids might be severely compromised. The distinct possibility is that their record may or may not be stained for life. Certainly if they try to run for public office their criminal history will become known to all. And even if they do not aim for public office, the police and society might always look upon them as convicts - in which case they will have trouble even getting a job. In many other fields of work such as childcare, nursing, counseling etc, they may be forced to give an oral or written response to queries about their past legalities etc. All because the parents chose to arrest those two teens, instead of talking to them in a caring and loving way.

in Him,


Here is a link to the first letter on this topic - and that posting contain the entire news article about this case of the parents having their child arrested.


1. Ananda Marga Ideology and Way of Life - 11, Taking the Opposite Stance in Battle
2. Human Society Part 1, Education
3. Human Society Part 1, Education
4. Human Society Part 1, Education
5. Human Society Part 1, Moralism
6. Human Society Part 1, Education
7. Human Society Part 1, Justice
8. Human Society Part 1, Justice
9. Caryacarya - 2, Society, Pt # 28(a)
10. Caryacarya - 2, Society, Pt # 28(a)
11. Human Society Part 1, Justice
12. Ananda Vacanamrtam - 10

The section below demarcated by asterisks is an entirely different topic, completely unrelated to the above letter.
It stands on its own as a point of interest.

One Should Assess Oneself on the Following
Baba says, “When human beings feel that, ‘Parama Purusa is my everything’, then that is called as sharan (shelter). No being can come under the sharan (shelter) of two different Entities. So what is the meaning of sharanagati (surrender)? When living beings give up their ‘I-feeling’ by withdrawing the mind from any other object and completely adopt the feeling that Parama Purusa alone is my everything.”  
“Up to the time when any person is thinking that they are working with their own strength, then we should understand that the feeling of sharanagati has not yet come in them. And when human beings think that, ‘I am doing the work only with His strength’, it means the feeling of sharanagati has come in their mind. So when living beings start thinking that, ‘Whatever work I am doing, I am doing with His strength’, then they have the feeling of sharanagati.” (General Darshan, Patna DMC, 1970, [from audio tape])
Note: In general parlance people think, "I have done this or that", but whatever may be, according to this quote such persons do not have sharanagati. In various meetings, sadhakas might  brag, "I did this, or this was done by me." They may think they are a devotee but they do not have sharanagati. All should measure their spiritual status by their inner feeling.

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