The concept of the masculine aspect of God being the divine father has pervaded human consciousness from time immemorial. Whether it’s Zeus from the Greek pantheon, or closer home, the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh, and from a vedic astrology perspective, the Sun, a number of different philosophies strongly reinforce this fatherarchetype. And as we celebrate Father’s Day tomorrow, it’s the perfect opportunity to express our gratitude to everything that we owe to our fathers.
When Lord Vishnu incarnated on earth as Krishna, he had two very special men playing the role of the father figure — Vasudeva who was his birth-father and Nanda Baba who was his foster father. Krishna was born in a prison where his birth parents Vasudev and Devaki were being held captive in a prison by the evil Kamsa. Through a divine interplay of Maya, Vasudev was inspired to carry baby Krishna on a stormy night to his cousin Nanda Baba’s house in Gokul, thus saving his life from his evil uncle Kamsa. Krishna was the apple of his father’s eye, and he made sure that his little prince had a wholesome upbringing, safe from the danger that always lurked around the corner.
In Vedic culture, the father is also regarded as the first diksha Guru, who is responsible for the spiritual development of the children. He facilitates the introduction to the vedic tradition and provides the first spiritual initiation, which allows the children to become aware of their heritage and gain a perspective beyond the material view of life. Traditionally, he also made sure that the child was sent to the appropriate Gurukul to facilitate learning, which of course in today’s modern age is a responsibility shared by both parents.
A child needs healthy father and mother archetypes to be present during their formative years for holistic development. Traditionally, and even today in a large number of Indian families, the father is the breadwinner, and in some ways provided a precedent for an engagement model with the external world beyond the family. Small wonder then that especially for the older generation, our childhood has happy memories of waiting in anticipation of the treasures that lay in wait when our fathers returned from their work travels. So whether your father just has a day off from work, or has retired years ago, tomorrow presents the perfect opportunity to plan a special experience for him and find a way to say thanks for everything he has done!