Today we came from Tornesch to Lüneburg. In the morning, before Regina dropped us in Lüneburg, we went to say good-bye to her grandmother, too. She is 88 years old, about the age of my own grandmother. She lives in one house with Regina’s mother, just next to Regina’s own house.
There is a shloka in an old scripture that I remembered when meeting her this morning:
Abhivadan Shilasya Nityam Vriddhopasevinah
Chatwari Tasya Vardhante
Ayur Vidya Yasho Balam
An English translation could be:
For those who are humble and always serve the elderly, four things of life steadily increase: their life span, wisdom, fame and power.
It is beautiful to have an older person around because they have so much experience that can guide us. Of course we have to learn our own lessons and life today is very different from what is was for them when they were your age. Still however you can listen to what they have experienced and see where they came with these experiences.
If you want to be respected by those who are younger than you, you should also respect those who are older. Your children will see how you pay respect to the elderly and in the same way they will love and respect you, now and when you are old.
Your grandparents may sometimes seem to you like children, who forget how things work, what happened and some other, more or less unnecessary details. They often don’t like being alone and they want to do things their way. Love them like you love children, with much patience and without big expectations.
When we said good-bye to Regina’s grandmother, she said exactly the same words that my grandmother in India always says when we leave the Ashram: ‘I don’t know if I will still be alive the next time that you come.’ And we replied the same thing that we always say to Naniji: ‘You said the same thing last time and you are still here. You will be here the next time, too.’