By Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami

What is it that makes a house a home? A home is a place of companionship with people in it who love each other, who are harmonious and closer with one another than they are with people in the workplace or with people at school. A home is a place that’s so magnetic that it is difficult to leave. In a home there is love, kindness, sharing, appreciation, and the inhabitants help one another. It’s a place of selflessness, love and togetherness where everybody has time for everybody else. In a home, the guests are treated like Deities or devas coming to the temple. That is the spirit of hospitality in the Hindu framework. It is the same spirit of energy flowing to the guest that also flows within the household. And a righteous household that worships every morning together as one family is like a temple. That’s a home and everything else is just a house or a hotel lobby. Nobody is really home, even if someone comes to stay overnight occasionally.

If you were to look at a home with your astral vision, you would see the three primary colors–pale pink, pale blue, pale yellow–and white, all intermingling in a big pranic force field, and you would know that that was a harmonious home. Moving over to another house, you might see a congestion of various colors, with dark and light shades and strange forms, and you would know that house was similar to a hotel lobby.

There are too many dysfunctional families in the world today. What is a dysfunctional family? Excuse me. We must refrain from using the word dysfunctional and replace it with the word discouraged, so I’ll begin again. There are too many discouraged families in the world today. A discouraged family is a family that has no home. True, they may have a million-dollar house, but it would take a lot of constant, magnetic love and kinship to turn that house into a home. Many million-dollar homes are just houses like big hotel lobbies, totally impersonal.

The guests are not God in those homes; they are seen as business potentials and social obligations. The father works late in his profession so he can avoid his family, comes home, sits down in front of the television while eating his dinner. The kids are running here and there; the mother comes home tired from her equally demanding profession and begins yelling at the kids. Verbal abuse becomes a way of life. The youth run in and out unchaperoned. Nobody knows what anybody is doing. Girls are getting pregnant out of wedlock. You find drugs. You hear swearing. That is the hotel lobby home of a dysfunctional family. Sorry, discouraged family. Nowadays in discouraged families, teens want to leave home as quickly as possible–as soon as they’re able to get a job and rent an apartment. That is not quality living. Is it? Sorry to say, but most dual-professionals’ homes, where husband and wife both have high-paying jobs, are more like a hotel lobby with a snack bar than like a home with a hearth, which is home with a heart.

Think about your home. Is the guest God? Is your house a home? What kind of astral vibration does it actually have? Be honest with yourself. Evaluate!

What is a house? A house is where people stay but nobody lives, like a hotel room. Nobody really lives in a rented room. Many professionals build gorgeous houses, wonderful houses, these days but don’t live in them. While they come home for a few days, they go out to dinner, turn on the TV and then pack and go to another hotel. Or they come home for a few hours, get up early and go to work, hardly spending any time in the house. Many wealthy people have beautiful homes enjoyed only by their servants. We ask, “Why build such expensive multi-million-dollar homes?” “Oh,” they say, “we have to entertain our guests.”

The astral pranas, or energies, radiating out from the hotel lobby kind of home make the occupants frustrated people. They make people around them uncomfortable because they live in an uncomfortable place. Yes, the pranas that emanate from an empty house make one an empty person. We all should reverse this situation for a stable, well-adjusted community for the new and coming generations of Hindus in the West, as well as in the East. This is the next step which those of the diaspora have to heartfully take. It is only intelligence that can reverse a negative situation and turn it into a positive, encouraging situation. It is important for mother to be mother, and for the father to allow her to be mother, so that together they can nurture the astral atmosphere within the house and make it vibrate with spiritual energies into a real home.

You will be able to tell if it is a home, when you want to hurry back to it, you won’t want to stay away too long, and you will find it difficult to leave. That’s because you enjoy the vibration that you’ve created from your soul body. And your focus for what you are doing will be exquisite. It won’t get divided. It is a slow process for a mother and a father to turn a house into a home. They have to be spiritually present in the home. The auras of the mother and father and each of the children have to permeate the walls of the house. The devas and guardian devas and ancestors have to be worshiped and invoked in the home. That turns a house into a really pranically viable home, building up the vibration so that you never want to leave.

And this requires a control of the computers. Using the computer moderately gives us time for gentleness, play and communication, not with a screen, but with a human being. And that is the vibration needed in a home.

The other thing that should be controlled is television. Television shouldn’t consume all of the family’s time. Before the TV is turned on, the family should sit together, talk about the day, praise each other and mutually decide what will be viewed. Afterwards, some time should be taken to discuss what was watched and to explain it to the children, allowing them to partake of the wisdom of the parents. Kids should never be sent off to bed while mom and dad continue to watch one program after another.

A spiritual vibration in the home can be initiated by having a priest come and perform a purification ceremony. That gets the pranas flowing correctly in the home, which when carried out to the community makes you a full person. Another key is to have Monday evenings at home. Monday home evening is practiced by many religions, including the Hindus. It’s an evening when the television is not turned on. On Monday evening, the family members get together, prepare a wonderful meal, play games together and verbally appreciate one another’s good qualities. They don’t solve any problems on that day. They just love each other, and everybody has a voice, from the little child to the oldest. It’s a family togetherness, one day a week when everyone will look forward to having mom and dad at home.

Nowadays people think that they have to have two incomes, three incomes, to become wealthy. Money is gained and lost sometimes rather quickly. As quickly gained, often as quickly lost. But what is wealth? Wealth is a diamond with many facets. One facet of wealth is money, but it is not the only one. A happy family that enjoys each other, that is a great wealth. Doing things together and enjoying doing things together is another great wealth. Rushing home to be with one another–if you can create that in your family, you are wealthy. And another great wealth is living within your income. Even multi-millionaires are poor if they do not live within their income and always worry about debts, payments and responsibilities. They often are very lonely people, because in all their efforts to gain those millions, they have had to sacrifice their family, their children and their own happiness. Many content themselves with building great, big multi-million dollar homes–to benefit whom? A gardener? Maybe a cook, a maid or two who get to live there all the time while they are traveling around the world, coming home late and leaving early. That’s not wealth. That’s also not wisdom. That’s a good way to die young.

To have a maid take care of the children while the parents both work and come home late is not a substitute for a mother, nor are grandparents a better choice. A surrogate mother cannot replace a real mother and a real father for children growing up, because children model themselves more than you know upon what they see the adults do, what they hear the adults say to each other, what they feel the adults are feeling. That becomes who they are and what they are going to do in their future. There is no substitute for a real mom and a real dad in a real home with a vibration of a family, the vibration of loving and the vibration of sharing.
A mother’s place is in the home.