Of these different relationships, filial piety is the most important.
Good family relationships can reform a society and thereby the government of any nation. Filial piety is the greatest virtue, and should be shown towards both the living and the dead. It is the love and respect for one’s parents and ancestors. Filial piety extends beyond the physical care of the parents. It means not to be rebellious, show love, respect and support. It means to uphold fraternity among brothers, to conceal their mistakes, advise parents when necessary, display sorrow at their sickness and death and most importantly carry out sacrifices after their death. Juniors should feel a strong sense of duty and reverence towards the seniors but at the same time, the seniors too should maintain duty of benevolence and concern towards the juniors.
The soul of the departed relatives is dependent for happiness upon the conduct and attitude of their living descendents. One can fulfill duty by living a life of virtue, which contributes towards the glory and happiness of the dead. Everyone is born with good nature and this should not be spoilt by external influences. Temptations to evil appetites have to be resisted. Ignorance leads to attainment of vices and knowledge alone can lead one to lead a virtuous life. If students show solicitude for their parents at the end of their lives, and continue this with sacrifices when they are far away, then the virtue is restored to fullness. To perform the role in governing any nation or in the society, it is first necessary to perform the familial role successfully. If the emperor loves his subjects as he would love his own children, they in turn would love, respect and be loyal to him as their father.
Filial devotion is not blind loyalty to one’s parents. A man shows true love and respect for one’s father if he remains loyal to his intentions for several years after the father’s death. During the father’s lifetime, you observe