Educating children

Children are the prospect of the future. They will have to be prepared not just in the context of one country, but in the context of the whole world. Whatever you earn, should be used to the fullest extent to give your children a good and modern education. This means that the principal part of your earnings should be spent on their education. It is essential that children advance in their studies. If a child is not interested in studying, don’t take him off school to make him work at something else. Nowadays, education is of many kinds; sports and modelling are also a kind of education.

Sportspeople earn from eight to eighty million rupees a year. Whether or not people know the name of their prime minister, they know the models. Modelling, too, earns a good income, and it also gives a boost to the textile industry. Therefore, education should be such that children are in tune with the present and future society. The future society will be a hi-tech one. The dreams of the current generation are hi-tech too. They may want to take a ride on a bullock cart or elephant for a change, but what they really want is a Mercedes car.

Nowadays, girls have many options too. Earlier, in every society, whether eastern or western, there was only one option for girls: grow up and get married. The options of studying or setting up a business did not exist. Today all these options are open. A woman can become president, chief of the army staff, a scientist, space traveller or revolutionary. She can pick up a gun, she can do anything. The tradition of differentiating between boys and girls should be ended, and if the affluent take the lead in this cause, it will be better. The poor cannot do this work. There is a saying, “Who will bell the cat?” Only a cat can bell a cat, not a mouse. So start this process.

The amount budgeted for the education of a girl should be the same as the amount budgeted for the education of a boy. Through education, girls should fulfil their dreams of becoming something. They can become businesswomen, industrialists or social workers, anything. Along with establishing a career, those who wish to set up house should do so. This is a question of understanding. It seems illogical that parents should fix a girl’s marriage. I have to get married, but you will get it fixed. How strange! If I wish to get married, the choice should be mine, not my father’s. This irrational method that has continued till now should be ended, and the one who wishes to get married should be given the right to choose.

The one who wants to eat should choose whether he wishes to eat rasagulla or chamcham. The one who wishes to wear clothes should choose whether she wishes to wear trousers or a sari. If the social aspirations of children are not left up to them but dictated by us, we will carry their burden as well. We will feel burdened and the children will feel suffocated their whole life through. This is what happened in the past with our mothers and wives. From the psychological point of view, they were a complex-ridden sex. Society must give its children the chance to express their talent if the country is to progress.

It is the job of parents to provide an opportunity for their children. ‘Opportunity’ means prospects. If you have a shoe or textile business, you may expect that your child will take that up too – it is natural, every person looks for a successor – but that is not offering a prospect. If you try to honestly assess whether the child is better off looking after the shop or doing something else, you are offering a prospect. Prospect comes into effect when the child goes forward on his own quest and returns something through the quest. He will then find a place in history, his quest will find a place in history. Not only that, he may also earn royalties worth millions of rupees. In today’s age, name and fame are not enough; one has to have money too. Today’s age is the age of balance. Along with fame, money is also necessary. The two go side by side.

So, parents should put their children on the path of education, give them the chance to grow and study. This is the extent of your responsibility towards your children. When they grow up, they can look after their own future.


The future generation depends on how you train the children. Every generation has its own peculiarities, difficulties, problems, likes and dislikes. Your children don’t like what you like and don’t dislike what you dislike. What you dislike is what they like. This is called change, and it is natural. Every generation has to change just as day has to change into night and night has to change into day. Autumn has to give way to winter and winter has to give way to summer. If there were just one generation or one culture, it would become monotonous. Change has to come about. And the most natural change is generational change.

Kanyas and batuks

At Rikhia, we have adopted almost five to six thousand young boys and girls, kanyas and batuks, virgins and celibates. All day long, they swarm around the ashram like bees. They go home only at night because their huts are not very inspiring, as they are poor people. They speak very good English, and they are learning computers at the ashram. In two months they have learnt what students in the big cities learn in two years. The older ones among them have started teaching the younger ones. Their maximum age is thirteen. In the ashram, we allow girls only up to the age of thirteen. After thirteen, they retire to make way for more children.

We don’t know what the future of these children is. It lies in the hands of God. We are doing our karma, our duty. Originally, the classes started with just one girl, and now there are so many. I think they as well as their parents are very happy. One thing is very important; we don’t deal with anyone in the village except the children. Through them we deal with the entire family.

We have started Sanskrit classes for the boys. All these little scoundrels are studying the Bhagavad Gita. They are so energetic, so aggressive, so all over the place – managing fifty girls equals managing one boy! But I don’t see it negatively. Sri Krishna was like this. He used to create problems in the whole village. Every day the people of the village would complain about him to his mother. She would try to give him a beating, but he would run away and say, “They are all telling lies, I’m such a good boy. They don’t like me, so they tell you new stories about me every day. I have never been to their houses. I go to graze my cows.” But he was at the centre of all the troubles. He would break the girls’ earthen water pots and steal their clothes while they were bathing in the river. When they would request him to return the clothes, he would say, “Come and get them.”

The bhaktas of Krishna interpret the incident philosophically. The gopi represents the senses. Clothes represent the subject or object, vishaya. They are the samskaras, gunas, properties or attachments of the senses. The senses are covered with the attachments. If you want to have the perception of God, you should come without the coverings. Go to God naked. The bhaktas of Krishna say, the Lord says, “Just as I have asked you to come without your clothes, in the same way I ask you to come in purity before me. Don’t come with your habits, hang-ups, obsessions, name, caste, sex and religion. Come as a jiva.”