Satsang at Rikhiapeeth

What should be our attitude towards children? They don’t listen to us whether we scold them or say things nicely.

Listen very carefully. This house has been made by a Muslim, but the one who lives in it is not a Muslim. The one who lives in it is a sadhu, a Hindu. It is not necessary that the soul residing in the body of the son of a Brahmin is also a Brahmin. It is possible that the soul of a royal personage from a different country has entered it.

In the body of a child, the essential seed, the design, comes from the sperm, and the raw material from the mother. After nine months, the ready material comes out. But the jiva, individual soul, who resides in that material – who is that? He is neither the father nor the mother. It could be the soul of a Muslim, an Englishman or a king.

Every jivatama follows a law. It is not possible for just any soul to enter the womb of a mother. There is a law of karma. Just as when a parliament is in session only those who have been called can enter, there are rules in nature about which soul will enter who and why. If it turns out that the particular soul that has entered the mother’s womb was a sadhu in his last birth, but something deviated somewhere, you will not be able to stop him from becoming a Buddha. You will not be able to stop him from becoming a Vivekananda, Christ or Satyananda, whether you kick, beat or shower affection on him. He will live his karmas. And if he has to become a thief or a wastrel, no matter how holy an association you put him in, whether you take him to an ashram and get him initiated, he is bound to become a Ravana. You will not be able to stop him, because he has come with that samskara and he will complete it.

A soul has come, but what has come is beyond your power. He will live the way he wants to live. When he is small he is dependent on you, but he is not under your control. Read the book The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. The last verse in it is on children. It says that you have given birth to children, but they are not yours. Your child is a different soul who has come to your house. A Muslim has made this house, but he does not live in it. A Christian has made this house, but he does not live in it.

The only duty of parents is that when the child is small, they should look after him well. They should nourish him with food and do what is appropriate socially – make him wear clothes, tidy his hair. But leave the worries aside. The child has to determine the course of his life on his own. Protect him till the age of ten or twelve. After that, if he wants to play, let him; if he wants to become a model, let him. That he will qualify from a school of business management with 90% marks is a wrong notion. Parents have become spoilt. They want their children to become their carbon copies. Your son should not be like you; my disciple should not be like me.

If your son becomes your carbon copy, he will take the ghosts of the past into the future. Do not tie the child to the past. The future culture is always different. What was considered bad in the past is accepted as good now. Parents should not worry about their children after the age of fourteen. Tell them, “You’ve got four more years. After the age of eighteen we will not give you any money.” The countries where this tradition has come in, are ruling the world. Why? Because a culture that is evolved rules others. Therefore, behave with your children intelligently. Don’t worry unnecessarily. I am not saying that you should not serve your children. But don’t go on saying to them, “Don’t do this, don’t do that.” Give them some freedom, and they will listen to you.

—May 9, 2004