Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

A guardian or a parent should provide the right opportunities and conditions for the development, growth and education of children. There is no need to go overboard, yet there is no reason for the child to become an underachiever. The problem is when parents impose their ambitions on the child. There is no ambition in the life of a child. The child wants to play, jump and spend time with friends. It is the parents who say, "You become this when you grow up." A doctor says, "You become a doctor when you grow up, it will be good. I have opened a clinic; you will be able to run it." An engineer says to his child, "Become an engineer when you grow up. I can help you out." A parent wants to motivate the child to follow in the field of his own profession, forgetting that there is also the destiny of the child. The duty of the parent is only for the child's education and samskaras, providing the right opportunities and conditions.

Samskaras versus education

Every child comes with his or her future. You impose your ambitions on your children, and to achieve your ambitions push them and put pressure on them. This way the creativity of the child does not awaken. You want to mould the child according to your preset standards instead of letting the child grow into the form it has come with. This is the first point.

You have made an arrangement for the child's education. The child goes to school, then to college. You have money for the child, a college fund and everything else, yet have you made any provision for the development of the child's samskaras? This is where parents fail. Everyone says, "I gave you an education, sent you to America, England, Russia. You got a degree but you returned a spoilt person." Why? You did not give samskaras; nor did the child acquire them in school or among friends. Here the parents fail in their duties. They think that education is sufficient and there is no need for samskaras.

Without samskaras even the person with the highest education behaves like an animal, whereas the one who is uneducated yet has samskaras in his life behaves in a cultured manner.

I do not have a degree from education; I have the degree of samskaras. I do not have a Ph.D. in any subject, nor have I done a masters or bachelor degree in any subject. Yet on the basis of samskaras I can stand on my own two feet today and bring a smile to your faces. Had these samskaras not been there, and had there been only education, I might have become entangled in my ambitions and lost my way.

The point I am trying to make is only one. If you want a system in society and the nation, if you want peace in the family, you will have to make an effort to give samskaras to children along with education. Right now your growth is lopsided. The scales are getting heavier on one side and empty on the other side. The other side also needs to be filled.

Samskaras of Bengal

It is only on the basis of samskaras that the culture of India is alive. There is no need to lecture on samskaras in Bengal. Bengal has been an important centre and continues to be so today. Various revolutions, not only political and social, but also the revolution of bhakti started from Bengal. The revolution of higher knowledge, led by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Pandit Rabindranath Tagore, also started from here, and has influenced the whole world. There have been social revolutions, political revolutions and cultural revolutions here. This is an alert place, but right now the Bengali people are sleeping. When Hanuman slept, Jamawant was required to awaken him. You too have the strength and energy of Hanuman.

When the people of Bengal sleep they require Swami Niranjan to tell them that to change the culture and samskaras in their life the next generation will have to be given opportunities. It will not work with only education; every parent will have to do this work. This is not the work of any sadhu, sannyasin or government. This is the responsibility of every parent.

Otherwise you give birth to an incomplete personality, believing your child to be your bright future. If you wish for a bright future for yourself, for your nation and your society, give your children samskaras along with education.

27 July 2014, Swabhoomi Rangamanch, Kolkata, India