- We go on forcing children to go to sleep
when we think it is time. But sleep is not to be manipulated by
time, sleep is something inner. When the child feels sleepy he will
go to sleep, but mother and father go on forcing the child to go to
sleep, as if sleep can be ordered. Children must think that you are
foolish, they think that something has gone wrong in your mind. How
can a child force sleep? He can pretend, so when you are there he
can close the eyes and when you have gone he can open the eyes,
because sleep cannot be forced. Nobody, not even you, can force
sleep. If you don't feel sleepy how can you go to sleep?
But this is how society destroys.
- If there exists in the future any
possibility of a real human society, the first thing, the basic
thing that will have to be done is this: don't make children
automatic. Even if it takes a little longer to make them efficient,
make them efficient with awareness; don't make them machines. It
will take longer, because two things have to be learned: the
efficiency and awareness. A human society will give you awareness,
even with less efficiency, but efficiency will come by and by. Then
when you are alert you will be able to be efficient with alertness.
- Very few people are accepted as creative:
A few painters, a few poets -- one in a million. This is foolish!
Every human being is a born creator. Watch children and you will
see: all children are creative. By and by, we destroy their
creativity. By and by, we force wrong beliefs on them. By and by, we
distract them. By and by, we make them more and more economical and
political and ambitious.
- If you miss your youth, you will miss your
old age also -- remember. So I am not saying become old while you
are young. I am saying be whatsoever you are; let that moment be
your totality. When a child, be a child; never enforce your wisdom
on any child because that is a crippling thing. Don't try to make a
child old before he is old, don't crush him. That's what has
happened in the world: old people are dominating children, and they
want to pull them out of their childhood faster than nature allows.
They kill and they crush -- the child loses something forever. And
when a child was not a child when he was a child, he will not be
young when he is young. Something will always go on missing. He will
always be late in life -- he will miss the train.
- Children are careful watchers, observers
of what is happening all around. Of course, their senses are very
clear, unclouded. They see the truth immediately. You cannot cheat a
child; he knows it immediately, intuitively. And he is so innocent
that it is impossible for him to be formal. But he has to be formal
to survive. And man's child is very helpless. It is because of man's
child's helplessness that our whole civilization exists. We can
manage, mold the child in every possible way, whatsoever way we
Children are not supposed to say things that they know. They know
much more than they ever tell you. They pretend to be innocent
because you don't want them to know more than is taught in the
school, than is taught by the preacher, than is taught by you; and
they certainly know more. They move in society, in life, with keen,
alert senses. They are watching everything, whatsoever is happening
all around. But they learn one thing sooner or later: that they have
to be diplomatic -- with the grown-ups you can't be true, honest,
- In schools children are sitting for five
or six hours -- by and by they are dulled, their intelligence is
lost. Every child is born intelligent and almost ninety-nine per
cent of people die stupid. The whole education dulls the mind -- and
you can do it yourself also.
- The moment you are born, conditioning
starts, from your very first breath; it cannot be avoided. The
parents will condition you, the children you play with will
condition you, the neighborhood will condition you, the school, the
church, the state. And consciously not much conditioning is being
done, but unconsciously the child goes on and on accumulating it.
The child learns by imitating. So don't be worried. This is the
normal situation in the world: everybody is conditioned. And
everybody has to come out of the conditioning. It is difficult. It
is not like undressing -- it is like peeling your skin. It is hard,
it is arduous, because we have become identified with our
- That's why children look so beautiful:
because they are yet full of hope, full of dreams, and they have not
yet known frustration. Old people start looking very very dead.
Hopes have leaked out, by and by, and only frustration -- a very bad
taste on the tongue. Experience makes people bitter. Experience
makes people lose their innocence, lose their hope, lose their
trust. But it is not experience really -- because they wanted to
make their dreams real, that's why. Otherwise you could remain as
innocent to the very end of your life as in the beginning -- in
fact, even more -- because the innocence that happens in childhood
is just natural. It has not been tested against fire; it is very
fragile. It has no crystallization in it. It is just a gift; it has
not been earned. But when an old man is childlike, innocent, then
nothing can destroy it. Then it has a solidity to it, then it is
substantial; he has earned it.
- Psychologists have come across a very
significant fact: that if small children are left to themselves,
they always choose the right thing to eat. You put everything
around, you leave it on the dining table, don't force anything, and
don't say what to eat and what not to eat. It has been a tremendous
discovery that children eat only the right thing in the right time.
If a child is suffering from something and a certain thing is needed
which will be helpful for it, he will choose to eat it. By the time
that suffering disappears he will stop eating that. We confuse them.
We tell them to eat this and don't eat that. Then by and by, their
natural instinct functions no more.
- Children are trusting, but by and by there
will be experiences in which they will be deceived, in which they
will get into trouble, in which they will be opposed, in which they
will become afraid. By and by they will learn all the tricks of the
world. That's what has happened to everybody, more or less.
- The children first have to be taught the
physical joys. Help them to climb the trees, help them to run, help
them to swim, help them to dance, help them to do physical yoga,
hatha yoga, so they can have a feel of their bodies, so their bodies
can be felt as alive phenomena -- not something dead around them,
not something disconnected, not like a machine to be used -- so that
they can have a respect for the body, love for the body, so their
bodies can become sacred temples.
And then don't be in a hurry. The next step has to be taken very
slowly. The movement from the body to the mind has to be very, very
delicate, because you are moving from the gross to the subtle. And
the movement cannot be very direct; it has to be very indirect.
Slowly, slowly let the child know about music, poetry. Let the child
know about great paintings, architecture. Let the child enjoy the
exercise of his mind.
And then when the child is ready, when he has fulfilled his mind
needs, help him to meditate. And nothing has to be done in haste.
Let everything ripen, help everything to become mature. Just
remember one thing: that the child should not get stuck anywhere.
There are many who have become stuck at the body, the physical
pleasure; then sex remains their center of life. There are many who
have got stuck in the mind; then thinking, philosophizing, logic,
and the joys of thinking and philosophizing and logic, remain for
their whole lives. These people are half-grown people. Before the
child gets stuck somewhere, push him to the further level, to the
further plane. Help him to meditate.