A Matter of Taste

Photo by Steven Martin
The master didn’t attend any church — not because of any adverse feelings — but just because he didn’t feel the need or desire to go. He would sometimes visit to see old friends but that was it. The ceremony was unimportant to him.

The master had a new disciple who was a regular churchgoer. He began to skip church when he saw that the master didn’t bother to attend. Pretty soon he began to feel pretty bad and guilty about it.

When the master learned about this, he said to the disciple, “Of what use is it to copy my actions without my motivation? If you simply stop going to church in imitation of me, that doesn’t do you any good. The monkey who strums a guitar doesn’t become a musician.”

Your children are not your children

Photo by Pink Sherbet Photography
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as he loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

– from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

Now, to tell a child to believe in God is nonsense, utter nonsense — not that God does not exist, but because the child has not yet felt the thirst, the desire, the longing

An interesting passage From The Book of Wisdom by Osho:

Photo by Maxim Bolotnikov

Now, to tell a child to believe in God is nonsense, utter nonsense — not that God does not exist, but because the child has not yet felt the thirst, the desire, the longing. He is not yet ready to go in search of the truth, the ultimate truth of life. He is not yet mature enough to inquire into the reality of God. That love affair has to happen some day, but it can happen only if no belief is imposed upon him. If he is converted before the thirst has arisen to explore and to know, then his whole life he will live in a phony way, he will live in a pseudo way.

Yes, he will talk about God, because he has been told that God is. And he has been told authoritatively, and he has been told by people who were very powerful in his childhood — his parents, the priests, the teachers. He has been told by people and he had to accept it; it was a question of his survival. He could not say no to his parents, because without them he would not be able to live at all. It was too risky to say no, he had to say yes. But his yes can’t be true.

How can it be true? He is saying yes only as a political device, to survive. You have not turned him into a religious person, you have made him a diplomat, you have created a politician. You have sabotaged his potential to grow into an authentic being. You have poisoned him. You have destroyed the very possibility of his intelligence, because intelligence arises only when the longing arises to know.

Now the longing will never arise, because before the question has taken possession of his soul, the answer has already been supplied. Before he was hungry, the food has been forced into his being. Now, without hunger, this forced food cannot be digested; there is no hunger to digest it. That’s why people live like pipes through which life passes like undigested food.

One has to be very patient with children, very alert, very conscious not to say anything that may hinder their own intelligence from arriving, not to convert them into Christians, Hindus and Mohammedans. One needs infinite patience.

One day that miracle happens when the child himself starts inquiring. Then too, don’t supply him with readymade answers. Readymade answers help nobody, readymade answers are dull and stupid. Help him to become more intelligent. Rather than giving him answers, give him situations and challenges so that his intelligence is sharpened and he asks more deeply — so that the question penetrates to his very core, so the question becomes a question of life and death.

But that is not allowed. Parents are very much afraid, the society is very much afraid: if children are allowed to remain free, who knows? They may never come to the fold the parents belonged to, they may never go to the church — Catholic, Protestant, this or that. Who knows what is going to happen when they become intelligent on their own? They will not be within your control. And this society goes into deeper and deeper politics to control everybody, to possess everybody’s soul.

That’s why the first thing they have to do is to destroy trust — the trust of the child in himself, the confidence of the child in himself. They have to make him shaky and afraid. Once he is trembling, he is controllable. If he is confident he is uncontrollable. If he is confident he will assert himself, he will try to do his own thing. He will never want to do anybody else’s thing. He will go on his own journey, he will not fulfill somebody else’s desires for some trip. He will never be an imitator, he will never be a dull and dead person. He will be so alive, so pulsating with life, that nobody will be able to control him.

Destroy his trust and you have castrated him. You have taken his power: now he will always be powerless and always in need of somebody to dominate, direct and command him. Now he will be a good soldier, a good citizen, a good nationalist, a good Christian, a good Mohammedan, a good Hindu. Yes, he will be all these things, but he will not be a real individual. He will not have any roots, he will be uprooted his whole life. He will live without roots — and to live without roots is to live in misery, is to live in hell. Just as trees need roots in the earth, man is also a tree and needs roots in existence or else he will live a very unintelligent life.

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