Helping the children to grow
Childhood is the most crucial stage in the development of one's personality. Every child is a potential genius and the real growth essentially comprises actualisation of these potentialities.
The process of unfolding the genius talent in the child is however, a stupendous task with scores of hindrances trying to thwart the rather ceaseless struggles being waged knowingly and unknowingly by every child in that direction.
Power comes from knowledge; and development of a childs personality is basically a process of evolution of knowledge in him.
The moot point is where knowledge will be available for the child to acquire. The reply comes loud and clear from all genuine systems of philosophy.
Chief amongst them being the Gita and Patanjali's yogasastras which hold that in the whole of this 'universe', there is only one repository of knowledge and that is the heart of man.
Contrary to popular belief and teahings of materialistic school, knowledge is not something to be imported from outside one's being but is subjective which is alredy lodged inside one's heart.
Sage patanjali Yogasutra's using a beautiful metaphor says that just as a lake full to the brim with water is ready to discharge its water to irrigate the agricultural fields and the farmer requiring this water needs only to cut some channels on its banks, so also the heart of man holding infinite knowledge is waiting to suffuse one's personality with knowledge but emanation of the knowledge is prevented by a barrier surrounding one's heart and developing knowledge in a child basically comprises tearing this barrier through appropriate means.
A question naturally arises as to what constitutes this barrier. Answer comes from philosophy and pshycology that it comprises numerous disturbing thoughts in one's mind generated by desires for securing the pleasant and avoiding the unpleasant.
The mind is compared to a lake termed metaphorically as manas-sarovar or mind lake with the mind stuff called 'chitta' compared to the water and the thoughts called 'Vrittis' rising in the mind compared to the waves in the late.
It is further premised that just as water of a lake buffeted by strong waves becomes turbid, so also the 'Chitta' under the action of these violent waves of desires turns dirty and it is the combination of these waves and dirt that constitute the barrier to the flow of knowledge.
Even as the glow of a resplendent jewel lying at the bottom of a turbulent ad muddy lake is not revealed without its water becoming free from the waves and the dirt, so also the lamp of knowledge eternally shining in one's heart is not revealed without mitigation and elimination of the viel cast by the disturbing thoughts and dirt of desires for the pleasant and aversion for the unpleasant, followed by a desire for good.
The waves in the mind lake originates from Samskaras or impression of the past action lodged in one's mind.
Quite opposite to popular belief and the teaching of western philosophy, the mind of a new born is not a tabularasa or a blank slate where the impressions or sanskaras of the various objects and activities of the world are to be carved with knowledge acquired by the child through its own efforts or teachings of elders; but it is the other way round, with the impression of knowledge of the entire universe already imprinted at the time of birth on his mind awaiting manifestation in various aspects including his health and character.
Perceptions of the exernal world acquired by the child himself or provided y teachers in schools or elders at house and society are not knowledge but serve only as hintd to the mind to reveal the knowledge already inside him.
As far as character of a child is concerned, these revelations take the form of evil or good tendencies as the hints are good or evil and it is here that the parents and elders have the most significant role to play.
Controlling the tendencies in a child requires control over his mind.
Seat of mind is in the heart and the whole issue of generating the desirable tendencies in a child hinges upon reaching his heart.
The heart is ensconced inside various sheaths materials, vital, sentimental and intellectual forming one's personality and is to reached only by penetrating these sheaths. These sheaths are formed of very subtle matter which can be pierced only by the subtlest matter available in the world, whose name is Love.
The power of anything on the earth is proportionate to its subtlety. Love being the subtlest of all is the most powerful object in the universe and it is the ultimate weapon to vaquish the evils in anyone and especially the child.
It is common knowledge that the language of love is understood by every creature including the children, the illiterate and even the animals, not to speak of the erudite.
Love to a child does not consist in giving clothes or good food or caressing. It comprises mainly of two factors in the behaviour of the elders; One being abstinence from fault finding and the other making no excessive demands from the child for studying lessons or for making competitions with others.
Faults in the child are not his own making but generated by certain demonaic forces working in his subconsious mind beyond his control.
Every child is straining himself to rid his mind of these evil forces and needs the help of the elders in the process. Fault-finding serves only to frustrate his efforts and strenghten these forces.
Making strident demands on the child to study lessons or making competition only serves to cause anxieties in a child.
On the other hand the wishes of loving parents or elders are transmitted to a child without any verbal or other types of instructions and would be complied by him without any hesitation.
One hears of men, tigers, lions and goats living in peace and harmony in the hermitages of the sages of yore which was possible only through the love emanating from the sages and penetrating the minds of these beings without any word of mouth.
Fear is the greatest enemy of man. It tends to benumb one's energies and capabilities. Fear is a inborn defect in a child and it is the duty of elders to rid the child's heart of this defect. Elders should desist from the usual practice of inducing fear of the police or goblin to compel him to do one's bidding. Fear can be banished only by inducing 'Shradha' or faith in oneself. i.e. Faith in one's infinite capabilities.
'Atmanam biddhih' - Know thyself is the clarion call of the scriptures and one of the greatest messages to be transmitted by the elders to a child's heart to banish fear and rouse manliness in him.
The next important point for the elders to remember in bringing up a child is to refrain from rebuking or punishing him for displaying evil tendencies or committing guilt which are caused by factors beyond his control.
It is an inexorable law of the universe that anything created can never be destroyed but can only be changed to another form. Suppression of the evil tendencies is fraught with dangers, as it only serves to sharpen them. Manifesting as wickedness or guilt externally, these tendencies are actually waves or Vrittis on the surface of the Chitta-Lake and when prevented from manifestation by rebukes and punishment, they go down to the sub-conscious mind at the deep of the chitta-lake, gains in strength, make alliances with its likes and sooner or later manifests in a stronger or more dangerous fashion either in its original or in modified form. All forms of suppression actually leads to increase in crimes.
We are faced with a big conundrum with our desires to banish evils in the child but without the weapon of punishment and rebuke usually employes to achieve this end. This can be solved only by following the scriptural message of inducing the opposite thoughts or Pratipaksha Bhavan through the method of Athavad or holding before the child the happiness achieved by others through good deeds and misery befalling those inducing in bad deeds.
Example is better than precept and it is the conduct of the elders, not their words that the children tend to emulate.
The Gita says that whatever is done by the foremost men, others also do.
Parents are the foremost in the eyes of the children and it is basically their conduct that moulds the conduct and character of the children.
All evils in the world originate from egotism and selfishness and it is the egoistic and selfish thoughts or actions of the parents and the elders that are responsible for wickedness in the children.
Instead of trying to correct a child through rebukes or punishment. It should be the aim of the elders to free their own thoughts from these two demonaic qualities.
Thoughts which are subtle form of actions are actually very subtle electric forces that emanate for man's minds like the air of their breath and influence the mental encironment that exist in the external universe just as the physical environment.
The tender love which when bestowed upon children can give them the strength capable of moving mountains.
Author: Maheshwar Pathak
Source: Bhavans's Journal (Dec'09)