Osho on Children

Question : Osho, can children understand the Truth
: RAJ, CHILDREN CAN UNDERSTAND THE TRUTH but cannot understand that they understand it. They understand more clearly than you can understand because they are more clean, more innocent; but they are so innocent that they cannot understand that they understand.

Hence you need another childhood, a second childhood. First you have to lose your first childhood. That is the whole meaning of the biblical story of Adam and Eve losing paradise: that is losing the first childhood. It is a tremendously significant story. It has so many meanings, it is such a multi-dimensional parable, that I don’t think there exists any other parable comparable to it.

You can look at it from many aspects. It is losing the first childhood — which is inevitable. Adam and Eve are not committing a sin. In fact, the word “sin” comes from a root which means forgetting, and that is a beautiful meaning: they are simply forgetting something.

Every child has to forget his innocence. Every child has to get lost in the world. Every child has to go astray has to make many many mistakes, has to suffer, has to pass through pain and pleasure and all kinds of dualities so that one day he can again start feeling a great longing to go back home. Lost in the deserts of the world, a longing arises one day to go back home.

That longing is sannyas, that longing is religion. And then one consciously comes back again to one’s childhood; this is the second childhood. Now one understands and also understands that one understands. The first childhood is very innocent; it is bound to be lost because it is a natural gift, God’s gift. The second childhood is never lost because it is your earning, you have become worthy of it. It is no longer a gift; you deserve it. It is growth, not a gift. It is your maturity.

Adam and Eve lose their first childhood, and it is in people like Buddha and Jesus Christ and Zarathustra and Moses that the second childhood happens. In Christ, Adam starts moving back towards paradise. If Adam is the going away from paradise, Jesus is the coming back home.

But if you watch children you will see how clear they are about things — far more clear than you are. You are very much confused; you have so many thoughts to confuse you. Children are not confused — they don’t have any thoughts to confuse them. Their flames are burning bright with no smoke. They are full of wonder and awe, and the moment they see something they immediately understand, because there is no barrier.

If we can help children to be meditative we can change the whole world — its energy, its consciousness. But we teach them something else, never meditation — geography, history, and all kinds of nonsense which is absolutely useless. Now, what does it matter where Timbuktoo is? 1 don’t know; I simply love the name Timbuktoo — wherever it is! But children are being taught about stupid kings — Genghis Khan and Nadir Shah and Tamburlaine. For what? Why are you filling their heads with rubbish?

This is the moment to make them aware because they are naturally aware. If we help them to understand their awareness and their innocence, the first childhood can become a movement into the second childhood.

A French farmer’s son missed a day in school and explained to the teacher that he was absent because of important family business.
“I had to take the bull to the cows,” he explained.
“But couldn’t your father do that better?” the teacher wanted to know.
“I suppose my father is a pretty good lover,” the French lad said, “but in this case I think the bull does it better.”

They are more clear about things than your so-called knowledgeable people.

California is full of crazies. Even the doctors are crazy. A troubled young lady went to consult an M.D., complaining that she was having trouble with her menstrual cycle.
“No problem, chick,” said the medico.’Why don’t you just trade it in for a Honda?”

During a visit to the zoo a youngster asked his mother, “Mom, how do lions screw?”
She replied, “I really don’t know, dear, most of your father’s friends are Rotarians.”
“My new husband is a sex maniac,” complained the young lady to the judge. “Ever since the honeymoon he has been making non-stop love to me. I can’t get no rest day or night. I want a divorce.”
“All right,” said the judge, “but first you’ll have to file your application.”
“File my application!” exclaimed the lady indignantly. “Why, that poor thing is so sore I can’t even bear to touch it!”

A schoolteacher bent too low over her desk to mark a paper and little Johnny in the front seat said, “Teacher, I see something.
“That’s very rude, Johnny. Tomorrow don’t come to school,” the teacher admonished.
A week later, the teacher bent down to pick up a piece of chalk. Johnny, still in a ringside seat, got up and started to walk to the door. “Where are you going?” asked the teacher sternly.
“Teacher, my schooldays are over.”

Children see very clearly; their eyes are transparent. But soon they have to lose their innocence. We force them to lose it. We fill their heads with such rubbish that their eyes stop seeing. Every parent is trying, every society is trying, every church is trying to fill the child’s mind with stupid things before he starts becoming aware on his own; otherwise he will be a rebel. So by the time you are three or four years old, things have already started being poured into you. You are sent to the church, you are being taught religion — as if religion can be taught.

Religion cannot be taught, it can only be caught. You can catch it only when you are in the company of a man like Jesus or Buddha. When you are in the company of a man like Yoka, Rinzai, Bodhidharma, you can catch it; it is infectious. But it cannot be taught. A religion that is taught — it is rubbish. But we are very interested in making our children Christian, Hindu, Mohammedan as soon as possible.

In a better world, in a more human world, at least up to the age of twenty-one, children should not be taught any Christianity, Hinduism, Jainism, Judaism, no. Up to the age of twenty-one — when they become capable of voting — they should be left to inquire on their own. And I assure you, Christianity, Jainism, Buddhism, Judaism, Mohammedanism, will all disappear from the world. Just leave children to themselves up to their twenty-first year and then try to teach them Christianity! They will raise such questions that even you will start suspecting whether Christianity is of any worth. But you force poor children three years of age… They cannot resist, they cannot protect themselves. They depend on you for their survival, so you can do anything.

And this is the greatest crime that can be done to children. Parents have been criminals throughout the whole past, and the greatest crime is that you condition your children’s minds and you don’t allow them the freedom to seek and search and inquire for themselves. Of course, parents have not done it knowingly; their parents had conditioned them and they were simply repeating a pattern. And they were thinking that they were doing it for your own good. In fact, the greatest crimes have been committed for your own good. Whenever somebody says, “I am doing it for your own good,” beware, because nobody needs to do anything for your own good.

Yes, parents need to feed you, to clothe you, to support you, to make you strong in body, to support you in your inquiry, in your questioning, to give you every kind of support and protection so that you can freely inquire. The whole world will be full of agnostics, inquirers, and that will be the beginning of a true religion on the earth. And it has to happen from the very childhood because it is such a stupid waste of time to first destroy their minds, because then it becomes very hard, very difficult to uncondition them. They start resisting because then they start getting identified with their own minds.

Every day I receive questions — rude questions, ugly questions — because whenever somebody feels hurt, immediately his conditioned mind reacts and he writes something in anger. I am trying to help you to be on your own, to be free, and you get angry because you don’t want to be free. You have become accustomed to being slaves. But you don’t think it is slavery; you think it is knowledge, it is wisdom. You think you know the Bible, you know the Gita, you know the Koran. And when I go on destroying, negating, you become scared. If all your knowledge is taken away, what is left? You are very afraid of nothingness — and that is the true beginning, that is the beginning of a new birth. Everybody has to become again a nothing, again a child, again innocent; only then will you be able to understand truth.

Children are capable of understanding it, but they are not capable of understanding that they understand it. For that you have to wait a little. But we can prepare the children. We can use their capacity to understand to make them more free, to make them more adventurous, to make them more courageous.

If you really love your children you will help them to go on an adventure so that they can find God by themselves. It is beautiful to find truth; it is ugly to carry somebody else’s truth on your shoulders. It is simply a dead weight. It cripples, kills; it poisons you.

Source : Osho Book “Walking in Zen, Sitting in Zen”

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