Osho on Intellect Training for children

Question – Beloved Osho, if intellect is such an obstacle in the journey towards self-realization, is not then training and sharpening of it just useless? Is it not possible that because of their innocence and expressiveness, children should be helped To move into meditation directly, without imparting them any training in the intellect?

Osho – It is worth consideration, it is significant, and the question naturally arises, that if intellect is such a big obstacle, why train it in the first place? Why not introduce children to meditation while they are still innocent and simple, instead of sending them to university? Instead of shaping their logic and thinking faculty, instead of educating them, why not drown them into meditation in their innocence and simplicity? If intellect is an obstacle, why help it grow? Why not get rid of it before developing

It would have been alright if intellect was only an obstacle. But an obstacle can also become a stepping-stone. You are walking on a pathway and there is a huge rock lying on the pathway. Now, this is an obstacle, and you may return from there thinking the pathway does not go anywhere further. But if you climb on the rock, a new pathway is revealed – which is totally on a different level from the previous lower one. A new dimension opens up.

The unintelligent one will return from there taking the rock as an obstacle. The intelligent one will use the rock as a ladder. And intelligence, wisdom, is a totally different thing from what we call intellect. Without training the intellect the children will remain like animals. It is not that they will become wise, not that they will become like Buddha, Mahavira, Krishna or Christ; they will remain like wild animals. Of course, they wouldn’t have the obstacle, but they wouldn’t have any means to climb up either. In itself, neither is the stone an obstacle, nor is the ladder a help.

So it is necessary that every child goes through the intellectual training. And the more beautiful this training, the sharper this training, the stronger, the bigger, the vaster this rock of intellect; the better because in the same proportion it is a means to rise to greater heights. The one who gets crushed under this rock is the pundit. The one who stands on top of this rock is the sage. And the one who, out of fear, does not even come close to the rock, is the ignorant.

The ignorant one’s intellect was never trained; the pundit’s intellect was trained but he could not go beyond it; the wise one’s intellect was not only trained, he also managed to go beyond it. Avoidance would not help; one has to go through and beyond. And whatsoever experience one goes through, it intensifies one, it makes one luminous.

Buddha or Krishna are extraordinarily intelligent men. Mohammed was uneducated, but his intelligence is extraordinary. Just think about it: an uneducated man like Mohammed gave the Koran to the world which has stirred and impressed nearly one third of humanity. And today the words of the koran are still the code of life for a Mohammedan. This man may have been an illiterate, but the sharpness of his intelligence was unique. The codes he created are still effective and millions of hearts are thrilled and inspired by them. And the kind of system he provided in the koran is neither available in the Bible nor in the Upanishads nor in the Gita. In a sense, the Koran is a multidimensional book. It is not only religion, it is social science too; it is not only social science, it is political science too.

Mohammed tried to discipline life in a complete way and from all dimensions. From the trivia of life to the vastness of Brahman, the ultimate reality, he encompassed all in the Koran. This is why for the Islamic religion one scripture alone, the Koran, is sufficient. And this is also why Mohammedans say that God is one, and there is only one messenger of that one God. One messenger is enough. This man must have been very intelligent, no one can doubt his intelligence. He was uneducated, but being uneducated has nothing to do with having or not having intelligence. We see educated ones and find them without intelligence. What has education to do with intelligence? Intelligence is a name for squeezing the essence out of life experiences.

So the intellect of the child will have to be trained, his logic will have to be sharpened so that it becomes like a sword. And then whether he will cut himself with the sword, commit suicide, or save somebody’s life, it all depends on his intelligence. Logic is just a means. We can use it for destroying life – then it is destructive; we can use it for creating life – then it is creative. But one thing is certain: that just keeping children deprived of intellect will not make them intelligent. They would be innocent like animals but they would not be meditative like sages.

Many times it has happened that a child has been taken away to the forest by some wolf. About forty years ago, two such girls were found in the forests near Calcutta. Some ten years ago, another child who had been brought up by wolves was found in a forest near Lucknow. This child was quite grown up; he was nearly fourteen years of age. This child had never received any human education, he had never known any school, he had not known any human company; he was taken away by the wolves while he was still an infant in his cradle. So he grew up with the wolves. He was unable to even stand up on his two feet, because that too is a part of human training. Don’t ever think that you are standing on your two feet just on your own; it has been taught to you.

The human body is structured to walk on all fours. No child walks on two feet after his birth, he walks on four; to walk on the two feet is a learning. If you ask scientists, physiologists, they say a very strange thing. They say that the human body can never be healthy like that of animals, because the human body was meant to walk on four legs, and he has messed up everything; he is walking on two legs, so the whole system is disturbed. It is like a car which was not designed for it going up a mountain; gravitational laws are disturbed – because when you walk on the ground on all fours you are balanced, your weight is equally distributed on four, and your body is parallel to the gravitation, there is equal amount of gravitational force all along your spine and there is no trouble.

But when you stand up on your two legs, everything is disturbed. The blood has to flow in the opposite direction, upward; the lungs have to work extra unnecessarily. All the time there is a struggle with the gravitation. The earth is pulling downwards. So if man dies of heart failure, there is no wonder in it. No animal dies of heart failure; heart weakness can not develop in animals and it can not be avoided in men. It is a miracle if it does not happen to some men; otherwise in general it is bound to happen, because all this reverse work of pumping the blood is being done continuously – which is a must, but nature had not designed things this way.

So that boy could not walk on two feet, he only used to run on all fours. And his running was also not like that of human beings, it was like that of wolves. Also he used to eat raw meat like wolves. He was very powerful – even eight strong men would find it difficult to hold and tie him down – and he was almost a wolf. He may bite, snatch off a portion of your flesh – ferocious! He had not become a meditative saint, all that he had become was a wild animal. And similar incidents have happened in the West also: children being brought up in the forests by animals so they were found as animals.

Then efforts were made to train this boy. For six months, all kinds of massages and electric treatments were given, and he could barely be made to stand upon his two feet, and just a little lapse and he would be back to his four – because it is very troublesome to stand on two. You have no idea of the fun of standing on all fours, so you are standing on your two and suffering.

The boy was given a name. They got tired of teaching him and all he could learn and utter before dying was a single word: Rama. He would just tell his name. Within one and a half years he died. The scientists who were studying the boy say he died because of all this training, because he was nothing more than a child of some wild animal.

This also shows how much of a child’s life we may simply be killing by sending them to school. We kill their joyousness, we kill their wildness. That is the whole trouble in the schools. A class of thirty children – those thirty wild animals – we hand over to one teacher. In his hands has fallen the task of making them civilized. This is why there is no other profession more boring that the profession of teaching. There is no other human being more distressed than a teacher. Their job is really a difficult one.

But these children will have to be educated; otherwise they will not be able to become human beings. Innocent they will be, but that innocence will be that of ignorance. A man is also innocent because of not knowing, but when he becomes innocent after knowing, then blooms the flower of life. Training of the intellect is necessary; then transcendence of intellect is necessary. And how will you lose what you don’t even have?

This is why I always say that if you want to know the poverty of Buddha and Mahavira, then you will have to accumulate the wealth of Buddha and Mahavira. You cannot know that poverty which Buddha knows; the joy of that poverty can only be experienced in coming out of a palace.

If you want to experience a consciousness like that of Krishna, then you will also have to look for an intellect like that of Krishna, because you can enjoy leaving only that which you have. How can you experience the peace Einstein will experience by dropping his intellect? That peace will be incomparable, because that will be the peace after the storm. Your storm has not come yet. The taste one feels in throwing the intellect aside after much intellectual gymnastics is like the taste of the pure health one feels after recovering from some sickness. Renunciation is a great bliss in the sense that the indulgence preceding it was a great misery.

Pass through the misery of intellect so that you can attain to the bliss of wisdom. Pass through the anguish of the world so that samadhi, the ultimate ecstasy, awakening into the divine, can be yours. You will have to pass through the opposites, that is the way.

Source – Osho Book “Nowhere To Go But In”

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