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Chapter 7: Conditioning: Socially-Sanctioned Child Abuse

So if you become a Hindu, if you become a Christian, if you become a Buddhist, that is understandable. But when a man becomes enlightened what does it mean? It means really the undoing of what society, culture, religion, the state, the education system, the parents - all together in conspiracy against the small child - have done. To undo it is to be enlightened: to regain your childhood, to regain that freshness, that mirror-like quality of simply reflecting with no judgment.

The mirror simply reflects. When you stand before the mirror, the mirror is not making any judgment about you - good, bad, beautiful, ugly - no judgment at all. The mirror simply reflects. It does not get involved in any way.

I remember my own childhood. The moment I became aware of what was happening - it must have been nearabout the age of four or five - that I was being driven in a certain direction that I had not chosen, I asked my father, “Do you think that just by being born a son to you I will have to follow your religion, your politics; that I will have to become a member of the Lion’s club, that I will have to do your business? Does it mean that because unfortunately I am born to you, I will have to do all these things?”

He said, “Who said to you that you have to become a member of the Lion’s club or that you have to become a member of the political party of which I am a member? Who said this to you?”

I said, “There is no need for anybody to say it, for five years continually you have been doing it. Why have you been taking me to the Jaina temple? Who are you to decide about it? Why have you been telling me to bow down before Mahavira’s statue, before certain scriptures I know nothing about?” I was not even able to read at that time. The scriptures were just books like any other books, but everybody was bowing down to them.

I said, “You were bowing down and you were encouraging me to bow down, and it looked awkward for me to stand there when everybody else was showing so much respect. But you had not asked me; it was not with my consent that you took me to the temple. Just by the side there is a mosque - my friend is being taken there. Why don’t you take me there? Why don’t my friend’s parents take him to the Jaina temple?

“What else is politics but this? You are giving me certain ideas, filling me with certain attitudes. And you started so early that I was not even aware of what was happening.” I said, “From now onwards, stop it; leave me alone. Now I am capable of saying no. And remember, unless I am capable of saying no, how can I be capable of saying yes? The capacity to say the one is also the capacity to say the other; they both come together.

“So don’t be offended by my no. I will say yes, but you will have to wait. Perhaps I may not say yes to this temple, but to some other temple; not to this book, but to some other book. Nothing can be predicted right now; I am not a thing, predictable. Tomorrow the chair will still remain a chair, the table will still remain a table; they are predictable. What to say about the child of a man? - I am not predictable.”

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