Chapter 14: The Child: Father to the Man
Even Krishna, whom India worships as the most perfect incarnation of God, had sixteen thousand wives. Now, this is the ugliest thing one can conceive of. And not all these wives were married to him, many were the wives of others whom he had forcibly taken away. He had the power, he had the army - he could manage it. He could purchase them, he could steal them, he could force people to give their beautiful wives to him - and still he was thought to be the most perfect incarnation of God. These women are taken away from others as if they are property. Just as you can conquer somebody’s property, land, somebody’s kingdom, you can snatch away his wife. She is just property - nothing much, no need to bother about the woman.
And still no rebellion arose. Man was in a very primitive, ignorant, unintelligent state. Slowly that kind of slavery disappeared. The woman in India still remains a slave, but in the West the woman is getting out of the bondage.
Only recently in the West have we become aware that the greatest slavery is that of the child. It was never thought of before, it is not mentioned in any scripture of the world. Who could have thought - a child and a slave? A slave to his own parents, who love him, who sacrifice themselves for the child? It would have looked ridiculous, utter nonsense. But now, as psychological insight has deepened into the human mind and its functioning, it has become absolutely clear that the child is the most exploited person. Nobody has been exploited more than the child. And of course he is being exploited behind a facade of love.
I don’t say that the parents are aware that they are exploiting the child, that they are imposing a slavery on the child, that they are destroying the child, that they are making him stupid, unintelligent, that their whole effort of conditioning the child as a Hindu, as a Mohammedan, as a Christian, as a Jaina, as a Buddhist, is inhuman. They are not aware of it, but that does not make any difference as far as the facts are concerned.
The child is being conditioned by the parents in ugly ways, and of course the child is helpless; he depends on the parents. He cannot rebel, he cannot escape, he cannot protect himself. He is absolutely vulnerable, hence he can be easily exploited.
Parental conditioning is the greatest slavery in the world. It has to be completely uprooted; only then will man be able to be really free for the first time, truly free, authentically free - because the child is the father of man. If the child is brought up in a way that is wrong then the whole of humanity goes wrong. The child is the seed: if the seed itself is poisoned and corrupted by well-intentioned people, well-wishing people, then there is no hope for a free human individual, then that dream can never be fulfilled.
What you think you have is not individuality, it is only personality. It is something cultivated in you, upon your nature, by your parents, the society, the priest, the politician, the educators. The educator, from the kindergarten to the university, is in the service of the vested interests, in the service of the establishment. His whole purpose is to destroy every child in such a way, to cripple every child in such a way, that he adjusts to the established society.
There is a fear - the fear is that if the child is left unconditioned from the very beginning he will be so intelligent, he will be so alert, aware, that his whole lifestyle will be of rebellion. And nobody wants rebels; everybody wants obedient people.