But for the human child this partially developed birth is a blessing as well as a curse. In this world there is nothing that is one-sided, there are always two sides to everything. It is unfortunate that the human child is weak, but this is a blessing also because it is due to this weakness that man became superior to all other animals. There are some deep reasons for that. Because the human child is born very weak – he requires great assistance, otherwise he will not survive – just to provide that assistance the unit of the family came into existence; otherwise there is no need for a family. In animals there is no family life because it is not needed. A human child will simply die without a family; hence the mother, the father, and the sacred institution of family. It is all born out of that weakness of the child.
On the basis of the family, the society, the nation, the whole network of civilization was born. And because a human child is born helpless he does not possess the basic instincts. The animal child is born and it comes with intelligence – just enough to live its life. But the human child does not arrive with such intelligence; if we leave him unattended he will die. There is no way he will survive. This is why the human child has to be trained.
No animal child needs any training. A human child needs to be taught. He does not come prepared with anything, everything has to be taught. Therefore there are schools, colleges and universities. These are institutions born due to this human weakness. We have to impart all education, everything; one thing after the other has to be taught. A great effort has to be made, and still there is no certainty that the child will learn! Thus all arrangements of education and conditioning are developed because of the weakness of the human child. This sutra has some relationship to this reality.
Because the child is helpless, the parents have to pay a lot of attention to it. Because of this attention the child feels, “I am the center of the world, the whole world is revolving around me.” A child cries a little and the mother comes running. A child becomes slightly ill and the father is in immediate attendance along with a doctor. The small child knows that everything moves at his slightest bidding. A slight noise, a slight crying, a slight indication of trouble calls the whole family to his service. And for the child, the house is the whole world; he knows no other world. So a natural illusion is created in the mind of the child that, “I am the center of the world, all arrangements are just for me; everything is happening just for me, everybody is looking just toward me.”
This illusion settles deep in us, and then for the rest of our lives we go on living with the assumption that we are the center. This brings tremendous pain; this is why the ego hurts – because it is not true, you are not the center of the world. The world runs very happily without you. It faces no obstacles at all because of your absence. But somewhere in some corner of your mind you go on feeling, “I am the center.” And you are always waiting for this world to accept that you are the center. This is the very search of the ego.
The sutra says: Only a person free from holding onto the ego…one who is prepared to give up that concept of ego which has grown and deepened from childhood…attains to self-nature.