In Tibet, in the past they used a very strange method, very primitive; but you cannot be angry against them, they had to use it. It was a very barbarous method. Whenever a child was born, immediately it was dipped in ice-cold water seven times. Out of ten children, nine children used to die – the ice cold water…Immediately after the child is born, the first thing is to dip him into ice-cold water. He will become blue by the seventh time; you are just dipping a corpse.
But it was absolutely necessary, because Tibet is the highest land in the world, at the top of Himalayas. Life is very hard, it needs very strong people, and the cold is killing. Unless a child is able to cope, it is better he dies. It was out of compassion, not out of cruelty. It is better that he dies rather than suffer his whole life. He will not be able to function, will not be able to work. And the land needs people who can tolerate that much cold and still work, produce. This was an ancient type of genetics. They were choosing – although they had no idea how to do it. But somehow they managed to choose the healthiest people.
Hence the outcome has been that Tibetans have lived the longest, because all the people who would have died in the middle somewhere have been finished on their first entry into the world. They were returned unopened! And the people who remained were really strong, really stubborn. They have lived a long life and a very healthy life, because they eliminated all the weaklings from the very beginning. And it was part of compassion. Why allow a person to live who is going to suffer his whole life from all kinds of diseases, sicknesses, weakness? He will not be able to enjoy life at all.
Genetic scientists cannot say in detail that this man will become a doctor, or an engineer, or a gardener, but they can say a few things very definitively and a few things as possibilities. About health they can say very definitively; what kind of diseases the child will suffer from they can say very definitively. So precautions can be taken, and the child can be saved from suffering from those diseases. They can certainly and very definitively say how long the child will live. Measures can be taken to prolong his life.
On the side of possibilities, they can say that this child has a possibility, a potential for being a musician. That does not mean that he cannot become a doctor; that simply means that if the right opportunities are given to him he will become a musician rather than becoming a doctor. And if he does not become a musician and becomes a doctor, he will never find fulfillment. His innermost being will remain missing something.
So if the genetic scientist can say that these are the possibilities, the society, the parents, the commune, can make certain opportunities available to the child. Right now, we don’t know what his potential is. We have to decide; parents are in a dilemma where to send the child: to an engineering college, to a medical college, to a carpentry workshop, or to a car mechanic. Where to send him, and how to decide? Their decision comes out of financial considerations. That is the only way for them to decide – which way the child will be a success financially, comfortable, prestigious. That may not be the potential of the child, but parents have no idea.