That has to be remembered: the children have to be helped to go beyond the body, but you cannot bypass it. They have to be helped to know the joys of the mind, the beauties of the mind – art, poetry, painting, music; great joys of the mind. When they are fulfilled then the third need arises, the needs of the soul. Then meditation becomes important.
Only a person who has lived deeply in music is capable of meditation, because music prepares the background, creates the space, the context, in which meditation becomes simple. And the person whose soul-needs are fulfilled, whose meditation-needs are fulfilled, will be able to pray.
Prayer is the fragrance of the flower of meditation. That is the ultimate.
You say, “Would it not make matters much simpler to somehow impress upon our young ones to begin with God?”
That’s what people have been doing, that’s what you have been doing, that’s what has been done down the ages. Children are being impressed upon to begin with God, and they cannot begin, because all the three steps of the temple are missing and they cannot enter into the temple. Those steps are very much needed. That’s why our temples have become false. Our temples are arbitrary, artificial. Our temples are mind creations – with good intentions, of course.
Now Zareen is asking with a good intention – to help the children. But this is not the way to help, this is the way to hinder. That’s how people have become irreligious: Christians they are, Mohammedans they are, Parsis they are, Hindus they are, but not religious. We have created artificial gods. We had to create artificial gods because our own needs are not grown up.
To contact the real God these things cannot be done in a hurried way. These things are not like seasonal flowers; these are great trees, cedars of Lebanon – they take hundreds of years to grow. Lives are nothing; time is not the question at all. And one should go very scientifically.
First, fulfill the needs of the body. And what do we do? We condemn the body. Rather than fulfilling the needs, rather than helping a child to enjoy the joys of the body, we condemn the body. The body has many joys of its own: the joy of running, the joy of surfing, the joy of swimming, the joy of jogging, the joy of climbing a mountain. Those are all physical joys, of tremendous value. When one is climbing a mountain alone, the body has a thrill of its own, its ecstasy.
Teach the child first the bodily ecstasy. Let him dance as totally as possible, so he can have a feel of his own body. There are millions of people who don’t have any feel of their own body. They use the body just like a mechanical device around them, but they don’t have a feel for it. They live in the body, but they are not bridged with the body. They don’t know the joys of the body. The children first have to be taught the physical joys. Help them to climb the trees, help them to run, help them to swim, help them to dance, help them to do physical yoga, Hatha yoga, so they can have a feel of their bodies, so their bodies can be felt as alive phenomena – not something dead around them, not something disconnected, not like a machine to be used – so that they can have a respect for the body, love for the body, so their bodies can become sacred temples.