The second question:
It appears that almost always a pattern of human behavior follows this: we search for food, shelter, clothing; then money, power and prestige, and having attained these, we then search for God. Would it not make matters much simpler to somehow impress upon our young ones to begin with God?
There is a hierarchy of needs, and you cannot bypass any step. If you bypass any step you will have to come back to it again. Life has an intrinsic logic in it. Each step has its own place, and you cannot miss a single step. Otherwise the chain will be broken and your life will become discontinuous, your life will become a chaos.
There is a hierarchy of needs: body, mind, soul, God.
First the bodily needs have to be fulfilled. If they are not fulfilled you will not have higher needs arising – impossible. The hungry person cannot think of music. If you start playing on the guitar before a hungry person, there is every possibility that he may retaliate in anger. He may throw your guitar, he may break your guitar, because it is insulting, it is humiliating.
Once Vivekananda was asked in America, “Why have you to teach here? Why don’t you teach in India?”
He said, “Here I can talk about Vedanta, the ultimate truth. But in India, seeing people hungry, I feel ashamed of talking about God, ultimate realization. It is insulting to those poor people. They need bread.”
Jesus is right when he says man cannot live by bread alone, but this is only a half-statement. The other half has not to be forgotten: man cannot live without bread either. And in fact, the bread is very fundamental, your body is very fundamental. If your body is ill, hungry, in pain, you cannot compose poetry, you cannot paint, or even if you paint your painting will remain that of suffering. If you compose music your music will be nothing but your cry, your scream. If you write poetry your poetry will be political. Your poetry will not be poetry at all but slogans. The bodily needs have to be fulfilled first. Yes, don’t get stuck there.