Man’s parents, because of their own investment – business, politics, religion, philosophy – are less interested in the potential of the child. They are more interested in how to mold the child so that he fits in their world, becomes respectable in their world, is not an outcast, is not a misfit.
All this arises out of good intentions, but the result is not good. It is almost slaughtering the child, destroying, killing him. Most of his potential will always remain only potential. He will never be even aware what treasures he has brought with his life. He will die and those treasures will remain unopened.
He lived his whole life according to somebody else’s dictates: he lived a borrowed life. He smiled because it was expected; he paid respect to people because that was what he was taught. He went to the church, to the synagogue, to the temple because his parents were going there, everybody else was going there. This was the thing to do, this was the in thing.
With me something went wrong from the very beginning.
The reason was that for seven years I was not with my parents, I lived with my maternal grandfather and grandmother. Those two old persons had no investment – they simply loved me. They knew perfectly well that sooner or later I would be gone, I was only a guest. You don’t start investing in a guest – tomorrow morning he will be gone. They acted out of a space which parents cannot. That’s where things went wrong with me.
They allowed me total freedom to be myself because they had no desire to mold me. In fact, they wanted me to go back to my parents, so whatsoever my parents wanted me to become I would be available. My maternal grandfather actually said to me many times, “Our whole effort is to return you to your parents the same clean slate as they gave us. We don’t want to write anything on you. Who knows? – it may be against your parents’ wishes. You belong to them, to us you are a guest: all that we can do is give you freedom, our love, space to grow.”
But the first seven years are the most important in life; never again will you have that much opportunity. Those seven years decide your seventy years, all the foundation stones are laid in those seven years. So by a strange coincidence I was saved from my parents – and by the time I reached them, I was almost on my own, I was already flying. I knew I had wings. I knew that I didn’t need anybody’s help to make me fly. I knew that the whole sky is mine.
I never asked for their guidance, and if any guidance was given to me I always retorted, “This is insulting. Do you think I cannot manage it myself? I do understand that there is no bad intention in giving guidance – for that I am thankful – but you do not understand one thing, that I am capable of doing it on my own. Just give me a chance to prove my mettle. Don’t interfere.”
In those seven years I became really a strong individualist: hard-core. Now it was impossible to put any trip on me.