Children and Sannyas

Insights Sannyasin when still a Child

Arun’s experience with children in the Nepal commune.

Recently we had 11 kids of all ages in the 7-day Transformation Intensive retreat at Tapoban. Tapoban has always been open to children and always welcomed them. In many other communes I have seen that children are not allowed to participate in the meditation retreats mainly because the facilitators believe that children can disturb the meditations. I feel that children are more close to meditation than adults; they always bring a beautiful lighthearted playfulness to the retreats. In fact, I have not seen better meditators than children and I think they should also be given the equal opportunity to embark on this beautiful journey.

girl smiling
girl receiving initiation
little child
little sannyasin meditating 2
little sannyasin meditating

When children take sannyas at Tapoban people sometimes ask me if it is OK to let them take this decision. It is my understanding that sannyas should not be forced upon anybody and especially parents should never ask or force their children to take sannyas just because they are sannyasins themselves. It is a matter of individual freedom. But at the same time if a child decides on his own to take sannyas, no one should stop them either, and in future when they grow up and don’t want to remain a sannyasin that decision should also be respected.

Our universities, colleges and schools, our entire education system is designed in such a way that it corrupts the innocence with which the children are born. It does nothing but serving the objective of our social structure to produce complying moneymaking machines that follow their mass-trodden path towards futile ambitions and dreams.

Osho was totally against this. He wanted to entirely revolutionize the education system into one that nurtures individuality, where creativity and originality remain the core of the learning process which respects the freedom of the child, and nothing is imposed upon them. He called the school in his commune the No-School where children were allowed absolute freedom to choose and study what they wanted to study. His vision for this neo-education system is compiled in his book Siksha Mai Kranti and Revolution in Education.

Today when I see the kids at Tapoban, I am reminded of the children that used to live in Pune I. Osho always respected their opinion, their freedom to say and be who they really were and treated them with the same acknowledgement and respect as mature adults. This is the reason why the children living in the ashram were so rebellious, so original and so fresh. There was always a sense of command and authority around them, their sharp intelligence and presence of mind would sometimes leave us speechless. Sometimes it was a hard time for us conditioned adults with our ideas of how they should behave and be and it was better to stay away from these little ‘rebels of Bhagwan’.

An anecdote from Osho:

For example, in this commune, you can look at Siddhartha. He lives absolutely freely. Such a little child, with such freedom! He has no attachment to the mother or to the father. He makes friendships with grown-up people, then he starts living with them. He has so many friends — men and women, and all kinds of friends — children, grown-ups. He is really getting the idea of so many people that his vision of humanity is bound to be vast.

He had asked me — he was living in a kids’ house where only kids live — he asked me, “Osho, I want to live with real men, not with kids. Enough is enough! I have lived with kids long enough.” So I sent him to live with Govinddas and other sannyasins. And they complained: “Sometimes he comes at twelve o’clock in the night and sometimes at one o’clock, sometimes at two o’clock. This is too much! He goes to parties and to dramas and to the disco and he is disturbing us continuously! And he has possessed the whole room — as if the room belongs to him and we are just living in his room! He has put all his things all around the room — all his toys are everywhere! So please,” they asked me, “remove him!”

I told him to go to his mother, Neerja, to live with her. He said, “That is the last place I want to go! But if you say so I will go.” He has been forced to go and live with the mother at least for a few days. And he has been living with many families, with many couples. Wherever he goes he makes friendships, and there are so many friends that he is never out of money — he asks everybody!

Sattva was once Neerja’s lover. Now that love relationship is broken, but the love that has grown between Sattva and Siddhartha has continued. They are still friends — Sattva still has to give him money! He comes every day: “Today I need five rupees, ten rupees.”

One day Sattva said, “I don’t have any money.” Then he said, “You can ask me!” And he brought five rupees from somewhere and gave it to Sattva! “Why don’t you ask me? I have so many friends, I can bring as much money as you want!”

Now, this child will be a totally different child! He has lived with Jews and with Christians and with Hindus. He will not be conditioned by anything, he will not have any conditioning. He will have a vast territory of being available to him.

That’s my idea how all children should grow. Then there will be no ugly religious conflicts, wars, bloodshed, no ugly fanaticism, no fascist ideologies in the world. These are all byproducts of the family, and the family depends on marriage. In fact, if the family disappears, nations will have to disappear, religions will disappear, states will disappear, churches will disappear. That’s why nations, churches, everybody is in favor of marriage and they all go on praising marriage as if it is something holy, something divine. It is the ugliest thing on the earth! And they go on telling people, “Without marriage, where will children get love?” They will get more love; nobody is going to prevent their parents from loving them, but they will be available to others, too. They will not be dependent, they will start learning independence. From the very beginning they will have a certain new feel of freedom. And that’s what is needed.

Osho, Tao: The Golden Gate, Vol 1, ch 3

Anand Arun – www.tapoban.com – from note found on Facebook

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