The Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship
What's Happening to Today's Children
A short talk given by M. R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen from Questions of Life, Answers of Wisdom Volume 2.
Question: I am concerned about what's happening to today's children.
Bawa Muhaiyaddeen: Children go astray when the parents hold on to thoughts like: my child, my family, my race, my religion. Because of their attachments, a true sense of justice is lost. As a result of this, frustration and anger, the arrogance of 'I' and the possessiveness of 'mine' can develop in the children. So the attachments of the parents could lead to the children becoming entangled in many difficulties.
But if we can instead develop the feeling that all lives are just like our own and see that all children are our children, if we can feel the hunger of everyone as we feel our own hunger, if we can see everyone's suffering as our own suffering and their happiness as our own happiness, if we can see the life others as our own life, if we can develop God's qualities ' qualities which reflect the laws of justice ' then we will show love to all lives. There will be no anger. There will be no feeling of 'my' and 'mine'.
This is how it is. The weapon we possess is the weapon that will destroy us. Some parents possess the weapon of religious bigotry, and this creates a horrible battlefield.
In days of old, there were restrictions and laws that existed in the various religions, but the words and laws of those times cannot be applied today's scientific age. Why? People can fly around the world in twenty-four hours. They have gone beyond the moon and are flying in space. Because technology has advanced to such a state and because of the kinds of modern toys available, the children of today have developed brains that work in a very subtle way, therefore we cannot tell them the things we told the children of earlier times. Today's children want to experience each thing for themselves.
When we commit a fault, we may confide in one who is an elder, a religious leader, a minister, or a leader of the community, and our children also may confide in them and admit their wrongdoings. But the elders to whom they are confessing these faults commit faults of their own, sometimes more serious faults that those of the children. When this happens the child will think, 'I only committed one fault. But look at all his faults. He is far from pure. What's the sense of this?'
Later, when the children get together, one will tell the others, 'I went to confession, but this is what happened to me.' Another will add, 'I went to confession too, and this is what he did to me.' Then they conclude, 'What's the use in believing what they tell us? It's just bunch of lies.' And, little by little, they lose their belief in God.
God is certainly real, God's qualities are real, His actions are real, His compassion, His love ' everything about Him ' is all true and real. The fault lies with the leaders. They are expected to conduct the work of God but instead turn it into a 'self-business', something for self gain. This is wrong. They are furthering their own desires and interests in the name of God. As a result, the children end up losing their faith in God, and begin to go along other paths, searching for God in their own ways. They become entangled in all kinds of problems and get involved with marijuana, opium, and other drugs, as well as with thieves and unscrupulous gurus ' gurus who indulge in magic or sorcery, gurus who take many wives. Thus the children become worse than they were before.
Ultimately what happens? They go crazy and have to be put in a mental
hospital or seek psychiatric treatment. Their lives are absolutely ruined. This
is the state that prevails in this country today.
So, we must think about this. Parents must reflect on it. Some parents do have faith in God. But when they forget their own earlier experiences and try to teach faith to their children in the same way they were taught, their children (whose thinking has been shaped by today's technology and intellectual learning) are unable to accept it. So they abandon their faith in God, lose their love for the parents, and run away from home. The parents need to realize this, and when the children turn to them and admit to some fault they committed, the parents must be able to comfort them and strengthen their faith with the appropriate words, words they can accept - words of wisdom.
Truth will always prevail as truth. Truth is not a 'self-business'. It is not something that can be bought with money. Truth is God. God is love. We must open our hearts and give Him love, and receive it from Him with open hearts. Truth is comprised of God's qualities and duties. These things remain true for all time. If we teach this truth to our children, if we develop His qualities and act with His justice, then the children will progress. But we are not doing that, so we too are at fault. If we look carefully, we will see that what we are calling devotion or faith is actually 'self-business'. We have lost our conscience. Many who preach religion have no conscience and fail to show justice. Many parents have neither justice nor conscience in their devotion. But the children do have a conscience, so they ultimately run away.
What is it we really have? It is nothing more than attachment to our religion. We lack wisdom that can see right from wrong. Why? Because we cling tenaciously to what we believe, in the same way that a monkey clings to whatever it has grasped. In doing this, we ignore the truth.
We are human beings. Using our wisdom, we must acquire God's qualities and act with the laws of justice. If we had done so, not a single child in this country would have gone astray. They would not have separated from their parents. They would not have ended up in mental hospitals. They would not have gotten into these predicaments and thus ruined their lives.
Nowadays there are some parents who do not like to see their children being good. They would rather see them go astray. They encourage them to use marijuana, opium, and other drugs ' anything ' as long as they do not seek wisdom. 'Stop trying to learn this wisdom! We do not like that. Enjoy the things we do!' They prefer seeing their children ruin themselves through religious bigotry or going astray ' anything but becoming good children. As a result, the most likely end is the mental hospital, where they will face great difficulties.
Parents need to understand this. Truth will prevail as truth for all time. If that truth functions within a man, his devotion will be true, unwavering devotion.
That which is false will always be false. It will change like the changing seasons. Therefore, mankind must be aware of the way things are. The present-day wisdom we see, the information and the on-going research available today, are making rapid strides. If we examine and understand these developments, we will see that what we used to do based on our earlier understanding is all wrong. Then the truth will manifest, and we must teach that truth to all.
In olden times we were taught that God lives in heaven. Fire and water and the sun, moon, and stars were all worshiped as gods. But now the scientists have gone to the moon and even beyond. When they got there, they did not see God and so declared that there is no God out in space. This is kind of thinking that the world has come to today. Man's travels have led him to conclude that there is no God anywhere.
But there is something called God. That something does not belong to any particular religion or race or sect. It is not the sun or moon or stars. It is not earth or the world. It is not something that has a form. It is a Power, a Power capable of controlling every force, every energy, every cell. Such is God, a natural Power. It is That which is forever. We must have absolute faith in That. That Power resides within man too, as a ray, as a light. We must come to see that light within us. Man must see that light within himself. And within that light he must see the Power that is Truth. If we can preserve in this way, it will be good.
My children and their parents need to think about this. You small children will become parents some day. Every one of you must think about this. Now you are young. One day you must think about this. Now you are young. One day you will be fathers or mothers. So each of you must reflect. If every one of you can discover the correct way to bring up your children, things will be easier. You will have peace and serenity in your lives.
God is One. We are all God's children, all brethren, all one family, God's family. There is but one God, and His kingdom is the heavenly kingdom. What we are witnessing now is the kingdom of hell. These acts and scenes are being played on the stage of the world. Each one must realize this. If we can acquire wisdom capable of realizing this, we can help our children to grow.
My love you. We will speak again at another time.
July 3, 1979