Questioner: What kind of a change our education system needs to have so that our coming generations can live together in peace and fulfillment?
Acharya Prashant: Why? Why must you think about the coming generations? Is this not the language of the old matriarch, who first of all ensures that the women in the family keep giving birth, that the cycle of lust, pregnancy and procreation continues?
I would have loved it had you asked something about yourself. But tonight, I see that ‘I’ is present only once in your entire statement; you are talking in the language of ‘we’. I would have loved it had you asked something about yourself. I would have accepted it had you asked something about others; you want to serve the other, you want to liberate the other in your compassion, that is nice. But you have neither asked about yourself nor have you asked about the other; you have rather asked about the coming generations of kids. And if you are so bothered about the coming generations of kids, then the first thing you would ensure is that kids keep coming. Now you will have a quarrel with me.
We were in Bhopal yesterday, you know; the camp just concluded. They have created a place not far from the city where they have lions and leopards and tigers all exhibited. And then I started reading about the conditions of these animals. Their numbers are rapidly falling; it is almost as if tomorrow they would be extinct. And in the place I am mentioning, I found tigers, bears, leopards, but no lions. So, I just started reading a bit on lions, and I discovered that in India lions are now found only in Gujarat and Gir, and that in the last two years itself India has lost close to twenty percent of its total lion population. You know why the lions are disappearing? Because people are having kids.
The jungles have become so small. Half of the lions of Gujarat are living outside the protected areas; the protected areas are not big enough to accommodate any decent number of lions. So, where are the lions living? Outside the protected areas, and there they constantly come in touch with populations, and populations are burgeoning. And these coming generations that you are so fondly talking of, they need land, their kids need food. So, every successive generation, every year, is cutting down trees, and that is bringing these animals in contact with man. And when an animal comes in contact with man, you know who would survive and who would be dead.
If you really want to educate kids, educate kids of this generation, not the coming generations. And educate kids of this generation to not have kids. Do not talk the language of the old and deeply conditioned grandmother whose deepest wish is that the tribe keeps going.
If you have followed me to this point, you would have also seen what would be the shape that the right education for today’s generation should take. Rabbits are nearly Prakṛti (physical nature), so they are conditioned to procreate. If we want this generation not to procreate, what must be taught to them? That you are not just Prakṛti . This is the education that you need to disseminate.
Rabbits will reproduce because they are just Prakṛti , and that is what Prakṛti wants: more copies of the rabbit’s DNA, because more copies mean more chances of survival. It is like taking a backup of a hard disk. If there are two copies, then chances of survival are double; one copy might get lost, then the other copy survives. And that is why rabbits procreate so copiously, so frequently: because they are small and defenseless. They know that a lot of the baby rabbits will die. So, a lot of them are born so that at least a few survive and thereby the species continue to just exist. Existence is all that Prakṛti wants.
Teach the kids that they are not just Prakṛti . Teach the boys and teach the girls that they do not exist to dance to the tunes of the body and the brain. Teach them that they are not chemicals to react to other chemicals called hormones. Unless you teach them this beyondness, every successive generation will be heavier, bulkier, more numerous, and more ignorant than the preceding one.
See what you are doing. In your entire statement of apparent goodwill, have you mentioned forests anywhere? Have you mentioned rabbits and lions anywhere? You just want good to happen to the next generations of Homo sapiens ? And what about the millions of other species? Where is your compassion?
But such is man’s lot; he cannot do anything selflessly. If he talks of saving the rivers, he says, “Let us save the rivers so that our grandchildren have pure water to drink.” What nonsense! It’s like saying, “Don’t kill the girl child so that tomorrow somebody’s male child may have a sexy girlfriend!” And that is exactly what is happening in many of the ‘Save the Girl Child’ campaigns. Many of these campaigns say, “If today you kill the girl child, how will you find a bride for your son tomorrow?” So, the girl has no independent worth of her own, right? If we go by the government propaganda, even if she is to be saved, her worth relates to the pleasure and service she would bring to the males. And what if she brings no pleasure, no service, no gratification to men? Then she doesn’t deserve to live? But no, if it originates from men, then it is obsessed with the welfare of just the men.
Similarly, see how being a member of the Homo sapiens species you are obsessed with just the welfare of the Homo sapiens species. So casually you have said, “What kind of change our education system needs to have so that our coming generations can live together in peace and fulfillment?” ‘Live together’ with each other, right? You haven’t said they live together with animals. The trees, the rivers, and the rabbits and the lions—that you haven’t mentioned because that probably is not important to you. And you don’t appreciate that unless you put a stop on the coming generations, you will have no lions and no jungles and no rivers very soon.
Just an hour back I was reading that the Yamuna in Delhi is practically dead. If you look at its oxygen demand figures, you will realize that there is nothing in it to be called a river. Who did that? The fish, the turtles, the crocodiles? No. The massive generations coming one after the other, and grandmothers kept wishing and kept blessing that the brides are constantly pregnant—and Yamuna died!
If you want to teach, teach what I have just taught you. Teach the kids that this planet cannot tolerate even one more human being now. We are already eight billion. At the current rate, we are projected to be eleven billion by 2050. We cannot even tolerate 8.1 billion.
You do not merely want to have kids; you also want the kids to live happily, right? And happiness, in common parlance, means consumption. Even at the current rate of consumption, this entire planet is not sufficient to meet the needs of this population; you require multiple Earths. And this is at just the current rate of consumption, not the aspired rate of consumption. We all aspire to consume more and more, right? At the aspired rate of consumption, you will require a hundred Earths to fulfill the needs of these billions. From where will you get those hundred Earths?
If there is one thing that we must not talk of as something very beautiful, it is the coming of the next generation. It is not beautiful, it is not auspicious. It is not something to be talked of with a smile; it is something to be talked about with an alarm. Somebody gets pregnant—that is not good news. That is almost catastrophic, if you ask the rabbits and the lions.
Teach this. Teach the girls that their body is not an instrument to bear kids. Teach them that their self-worth is not at all linked to their motherhood. Teach them where the real fulfillment of life lies and teach them that it is not in birthing or breastfeeding. Teach them creativity. Teach them love. Give them the kind of knowledge that would help them live truthfully. This is what you need to teach them.
And teach this generation. Don’t think of the future ones. Many of the kids that you teach today would probably go into the media tomorrow. Teach them not to declare it a celebration when a celebrity gets pregnant; teach them to avoid those fancy pics of baby showers, etc. Teach them to avoid headlines like ’These pictures of Samya and her newborn would give you baby goals’ or ‘These amazing pics of the celebrity couple's wedding in Italy would give you marriage goals’. Teach them to avoid this toxic propaganda.
We don’t just procreate; we are made to procreate. A celebrity couple gives birth, my rabbits give birth, same thing. But the media keeps splashing the face of this kid, this baby, incessantly—incessantly! A thousand more women are then influenced, rather compelled to give birth. The media is constantly telling you, “Look at this baby. This is what you need. This is what would give you happiness. This is what would give you the headlines as well!” Now, what is there in that kid? All kids are the same. And the kid’s ex-celebrity mother might actually be out of business these days, having no work. But the kid affords the headlines to her as well, so she is happy. “You see, otherwise who would have talked about me? Who would have kept me relevant? But this one is keeping me fully relevant!” So, the parents now know what can give them some respect, some relevance, some attention. Teach the kids that this is the worst way to become relevant.
We all know that the biggest threat facing this planet and mankind today is catastrophic climate change. And there are huge international conferences in which all kinds of diverse measures are discussed, and then there are a slew of recommendations. Experts, the so-called most intelligent people on the planet, come together and wrack their brains to come up with solutions. But nobody ever dares to call out the huge elephant in the room, which is that the simplest solution to the problem of climate change is the control of the human population.
You don’t need to do anything fancy to check climate change. Limit the number of human beings, and the Earth’s health will restore very quickly. Nothing else is needed. The biggest contributor—rather the only contributor to climate change is human beings and their consumption, quantity multiplied by consumption per head. And both go together. The very occurrence of the quantity is because of a desire to consume. So, it is not quantity multiplied by consumption; it is quantity square, quantity multiplied by itself. Limit the quantity and everything will be alright, quite simply, quite obviously. But nobody ever talks of this obvious step. Teach them this.
I am not merely talking from a position of compassion. You know very well that if the forests are not there and the rabbits and lions are not there, you too cannot be there. It is an existential threat, and the threat is right on our head. It is happening faster than scientific predictions; the forecasts are being overtaken. And if you want to teach them all this, you will have to teach them a lot of what I have been teaching you since the last many months.
So, now you know what to teach this generation. Teach them what I have taught you. That is all.