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Darshan with Swami Krishnananda during 1997
by Swami Krishnananda

27. Teaching Violent Children

(Darshan given on March 28th, 1997.)

A visitor: I am an elementary school teacher. My students are eight years old and they are very violent among themselves. I've been teaching for thirty years now and the violence has increased in Europe, above all among young children, and I don't know how to face this violence. I don't know how to act correctly in front of this. It is a big problem.

Swamiji: You must first of all find out, as a good teacher, what makes them violent. What is the reason?

Visitor: There are many reasons: the family life, the divorce of parents…

Swamiji: They may be not necessarily bad people. There may be a wrong motivation, a very bad upbringing from childhood. How did the parents treat them first? It starts with that. The child is influenced very much by the manner in which the parents bring up the child. There are affectionate parents who feed the emotions and longings of the children with great love and regard. But if the parents discard or threaten or behave in an unintelligent manner with the children, that reaction which the mind of the child feels due to the unpleasant behaviour of the parents will tell upon it. The whole life will be marred by that. Much of the way in which people live in the world depends upon how they were treated by the parents. You must remember that. Were you a very happy child in the house? Was the family was very good and very cooperative, very loving? Were you living in a very loving, happy, cooperative beautiful family or was there tension, quarrelling? If the father and mother quarrel, then they quarrel with the children also. So each child should be taken individually, and you must examine the child's psychological condition, as a medical expert will examine a patient. You cannot teach a group like that. Each individual should be taken independently. You must find out what is the trouble.

Visitor: Yes, but I cannot interfere in the family life. It is not my business.

Swamiji: Then what is your business?

Visitor: I must teach them.

Swamiji: Unless you understand the child, you cannot teach the child. You must have a thorough knowledge or understanding of the mind of the child before you start teaching it. There are twenty people sitting here. It does not mean all of them are thinking the same thought. Before I talk to any person, I must understand what that person is thinking in the mind. Accordingly I must treat that person. If I have a general behaviour with everybody, it won't work.

Teaching is a psychological art. It is not simply throwing knowledge into the mind. You must be a very good psychologist to understand the nature of the child whom you are teaching. You must be a father or a mother to that child. The teacher is not a boss or an authoritarian, but a parent. The teacher may be strict, but yet very affectionate. So love and discipline should go together. Then you may find the children may grow along the right path. It is up to the ability of the teacher. Much depends upon the way of teaching and the characteristic of the teacher.

Visitor: I have another question. Can I realise God through karma yoga only, or through meditation or bhakti or…

Swamiji: You can realise God through karma yoga only provided your karma, or action, is the same as the action of God. If you work as God works, and if you consider that as the highest karma yoga, you will certainly reach God by that. If you work like God, you are doing the highest kind of karma yoga, which is what is explained in the Bhagavadgita. The Bhagavadgita is a great scripture on right action. Have you studied the Bhagavadgita?

Visitor: No, I am just a beginner, so I don't know which line…

Swamiji: No action is useless, but every action is useless if it is wrongly done. Now, what is the meaning of right action and wrong action? Any action that is harmonious with the action of God is right action, and that is equal to meditation. Action in the light of the existence of God is identical with meditation on God. There meditation and action are the same. Contemplation and action are not two things if your action is not in disharmony with the action of God. That consciousness of your action being in harmony with God's action is itself meditation. So meditation and action are the same if it is directed to God's consciousness. But if your action is selfish, motivated for personal desire, then it will bind. That action cannot liberate you. So the divine action is liberating. It is the same as meditation. That is my answer to you.

Another visitor: When we sit down to pray, we have got so many deities. We all have faith in one God at the background, but when you read about Hanumanji you…

Swamiji: Why do you want so many deities? Even if there are a hundred gods, they are all arms and limbs of the one God. So you should not call them many gods. They are manifestations of the one God only. You can call Him by a hundred names and a thousand forms; it makes no difference. Every form, every name is the name and form of that one Almighty, so there is no difference. So you can think anything, and yet it means that only.

Visitor: Suppose I pray to God and I imagine all the four arms and discus, and then Hanuman's strength…

Swamiji: You should not imagine that they are really different. They are not really different. They are only manifestations of One. Like the million rays of the sun – even if there are a million rays emanating from the sun, it is the sun only that is emanating the energy. It doesn't mean that every ray is a different God. So there is no harm. Even if millions of drops of water fall in the rain, it is rain only. Any amount of streams of water that flow during monsoon season do not mean that many little rivulets are coming. So any number of forms it can take, any shape, and you can give any name, but it is a multifaceted manifestation of the One Integral Unity at the back.