Your children are not your children.They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.You may house their bodies but not their souls,For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
~ Khalil Gibran
Question: Pranaam Acharya Ji. Can you please explain what is meant by ‘life’s longing for itself’?
Acharya Prashant Ji: We talked of prakriti (nature)? Why is prakriti doing what it has been, since the beginning of time?
Darwin told you how evolution proceeds. So one divides into many by way of procreation, and these many are all slightly different from each other. Being slightly different from each other, they differ from each other in terms of their potential for survival.
The one amongst these who has the greatest potential for survival then gets selected by evolution. He survives and the others get eliminated. So his genes get carried forward. So those genes that were not suitable for survival get eliminated. And again this one, that gets carried forward multiplies, and the same cycle repeats.
What is prakriti doing? Prakriti is constantly choosing the one who can survive the longest. This is what you call as ‘the survival of the fittest’. If you can survive the longest, for whatever reason – you might be strong, you might be intellectually more capable, then prakriti favours you. The weakling slowly disappears.
What is prakriti doing?
She is buying time, she wants length for you.
She wants length of time for herself.
What is she hoping?
She is hoping that length in time will give her something absolutely godly.
She is hoping that evolution would ultimately result in the superman.
As Nietzsche said.
Since every next generation would be better than the previous generation due to evolutionary selection, so ultimately the amoeba would become the chimpanzee, which would then become man, which would then become superman. And the superman is prakriti’s conception of the Ultimate, God.
Prakriti is looking to reach God through time, and obviously she is foolish. This isn’t happening, this cannot happen. But she has her won ways. She is trying, and she is trying really hard.
This is what is meant when Khalil Gibran talks of – ‘life’s longing for itself’.
When he says, “Life’s longing for itself,” then ‘life’ here is prakriti, ‘itself’ is God. Prakriti is longing for God and therefore producing kids after kids, after kids, after kids. Her plan is to ultimately produce the perfect kid. That’s what her plan is.
Every generation of kid is more refined than the previous one. So ultimately one day the God kid will be born. That’s her plan. Believe me this plan is not going to work, but she is very insistent. After all she is prakriti. She thinks that this plan would work and she is getting some initial success at least.
Didn’t ape become a better ape, super-ape, man? So if you would argue with her, she would say, “Listen son, don’t you believe that you are better than the monkeys?” And in your vanity you would say, “Of course I am.” She would then say, “That’s proof that my plan is succeeding.”
The monkey has turned into Shubhankar (one of the members sitting in the audience), and Shubhankar believes that he is better than the monkey. So prakriti believes that her plan is succeeding. But if you look at Shubhankar closely, you would realise that her plan is absolutely failing. Honestly, is the plan succeeding? No.
“Life’s longing for itself.”
Whenever you want the Ultimate using methods, using time, you are committing the mistake that prakriti is committing. And that is why I have never been a fan of methods in the domain of Spirituality.
If your methods are to succeed, then prakriti’s methods should have succeeded by now. Her methods started with time. At t=0 her method started, and even till now her methods have not succeeded. Since billions of years she is trying out her method, and it is failing. How will your method succeed in twenty years, or in two years?
Now see what Gibran is saying, “Your children are not your children.” They are prakriti’s children. Why are you unnecessarily throwing claim upon them? You didn’t give birth to them, your hormones did. The are prakriti’s kids. And you been de-hormoned, those kids wouldn’t have been born. Had you been de-conditioned, those kids wouldn’t have been born. They are not your kids at all.
“They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.You may house their bodies but not their souls,For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.”
Their bodies come from prakriti not from you. And their essence comes from Him, not from you. Now who are you calling as ‘my baby’? Now baby’s body is…? Prakriti’s. And baby’s essence is God’s. Who are you, unnecessarily encroaching upon other’s stuff?
This quotation needs to be put in bold, and font size two thousand in every maternity home.
“Your children are not your children.”
All nuptials should begin with this – “Your children are not your children.”
Schools, school buses should all carry this as a loud declaration – “Your children are not your children.”
If you look at he old texts, many of them, they would say, “This body, why are you so much in awe of it? Why are you so identified with it? Why are you so obsessed?”This body is nothing but the dirty excreta of your mother and father. Dirty excreta.
Is it just the coincidence that the organs of reproduction are so very close to, sometimes in neighbourhood of, and sometimes the same as the organs of excretion?
Is it a mere coincidence that the organs of excretion and the organs of reproduction are found together? The ancients tried to tell this to you. Just as you excrete, similarly you produce kids. Have you seen the name that the bunch of rabbit’s kids is given? It is called ‘litter’. What is it called? Litter.
Do you know what ‘littering’ means? Dirtying. It is called a ‘litter’. So just as a rabbit would litter her droppings here and there, similarly you find that she has littered babies here and there. It is prakriti. It is the usual process of the body. Just as you excrete, just as you release intestinal air, similarly you release bodily fluids of other things as well. You are not really the doer of all this.
When you fart, how much ownership do you want to claim? It just happens. Doesn’t it? You may try to, at the last moment, postpone it or conceal it, but is just happens. So Khalil Gibran says, “Your children are not children.”
Your fart is not your fart. It just happens.
Like the monthly periods of a woman, it happens. You don’t do it, it happens. Or the night fall that the young man experiences. You don’t do it, it happens. Prakriti – “Your children are not your children.”
That spoilt bed-sheet is not your doing, it just happened. Sometimes the thing is found on a bed-sheet, sometimes it is found in a uterus. It’s just the same. It happens.
The kids are a product of life’s longing for itself. Prakriti is trying it’s silly ways. And in trying her silly ways, she uses the brain of man because the brain of man is nothing but prakriti.
We live in grand illusion that intellect is something beyond prakriti.
It is not.
Everything that you do with your intellect, in a very rudimentary form animals too do that.
You use intellect to create great buildings, animals use their primitive intellect to make houses for themselves.
Look at birds. What are they making? Nests – prakriti. A nest is prakriti, the best of your buildings therefore is, prakriti. You use your intellect to make weapons, many animals are known to sharpen their claws before they enter into a fight. They too are building their weapons.
The sharpened claws or teeth of a fighter animal are prakriti. Your intercontinental ballistic missiles therefore too are, prakriti. But you think of them as something beyond the jungle. No they are not beyond the jungle, they too are just the jungle.
Yesterday I was reading that the male snake chases the female snake following her scent. Following the scent, the trail of her odour. Snakes can’t really see much, they can’t even hear much. So the deodorant that you use is, prakriti. And the purpose too is prakritik.
The odour of the female is used to lure the male snake. And a similar purpose is served by all the scents, perfumes, and deodorants. But you do not look at the expensive bottle of perfume, and think of the jungle.
That expensive bottle of perfume is nothing but the jungle.
Are you getting it?
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Acharya Prashant is an emerging champion of socio-spiritual awakening in the world today. An alumnus of IIT-Delhi and IIM-Ahmedabad, and a former Civil Services officer, Acharya Prashant is an acclaimed Speaker, Vedanta Teacher and author of over 50 books. Apart from that he wears various hats: a veganism promoter, an environmental activist, a science activist, a campaigner against superstition, and a champion of essential human freedom. Know More