Once upon a time when I took up the responsibility of teaching a group of people over a period of time with a syllabus in my mind to teach the self-growth and self-knowledge, I thought I could teach any person and make that person succeed in the pursuit. That was once upon a time.
Later I found that it is not easy. I had confidence in myself in terms of communication and I have the strength of the entire tradition of teaching behind me. The road is already very well laid out and what I have to do is the same as my predecessors have been doing.
With a backing of such a great tradition of teachers, my job, I thought, was easy since what people have to discover is only something about themselves. It did not take me long to realize that nobody can change another person.
Perhaps, you can program an animal. Within the framework of the animal’s limitations, you can make an animal change in terms of its behavior. But definitely you cannot program another person to your satisfaction; nor is it proper to try to do so.
As a parent you look upon your child as a part of you, and you think you can mold him any way you like. But as the child grows, you begin to realize that he has a mind of his own, his own ego, his individuality that may cooperate with or resist your efforts to change him. The child is born of you, but not a part of you; it is not entirely under your control. It is like a candle used for lighting another candle. If the candle has candlepower, the other has its own candlepower. One is not a part of the other.
A baby comes into the world absolutely helpless. But as a living organism it enjoys the capacity to survive. It has to simply trust to survive. Total helplessness is compensated by total trust. Otherwise, there will be a lacuna in the creation. In time, when the child can stand on its own, it wants to be independent. At the end of the second or third year, the child develops an absolute ego, for the child does not recognize any other ego in the world. It is like the Lord’s (½Úvara’s) ego that is without a second!
In the third or fourth year the child discovers that there is an ego in the mother. There is a solid ego in the father, and there is an ego in everybody else. And it seems they are all trying to control his ego. This is not a pleasant discovery for the child. He wants to be independent. This love and struggle for independence continues all through life. We find in the world that everybody is trying or wanting to change others to their liking, and at the same time resisting the attempts to be changed by others.
One who wants to change the world to fulfill his own needs and desires is an egoist. If all that is needed is a change, change yourself. That has to be initiated by you alone, because the love for change is in you. Nobody can stop you from changing. What you need in life is to know why you want to change the world. Look within yourself and enquire whether you have retained that absolute trust you had as a helpless child, and if not, whether you can reclaim that trust that can make you relax in yourself. That is growth. That is discovery.