Steer clear of compulsive parenthood

Bearing children should be a conscious choice not an emotional or physical compulsion

parent playing with childToday, if you have a child...just like that, casually...you're committing a great crime. Today people think there are many problems in the world but essentially, there's only one problem—there are too many human beings on the planet.

The planet is overloaded

6.7 billion people; this is the highest number of human beings ever on this little planet. Just 30 years ago, it was about 2.5 billion, now it is 6.7 billion. They're predicting that if we keep going at this rate, by 2050 we'll be 9.2 or 9.4 billion. There are just excessive human beings. Not enough other life—not enough plant life, not enough animal life.this is the problem.

So, unless you really want to have a child, you shouldn't. You could always adopt one; there's no need to produce one, because it's no more just about your individual choices. The individual choices that we're making are killing the planet, and it is making a big difference in the way the rest of humanity lives.

So for social reasons or for some other compulsions, one need not have children. A child is not a plaything for you to produce just to play around with for a few years. It's another life, just like you and me.

Why most people bear children

Bearing a child has become such a big experience in people's lives because only by bearing a child can most people know a certain depth of involvement and inclusion with life. With nothing else are they so deeply involved.

They are incapable of being deeply involved with a tree or the air around them. Their only capability is to be involved with a child, because a child does not have so much personality—does not have personality at all when it comes into your hands.

Another thing is because your identification is so much with the physical body, something that comes out of your body is definitely yours. You may say, "My house is mine," but you know you can lose it.

You may say, "This property is mine," but you may lose it; but a child comes out of your biological body and you cannot deny it. Even if your son denies it, still you know he is anyway yours. So it is a sure-fire extension of yourself.

Other extensions suffice

Physically, bearing children is an instinct. Emotionally, psychologically, it is not an instinct; it is a trick, a ploy that you are creating to extend yourself. Do you see what happens when people take up some cause in their life?

Whatever the cause—fighting for the freedom of their country, a political cause or some other cause—when they get intensely involved in it, that they have no need to produce children. They are extending themselves in some other way where their involvement is much more.

Children are like your property

Now you will tell me some people bear a child out of love for their child, not out of compulsion. See, when you say, "Love for their child," from where did you get love for your unborn child? When you have no love for life around you, it is still a compulsion.

When I say 'compulsion', the compulsion need not necessarily be just physical; the compulsions can be psychological and emotional. There is a need to extend yourself, something that is 'you'. Most people want to have children because they want an extension of themselves. They want something to leave behind when they go. Children are their greatest property.

It's basically an involvement issue

People seek children only because of that; that is the only way they know involvement. Otherwise, they are incapable of being involved. Especially for a woman, bearing a child has become such a big experience is just because of her involvement.

Otherwise, she is never really involved with anybody for that matter. Very few people can involve themselves to that extent even in their love affairs. Even there, the involvement is because bodies touch. Because their identification is with the physical body, the only way they know to involve themselves is by opening their body.

Only when a person rises to another level of experience, his involvement with something else or somebody else goes to great depths without physical involvement, because his identification with the body is receding. At the time, identification with the other dimension of yourself is building momentum.

So a child is a deep involvement. People are hankering for children because they are seeking involvement; otherwise what is life? If you have never tasted life, by bearing a child you are getting involved with life.

But if you know how to involve yourself with everything around you, you will see a child is not a compulsion anymore. It would be very wonderful if people chose to have children, rather than bringing them through physical, psychological or emotional compulsions within themselves.

When parenting is a conscious choice

Wouldn't it be very, very beautiful if human beings conceived consciously, because it is needed for the human race rather than out of their own physical compulsions? Is it not in many ways an indignity to the person who is born that that person is born out of your compulsions, not out of your consciousness?

Wouldn't it be so much more beautiful if you realise that this being is needed for human life to happen and you produce it with that consciousness?

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