Questioner: Sadhguru, the older generation and the younger generation seem at odds today. How do we make sure that the experience of age, and energy of youth work together?
Sadhguru: They have always been at odds, not just today, the older generation and the younger generation. The real problem is this the older generation do not think they’re old, the younger generation think that they’re old enough. That’s the whole problem. The old don’t want to believe they are old. Young don’t want to believe they are young, they think they are old enough for everything. So, somebody is occupying the space that you want to occupy.
The real problem is this the older generation do not think they’re old, the younger generation think that they’re old enough
It’s not just among human beings – especially among elephants, you will see suddenly one young bull elephant going all over the place, angry, pulling out everything because he has a fight with the bigger male elephant in the herd. He is not vacating his space, so this guy tries to fight. He cannot fight, he doesn’t have the strength, so he freaks – adolescence.
So, this is why, in this country we made what is called as varnashrama dharma. That means from zero to twelve is balavastha – childhood, just play – body and brain should grow. Twelve to twenty-four is brahmacharya – time to discipline yourself, bring discipline into your body, into your mind, develop your energies so that you are a powerful being and acquire knowledge. Twenty-four, you can choose if you want to – if you see through life as you are, you don’t have to go through everything, you are able to see through, then you become a sanyasi at twenty-four. Otherwise, you become a householder – you get married.
So, if you get married at twenty-four, two cycles of the solar cycle and twenty-four years, that means you’re forty-eight. That means your children are somewhere between eighteen to twenty-two – they are like the young bulls. They want you to go, but they can’t say it. Today, in the modern world, we send away the children, we don’t go. We send them away somewhere else. These asylums are usually called universities or… But those days, because life was around agriculture, you could you could not leave home and go away, because your land is here, your animals are here. You can’t go away somewhere and make a life. Somebody has to go out.
So, at forty-eight, the old couple – forty-eight, old couple – they took sanyas and they went different ways. Husband went into one institution, wife went into another one working on their spiritual sadhana, [for] twelve years. Sixty, they came out and they once again got married. Today, they don’t go away, they’re still together, and they’re still getting married at sixty. No, you’re supposed to go away for twelve years. First time when you married, maybe compulsions of the body, emotion, something else took over. Now, all those things are over, you’ve done your spiritual sadhana for twelve years, now you come together in a completely different way and go into vanaprastha – that means go into the jungle, live the last part of your life.
So, there was space, I’m saying. When you wanted the parents to disappear, they disappeared. Now, they’re not going. They want you to go. If you have found your legs in the world, you want to go even before they let you go. But if you have not found your legs, clash. For some reason, if you’ve not found your legs or wings, clashes everyday clashes – between parents and children.
You must understand, because of emotions, they’re believing they are parents and children. But when it comes down to life, it’s just a young bull and the big bull clashing for space, clashing for dominance. Men do it one way, women do it another way. But the fundamental problem is same, you want your space, they are not vacating the space – clashes will happen. Children who live away, always love you. Yes. Yes or no? Children who live away from you, they always love you. That’s the way to keep them. If they were with you, ooo [clashes], not because you are bad or they are bad, because you need one kind of space, they need another kind of space, both are in the same space, heat will happen. Unless you have children, who’ve grown very old when they are young, you understand? You successfully made them very old people when they’re still young, such people will live very compatibly with old people.
If you become sick, then they may become okay, because now the emotion of wanting to take care, those kind of things will come in. But if you are well and strong and they are well and strong, oh, you must keep them away. Yes. So, this is not a new problem. I am sure, in the cave – I’m talking about the caveman, in the cave, the same problem existed between the young and the old. Because old do not believe they have grown old, young believe they are old enough for everything. So, there will be something going on. How do we handle this? How do we handle this is – the old should learn to keep on stepping back, the young will keep on occupying that space.
Only thing is, the old should display a certain level of wisdom and experience, where the young are little overawed by the old. If you don’t do that, then the young will disdain, and they’ll get rough in so many ways. So, this is one thing you have to earn as you get old. You have earned a certain level of wisdom and insight into life, which they are yet to earn – so, they look up to you. Then you can somewhat be in the same space – first floor. But reasonably in the same space, leave the ground floor to them and the first floor they’re looking up to you – okay. If they have nothing to look up to, if you have exposed yourself with your problems and with your nonsense and everything, then best – vanaprastha. I know this’s not the answer you are looking for, but what shall I do? I am not a politician to say the right thing. I’ll say what is true.