“To live in the right way is a very difficult art, and unless one begins to learn it when quite young and to make an effort, one never knows it very well. Simply the art of keeping one’s body in good health, one’s mind quiet and goodwill in one’s heart – things which are indispensable in order to live decently – I don ‘t say in comfort, I don’t say remarkably, I only say decently. Well, I don’t think there are many who take care to teach this to their children.”~ The Mother, CWM, Vol. 6, p. 152
Humanity is going through an evolutionary crisis, one that can only be meaningfully dealt with by an upliftment of consciousness in the human individual and collective. Constant striving to discover or re-discover variety of solutions to bring about a change from the outside is not going to help.
An inner growth of consciousness is essential if a new future has to be built. Progressively, both at the individual and collective levels, humanity must become more conscious of its role in the destiny of the planet earth which is a field of constant progress. With the supramental consciousness at work on earth, this progress is destined to transform earthly life into a divine life.
Humanity must become progressively receptive to the light of a greater and higher consciousness, so that it can become a conscious aid in preparing the communal body and mind for the coming of a new race. A conscious change in the human birthing and parenting can be an important and undeniable way to enable the creation of a conscious humanity.
Conscious parenting, starting with conscious conception and childbirth, has the potential to transform the essence of the human population in a matter of few generations. For this to happen, we need to have a deeper understanding of the entire process of conscious creation of a being – from pre-conception to pregnancy, from prenatal education to childbirth, and from postnatal care to conscious parenting.
Our Present Issue
A true regeneration or renewal of our society and culture must not ignore the important area of preparing the future generations. If India has to become ready for its destined role for the future march of humanity, it is critical that we become conscious of our role as shapers of future humanity. This is why for our present issue of Renaissance, we have taken up the theme of ‘Conscious Parenting’.
Parents influence the child’s being to a very large extent. Especially mothers, with their own evolved intuition, love and sensitivity, which are the natural outcomes of motherhood, have the strongest effect on a child. In many ways, the parental influence comes into play way before a baby is conceived. That is where meaningful prenatal education must begin, according to the Mother.
From the Words of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo
Beginning with our Guiding Light feature, titled The Mother on True Maternity and Conscious Parenting, this issue highlights some key passages from the Mother’s extensive writings and conversations around the phenomena of pregnancy, childbirth and parenting from a deeply spiritual perspective.
In another feature titled, The Mother on Conscious Conception, Soul’s Choice and More we highlight her words where she explains that a fully conscious soul can choose its body to enter the earth. But generally the parents responsible for the formation of the physical body are not conscious enough and do things in an animalistic way.
The Mother tells us that it is possible for parents to receive exceptional beings as their child through sincere aspiration. “The Superman Shall be Born of Woman” highlights a passage from the Mother’s message titled “To the Women of Japan”. This was written sometime between 1916-1920 during her stay in Japan.
As the humanity gradually moves toward a more subjective age with increasing sections of humanity recognising the need to turn inward and upward for a more fulfilling life and deeper growth in consciousness, we feature a few words of Sri Aurobindo on Parenting and Education in Subjective Age. The selected passages highlight the new progressive ideas on parenting and education which are now accepted by growing sections of humanity.
For the ‘Book of the Month’ we feature a book titled ‘How to Bring Up a Child’ which is a compilation of practical guidance on parenting given by the Mother and Sri Aurobindo. The book, published by Sri Aurobindo Society, Pondicherry, also includes a few additional essays by other authors.
Insights from Indian Knowledge Traditions
Indian knowledge traditions have dealt with the areas of conscious pregnancy and parenting in great detail. Several of our ancient texts and scriptures have deep insights that are slowly getting wider recognition and dissemination. In one of our previous issues of Renaissance, we had featured some of these insights (see HERE, HERE and HERE). The present issue has two offerings that explore a few insights from Indian knowledge traditions.
Gṛhasthadharma: The Dharma of a Householder by the Renaissance editor, Beloo Mehra briefly describes the dharma of a householder and highlights the relevance of the Indian view of gradual human development through stages of life. Kunti – A Paradigm of Conscious Parenting by Shruti Hajirnis Gupte brings to light the heroic motherhood that Kunti epitomises for all times to come. Kunti stands out as a symbol of patience, courage, sacrifice and forbearance.
This issue also throws some light on contemporary issues related to parenting, specifically on the topic of mothers who are working outside the home.
In Working Mums: A Letter to All Concerned, Vidya Shankar speaks of the need for a sincere introspection and a conscious preparation when balancing the demands of parenting and career. Many readers who grew up with mothers who worked outside the home while also fully engaged in parenting will connect with the experience Shilpi Mohan describes in “I have a working mother, Sir”: A Daughter Remembers.
Tales, Poetry and More
The Mother used the art of storytelling most sweetly and effectively to inculcate higher and nobler values in children and adults. In our Tales and Stories feature, titled What is a Family we present a few stories told by the Mother which help children learn how to keep widening the definition of family, and thereby grow in capacity for love and affection.
Janani Ramanathan writes of Self-giving that Transforms Human Relationships and illustrates with a fascinating example from the world of literature the significance of self-giving in parenting. In a piece titled Child as a Role Model and a Precursor of New World, Shraddha Gour Mohanti reminds us that often the presence of children has the potential to invoke in the grownups nobler qualities of the heart and of the psychic being.
Two Poems on Conscious Parenting are contributed by Imran Ali Namazi for the issue. The first ones reminds us that children are capable of dreaming of a glorious future. The second speaks of the significance of parents’ aspiration and preparation for bringing down a conscious soul on earth.
Insightful Conversations and Talks
Watch a recorded talk by Dr. Alok Pandey on Parenting in New Age. This brings some key insights into new challenges for parents now that the new consciousness is at work on the earth. It also makes us reflect on a fundamental question: why does one want to have a child?
In our Insightful Conversation series, we feature Conscious Conception and Pregnancy: Listening to a Personal Journey where we speak with Vijayalakshmi C. about her own experience in consciously preparing herself for pregnancy and childbirth. Vijayalakshmi became deeply interested in the area of conscious conception through her own self-study based on the writings of the Mother & our ancient practices of Sanatana Dharma.
Recently, we also hosted a special event at Sri Aurobindo Society in which Jayashree Ashok and B. Ashok shared some insights from their vast experience as parents, educators and co-founders of Creative School in Bengaluru, which is inspired by the Integral Education teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. We will soon be sharing recording of their talk titled Conscious Parenting: Lessons Learned as a Parent, Educator and Healer.
(Interested readers may also watch our earlier conversation with Jayashree and Ashok about their school which they see as a place of progressive learning and transformation for children, teachers and parents. See HERE.)
In our ongoing series – Sri Aurobindo’s Interpretation of Indian Culture: The Epics, we present part 3 by Prema Nandkumar. In this part she emphasises that embedded within the tale of the Ramayana are spiritual radiances coming from a yogic poet’s prophetic vision, making it eternally and aesthetically appealing.
As always, we offer this work at the lotus feet of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.
Beloo Mehra (for Renaissance Editorial Team)
~ Design: Beloo Mehra