Youth for every soul is the season of blossoming, and it can
be divided into three stages: early youth, the middle part of
youth and the last stage of youth.
There is a great difficulty in the training of youth, because
in youth a child becomes less receptive. The child is passive
and therefore easy to guide, but youth is the time of rising
energy, both physical and mental. Therefore youth is expressive,
and what is expressive cannot be receptive at the same time.
Parents make a great mistake when they continue the same method
with a youth which they applied in his childhood. There is the
time of plowing, there is the time of sowing and there is the
time of reaping the harvest. It is not all done at the same
In youth a child is most susceptible to influences, and at
the same time most repellent of influences which fall beneath
its standard. The child which has believed and obeyed its parents
in its childhood does not necessarily believe and obey them
during the time of its youth. The parents must realize this
and change their manner of correcting and guiding the child
from the beginning of its youth.
Youth makes the child inclined to look on its parents or
guardians as old-fashioned people. The present education given
in schools and the child's own experience of things around it
support it in this idea. If the parents force their ideas on
the youth, he first plays with them, making them think that
he agrees with them. But in the next stage he avoids them. And
in the third stage he argues with them and opposes them. Once
a youth has arrived at this third stage he stands on his own
feet, and there is little hope that the parents can guide him.
They are then obliged to let him take his own way whether right
Among a hundred youths one may take a right way by himself,
and five out of the hundred may find their way through the dark,
but ninety-five are lost owing to the absence of guidance. Life
is a sea upon which it is difficult to find one's way, and as
direction is necessary when traveling on the sea, so guidance
is most necessary during the period of youth.
The principal thing one has to remember concerning the education
of young people is to help them, without their knowing it, to
think for themselves. The nature of youth, and especially that
of the youth today, is such that as soon as he feels that he
is directed by someone he feels that he is harnessed to a carriage,
and in this he feels the absence of freedom. An essential thing
in guiding the youth is to make lines of thought and to place
them before him, in order that he may use the lines as a track
to follow. True virtue comes from independent thinking, not
from being under subjection. But at the same time it must be
remembered that the independent spirit which is expressed without
consideration is devoid of beauty. It is desirable that a youth
should show consideration in his thought, speech and action,
for freedom without consideration lacks beauty.
In the guidance of youth the same five directions of development
must be considered as in the education of children: physical,
mental, moral, social and spiritual.
While considering the physical development of a youth one
should remember that youth is the time of full blossom. The
most delicate and important time in everyone's life. If the
blossom is ruined the fruit is lost. Therefore youth is the
golden opportunity. It is the time when a person is not yet
set in his ideas, not addicted to certain habits, ready to accept
new ideas. An intellectual youth generally seeks for new ideas.
Youth is a time when one is most inclined to changes of every
sort, and therefore youth is not fixed in particular habits.
Very often the parents, not knowing what it involves when
their child grows too rapidly, do not consider many things concerning
its life which may harm it later. It is essential that special
attention be given to the balance between activity and repose.
To the sleep, food and recreation of the youth. In a child a
nervous temperament is a sign of intelligence. A genius is generally
nervous in his youth.
Youth is the time when, if the child is sensitive to conditions,
every little thing around it will go to its heart. If there
is a disharmony around a youth, if there is sorrow, disagreement
among his people, depression, it all weighs upon him, at a time
when he is capable of feeling and incapable of helping the situation.
It is not fair to draw sympathy from the youth, and especially
from the one who has a feeling heart, for one's pains and troubles.
For there is a time for every experience and that time comes
later. If pain is sown in the heart of the youth decay develops
at her root of his life, making him bitter all through life.
Wise parents or guardians must know that youth is the springtime
of every soul, the kingliness which is given once to every soul
to experience. No soul may be debarred from nature's kingdom.
It is the duty of parents and guardians to respect youth and
take care that this springtime is given free to the youth, without
burdening his life with the woes of worldly life which await
What is called youth in general terms is particularly the
springtime of the physical body. And therefore if the child
is physically well nourished and well drilled, so that he shows
power and energy in every movement, it makes him fit for any
sort of work that he may desire to learn, and for making his
way in life. Seeing the youth enthusiastic and vigorous, the
parents sometimes do not consider the fact that every burden,
physical or mental, which might weigh him down is most injurious
at this period of his life, although at a later age the same
burden would not be so harmful. Youth being the time of full
bloom, if the child does not show abundant energy and enthusiasm
then at what other time will it do so? Therefore it is necessary
that by physical exercise, proper rest, and good nourishment
the youth is kept in perfect balance.
In youth an extra energy is born which expresses itself in
passion and emotion. If the parents do not know how to deal
with it the child can easily abuse it. There is no end of abuse
of energy to be found in the world today in spite of all the
attention that seems to be awakening in various educational
centers. The idea is that it is no use watching a child, for
this shows lack of trust; nor is it right to correct a child
when it has gone too far in a certain playful tendency. There
is no end of temptation which attracts a youth. It is natural
for a youth who has just passed his period of playfulness to
continue to play in the ways which to him seem harmless. An
important part in the education of a youth is therefore to be
told things plainly, and to be made aware of the advantages
and disadvantages of various interests in life. It is not much
use for a child to read books concerning the life of youth.
Personal advice on the subject in question will prove to be
Very often, before the parents could ever imagine their child's
inclination towards things of a serious nature, the child happens
to have already experienced them, while being absolutely ignorant
of the consequences. The younger generation seems to be declining
every day in physical health, in enthusiasm, compared with the
people of the past. So it is most necessary that in the present
age special care should be taken to ensure that youth is trained
to realize the great importance in life of good physical health,
upon which depends happiness, prosperity and success.
Mental strength in youth depends upon single-mindedness,
and youth is inclined to look in a thousand directions instead
of keeping its mind fixed on one object at a time. A youth who
is helped, or who is naturally inclined, to keep his mind in
one single direction without wavering, is sure to have success
Youth also has an inclination to be impatient, for it is
the time when energy is working with great force, and this makes
youth impulsive and lacking in patience. But if the child were
taught patience when it is not already inclined to it by nature,
it would surely succeed in all that it might undertake in life.
The time of youth has a certain influence on the life of
the child, in that it makes its mind too active; and too much
activity produces confusion in its life. Besides, the physical
energy beating constantly through the pulse of the youth brings
about difficulties in his life. Therefore guardians who are
eager for his studies and progress should take care of the mind
of the youth, which needs to be clear, poised and balanced.
Without this the child is a trouble to his parents and a difficulty
for himself. Youth with thought and consideration is like a
flower with a beautiful color and fragrance.
The moral education of the youth is also of the greatest
importance. A child must grow to recognize a father in every
elderly man, a mother in every elderly woman, a sister in girls
of his age and a brother in boys like himself. In this way the
obligations of one soul to another in this world will be better
understood. When a youth considers his duty only to someone
closely related to him, and not to the others, he becomes limited.
His point of view becomes narrowed. How much better the world
would be if every young man considered it his duty to take care
of and be responsible for every young girl as he would for his
own sister. There would not be so much sorrow and disappointment.
The greatest moral a youth could be taught is to understand
his obligations to others, in order to fill his place fittingly
in the scheme of life.
Youth should be taught to recognize the great power of honesty,
instead of considering honesty only as a virtue. The child must
be taught to make an ideal for itself and to live up to it.
It is no use giving an ideal to a child, for the ideal of one
person is not made for another.
A young man who realizes that his word engages his honor
is an example for the present age when the word, even supported
by twenty seals and stamps and a signature on a paper, does
not hold good. A youth with this sense of honor and dignity.
Whose heart is awakened to human sympathy, who has a keen sense
of duty and who shows thought and consideration for others,
is a model for the present generation in molding its personality.
Moral development does not consist only of acquiring an ideal
and good manners, but also of the power to endure all the jarring
influences that one meets in everyday life. Besides, the consciousness
of one's obligations towards everyone that one meets in life
as an elementary part of moral education. A youth can be without
regard for delicacy of thought, but if his morality is developed
he will act morally with greater ease than those who have learned
morals later in life.
Life is nature, time makes it. Once a person becomes hardened
in a certain way his soul becomes a mold of that particular
nature, and all he says or does in life shows the design of
Very often it happens that a person arrives at the realization
of the great value of moral qualities in the later part of his
life, and yet cannot act according to the ideal he values most.
It is just like an earthen pot which, having been put into the
mold before it was properly finished, comes out of the fire
hardened. The potter may want to change the shape of the pot,
but it cannot be done anymore. If parents and guardians only
realized what an opportunity the time of youth is in life, they
would make out of youth what the Indians call the 'plant of
wishes', which bears as its fruits all one's desires.
In youth there is hope, and there is an object to look forward
to. In accomplishing this object a youth requires two powers:
the power of will and the power of the beauty of thought, speech
and action. Many people in this world, with all their power,
physical, mental and every other form of power, even with an
army at their disposal, prove helpless through the lack of beauty,
the power of which is sometimes greater than any other. It is
the balance of will and beauty that results in wisdom. And in
a youth these three qualities form a trinity, which is the ideal
Youth is naturally inclined to be sociable. If it is not
so it means something is wrong, for it is most desirable for
a youth to make friends and show reciprocity in friendship,
in love or in courtship, and to show courtesy, kindness and
goodwill. Joining youth associations, looking after one's friends
and relatives, giving them welcome and warmth, is something
that is expected of the youth. There is, however, always a danger
for the youth who is sociable and mixes freely in all circles
whether desirable or undesirable. Youth is to some extent a
time of blindness, when the passions and emotions are in full
play. It is just as easy for a youth to take a wrong direction,
as it is to take the right direction. And a growing youth, full
of enthusiasm, overcome with emotion, and eager to experience
anything new and interesting, may take any road opened to him
by his friends. Therefore it is the duty of the guardians to
keep him away from all undesirable influences, without giving
the slightest idea that they control him and his affairs or
deprive him of his freedom.
The higher the ideal of the youth, the greater the future
for him. A youth who is led to work for friends of his age,
for his associations, for his community, for the nation, is
indeed on the right road.
The youth who avoids the friendship of his own sex, or the
one who is not attracted by the opposite sex, is abnormal, and
either of the cases should be taken as a disorder and should
be treated in its early stages. If it is allowed to go on it
results in great disappointment. The youth who is disinclined
to associate with his own sex is as a rule a timid nature and
weak in will power. It is sometimes caused by feebleness of
body and sometimes by having been brought up with extra love,
care and tenderness at the hands of women alone. Therefore the
life of a boy should begin with having boys as companions. In
this way he receives from others the nature which is necessary
It is one thing to be born male. It is another thing to develop
a male personality. It is not sufficient to be born male. A
male personality must be developed. It can be developed in youth,
but if this time is missed, then it is almost too late, although
no doubt a youth of such an abnormal nature can still be placed
in surroundings from which in time he may receive the impressions
he needs to complete his male personality.
A youth who responds to joy and to sorrow and to those near
and dear to him, who echoes every impulse, who is interested
in everything desirable and who is alive to all pleasure and
joy, is a normal youth. If he is guided rightly he will make
his life worth living.
The same tendencies may be observed in girls. A girl who
is not brought up with other girls develops a character which
is not feminine. The consequences are she is repulsive to her
own sex and unattractive to the opposite sex. When in youth
a girl begins to show male traits in her personality, she should
by every means be placed in female surroundings, which in time
may so impress her spirit that her personality partakes of the
qualities that are necessary to complete her female personality.
There are also youths who are strongly attracted to their
own sex and away from the opposite sex. Amongst them some are
physically and some mentally abnormal. But there are some in
whom the desire for the opposite sex is still asleep, and it
needs awakening. Very often in the cases of the latter kind
difficulties arise. People blame them for something which is
not their fault. For people not knowing the truth expect them
to be as responsive to the opposite sex as everybody else. And
when they do not find them as they expect them to be, people
become impatient with them. Many courtship's and marriages are
destroyed by this lack of understanding. If one only knew the
art of doing it one would wait and help gently and patiently,
as if for the ripening of green fruit.
A youth with good manners and education yet without endurance,
cannot make great progress in life, for he tends only to associate
with those who come up to his standard. He will ignore or avoid
those who fall beneath it. And as his sense of discernment becomes
keener he will become more and more intolerant.
The downfall of modern civilization is caused by the lack
of sincere sociability. There is a diplomatic form of politeness
which is only politeness in form, without sincerity, but true
politeness belongs to the one who is sympathetic. Sincerity
is the principal thing in life.
Youth is the age which is most attracted to superficiality.
That is the reason why many youths adopt an artificial manner
of thought, speech and action, which is very undesirable and
does not benefit their life.
It is important to inculcate sincerity in the character of
the youth. To give a youth a love of sincerity is extremely
useful, for the power of sincerity can work miracles. Also pride,
a natural sprit which grows in a youth, must be molded into
an ideal. The same pride which makes man stiff, stern and inconsiderate,
if developed into what is called self-respect, will be the true
sign of honor in life. For pride when guided into the right
channels gives rise to consideration. Such a person becomes
careful not to think, say or do what falls beneath his standard
of virtue. Pride rightly directed molds the character, and it
is the perfected character which culminates in an ideal.
The development of the spiritual side of the youth comes
before anything else in life. Often spirituality is confused
with religion. In reality, however, this word has quite a different
meaning. Religion for many is that which they know to be their
people's belief. Spirituality is the revealing of the divine
light which is hidden in every soul. It has no concern with
any particular religion. Whatever religion a person belongs
to is no good to him if he has no spirituality. But if a man
is spiritual, then whatever be his faith he will profit by it.
Therefore, before thinking what religion the youth should belong
to, one should train him in a spiritual ideal.
A youth of today, trained in the spirit of commercialism
and with material motives put before him, can never grow up
to become a really happy person who can impart his happiness
to his fellow men. The greatest drawback of modern times is
the bringing up of youth in an absolutely material atmosphere,
so that he has nothing to look forward to beyond matter and
material conditions, which are as poor as matter itself. No
child comes on earth without a spiritual ideal, but it is the
surroundings in which it lives, its guardians, its associates,
that make the child materialistic. It cannot develop by itself
when all the surroundings are different. In this way the spiritual
ideal which the child brings on earth is strangled by material
guardians and associates.
The world of today would have been much better than it is
if there had been a spiritual ideal placed before it as well
as a material ideal, which seems to be the only goal of the
modern world. If one can learn from experience, the recent catastrophes
have not been a small example of what the development of materialism
can bring about. If the world goes on in the same manner, what
will be the result? There is no hope for the betterment of humanity
until the spiritual ideal has been brought forward and made
the central theme of education both at home and in schools.
This only can be the solution of the difficult problem of world
reform that faces humanity.
How to begin the training of youth in spiritual ideals is
not an easy problem to solve. For there are several dangers
which have to be considered before beginning such a training
with a youth. It is not necessary that the youth should be made
a religious fanatic or religiously proud. He must not be made
to think that his spiritual direction makes him superior to
others. Goodness always gives a certain vanity, and an undeveloped
spirituality brings a still greater vanity. If by spirituality
a youth is made bigoted in his own faith, looking at the followers
of every other faith with contempt, or with a sort of indifference,
it cannot be right. How many religious souls there still are
in this world who think their scripture is the only scripture,
their church the only religion, and everyone else infidels!
Such a faith can never produce spirituality in a soul.
Spirituality comes from the softening of the heart, which
becomes frozen by the coldness of the surrounding life. The
influence of worldly life upon the mind generally has a freezing
effect. For selfishness coming from all sides naturally makes
a man cool and selfish. Therefore it is the constant softening
of the heart of the youth that is necessary. There are two ways
of softening the heart: one is to help the youth to open himself
to the beauty which is shining in all its various forms. The
other is to give him a tendency to righteousness, which is the
very essence of the soul. These things cannot be taught, but
they can be awakened in the heart of the youth if the parents
or the guardians only know how. The child must not be forced
by principles, but love of virtue should be created in his heart,
for in the inner nature of every soul there is love of virtue.
Spirituality in the real sense of the word is the discovering
of the spirit, which is attained by rising above self or by
diving into self.
The greatest fault of the day is the absence of stillness.
Stillness is nowadays often taken as leisureliness or as slowness.
Modern man lacks concentration and carries with him an atmosphere
of restlessness. With all his knowledge and progress he feels
uncomfortable himself, and unintentionally brings discomfort
to others. Stillness is therefore the most important lesson
that can be taught to the youth of today.
Spirituality is like the water hidden in the depth of the
earth. Hidden in the heart of man, this water which is spirituality
must be, so to speak, dug out. This digging is done when one
takes pains in awakening one's sympathy towards others, in harmonizing
with others and in understanding others.
The outer knowledge of human life and nature is called philosophy,
but the inner knowledge of these is called psychology. This
knowledge can be studied. Yet the real spirit of this knowledge
is manifested in the awakening of the soul. The youth must be
given higher thoughts in order that he may think about a higher
ideal, uphold a higher conception of life, gain a higher aspiration
and carry through life a higher attitude, a higher point of
It is in the ennobling of the soul that spirituality lies,
not in a mere show of spirituality. And nobleness of the soul
is realized in the feeling of selflessness. Whatever be a man's
rank or position, if he shows selflessness in life he is truly
noble. The spiritual nobility is the real aristocracy, for it
expresses itself in democracy. In a really spiritual person
aristocracy and democracy are one, for these ideals, which both
have their spiritual beauty, are summed up in the one spirit
of nobleness. A youth must be taught that it is becoming angelic
which shows spirituality. It is becoming human which is the
true sign of the spiritual man.