With youth: What happened to the morality taught in childhood?

Acharya Prashant
4 min readJan 7, 2023

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

Question (Q): In childhood, we were told to do a few things. In childhood, I was told that I should not hit someone. But now my mother says that I should hit someone. Now, I have myself found that hitting someone is not a good thing. Has my intelligence grown or I have submitted to that growth?

Acharya Prashant (AP): His question is that in childhood all of us are told to do a lot of things that are useful. What was that all about? First of all let us understand that the brain which we talk about, is the product of evolution. This brain itself is the seat of intelligence. Unless the brain is ripe enough, there won’t be the action of intelligence and the human brain is not ripe enough till the age of ten, twelve, or fourteen.

A kid cannot understand on its own. Six months old, two years old, six years old, he will have to be helped. He will have to be dependent on others. He cannot do anything. The brain, the cells, have yet not grown. So, it is alright that the kid is given information. Someone has beautifully said, “To be born itself is Ego”. Because when you are born, you are very small, and when you are small, you have to take things from outside, that itself is the Ego. That itself is the dependence. So it is good in the case of a small child.

Listener 1 (L1): Sir, generally at that age we consult our parents because we do not know anything about the world. That also helps me. Why do we take it as an external element?

AP: Yes, because, once you have crossed that particular age, when the mind ripens, then it is your obligation to act intelligently. You were helplessly dependent when you were six years old. You aren’t six months old right now. Why must you behave as a six-month-old today? There is a point when you must get up and walk up on your feet. And by feet, I mean your intelligence. It is alright to take a few things when you are small, but not today. Not at all today.

Then there is the question, the larger question, about ethics. So many good things were told to me in childhood, ‘Don’t hit someone, don’t do this, and don’t do that’. I ask you that is there anyone here who was not taught good things…