Question: In your book, you present an ideal vision of childhood. What of those people whose childhood experiences were not sweet?

Sri Chinmoy: You are saying that in some countries, because of their poverty, children perhaps have not got sweet experiences from their childhood, from their parents. But, in general, even if they are poorer than the poorest, those children have received affection. There is not a single country where children are not shown affection.

In wartime it is different. During a war, there are horrible stories. There may be a dearth of food. But these stories are very rare. In general, no matter how poor a country is or how poor a family is, as soon as a child takes birth it receives affection. Affection does not depend on material prosperity.

I tell you, many poor people in India have more affection for their children than some wealthy people in America, forgive me to say. I come from Bengal, India. There, in one of the poorest countries, we have more affection and love than many people in the so-called rich countries. In America and in other Western countries, people have money. They can have a maidservant, this and that. Then the parents can go out to work and the children will be with the maidservant in the home. But in India it is not like that. When the children are born, the mothers give up their jobs. No matter how poor the family is, it is a matter of heart. What I am saying is a matter of heart.

If circumstances are adverse, the children may not get sweet experiences; but I wish to say that ninety-nine times out of a hundred, children have got sweet experiences in their childhood.