Should I Have Children?


The spiritual needs & "normal" worldly needs seems to be at two extreme ends at times. As a married women in mid 30s and on being on the spiritual path(which gives us our ultimate goal of life), I feel less inclined to plan for a baby because of the attachment & worries (of couse the joy also) that comes with child. But seeing ppl esp. Indian women, going to extend of IVF to get a child baffles me. Its just looks opposite where birth on this temporary physical plane is celebrated. Any insights?

—Tanu, India


​Dear Tanu,

Many people ​in this world ​desire children. It is natural and right​ for them to do so​. ​At the same time, for those who seek God-realization, many choose not to have children, or, even not to marry. This is also natural and right for them. And there are those who choose not to have children for personal reasons of their own. The fact of wanting or not wanting children need not have any great spiritual significance.

Paramhansa Yogananda expressed, as did Jesus Christ, that those who choose to forgo marriage or children in the name of seeking God would do well to see all as their family and thus to take on the seva of a larger family in God. One important reason for saying this is that in the history of renunciation there have been too many who choose a monastic life simply because they didn’t want the responsibilities of family life and not really because they were seeking Self-realization with dedication and one-pointed devotion.

So let those who wish to have children be and, if you choose not to have children, then let this be your opportunity to embrace a larger family in service, sadhana and devotion. Or, if in fact, it is simply something you choose, then so be it. But be careful not to use a spiritual reason for what might be simply a person one. A devotee can be married and have children, or not. The outward circumstances make no difference to the spiritual life if one is truly a devotee. Many saints have been parents and many have not. In the lineage of Paramhansa Yogananda, both Lahiri Mahasaya and Swami Sri Yukteswar were married and had children.

The divine lila of God in human form has inumerable manifestations. Let us each play our part according to that which serves the unfoldment of our souls. There is no right or wrong decision in child-bearing except that which serves the soul’s journey back to God. ok?

Blessings to you,
Nayaswami Hriman