Sadhguru and Kiran Bedi discuss the cause of rape and what steps society has to take to fix these dreadful crimes.

Kiran Bedi: Sixty percent of India is in its villages – its panchayats, families, mahilamandals, and district administrations. If we look at Uttar Pradesh for example, a lot of wrong has happened there, unfortunately. Every time someone has violated a woman’s body, we only talk about the law – we don’t talk about the source, the schooling, the family, the community where it’s come from. How long will we remain only reactionary? Aren’t prevention and response two sides of the same coin if we want a better society?

Sadhguru: There is no question about that. At the same time, punishment can be done easily – prevention is a long-term project. The social commitment right now is short-span. When something horrible happens, people react, and tomorrow morning everything goes on as before. If you want to get into prevention, it is a lifelong commitment to create a society of a certain kind. Marching on the streets for one day and lighting candles is not enough for prevention. Prevention is a lifelong commitment. That commitment has to be made.

In their own way, the media and everyone else are trying to churn up a certain level of emotion towards this, which on one level is good, but it also creates a bad image for the nation outside the country. Whatever ugly events have happened in UP – you see the comments of the leaders. That’s the mindset.

Kiran Bedi: They have been saying, “Boys will be boys. They also sometimes make mistakes, so try and forgive them.” They have been very awful.

Sadhguru: As a nation, as a people, all of us should have the courage to address these questions within our minds and within our society, with our children. In earlier times, in this country, by the time a girl was 12, 13, she would be married. A boy would be married by the time he was 15, 16. But now the whole dynamics have changed. Girls are marrying over 18, 20 years of age, men are marrying over 25 years of age on an average, many of them later.

We need to understand that there is a human physiology, there are hormonal forces working within a young person. The peak of hormonal activity is somewhere between 14 and 25. This is the time they are supposed to maintain their discipline and not look at the girls, and the girls not look at the boys – this is not going to work. Do we have the courage to go back to the old system? Not possible. Are we willing for pre-marital relationships? We have not decided on that. We have left society in confusion. Aberrations are happening because we are unwilling to address fundamental issues.

Kiran Bedi: But it’s linked a lot with caste.

Sadhguru: That is next. But is it not a fact that for a normal human being, somewhere between 14 and 25 is the peak of his hormonal drive. If he knows something beyond he may be beyond that, that’s different. Otherwise, how do you expect someone to be disciplined, especially for this generation who are on internet and seeing things and being exposed to the whole world. You have to make a decision now whether you are going to change the fundamental texture of your society.

Kiran Bedi: Isn’t upbringing critical in this? Is giving birth to children your right? Is it not your responsibility to see that boys and girls are brought up equally, with a sense of responsibility?

Sadhguru: That is a different aspect. What I am saying is there is an anomaly in this whole thing. We are not addressing the fundamental sexual drive in the society.

Kiran Bedi: But that’s world-over.

Sadhguru: No. In many other countries, they are free to do what they want when they are 18. Here, you are not because our mind cannot come to terms with that, because we believe in a certain way. I am not saying this is right or wrong. We are at a crossroads. At a crossroads is where people hit each other. This needs to be looked at with some courage to change, whichever way is best.

Editor’s Note: This article is based on an excerpt from the August 2014 issue of Forest Flower. Pay what you want and download. (set ‘0’ for free). Print subscriptions are also available.