© Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust

Growing tall

18 January 1956

Is there an aspiration for growth in children also, as there is in plants? [old p. 25]

Yes. Even, very often it is conscious: they want to be tall.

Does it then depend upon their aspiration--their being tall or short?

At a particular time, yes. Indeed, I have known children who have grown tall because they had a very strong will to grow.

Yes, that has an effect even when one is no longer quite a child. I have seen cases of people who grew taller even at twenty-five, so very anxious were they to grow tall. And I am not speaking of those who have practised physical culture, for that's different; with physical training one can considerably change one's body; I am just speaking of an aspiration, an inner will. The body is sufficiently plastic till twenty-five. Later one must introduce more scientific methods, like physical culture; and if that is done wisely and methodically, one can obtain wonderful results. But always, behind it, there must be a will, that is very important; a kind of tenacious aspiration, a knowledge, or even a faith that one is not necessarily tied down by atavism.

For obviously, like plants, one is limited by the original seed, the species to which one belongs. But all the same there is a wide margin. For instance, I have very many times seen children who were considerably taller than their parents, and had truly wanted to be so. Of course, it was against a certain resistance and within a certain limit, but one can push back the limit a good deal.

And in fact, according to the theories of heredity and atavism, it is said that heredity can skip generations, and there are few families where at least one member was not tall and so could justify the height of his grandchildren or great-grandchildren.