capable of reproducing the species. Men are, by design, supporters of her needs to safely carry and bring up the child, and not in any way meant to substitute for her own biological maternal talents and abilities.
Father as guru comes later in life for a child, and is slower to build. It is dependent on the gender characteristics of the child and the father, plus obviously the power and love inter-relationship between mother, father, baby and other siblings, all of which vary greatly between families. It also depends on the dharmic link that the child and his father have, which is similar, but different, to the mother's. In other words, each child has a specifically individual relationship to work out with their father which comes later than, is secondary to, and is far less dependent on biological paternity, than that of the mother's which is primary and so strongly developed by the gestated maternity.
Medical science tells us that at the time of her own birth a girl child carries within her all the eggs she can use for reproduction in her lifetime. She has been gifted by her mother, father and her ancestors with all the genetic potential, be it good or bad, that her body can produce in her lifetime.
Science used to maintain that nothing a woman did during her life could influence the genetic make up or overall number of those eggs. For many years people believed that heredity and luck were the sole deciders for the outcomes of birth. But more recent research, as well as certain environmental events, have shown that it is in fact possible to disrupt fertility and damage our eggs through exposure to certain toxic or radioactive substances. However, the studies in this field are now indicating that a woman's health, her surrounding environment, as well as her age at the time of pregnancy does have profound effects upon the short term develop-ment of the foetus and the long term develop-ment of the child(1).
I have always believed, and both the teachings of yoga and science have only further confirmed for me, that in addition to the inherited genetic imprint, reproductive outcomes can be affected by many other influences: prior to conception, during sexual union, during pregnancy, during birth and during the early years of development. The sum effect of all these factors therefore creates the eggs a girl child will pass on
to herown female children. Biological science currently teaches that any changes (for better or worse) in those eggs take seven generations to become established, which means, even if you spend your whole life improving the health of your own body (and therefore its egg reserves), it will still take another six generations to remove the influence of your own mother's legacy!
So how does this make you feel about the eggs you will be giving your daughters and their daughters' daughters and so on? Does it make you want to try and improve what your ancestors have passed on? Or does it just make you think of giving up and leaving evolution to its own devices? In other words, do you want to consciously help future humanity or just allow spontaneous, sometimes degenerative influences to govern that future?
Anthropologists tell us that according to natural selection, historically women mated with the strongest and smartest males to ensure survival of their babies and better genetic material. Nowadays, very few women would consciously mate purely for such biological reasons. They may well choose a mate based partially on physical looks and competitive performance, but marriages today are a mixture of very different survival factors such as education, status, money and lifestyle. In addition, for most people though, their relationship is formed primarily on mental and emotional compatibility. Reproduction is not seen in terms of biological necessity for the species but as something shared and intimate between two people in love and done for a variety of unconscious or consciously selfish reasons. In short, these days there are all kinds of different body types and mindsets marrying and reproduc-ing. My concern is that if the mating choices and lifestyle patterns are not being made with consideration for the health of the offspring, then over time, as a species, humans will surely breed more and more sick and fertility disturbed children.
My implication from all of the above is that all throughout her own childhood and adolescence, even when the prospect of motherhood seems so very far off, every girl-child already carries within herself the potential reproductive health of her own children. I see this not as some burden of womanhood but more an important and precious gift of nature. Women of all ages must therefore exercise the greatest respect and care for their bodies - not only for themselves, but also for the fitness of their daughters' bodies, those of many future generations and, in fact, the evolution of our species