It is true, just as Jesus says: Unless you are born again you will not attain the kingdom of God. He does not mean that first you have to die and be born again; he is only using a metaphor. You have to die as a thinker, as a mind, and you have to be reborn only as an innocent consciousness, just like a child.
Once a man has completed the whole circle from childhood to the enlightened man, he comes to the same self-nature, only with one difference: the child was not aware of it, and the enlightened person is nothing but awareness. He recognizes the value, he enjoys the tremendous bliss of it; his is the ecstasy of the ultimate and the eternal.
The child was just innocent in a negative sense – he was innocent because he was ignorant – and the sage is innocent because he is wise. All ignorance has been dispelled.
The child’s innocence was not meditative; it was simply non-functioning consciousness; it was just waiting for the right time and age to start functioning. Perhaps the reason is…all the animals in the world are born complete; only man’s child is born incomplete. Hence man’s child is more dependent and helpless than any animal in the world.
An animal’s children can survive without the family, without the mother, without the father; they will find some way. But it is impossible to think that man’s child can find some way to survive on his own.
The reason is very strange; perhaps you have never thought about it. The reason is that man’s child is born incomplete. He has to be born incomplete because the mother cannot carry the child for three years more; that would mean for four years continuously…. Nine months is the ultimate for the mother to carry the child; more than that it is impossible, her womb has not the capacity.
So every child is born three years before he should have been born. Those three years he is out of the womb, but almost totally dependent on the mother, on the father, on the family – now this is the womb around him. After three years he starts taking a few steps outside the circle of the womb, the family, and for the first time he starts showing indications of being an individual.
Below the age of three, children are almost always referring to themselves in the third person: “The baby is hungry”; “The baby wants to sleep”; “The baby is thirsty.” They don’t say, “I am thirsty”; the “I” has not formed yet. The “I” will need a little time, because it is nothing but the center of the mind. The body is formed; the mind is still in the process of forming. It takes three years for the mind to come to a point from where it starts functioning as an individual.
So the body is born when the child has been nine months in the mother’s womb, and the mind is born when the child has been three years out of the womb. That’s why we cannot remember further backwards than the age of three. There, suddenly a China wall…