Taoists in China have a saying that a man dies nearabout the age of thirty; then it is only a question of when you are going to bury him. You may bury him after thirty years, forty years, fifty years, that is another matter – but as far as life is concerned a person dies nearabout thirty.
This saying is certainly true. In fact, psychologists say that the average human being’s mental age is only twelve years. That means the mind has become dead, has stopped functioning at the age of twelve – not even thirty. That’s why people go on behaving childishly.
And remember, to be childlike is totally different from being childish. To be childish is ugly: to be childlike is to be a sage. To be childlike means to be in the state of agnosia, learning. To be childish means you already know. Only a childish person can think that he already knows, that there is nothing left to know.
The more stupid you are, the sooner you become knowledgeable. The more intelligent you are, the more difficult it is to become knowledgeable – because to become knowledgeable means you have come to the very end of your intelligence. You are finished, you are spent.
This is the first meaning of “wholesome discipline.” Your priests, your imams, your popes, your shankaracharyas are all dead people. They go on quoting from the scriptures like parrots, but if you just dig a little deep in them you will not find anything; you will find only rubbish. You will find them as ordinary as anybody else. The only difference is that their egos are puffed up with borrowed knowledge.
A learner never depends on borrowed knowledge. He himself tries to experience life, love, death – everything. He tries to explore every possibility. He never misses an opportunity, he never misses any challenge of life. He risks; he takes all challenges, accepts them, welcomes them. And whenever the unknown calls him he is ready – ready to go, to take a jump, to go into the uncharted, to go into the unmapped, to go into the unmeasured, unfathomable. It needs courage.
Otherwise, it is very easy and cheap to become knowledgeable. It needs no courage; any coward can become knowledgeable. But knowledge remains only skin-deep…not even that.
A wealthy jazz musician decided to go to church one Sunday. After the service he approached the preacher with much enthusiasm. “Reverend,” he said, “that was a swinging sermon, man. I flipped my lid…that was the grooviest!”
“I am happy you liked it,” said the Reverend, “but I wish you would not use those terms in expressing yourself!”
“I am like sorry, man…Reverend, but I dug that sermon so much!” said the cat. “In fact, it sent me so much, I flipped a C-note into the collection pot!”
The Reverend said, “Crazy, man, crazy!”