The first state of mind we can call “pre-mind.” It exists in a very small child – very primitive, animal-like. Hence the beauty of the children, and the innocence, and the grace – because that anxiety which we call man has not yet evolved. The child is at ease. The child is not yet a traveler, he has yet not left his home in search for some other home. The pilgrimage has not started yet. The child is at rest – perfectly at ease and happy to be whatsoever he is. That’s why his eyes have no anxiety, and the child has a certain grace around him.
But this grace is going to be lost. This grace cannot stay forever, because it is unconscious, because it has not been earned, because it is a natural gift, and the child is completely oblivious to it. He cannot hold onto it. How can you hold onto something when you are unconscious of it? It has to be lost. The only way to gain it is to lose it. The child will have to go into corruption, into perversion. The child will have to go into the cunningness of the mind, and then the child will understand that he has lost something – something immensely valuable.
But one can know it only when it is lost. There is no other way to know it. Then the search starts. Religion is nothing but the search for the lost childhood. Everybody carries the memory of it, the very alive memory of it, somewhere deep down. Maybe not very consciously, but it functions like an unconscious substratum that something has been lost, something has been forgotten, something was there which is no more there; something is being missed, and one starts searching for it.
The first stage is pre-mind. There is no responsibility, because a child knows nothing of duty, the child knows nothing of values, virtues. The child knows nothing of sainthood, so he is not aware of sin either. He exists before the diversion, he exists before those two paths of sin and sainthood diverge, separate and go apart. He is in a kind of primitive unity. This cannot last for long, this is going to go, but it has not gone yet. This is the state of the child near about three years of age.
Between three and four the child loses his innocence, loses his virginity, loses nature and becomes part of the civilized world – really becomes man.
This pre-mind is instinctive. It is very intelligent, but the intelligence is not intellectual, the intelligence is purely instinctive. The child functions very intelligently but not intellectually. The intelligence that a child shows is natural, he has not learned it. It is part of the wisdom of his body, it is inherited.
The child has no idea of good and bad, so there is never any conflict. His desires are pure. Whatsoever he desires, he desires passionately, totally. No problem arises in his mind whether this desire is right or wrong. Whenever he is in a certain mood, he is totally in it – but his moods are momentary. He has no identity, he is unpredictable: one moment he is loving, another moment he is angry. And you cannot tell him “You are contradictory”; he is very inconsistent because he is always true to the moment. Not that he does anything consciously, it is just natural.
So the innocence is there, but it is not very deep. The innocence is there, but it has no meditativeness in it. It is shallow, momentary, temporary, tentative.