After the development of the second body a person reaches adulthood. But this is the adulthood of sex. Nature’s work is complete with this development, and this is why nature gives its full cooperation up to this stage. But at this stage man is not man in the full sense of the word. The third body, where reason, intellect and the thinking power develop, is an outcome of education, civilization and culture. This is why the right to vote is granted to a person when he is twenty-one years of age. Though this is prevalent all over the world, some countries are debating whether to allow an eighteen-year-old the right to vote. This is natural, because as man is becoming more and more evolved the usual span of seven years for the growth of each body is becoming less and less.
All over the world girls reach puberty at the age of thirteen to fourteen years. Over the last thirty years the age of puberty is becoming lower and lower. Even girls of eleven reach puberty. The lowering of the voting age to eighteen is an indication that man now completes the work of twenty-one years in eighteen years. Normally, however, twenty-one years are required for the growth of the third body, and the majority of people do not develop further than this. Their growth stops short with the development of the third body, and there is no further development for the rest of their lives.
What I call the psyche is the fourth body – the manas sharir. This body has its own wonderful experiences. Now a person whose intellect is not developed may not be able to take interest in or enjoy mathematics, for instance. Mathematics has its own charm, and only an Einstein can be absorbed in it as a musician is in music or a painter is in colors. For Einstein mathematics was not work but play, but the intellect must reach this peak of development in order to turn mathematics into play.
With each body that develops infinite possibilities open before us. One whose etheric body does not develop, who stagnates after the first seven years of development, does not have any interest in life beyond eating and drinking. So the cultures of those civilizations where the majority of people have developed only up to the first body revolve entirely around their taste buds. The civilization where the majority of people have got stuck at the second body will be sex centered. Their personalities, their literature, their music, their films and books, their poetry and paintings, even their houses and vehicles, will all be sex centered – all these things will be completely filled with sex, with sexuality.
In the civilization in which the third body develops fully, people will be intellectual and contemplative. Whenever the development of the third body becomes very important in a society or in a nation, many intellectual revolutions take place. In Bihar, the majority of the people were of this caliber at the time of Buddha and Mahavira. This is why eight individuals of the stature of Buddha and Mahavira were born in the small province of Bihar. Besides this, there were thousands of others at the time who were endowed with genius. Such was the condition in Greece at the time of Socrates and Plato; such also was the condition in China at the time of Lao Tzu and Confucius. What is even more wonderful to note is the fact that all these luminous beings existed within a period of five hundred years. Within those five hundred years the development of the third body in man reached its peak. Generally, man halts at the third body. The majority of people do not develop after twenty-one years.