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The qualities of a mature person are very strange.
First, he is not a person. He is no longer a self. He has a presence, but he is not a person.
Second, he is more like a child...simple and innocent.
That’s why I said the qualities of a mature person are very strange, because maturity gives a sense as if he has experienced, as if he is aged, old. Physically he may be old, but spiritually he is an innocent child. His maturity is not just experience gained through life. Then he will not be a child, and then he will not be a presence; he will be an experienced person – knowledgeable but not mature.
Maturity has nothing to do with your life experiences. It has something to do with your inward journey, experiences of the inner.
The more he goes deeper into himself, the more mature he is. When he has reached the very center of his being, he is perfectly mature. But at that moment the person disappears, only presence remains.
The self disappears, only silence remains.
Knowledge disappears, only innocence remains.
To me, maturity is another name for realization: you have come to the fulfillment of your potential, it has become actual. The seed has come on a long journey, and has blossomed.
Maturity has a fragrance. It gives a tremendous beauty to the individual. It gives intelligence, the sharpest possible intelligence. It makes him nothing but love. His action is love, his inaction is love; his life is love, his death is love. He is just a flower of love.
The West has definitions of maturity which are very childish. The West means by maturity that you are no longer innocent, that you have ripened through life experiences, that you cannot be cheated easily, that you cannot be exploited, that you have within you something like a solid rock – a protection, a security.
This definition is very ordinary, very worldly. Yes, in the world you will find mature people of this type. But the way I see maturity is totally different, diametrically opposite to this definition. The maturity will not make you a rock; it will make you so vulnerable, so soft, so simple.
I remember...a thief entered a master’s hut. It was a full-moon night, and by mistake he had entered; otherwise, what can you find in a master’s house? The thief was looking, and was amazed that there was nothing. And then suddenly he saw a man who was coming with a candle in his hand.
The man said, “What are you looking for in the dark? Why did you not wake me up? I was just sleeping near the front door, and I could have showed you the whole house.” And the man looked so simple and so innocent, as if he could not conceive that anybody could be a thief.
Before his simplicity and innocence, the thief said, “Perhaps you do not know that I am a thief.”
The master said, “That doesn’t matter, one has to be someone. The point is that I have been in the house for thirty years and I have not found anything, so let us search together! And if we can find something, we can be partners. I have not found anything in this house; it is just empty.”
The thief was a little afraid: the man seems to be strange. Either he is mad or...who knows what kind of man he is? He wanted to escape, because he had brought things from two other houses that he had left outside the house.
The master had only one blanket – that was all that he had – and it was a cold night, so he told that thief, “Don’t go this way, don’t insult me this way; otherwise I will never be able to forgive myself, that a poor man came to my house in the middle of the night and had to go empty-handed. Just take this blanket. And it will be good – outside it is so cold. I am inside the house; it is warmer here.”
He covered the thief with his blanket. The thief was just losing his mind! He said, “What are you doing? I am a thief!”
The master said, “That does not matter. In this world everybody has to be somebody, has to do something. You may be stealing; that doesn’t matter, a profession is a profession. Just do it well, with all my blessings. Do it perfectly, don’t be caught; otherwise you will be in trouble.”
The thief said, “You are strange. You are naked and you don’t have anything!”
The master said, “Don’t be worried, because I am coming with you! Only the blanket was keeping me in this house; otherwise in this house there is nothing – and the blanket I have given to you. I am coming with you – we will live together. You seem to have many things; it is a good partnership. I have given my all to you. You can give me a little bit; that will be right.”
The thief could not believe it! He just wanted to escape from that place and from that man. He said, “No, I cannot take you with me. I have my wife, I have my children, and my neighbors, what will they say? – `You have brought a naked man!’”
He said, “That’s right. I will not put you in any embarrassing situation. So you can go, I will remain in this house.” And as the thief was going, the master shouted, “Hey! Come back!” The thief had never heard such a strong voice; it went just like a knife. He had to come back. The master said, “Learn some ways of courtesy. I have given you the blanket and you have not even thanked me. So first, thank me; it will help you a long way. Secondly, going out – you opened the door when you came in – close the door! Can’t you see the night is so cold, and can’t you see that I have given you the blanket and I am naked? Your being a thief is okay, but as far as manners are concerned, I am a difficult man. I cannot tolerate this kind of behavior. Say thank you!”
The thief had to say, “Thank you, sir,” and he closed the door and escaped. He could not believe what had happened! He could not sleep the whole night. Again and again he remembered...he had never heard such a strong voice, such power. And the man had nothing!
He enquired the next day and he found out that this was a great master. He had not done well. It was absolutely ugly to go to that poor man; he had nothing. But he was a great master.
The thief said, “That I can understand myself – that he is a very strange kind of man. In my whole life I have been coming in contact with different kinds of people, from the poorest to the richest, but never... even remembering him, a shivering goes through my body.
“When he called me back I could not run away. I was absolutely free, I could have taken the things and run away, but I could not. There was something in his voice that pulled me back.”
After a few months the thief was caught, and in the court the magistrate asked him, “Can you name a person who knows you in this vicinity?”
He said, “Yes, one person knows me” ...and he named the master.
The magistrate said, “That’s enough – call the master. His testimony is worth that of ten thousand people. What he says about you will be enough to give judgment.”
The magistrate asked the master, “Do you know this man?”
He said, “Know him? We are partners. He is my friend. He even visited me one night in the middle of the night. It was so cold that I gave him my blanket. He is using it, you can see. That blanket is famous all over the country; everybody knows it is mine.”
The magistrate said, “He is your friend? And does he steal?”
The master said, “Never! He can never steal. He is such a gentleman that when I gave him the blanket he said to me, `Thank you, sir.’ When he went out of the house, he silently closed the doors. He is a very polite, nice fellow.”
The magistrate said, “If you say so, then all the testimonies of the witnesses who have said that he is a thief are cancelled. He is freed.” The master went out and the thief followed him.
The master said, “What are you doing? Why are you coming with me?”
He said, “Now I can never leave you. You have called me your friend, you have called me your partner. Nobody has ever given me any respect. You are the first person who has said that I am a gentleman, a nice person. I am going to sit at your feet and learn how to be like you. From where have you got this maturity, this power, this strength, this seeing of things in a totally different way?”
The master said, “Do you know that night how bad I felt? You had gone; it was so cold. Without a blanket sleep was not possible. I was just sitting by the window seeing the full moon, and I wrote a poem: `If I was rich enough I would have given this perfect moon to that poor fellow, who had come in the dark to search for something in a poor man’s house. I would have given the moon if I had been rich enough, but I am poor myself.’ I will show you the poem, come with me.
“I wept that night, that thieves should learn a few things. At least they should inform a day or two ahead when they come to a man like me, so we can arrange something, so they don’t have to go empty-handed.
“It is good that you remembered me in the court; otherwise those fellows are dangerous, they may have mistreated you. I offered that very night to come with you and be partners with you, but you refused. Now you want... There is no problem, you can come. Whatever I have I will share with you. But it is not material: it is something invisible.”
The thief said, “That I can feel; it is something invisible. But you have saved my life, and now it is yours. Make whatever you want to make of it. I have been simply wasting it. Seeing you, looking in your eyes, one thing is certain – that you can transform me. I have fallen in love from that very night.