What is meant to be really young?
A child is someone who cannot know because the physical apparatus, the brain, is itself not ripe. An old man is someone who already knows.
Then, who is a young man? A young man is one who doesn’t know but can know and that is beautiful. The humility is there that I don’t really know. And the faith is there that I can know. That is a young man. The child says I cannot know. And that’s right, the child cannot know. The old man says I already know. A young is the one who says, 'I am not full of knowledge but I have the capacity to know. I am not too full but I have that capability. I have the surrender. I have not become rigid. I can open myself up. I can surrender to reality and hence know.'
That is what a young man is!
Let us understand like this. On one hand are tables and benches and they are wood. On the other hand, there are these trees in the forests. What is the difference between this wood and those trees? The difference is that this table won’t accept changes. It already has a beautiful form and colour, nicely decorated, etc. It is usable. The society will use it very nicely. But those trees are not really usable unless you cut them down. This, the table, won’t experience a breeze blowing. Those trees will experience the breeze blowing. And that is vulnerable. If there is a storm, it will harm the trees, but no storm will harm this wood (table).
That is what is to be young to be vulnerable and to be open. To be open to everything existence is. That is what it means to really live. That is life. One in a thousand physically young people is actually young. One in a thousand is actually like the tree. Singing with the wind! Open to the Sun! Blossoming! Flowering! And dying! Others are like the table, nicely decorated. They spend two hours daily on decorating themselves. The tree never decorates itself, yet the tree is much more beautiful than any of this furniture. And we decorate ourselves so much, yet we are never beautiful. We are ornamented, alright! But we are not beautiful. We don’t know beauty. Beauty is not about having a face that is glossy and colorful lips. Is that what beauty is? We don’t know beauty because we don’t know the tree.
Go, and observe a tree. And then you will realize what it to be young is and what is it to be really beautiful. This (the table) has been killed! This (the table) has been murdered! We too have been killed and murdered at an early age. This (the table) has been given an artificial color. This wood is no more the wood it used to be, an artificial color has been given to it. You too have been given artificial colours. Look at your hair, look at your cheeks, look at your clothes, everything is artificial. Is there anything artificial about the tree? And that is why it is young because there is nothing artificial about it. All that comes from outside is artificiality.
A young man must have a healthy contempt for the world. A young man should not be dyed in the colors of the world. Youth ought to be a little contemptuous; not worldly. Be contemptuous.
Today this is such a pity to look at thirty and forty-five years old, and see how they are acting in deeply worldly ways, buying properties – that is their concern. They are not rebelling against establishment; they are standing with establishment and aligning their interests with the establishment. They are doing what their fathers did after they were fifty years of age. They have no contempt for the world; they worship the world. And that is why their faces look like those of fifty years old, and even their minds act like the minds of those fifty years old.
Let there be a freshness and innocence in your youth. And if you are fresh and innocent, and if you surrender only to the truth, the world will extract its pound of flesh. Be prepared to pay the price. No price is too heavy for reclaiming your youth. Pay the price. Face all the wounds boldly that this world can inflict upon you.
Remember, only one in a thousand physically young people is actually young!