Maturity of the Mind

The View from Adyar

By Radha Burnier

Originally printed in the May - June 2003 issue of Quest magazine. 
Citation: Burnier, Radha. "Maturity of the Mind." Quest  91.3 (MAY - JUNE 2003):

There is a world of difference between a mind which is mature and one which is not. In the fragmententitled "The Seven Portals" in The Voice of the Silence, the following words occur:

Thy Soul has to become as the ripe
mango fruit: as soft and sweet as its
bright golden pulp for others' woes, as
hard as that fruit's stone for thine own
throes and sorrows

The ripening takes place slowly through the experience of many incarnations, or quickly at a certain stage by discovering in what maturity consists.

From the spiritual point of view, maturity is not ability of a worldly kind. Just as the fully ripe mango has no raw portion in it, the mature mind is free of every element of rawness. The word "raw" means, among other things, "untrained." A raw recruit is, for example, an untrained person. The word also means "unhealed," "sore" or "inflamed," as is a wounded area which has not been restored to health. These words help to understand the state of immaturity.

Thoughts and emotions constantly well up in the mind, many or most of them being disorderly reactions topeople and circumstances. These reactions are symptoms of the subconscious condition. The insecurity of theself is displayed in numerous ways: Emotions which are easily inflamed, sensitivity to the opinions ofothers, vainglorious thought, and so on. People who appear strong may in fact be hardening themselves, because they are uncertain and feel the need to protect themselves. Wanting to become hard, strong or clever is a symptom of hidden weakness.

Among the seven virtues described as the keys to "The Seven Portals" in The Voice of the Silence is kshanti, ‘patience sweet, that nought can ruffle.’ In the absence of egoism, there is nothing to be offended or disturbed. The mind is like a light which burns steadily, unaffected by outer conditions.

Steadiness, and a real sense of peace, and freedom from wants and fears, are all characteristic ofmaturity. The true happiness described by Plotinus is also that state of maturity. He says:

The sign that this state has been achieved is that the man seeks nothing else. Once the man is adept, the means of happiness, the way to good, are within, for nothing is good that lies outside him. Anything he desires further than this, he seeks as a necessity, and not for himself but for a subordinate, for the body bound to him, to which since it has life he must minister the needs of life, not needs, however, to the true man.

One who grows in maturity is not quick to offer opinions and come to conclusions. His mind is perceptive and intelligent, but the intelligence itself makes him pause and wait. He does not take it for granted that his opinions are of value and therefore there is obstinacy, assertiveness or pride in him. The first sign of maturity is to recognize one’s own limitations, and be humble and simple.


Radha Burnier, President of the international Theosophical Society, is also international head of the Theosophical Order of Service and the author of several books, including Human Regeneration. This column was adapted from The Theosophist 117 (December 1995): 85-86


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