Birds return to their nest at evening and fly out in the morning. They twitter and chirp and fly and gather their food — eat themselves and carry it for their young ones. The cow or the buffalo goes out grazing all through the day but instinctively return to their sheds in the evening to feed their calves. Animals are governed by instincts, innate and natural.
Feelings, if it seems they have any, they are not out of any thinking but out of their instinctive nature. The calf calls up the mother cow in its own language which the cow understands and responds to. After the day’s hard work in the fields or in drawing a cart, the bullocks also need rest and they also sleep.
After chasing and killing its prey, the tiger or the lion, with his belly full, stretches and sleeps. You can say that a pet dog or a pet cat has a lot of intelligence. It understands the mood of is master and does all that it can to keep the master in good humour.
It barks at a stranger and mews at an intruder. Dogs and horses have been known for their faithfulness. Which means that even animals have an instinctive reaction to affection? They can reciprocate.
All this though, there is with the beasts and animals, still they lack in a mind that thinks and plans, that draws a scheme of life. The dog or the horse can understand a loving pat or a reprimand from the master but can do no further. They should be fed at proper time, they should be put to rest and peace and that keeps them satisfied.
The same happens with man as well. But then there is something more that man needs and does. A domestic servant, though not properly educated, but if trained can serve the guests in the right proper manner; even an illiterate rural worker knows what to do when and where. He would have a wash, a bath, would like to clean his clothes and dress well — as well as he can — on a festive occasion.
He does plead for his rights and can be trusted with work. The farmer knows the trend of the seasons and can even forecast a rainfall or a drought he builds a hut or a home for himself to protect himself and his family against the rigors of weather.
Since the pre-historic age, man has been using his mind in making the best of the means available and has been planning his safety. Even during the Stone Age, man made implements of stones; he could discover edible herbs and fruits and then began growing crops. All these developments in the history of mankind clearly show man’s intelligence and his mental capacity.
Gradually men grew more and more civilized. They at least had the sense — which the animals do not have of privacy and of gender considerations. Men grew more civilized and their intelligence gave them the capacity to learn and teach; to reflect and philosophize; to know of the powers of nature and then to think, who has created all this nature — who is the regulator of the planets in the sky; who guides and governs the universe. This led them to fields of philosophy and spirituality.
All these are factors which are beyond an animal’s instinct and understanding. Civilizations have grown, cultures have developed and philosophies and religions have come into existence. All this constitutes the history of human civilization.
Mankind has made great strides in the fields of art, culture, literature, scientific development and growth. The mind of man does not sit at rest. It is a quality and a capacity given to mankind by God, which man has begun to exploit and use in gainful pursuits. We now boast ourselves to be a civilized; a cultured people only with the use of the mind.
The physical needs are there, they shall ever remain there — food and water and shelter shall be the demand of all but even in these essential needs for living man, with the use of his brains have brought about a revolution. Science has metamorphosed life. What a hundred years ago seemed impossibilities now are possible and made possible.
Mind of man has explored vast fields and is still on with the pursuit of further and still further exploration. The secrets of nature are secrets no longer and man does not seem to sit at rest.
Man has not craved and lived for bread alone. If there is the craving for the satisfaction of physical wants, now there is further and deeper craving for the satisfaction of mental wants.
Man’s mind probes deeper into the mysteries of life and nature, into the mysteries of birth and death — Wordsworth wrote in one of his famous poems ‘Ode to Immortality’ —
‘Not in entire forgetfulness
Not in utter nakedness
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home’
From God, who is our home where man comes from and where he goes after that, is there any Supreme Power that guides and governs the entire Universe — all these questionings led the human mind delve deep into the eternal varieties of life.
This satisfied the thus far, dormant spirituality of the man and opened the third front for his pursuits. Shakespeare said ‘There’re more things in heaven and earth which are beyond our philosophies’. Still philosophies pursued on and pressed on for more spiritual knowledge.
The Soul of man sought further food and he got it through these quests. Great philosophers, great thinkers, great Gurus and great masters have come down on this earth and graced humanity with their thoughts. The craving of man to know more and more still remains unsatisfied — the hunger persists — the food is being sought.
All this does prove the fact that man does not live by bread alone.
But then with all that has been said above, there remain still, the dark clouds over the horizon. The modern man, with all the knowledge, with all the wealth of thought available to him still runs after more and more of materialistic possessions and physical powers.
The craze for more and more comforts and possessions makes him run a wild race. Desires have no destination they eternally pursue mirages — they keep trying to catch the shadow mistaking it for the substance. The youth of today, in particular is mad after glamour and glow. It has blinded their mind and stifled their spirit. Even the West, delved deep in materialism, is feeling hard pressed to seek solace in this Ashram or that Ashram sometimes an Acharya Rajneesh attracts them, sometimes a Mahesh Yogi and so many seek relief sitting at the feet of Sai Baba of Puttuparthi. Others are flocking to our land — India — to seek mental and spiritual peace while our youth shuns this as a useless and wasteful Pursuit. That is the tragedy of our glorious country with such a rich heritage.
Let us then, try to transform the scene to the greater good of the greater number; to follow Jesus Christ in ‘love thy neighbour as thy own self to which precept Mahatma Gandhi added — and every living being is thy neighbour’. If this dream can come true, Indians, at least could not be damned as the lovers of mammon; there would be congeniality, communion and concord all around — the real field for all physical, mental and spiritual food.