by Shrii Shrii Anandamurti
Human beings are the highest-evolved beings. They possess clearly-reflected consciousness, and this makes them superior to animals. No other being has such a clear reflection of consciousness. Human beings can distinguish between good and bad with the help of their consciousness, and when in trouble they can find a way out, with its help. No one likes to live in misery and suffering, far less human beings, whose consciousness can find means of relief. Life without sorrow and suffering is a life of happiness and bliss, and that is what people desire. Everyone is in quest of happiness; in fact it is people’s nature to seek happiness. Now let us see what one does to achieve it and whether it is achieved by those means.
In their search for happiness people are first attracted towards physical enjoyments. They amass wealth and try to achieve power and position to satisfy their desires for happiness. One who has a hundred rupees is not satisfied with it, one strives for a thousand rupees, but even possessing thousands of rupees does not satisfy. One wants a million, and so on. Then it is seen that a person having influence in a district wants to extend it over a province, provincial leaders want to become national leaders, and when they have achieved that there creeps in a desire for world leadership. Mere acquisition of wealth, power and position does not satisfy a person. The acquisition of something limited only creates the want for more, and the quest for happiness finds no end. The hunger for possessing is unending. It is limitless and infinite.
However dignified or lofty the achievement, it fails to set at rest people’s unlimited quest for happiness. Those who hanker after wealth will not be satisfied until they can obtain unlimited wealth. Nor will the seeker of power, position and prestige be satisfied until he or she can get these in limitless proportions, as all these are objects of the world. The world itself is finite and cannot provide infinite objects. Naturally, therefore, the greatest worldly acquisition, even if it be the entire globe, would not secure anything of an infinite and permanent character. What then is that infinite, eternal thing which will provide everlasting happiness?
The Cosmic Entity alone is infinite and eternal. It alone is limitless. And the eternal longing of human beings for happiness can only be satiated by realization of the Infinite. The ephemeral nature of worldly possessions, power and position can only lead one to the conclusion that none of the things of the finite and limited world can set at rest the everlasting urge for happiness. Their acquisition merely gives rise to further longing. Only realization of the Infinite can do it. The Infinite can be only one, and that is the Cosmic Entity.
Hence it is only the Cosmic Entity that can provide everlasting happiness – the quest for which is the characteristic of every human being. In reality, behind this human urge is hidden the desire, the longing, for attainment of the Cosmic Entity. It is the very nature of every living being. This alone is the dharma of every person.
The word dharma signifies “property”. The English word for it is “nature”, “characteristic” or “property”. The nature of fire is to burn or produce heat. It is the characteristic or property of fire and is also termed the nature of fire. Similarly, the dharma or nature of a human being is to seek the Cosmic Entity.
The degree of divinity in human beings is indicated by their clearly-reflected consciousness. Every human being, having evolved from animals, has, therefore, two aspects – the animal aspect, and the conscious aspect which distinguishes a person from animals. Animals display predominantly the animality, while human beings due to a well-reflected consciousness also possess rationality. The animality in human beings gives them a leaning towards animal life or physical enjoyment. They, under its influence, look to eating, drinking and gratification of other physical desires. They are attracted towards these and run after them under the influence of their animality but these do not provide happiness as their longing for it is infinite. Animals are satisfied with these limited enjoyments as their urge is not infinite. However large the quantity of things offered to an animal may be, it will take only those which it needs and will not bother for the rest. But humans will certainly act differently in these conditions. This only establishes that animals are satisfied with the limited, while the desire of human beings is limitless, although the desire for enjoyment in both is prompted and governed by the animal aspect of life. The difference in the two is due to the possession by the human being of a clearly-reflected consciousness, something which animals lack. The infinite nature of the human urge for absolute happiness is due to their consciousness alone. It is this consciousness alone which is not satisfied with the physical pleasure of possession, power and position – things which in spite of their huge proportions, are only transitory in character. It is their consciousness which creates in human beings the longing for the Cosmic Entity.
The objects of the world – the physical enjoyments – do not quench the thirst of the human heart for happiness. Yet we find that people are attracted by them. The animality in people draws them towards gratification of animal desires, but the rationality of their consciousness remains ungratified since all these are transitory and short-lived. They are not enough to set at rest the unending and unlimited hunger of the human consciousness. There is, thus, a constant duel in humans between their animality and rationality. The animal aspect pulls them towards instant earthly joys, while their consciousness, not being satisfied with these, draws them towards the Cosmic Entity – the Infinite. This results in the struggle between the animal aspect and consciousness. Had the carnal pleasures derived from power and position been infinite and endless, they would have set at rest the eternal quest of consciousness for happiness. But they do not, and that is why the fleeting glory of temporal joys can never secure a lasting peace in the human mind and lead people to ecstasy.
It is only the well-reflected consciousness which differentiates human beings from animals. Is it then not imperative for human beings to make use of their consciousness? If their consciousness lies dormant behind their animality, people are bound to behave like animals. They in fact become worse than animals as, even though endowed with well-reflected consciousness, they do not make use of it. Such people do not deserve the status of human beings. They are animals in human form.
The nature of consciousness is to seek for the Infinite or realize the Cosmic Entity. Only those who make use of their consciousness and follow its dictates deserve to be called human beings. Therefore, every person, by making full use of his or her reflected consciousness, earns the right to be called a human being and finds his or her dharma or nature to be only the search for the Infinite or Cosmic Entity. This longing for the Infinite is the innate quality or dharma which characterizes the human status of people.
Happiness is derived by getting what one desires. If one does not get what one desires, one cannot be happy. One becomes sad and miserable. The clearly-reflected consciousness in people, which alone distinguishes them from animals, seeks the Cosmic Entity or the Infinite. And so people derive real happiness only when they can attain the Cosmic Entity or get into the process of attaining It. Consciousness does not want earthly joys because being finite none of them satisfy it. The conclusion we arrive at is that the dharma of humanity is to realize the Infinite or the Cosmic Entity. It is only by means of this dharma that people can enjoy eternal happiness and bliss.