Book: Hindu Dharma, Written by Swami Chandrashekarendra
Animals grow transversely. That is why they are called "tiryak" in
Man who grows upright ought to have, unlike beasts, a high ideal before
him. He will then obtain more happiness than all other creatures. But
what do we see in reality? Man experiences greater sorrow than all other
creatures. Animals do not know so much desire, so much sorrow and so
much humiliation, as do humans. More important, they are innocent of
sin. It is we humans who keep sinning and suffering as a consequence.
In one sense it seems to me that Isvara has not endowed us with the
same advantages that he has endowed animals with. We are not fitted
with weapons of defense. If a cow feels threatened it has horns to
itself. The tiger has its claws. We have neither horns nor claws. Sheep
have hair to protect them from the cold of winter, so too other animals.
But man is not similarly equipped. So he cannot repulse an attack; nor
can he run fast like the horse, which has no horns but is fleet-footed.
Against all these handicaps, man has the advantage of being more
intelligent than all other creatures.
In order to protect himself from the cold of winter, man removes the
(fur) of animals and weaves it into rugs. When he wants to travel fast
yokes a horse to his cart. God has furnished man with this kind of
though he has neither claws nor horns to defend himself, a human being
can forge weapons on his own. With the strength of his intelligence he
remains the master of all other creatures and also rules over the entire
world of inert matter.
All species of animals have their own habitats. Some types of bear that
are native to the cold climes do not thrive in our country. The elephant
a denizen of the forests of India and some other countries of South-East
Asia and Africa, but it does not flourish in a cold climate. But man
the entire earth. He uses his brains to make any part of this planet fit
him to live.
But, even with his superior intelligence, man suffers. All hardships
from the fact of birth. How can one save oneself from being born again?
But, then, what is the cause of our birth? The wrongs committed by us
are the cause of our birth and we have taken this body of flesh and
to suffer punishment for the same. Suppose a certain number of
whiplashes are to be administered according to the law. If the body
perishes after ten lashes, we take another birth to suffer the remaining
strokes. The sins we commit in satisfying our desires are the cause of
being born again and again. If there is no "doing", there will be no
also. Anger is responsible for much of the evil we do and desire is at
root of it. It is of the utmost importance that we banish desire from
hearts. But it is not possible to remain without any action after having
cultivated so many attachments. If the attachments were done away with
we would cease to sin.
What is the cause of desire? Desire arises from the belief that there is
something other than ourselves and our being attached to it. In truth it
the one Sivam that manifests itself as everything.
The cow sees its reflection in the mirror and charges it imagining it to
another cow. If a man sees his own image thus, does he think that there
is another person in the mirror? He is not perturbed by his image
he knows that it is himself. Similarly, all that we see is one and the
thing. Desire springs from our belief in the existence of a second
and it causes anger, which, in turn, plunges us in sin. A new birth
becomes inevitable now. If we are enlightened enough to perceive that
all objects are one, there will be no ground for desire. There must be
object other than ourselves, a second entity, to be desired. No desire
means no anger and no sin. In this state there will be neither any
nor any birth. And, finally, there will be no sorrow.
How do we obtain such enlightenment or jnana? Our body is sustained by
our mother's milk. It is Amba who nourishes us with the milk of jnana.
She is indeed the personification of jnana. We will be rewarded with the
light of wisdom if we firmly hold her lotus feet and dissolve ourselves
her. One who does so becomes God.
The first step in this process of enlightenment is to make a man truly a
man, by ensuring that he does not live on an animal level. The second
step is to raise him to the heights of divinity. All religions have this
They may represent different systems of thought and philosophy. But
their concern ought to be that man is not condemned as he is today to a
life of desire and anger. All religions speak in one voice that man must
rendered good and that he must be invested with the qualities of love,
humility, serenity and the spirit of sacrifice.