We have just one more question asked by our young friend from BC. The questions that we examined were:
What constitutes the human personality? Who are we?
What is our living – what is it we call living?
What is the outcome of our living?
The last question is:
What is it that human beings want from living?
Well, at the outset, this question may look very superficial and very subjective, but then on analysis, we would discover that it is neither subjective nor superficial. Let us start from the level of animals and then we can travel up to beings that are more refined. Well, this does not mean that animals are low. We are only talking in terms of what is it that the minds of the beings seek. We had earlier seen that the body by itself may not or does not want anything, being inert. The mind alone wants things and that could depend on the time, place, body and station of life in which it finds itself.
So, let us see what animals like dogs, cats or cattle want in life? Well, neither do they speak our language, nor do we know how to communicate with them. However, few people have learnt to speak the animal’s language, though it is difficult to say whether they can communicate with them. All that we can do is see their transactions and through that arrive at the possible things they may seek in life. We find them either going after their food or may be running away being scared or attack when they sense a threat. We may also find them playing and if they are not doing anything, may be they would be sleeping, though sometimes we may catch them just watching things or others or even just strolling about. These are all physical actions that we notice and know that they are not products of deliberate thinking. We had enquired into the fact that animals do not enjoy that special capacity, to analyze or discriminate.
Well, whether the pursuit is a product of discrimination or whatever, it does not really matter, but one thing is strikingly clear. The fact is that even animals for whatever reason do not want bondage and affliction, irrespective of the source of origin. Therefore, they want to be free and okay with themselves and things around them. Have you ever noticed when you shower more affection to another animal, your pet reacts differently? Could it be jealousy or insecurity? Could it be anger or something else? We do not know right now, what is the cause for this, but the effect is clear to us. They want love and affection and when they get it, they are happy-seemingly at-home with themselves. This does not mean that they do not want food, shelter etc., which is basic and depends upon certain factors.
Therefore, first after meeting their basic needs all that beings want is love and affection. We can either say that food, clothing and shelter are natural urges, whereas love, affection, etc. are not or the first set (food, clothing etc.) are lower urges and the others like love and affection are higher. Once we (animals or humans) are able to meet our basic needs, thereafter, the need for meeting the next in the order arises. Our needs depend upon the degree of mental evolution. When the human mind has evolved, and the basic needs are not a problem, then the question of love and affection and the rest arise. The need for respect, concern, sensitivity etc. is also on the list. There could be many more, but let us go to the last possible thing that a human being could possibly want-total freedom from all forms of bondage. Is that not what any sensible, mature and intelligent person could ever dream? Well, if I ask you as to when you would want that, what would your answer be? Would you say that you would want it badly when you are 68 or 70 years, when you graduate into a senior citizen? Can we fix a time for that? Is it not something that we all the time want? Therefore, freedom can be the top of the list-the ultimate that every person invariably seeks for and from there, very many things could be there one below the other in the list of priorities. We can therefore say we want many things but ultimately interested in freedom.
It seems there was a person in a village in India, who started meditating and people around were wondering what was wrong with this person, for he was not normal like the others. When others were busy with their normal life of building a career, earning money, name, fame, power, position, having a person as one’s spouse and building a family, this person was sitting under a tree meditating. The parents of this person tried their best to dissuade the young man but it was of no avail. So, intense was his meditation that slowly he became unaware of the surrounding disturbances.
To find out what exactly this young man was aiming at, it seems the villagers there hatched a plan. The plan was to win the confidence of this young man for which another youth prepared to enact a similar role of meditating sitting but farther away, however, from such a location that the young man could not miss seeing him. Days rolled by, slowly they became close and began talking occasionally. During one such moment, the ‘imposter meditator’ enquired into the reason and object of meditation. The real meditator said, “Iwanttolive” and I seek this answer from God. The imposter laughed loudly and started telling people about the foolish wish of the young person. ‘Good riddance of bad rubbish’ and as fortune would have it, all left the place. There was nobody around to bug him, and then this young man again continued with a firm resolve not to talk to anybody.
Days rolled into months, and although the young man found another person meditating equally seriously, he bothered very little about things happening around. The seasoned meditator, impressed with the newcomer’s diligence and simplicity, goes to him one fine day and introduces himself. The newcomer seemed to be genuine as he talked very little and what little he spoke was all in monosyllables. Slowly they became good friends and during one such encounter when they were out of meditation, the newcomer asked the seasoned meditator as to what he was meditating on and for what. The seasoned meditator told him, ‘Iwanttoliveadaymore’. Hearing this, the newcomer laughed, thinking that this person was going crazy. From the next day, this newcomer stopped coming there, for he found that the villagers were right and that this person was crazy.
Our original meditator never swerved from his commitment. He applied greater energies and became more absorbed in meditation. One day when the original meditator was on a ‘walking meditation’, he found another youth in meditation who looked different and serious. His body was all emaciated but there was brightness around this person, which stunned him. He had great respect for the meditator whom he had newly found. In time, the ‘new-found’ meditator asked this young man as to what he was meditating on and for what. The answer given was, “I want to live the day happily”. This time around, the other did not laugh at him, but withdrew into his meditation. Somebody overheard this conversation and the whole village came to know of it. This only confirmed their fears that the person (seasoned meditator) was going crazy and that a magician, faith healer, or spiritualist was needed. There was a lot of heat generated as each had his own solution to the problem.
At that time, an old Swami happened to pass through the village and people of that village had great respect for Swamis. The elders approached the Swami with their problem. They narrated what the young man told the village members at different points of time. The Swami took all the members of the village to the young man. After some time the Swami said, “Son I have come, won’t you come out of your meditation?” The young man, hearing this special voice with all concern, love and simplicity, opened his eyes wondering as to where the sound came from. Lo! What did he see? A monk! He rose from his meditation and offered his traditional salutations, which the Swami acknowledged. Swami sat on the seat that the young man offered and asked him, “Son, what is the object of your austerities?” The young man said, “Swami, I want to live my life intelligently”. Now the Swami laughed aloud and looking at the people around said, “You have all become fools. It is not that he is crazy but you all are. Did you ever know what the young man wanted is something universal and choiceless? Is it not a universal eternal quest? Is it not that every person wants to live and live a day more and live it happily and if choice is given, intelligently too? Is that not what each of you seeks in life?” With a sense of shame filling their hearts, all the villagers walked away.
Therefore, dear friends, the object of seeking depends upon maturity or evolution of mind, which could be product of the environment in which we find ourselves, and the make-up of the personality. An emotionally mature person takes incidentals as incidentals, giving only that much importance as they deserve taking care not to get caught in the process of living. The very urges lurking in the minds of people bind a not-so-mature person because of misplaced priorities in life. There could be a need for a thing, but what makes the difference is whether we allow these needs to bind us or not. I am sure you can appreciate this. Think about these! Wish you all a merry Christmas!!