How Should One Cultivate Human Spirit
Draft of Lecture Meant to be Delivered at the International Congress in Japan 1961. Published October 1962 in ‘The Mother’ (India) by Aurobindo of the Aurobindo Ashram
Part 1
by Tridandi Goswami A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Culture of human spirit by the human being is the prime duty of humankind. All great thinkers, philosophers, reformers and persons who thought for the whole of human society in terms of its welfare in general, thought like it from time immemorial. Out of them those who were perfectly self realised soul or the perfect human being, recorded their self realised experience in the books of knowledge known as the Vedas or the scriptures. There are various types of attempts to understand the import of the Vedas by those who are not themselves perfect beings and as such the books of knowledge have been again molded in the ways of the quality of imperfect interpreters.
Apart from all these controversial points, we may safely generalise that there are four different classes of human beings all over the world and they are (1) The intelligent class of men or good men or the Brahmins (2) The politicians or the ruling class of men, the men of passion or the Kshatriyas (3) The productive class of men or the men of mixed quality compounded of passion and ignorance called by the name of the Vaishyas and (4) The labour class of men or the men in ignorance called by the name of Sudras. And all of them are meant for co-operation for the common cause of cultivating human spirit. When they co-operate for the common cause there is harmony and progress but when they non-co-operate with one another there is unrest and trouble in the society.
At the present moment there is a tendency of non-co-operation between the different classes of men on account of their missing the common cause of human spirit and therefore there is prime need of a batch of intelligent class of men to combine together and thus educate the other classes in the matter of co-operation for human spiritual culture. The world is now dominated by the third-grade productive and fourth-grade labour class of men and there is scarcity of intelligent class of men and that of political philosophers also. Diplomats are not political philosophers. Without being guided by the intelligent class of men and political philosophers. The productive class of men and the labourer class of men have formed into groups of capitalist and communists ; both of them being practically disabled from the common cause of cultivating human spirit. These two classes of men are more or less concerned with the bodily necessities of life without reference to needs of the human spirit. The intelligent class of men can be interested only in the culture of human spirit and therefore there is need of the intelligent class of men to reform the diplomats, capitalists and the communists all over the world.
'HOW SHOULD ONE CULTIVATE HUMAN SPIRIT is a grand question by the modern materialistic man who had so long thought of the identity of the human being either with the human body or with the human mind. Some of us identified the living being with the human body and some of us speculated on the construction of the psychic activities in thinking feeling and willing and misinterpreted them with the human or living being. If we ask somebody what is his name, he at once answers that his name is John, he is the son of Frank, his native place is in London and his occupation is to earn money by hundreds of thousand. If he is further asked whether he is satisfied with his identification of the body as Mr. John Frank of London, certainly he will reply. If he is a sane man at all, in the negative.
Any man identified with the body or the mind is not at all satisfied because he is always troubled in the body and the mind in spite of his all endeavours to avoid them. The troubles are the three fold miseries of life. The first trouble is in relation with his body
namely that he may feel some sort of headache, fever, heat, cold and so forth which he does not want at all. The second trouble is in respect of his mind. Even if one is quite all right se far as his body is concerned, his mind may be in trouble for so many cares and anxieties.
In the modern set up of materialistic civilization nobody is free from cares and anxieties. There are so many great men in the modern world and almost all of them are so much troubled in the mind that they cannot sleep at night peacefully without being intoxicated by some artificial means. Insomnia is a disease for the man always troubled in the mind.
The third trouble is in our relation with other living beings. India thought that the arrangement of the Panchashila will allow her to live in peace and friendship with other nations of the world but in spite of her following a policy of neutrality, her immediate neighbour and friend China has occupied a portion of Indian territory and for this the mind of the Indian leaders is in trouble. We have nothing to do with politics in this connection but we have taken up this particular incident just to get an idea of our trouble in relation with other living beings. The Law court is another place where there is ample evidences of human trouble in respect of our dealings with one another. Even there is trouble in the dealings between husband and wife, father and son, friend and friend, man and animal and so forth and so on. It is concluded, therefore, that there are many troubles between one living creature, with another for want of the culture of human spirit.
And above all these troubles there is another insurmountable trouble imposed by the laws of nature, Famine, pestilence, war, earthquake, volcanic eruptions, flood and so many other things like that are always troubling the human being even though we do not want them. Big brains of world leadership are always busy to get rid of these troubles but so far they have failed to achieve any success over the threefold miseries for want of cultivating human spirit.
A living being's intuition is to get over all the above mentioned troubles of life and live in peace and friendship and the prosperity of eternal life and knowledge.
When I received the letter of invitation from Mr. Toshihiro Nakano, he expressed the following sentiments in his letter under reference. He wrote to say "This seems to be good opportunity for you to present your evidence by attending the glorious meeting to indicate that you have been lending every effort to attain the long-sought goal of securing the ultimate peace and infinite prosperity of humankind, a terrestrial paradise."
Living beings other than the human being, although feeling all the above mentioned troubles, are unable to take any measure against them. The human being is gifted with higher talented status of consciousness and he is always trying to get rid of all these troubles because he is meant for such realisation. Foolish human beings in the third and fourth grade of above mentioned classifications take it for granted that it is impossible to get over the troubles but the intelligent class of men do not give up the attempt and they do try it even life after life. There is no doubt that this congress is being organised only to fit out the ways and means of infinity prosperity which is the natural urge of a developed human being. The intelligent class of men probe into the psychic field in various ways to find out the right path of satisfaction. Such attempt in psychology for producing good poetry philosophy and thoughtful matter by the human being, has failed to achieve the end of his life namely peace, prosperity in eternal life, knowledge and happiness. When the living being admits failure both in the gross and subtle spheres of materialistic satisfaction, he is sure to search after the Human spirit which is transcendental to the gross and subtle material elements.
The identity of human spirit or the living energy of the living being is never to be identified with the body or the mind. Body and mind are two gross and subtle coverings of the living being. The doubtful scientist may make a dissection of the whole body in his biological research laboratory but be cannot find out the living spirit within the body. By dissection of the body we can see only that the body is something like reinforced structure of bones, marrow, nerves, muscle, skin, blood and secretion. The bones are the supporting pillars of the construction and the nerves are like the binding ropes? And on this superficial structure of bones and nerves there is the reinforced plastering with flesh and blood: There are different ventilating holes or windows of the body and from each of them always bad smell is emanating because all the secretions of the body are different grades of urine and stools. This obnoxious structure of the body is accepted falsely as beautiful without the knowledge of the beautiful human spirit now invisible with the light of matter. This obnoxious structure of the body is the germinating source and breeding ground of all kinds of diseases and when it is old enough and shattered by hard struggle for existence against the odds of the above mentioned threefold miseries, it is full of agrievement and the temple of diseases. The material scientist has no remedy for the wretched condition of life. To pull on with such a troublesome body is also another difficulty because the bodily needs are never to be satisfied. It is troublesome in every inch and with all, the whole false structure is susceptible of collapsing within a moment and that also without and previous notice.
Can the material scientist move this false body made of bones and nerves without the spiritual aid? No, it is not at all possible. Had it been possible to do so by the materialist, then he could move the railway trains without any steam or electric power. Even the steam and electric power is unable to act without the help of a living spiritual being.
They see to the wonderful acts done by the seemingly imperceptible spiritual living being but do not search after the wonderful actor playing the parts of this wonderful act. In the modern days of throwing sputniks in the outer space we are amazed to hear about the revolving of the space vehicle but we neglect to study the spirit behind the bodily structure of the man who works on the sputnik. Certainly the structure of the body as described above, of the sputnik man, is not at all different from that of another non-sputnik man. The difference lies in the qualities of the spiritual spark of the individual being and we have neglected to make a study of it. The body is a lump of matter and it is a burden of the conditioned soul like the fetters of a convicted prisoner of state.
The sum and substance of an analytical study of the physical and anatomical conditions of living beings is explained above. And the ultimate end of such body is to turn into moths, stool or ashes. The dead body is either buried in the grave to be transformed into moth, it is given to be devoured by other animals and birds and the result is that it turns into stool or it is burnt into ashes.
Such a constructive body certainly cannot be imperishable as some of us wrongly think of. We have to seek out the imperishable element beyond the body and that is the process of CULTIVATING HUMAN SPIRIT. And that is the function of the human form of life. Find out the permanent out of the perishable. They are busy in keeping up the perishable body by eating vitamin values. And what are these vitamins? They are after all different active principles of different grades of foodstuff. But on the ultimate analysis, however valuable a foodstuff is there, when it is cooked up as eatables it becomes decomposed in some hours. How is it then possible to keep fit the perishable body by eating such perishable vitamins? The sane man therefore does not try to keep up the body by artificial means, knowing well the sad end of the perishable body in spite of all endeavours. Such sane man makes the best of a bad bargain for the purposes of spiritual culture only and nothing more. The Bhagwat Geeta has given its final judgement that the body is undoubtedly perishable but the living entity embodied is eternal.
But we must always remember that the human form of body is distinct from all other animal bodies. Biological and physiological features of the bodies of man and animal may be on the same level but psychologically there is great difference between the two classes of bodies. This distinctive feature of the human body is a special prerogative of the human body. It is explained in the Puranas that there are 84 lacs species of life in the biological evolutionary process. There are nine lacs of aquatic species of life, twenty lacs species of immovable plants and trees, eleven lace species of worms, ten lac species of birds, thirty lac species of beasts and four lac species of human beings. The highest class of human beings is the intelligent class of men as mentioned herein before. Such intelligent class of men cultivate the qualities of truthfulness, forbearance, restraint, simplicity, faithfulness, toleration, knowledge and conviction in the existence of God. Therefore to be situated in the highest developed consciousness of a human being is the highest cultural efficiency in the evolutionary process of the living being. Such intelligent class of men can churn out the human spirit from the inert material body as it is possible to churn out fat out of the liquid milk. Before churning of the milk it appears that there is no such thing as butter within the milk but after churning, the butter begins to float on the surface and it is collected for proper use. Similarly on the outward dissection of the human bodily structure we cannot see what is the human spirit but by culture of proper and systematic knowledge derived from the right sources we can gradually feel for it, think of it and work for it.*
( To be Continued )

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