April , 2019
The Uniqueness of Man
14:07 pm

S. K. Lohia

There are countless creations in the world. We believe and have faith that they have been created by the omnipresent God. The word ‘sristi’ in Sanskrit does not mean creation but projection. Just like a spider that brings out web matter out of itself and builds a web with it and lives in it, similarly Brahman has projected this universe out of itself and it lives in the universe. There is a remarkable verse in ShrimadBhagavatam (11.9.28) which says;





Brahman, the ultimate divine reality, who through one’s own inherent Sel-energy, projected this universe from out of itself, in the form of diverse “cities” i.e. bodies, such as tree, creeping creatures, cattles, birds, stinging creatures, and fishes; not being satisfied with these, the ultimate divine Reality projected the human form and became highly pleased, because that form was endowed with the capacity to realise Brahman.

Western scholar Sir Julian Huxley talking about evolution and its scientific comprehensibility said that, “In the light of these new facts and ideas, man’s true destiny emerges in a new startling form. It is to be the chief agent for future of evolution on this planet. Only in and through this, can further advancements be achieved - though equally, he may inflict damage or distortion on this process, including his own evolving self.”

In his book, The Uniqueness of Man, he further said, “Those of man’s unique characterstics which may better be called psychological and social spring from one or the other of three characteristics. The first is his capacity for abstract and general thought; the second is the relative unification of his mental process, as against much more rigid copartmentalsation of animal mind and behaviours; the third is the existence of social units, such as tribe, nation, party, and church, with a continuity of their own based on organised tradition and culture.” Swami Vivekananda has said that no books, no science can imagine the glory of self that appears as man the most glorious God that ever was and the only God that ever existed.

In worshipping God, we have always been worshipping our own hidden self. Katha Upanishad (3.12) proclaims;



This Atman is lying hidden within all beings, and does not manifest itself, but it can be manifested, realized, by the sharp buddhi or reason of those subtle seers who have trained their minds to see subtle and still more the subtle dimension of reality.

As such immortal Atman is our true nature; it is ever free, ever pure, ever illumined. Our Upnishads convey human uniqueness of the highest type that he or she is not an item among items in the world but free and fearless and a form of love and peace. In Katha Upanishad, Atma has been described as subtler than atom, more immense than the cosmos.

The experience of all the beings is according to the measure of their intelligence. The human being is an ocean (a reservoir of infinite possibilities); he or she is above all the world. Contentwise and potentialwise, Sankaracharya says that, “There is no difference, as regards Brahman, or the knowledge of it, between giants like (the sage) Vamdeva and the human weaklings of today.”

However, humans have to travel inside. Katha Upanishad (3.14) calls for all humanity to most rewarding journey:




Arise! Awake! And approaching the great ones, enlighten yourself; for that path is difficult to tread and hard to cross, like walking on the edge of razor, so says the sages (who have trodden the path’

One has to learn to withdraw one's sense from the outside material world. Senses are essentially outgoing. They can never see the power that lie behind them and make humans see things that lies outside. Behind the mind and senses, the Upnishads say, is the self but cannot remain unseen, who are in its pursuit. One has to be dhir, which represents two values -intelligence and courage. The Katha Upanishad in its seven verses (ch3,3-9) gives details of the ways to conduct the journey to become such dhiras. For such journey, we need a chariot, the horses, then reins, charioteer and you, the master of journey sitting in the chariot. The verses say that consider the body as chariot; chariot has no energy inherent energy of movement. So consider the sense organ to be the horses, because they have the energy: but they need to be controlled; so consider the manas as the reins. The reins or manas make no sense unless they are held by a charioteer; consider the buddhi or reason to be the charioteer.

The jnanendriyas, the sense organs of perception, and karmendriyas, the sense organ of action, convert the animal body into a centre of most dynamic activity in all nature. Such activity is mostly uncoordinated and unfit for purpose beyond mere organic satisfactiuon and organic survival. This coordination is established when evolution rises to the human level giving birth to what the modern neurologists call ‘imagination’. The body and senses have to be controlled and directed. One who has enlightened reason as the charioteer and manas as (tough set of) reins, he or she reached the destination of life’s jounmey, namely the supreme state of all pervading Divinity.

The outer jouney takes us to sensory world; it involves education, job, marriage, family, getting appreciated. But Vedanta wants human beings to undertake also an inward journey. It trains our mind in subtlety and penitrating power and turn power inward. When the human buddhi or reason becomes extremely subtle and pointed - the Atman can be manifested.

We have to keep in mind that both the immortality and mortality are established within this human system; through pursuit of delusion, one attains mortality, and through pursuit of truth, one attains immortality. All these must have been in the back of mind of Swami Vivekananda when he made a clarion call to the humanity and stated, “O lions! Shake off the delusion that you are sheep. You are soul, immortal spirits free,.Blessed and eternal. Ye are not matter, ye are not bodies, matter is your servant, not you the servant of matter.


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