MAN: ANIMAL AND DIVINE.
BY the side of the Ganges, close to the Ghat, there sits a man of nearly seventy. He is stark naked. Clad in nature's own garb, the Paramahamsa remains seated in one place, morning, noon and night.
Look at his face. He is of fair complexion. His forehead rises dome-like above his eyes which are clear, serene, and brilliant with soul-fire. His lips have a firm set. In short, his calm and thoughtful eyes, noble forehead, and general features indicate unruffled calmness, great self-control, and immense will-power.
For more than eight years he has been there. In the burning mid-day sun of June, when the very ground seems all a-fire, in the biting, bitter cold of December, he sits there. People flock to him in hundreds daily, bring food enough to fill at least thirty stomachs, bow to him, and tell him their many griefs. All his reply is a nod of his head and a look from his eyes. He eats a few fruits and drinks a little milk, and the rest of the food he scatters among people ever ready to pick it up. He never talks, never laughs or even smiles. His face is always solemn, calm and rapt. If you go
near him as I did, you feel his presence at once. It is at once a magnetic, powerful, and an all-round spiritual personality.
Now just turn from this Yogi,—for he is nothing else—and follow me to the fish-market. I have been there only once, but I will tell you something about it.
It was eight o'clock in the morning. No less than five hundred men, women and boys were there. My first feeling was one of extreme nausea. (There was a strong, dirty, abominable smell about the place.) The fisher-men had brought in fine, living, leaping fish in their nets. They started by taking these out and beating each living fish dead against the hard, brick floor of the market. Squabbling, haggling, abusing, spitting were in full swing. The evil stink was nothing to them. It was the smell of the rose-flower, as it were. I went out; rather, ran out.
I saw many men and women coming out, their hands full of the dirty stuff. Young men, within their teens, were there. Their eyes were pale and hollow, their skins hung loose upon their bones; their faces denoted greed and lust. I saw not one person who had a healthy, steady, self-reliant look; they seemed like a pack of beggars who had stumbled into a little money which they must spend upon fish.
Indeed, how can it be otherwise? Now comparing one of these back-boneless men with the Saint, what conclusion do you draw?
The one is the ANIMAL-MAN, the other, the DIVINE-MAN.
In the one Fear, Greed, Lust, Superstition have made their home. The horrors of the slaughter-house do not shock him at all. His fleshy coating reflects the inner man out and out. His senses are gross and coarse-fibred.
In the other, God is manifesting Himself. He is proof against the extreme heat and cold, lust and passion. If a thunder-bolt were to fall upon him, he would not lose his calmness even for the fraction of a moment.
Is not that real happiness? To realise that you are not the body; that you can never die; that nothing can touch you; that fire cannot burn you; the sword cannot pierce you, the water cannot drown you; to realise your independence of and mastery over the flesh.
This is the true mission of religion. Religion is being and becoming. It is not talk. It is not intellectualism. It is not worldism. It is Life and Love.
"God is Love." Love is unselfish. It burns for everyone. It does not come easily. Only when we have suffered much, thought much, then and then alone gleams of this Universal Love shine upon us. It is the dawn of divinity—Spiritual Awakening.
A time comes when we feel this truth, and sympathy for the sufferings of others is the first sign. To serve others is a high privilege. God grants us this opportunity for cleansing ourselves; no higher step can be taken unless we have learnt to be selfless in service.
Happiness is not the goal of life, nor is enjoyment. Those that hunt for it never get it. God is the goal of life. Realising Him we realise happiness. "Such is the power of good that even the least done brings the greatest results."
Obey God, serve men. Before you have gone far in this vast path, peace will fold its wings around you. Fear will drop away. Worry will be known no more.
Therefore train yourself to serve others, if only one soul. If you have a father, a mother, or some one else depending upon you, serve them with whole-hearted zeal. Care not for gratitude, friend;—that is their business. If you are in earnest—and the mere fact of your reading Yoga proves that you are on the Higher Path—you will force yourself to be unselfish. In a short time your Higher Nature will assert itself and it will become your second Nature.
Let us learn to forget our troubles as soon as possible, for these are not permanent.
"Shattered be Self, Life and Hope. I will try my humble best to help others with body, brain, and soul;" let that be your brave cry. I am with you in this and so are thousands of others.
Each man is a channel for the expression of God's truths. As we evolve from within outwards we conform ourselves to the reception of certain gifts. Each man is a power in himself. We have to rise to our best each time we call truths out. They exist in us potentially and are ever seeking an outlet for right expression.
It rests with us entirely what and how far we will unfold. Fate follows us only so long as we fly from it.
Contact with a stronger mind, a purer heart, is decidedly to our advantage. It acts as a push upwards. You may be poor in riches, but you may be rich in God's greatest gift—purity in word, deed and thought.
You are as great as any one, mark you. Daily you have to light the Lamp of Light Eternal in the secret chamber of your heart. Right knowledge with its right exercise will wipe out your misery, which is ignorance—the greatest enemy of man. Remember, knowledge is within you and never outside.
Let me advise you to read sacred things and then reflect upon them. Study the feelings and thoughts that arise within you. Leave the faults of others alone. Look upwards but never look down upon your inferiors.
If you study and meditate, if you analyse yourself honestly, you shall surely bury all your weakness in the Light of knowledge. You will rise to the highest level of godliness in time.
LIVE UP TO IT. If you fail, rise again, and again and yet again. Assert yourself; and strength will surely come.
Sincere in your wish, strong in your resolve, nothing can stand in your path. Once again I say Look ever upwards and onwards.