Religionofman

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Religionofman

  1. 1. 1314 07
  2. 2. THE HIBBERT LECTURES FOR 1930THE RELIGION OF MAN
  3. 3. RABINDRANATH TAGORJSTHE RELIGIONBEINGTHE HIBBERT LECTURES FOR 1930NEW YORKTHE MACMILLAN COMPANY1931
  4. 4. COPYRIGHT, 1931,BY THE MACM1LLAN COMPANY.All rights reserved no part of this bookmay be reproduced in any form withoutpermission in writing from the publisher.Set up and elcctrotypcd Published February, 1938T W BY MAWtf WKmiRltS WKOTVWtflMIHTBri IK TI1K UNITXD MATft tif A V1RUA
  5. 5. TODOROTHY ELMHIRST
  6. 6. PREFACETHE chapters included in this book, which com-prises the Hibbert Lectures delivered in Oxford,at Manchester College, during the month of May1930, contain also the gleanings of my thoughts onthe same subject from the harvest of many lecturesand addresses delivered in different countries ofthe world over a considerable period of my life.The fact that one theme runs through all onlyproves to me that the Religion of Man has beengrowing within my mind as a religious experienceand not merely as a philosophical subject In fact,a very large portion of my writings, beginningfrom the earlier products of my immature youthdown to the present time, carry an almost con-tinuous trace of the history of this growth. To-dayI am made conscious of the fact that the worksthat I have started and the words that I haveuttered are deeply linked by a unity of inspirationwhose proper definition has often remained un-revealed to me.In the present volume I offer the evidence ofmy own personal life brought into a definite focus.To some of my readers this will supply matter ofpsychological interest; but for others I hope itwill carry with It its own ideal value important forsuch a subject as religion.7
  7. 7. PREFACEMy sincere thanks are due to the Hibbert Trus-tees, and especially to Dr. W. H. Drummond,with whom I have been in constant correspond-ence, for allowing me to postpone the delivery ofthese Hibbert Lectures from the year 1928, whenI was too ill to proceed to Europe, until the sum-mer of 1930. I have also to thank the Trustees fortheir very kind permission given to me to presentthe substance of the lectures in this book in anenlarged form by dividing the whole subject intochapters instead of keeping strictly to the lectureform in which they were delivered in Oxford*May I add that the great kindness of my hostess*Mrs. Drummond, in Oxford, will always remainin my memory along with these lectures as inti-mately associated with them?In the Appendix I have gathered together frommy own writings certain parallel passages whichbring the reader to the heart of my main theme.Furthermore, two extracts, which contain histori-cal material of great value, are from the pen of myesteemed colleague and friend, Professor KshitIMohan Sen, To him I would express my gratitudefor the help he has given me in bringing before methe religious ideas of medieval India which* touchthe subject of my lectures.RABINDMNATH TAGORESeptember 19308
  8. 8. CONTENTSPAGEPREFACE 7CHAPTERI. MANS UNIVERSE nII. THE CREATIVE SPIRIT *3III. THE SURPLUS IN MAN 49IV, SPIRITUAL UNION 63V. THE PROPHET 7zVI. THE VISION 88VII. THE MAN OF MY HEART 107VIII. THE MUSIC MAKER 117IX. THE ARTIST 127X. MANS NATURE 141XL THE MEETING 154XII. THE TEACHER 163XIII. SPIRITUAL FREEDOM 179XIV. THE FOUR STAGES OF LIFE 189XV. CONCLUSION 202APPENDIXI. THE BAtJL SINGERS OF BENGAL 207II- NOTE ON THE NATURE OF REALITY aa*IIL DADU AND THE MYSTERY OF FORM 226IV. NIGHT AND MORNING 333INDEX 43
  9. 9. The eternal Dreamis borne on the wings of ageless Lightthat rends the veil of the vagueand goes across Timeweaving ceaseless patterns of Being.The mystery remains dumb,the meaning of this pilgrimage,the endless adventure of existencewhose rush along the skyflames up into innumerable rings of paths,till at last knowledge gleams out from the duskin the infinity of human spirit,and in that dim lighted dawnshe speechlessly gazes through the break in the mistat the vision of Life and of Loverising from the tumult of profound pain and joy,SantiniketanSeptember 16, 1939(Composed for the Opening Day Celebrations of the Indian College,Montpelier, France.)
  10. 10. THE RELIGION OF MAN.CHAPTER IMANS UNIVERSELIGHT, as the radiant energy of creation, startedthe ring-dance of atoms in a diminutive sky, andalso the dance of the stars in the vast, lonely theatreof time and space* The planets came out of theirbath of fire and basked in the sun for ages. Theywere the thrones of the gigantic Inert, dumb anddesolate, which knew not the meaning of its ownblind destiny and majestically frowned upon afuture when its monarchy would be menaced.Then came a time when life was brought intothe arena in the tiniest little monocycle of a cell.With its gift of growth and power of adaptationit faced the ponderous enormity of things, andcontradicted the unmeaningness of their bulk. Itwas made conscious not of the volume but of thevalue of existence, which it ever tried to enhanceand maintain in many-branched paths of creation,overcoming the obstructive inertia of Nature byobeying Natures law*But the miracle of creation did not stop here inthis isolated speck of life launched on a lonelyvoyage to the Unknown. A multitude of cells werebound together into a larger unit, not throughIX
  11. 11. THE RELIGION OF MANaggregation, but through a marvellous quality ofcomplex inter-relationship maintaining a perfectco-ordination of functions. This is the creativeprinciple of unity, the divine mystery of existence,that baffles all analysis. The larger co-operativeunits could adequately pay for a greater freedomof self-expression, and they began to form anddevelop in their bodies new organs of power, nevinstruments of efficiency. This was the march ofevolution ever unfolding the potentialities of life,But this evolution which continues on the physi-cal plane has its limited range. All exaggerationin that direction becomes a burden that breaks thenatural rhythm of life, and those creatures thatencouraged their ambitious flesh to grow in dimen-sions have nearly all perished of their cumbrousabsurdity.Before the chapter ended Man appeared andturned the course of this evolution from an indefi-nite march of physical aggrandisement to a free-dom of a more subtle perfection. This has madepossible his progress to become unlimited, and hasenabled him to realize the boundless in his power,The fire is lighted, the hammers are working,and for laborious days and nights amidst dirt anddiscordance the musical instrument is being made,We may accept this as a detached fact and followits evolution* But when the music is revealed, weknow that the whole thing is a part of the manifes*12
  12. 12. MANS UNIVERSEtation of music in spite of its contradictory charac-ter. The process of evolution, which after ages hasreached man, must be realized in its unity withhim; though in him it assumes a new value andproceeds to a different path. It is a continuousprocess that finds its meaning in Man ;and we mustacknowledge that the evolution which Sciencetalks of is that of Mans universe. The leatherbinding and title-page are parts of the book itself ;and this world that we perceive through our sensesand mind and lifes experience is profoundly onewith ourselves.The divine principle of unity has ever been thatof an inner inter-relationship. This is revealed insome of its earliest stages in the evolution of multi-cellular life on this planet. The most perfect in-ward expression has been attained by man in hisWn body. But what is most important of all is the(fact that man has also attained its realization in a,more subtle body outside his physical system. Hemisses himself when isolated; he finds his ownlarger and truer self in his wide human relation-Ship, His multicellular body is born and it dies;his multi-personal humanity is immortal In thisideal of unity he realizes the eternal in his life andthe boundless in his love. The unity becomes not amere subjective idea, but an energizing truth.Whatever name may be given to it, and whateverform it symbolizes, the consciousness of this unity13
  13. 13. THE RELIGION OF MANis spiritual, and our effort to be true to it is ourreligion. It ever waits to be revealed in our historyin a more and more perfect illumination.We have our eyes, which relate to us the visionof the physical universe. We have also an innerfaculty of our own which helps us to find our rela-tionship with the supreme self of man, the universeof personality. This faculty is our luminous imagi-nation, which in its higher stage is special to man.It offers us that vision of wholeness which for thebiological necessity of physical survival is super-fluous; its purpose is to arouse in us the sense ofperfection which is our true sense of immortality.For perfection dwells ideally in Man the Eternal,inspiring love for this ideal in the individual, urg-ing him more and more to realize itThe development of intelligence and physicalpower is equally necessary in animals and men fortheir purposes of living; but what is unique in manis the development of his consciousness whichgradually deepens and widens the realization ofhis immortal being, the perfect, the eternal. Itinspires those creations of his that reveal the divin-ity in him which is his humanity in the variedmanifestations of truth, goodness and beauty, inthe freedom of activity which is not for his use butfor his ultimate expression* The individual manmust exist for Man the great, and must express himin disinterested works, in science and philosophy,14
  14. 14. MAN S UNIVERSEin literature and arts, in service and worship. Thisis his religion, which is working in the heart of allhis religions in various names and forms. Heknows and uses this world where it is endless andthus attains greatness, but he realizes his owntruth where it is perfect and thus finds his ful-filment,The idea of the humanity of our God, or thedivinity of Man the Eternal, is the main subject ofthis book. This thought of God has not grown inmy mind through any process of philosophical rea-soning* On the contrary, it has followed the cur-rent of my temperament from early days until itsuddenly flashed into my consciousness with adirect vision. The experience which I have de-scribed in one of the chapters which follow con-vinced me that on the surface of our being we havethe ever-changing phases of the individual self,but in the depth there dwells the Eternal Spirit ofhuman unity beyond our direct knowledge. It veryoften contradicts the trivialities of our daily life,and upsets the arrangements made for securing ourpersonal exclusiveness behind the walls of indi-vidual habits and superficial conventions. It in-spires in us works that are the expressions of aUniversal Spirit; it invokes unexpectedly in themidst of a self-centred life a supreme sacrifice. Atits call, we hasten to dedicate our lives to the cause15
  15. 15. THE RELIGION OF MANof truth and beauty, to unrewarded service ofothers, in spite of our lack of faith in the positivereality of the ideal values.During the discussion of my own religiousexperience I have expressed my belief that thefirst stage of my realization was through my feel-ing of intimacy with Nature not that Naturewhich has its channel of information for our mindand physical relationship with our living body,but that which satisfies our personality with mani-festations that make our life rich and stimulate ourimagination in their harmony of forms, colours,sounds and movements. It is not that world whichvanishes into abstract symbols behind its own testi-mony to Science, but that which lavishly displaysits wealth of reality to our personal self having itsown perpetual reaction upon our human nature.I have mentioned in connection with my per-sonal experience some songs which I had oftenheard from wandering village singers, belongingto a popular sect of Bengal, called Baiiis, whohave no images, temples, scriptures, or ceremo-nials, who declare in their songs the divinity ofMan, and express for him an intense feeling oflove. Coming from men who are unsophisticated,living a simple life in obscurity, it gives us a clueto the inner meaning of all religions. For it sug*gests that these religions are never about a God of*Se Appendix I,16
  16. 16. MANS UNIVERSEcosmic force, but rather about the God of humanpersonality.At the same time it must be admitted that eventhe impersonal aspect of truth dealt with byScience belongs to the human Universe. But menof Science tell us that truth, unlike beauty andgoodness, is independent of our consciousness.They explain to us how the belief that truth isindependent of the human mind is a mysticalbelief, natural to man but at the same time inex-plicable. But may not the explanation be this, thatideal truth does not depend upon the individualmind of man, but on the universal mind whichcomprehends the individual? For to say that truth,as we see it, exists apart from humanity is really tocontradict Science itself; because Science can onlyorganize into rational concepts those facts whichman can know and understand, and logic is amachinery of thinking created by the mechanicman.The table that I am using with all its variedmeanings appears as a table for man through hisspecial organ of senses and his special organ ofthoughts* When scientifically analysed the sametable offers an enormously different appearance tohim from that given by his senses. The evidenceof his physical senses and that of his logic and hisscientific instruments are both related to his ownpower of comprehension; both are true and true
  17. 17. THE RELIGION OF MANfor him. He makes use of the table with full confi-dence for his physical purposes, and with equalconfidence makes intellectual use of it for his scien-tific knowledge. But the knowledge is his who is aman. If a particular man as an individual did notexist, the table would exist all the same, but stillas a thing that is related to the human mind. Thecontradiction that there is between the table ofour sense perception and the table of our scientificknowledge has its compon centre of reconciliationin human personality.The same thing holds true in the realm of idea.In the scientific idea of the world there is no gapin the universal law of causality. Whatever hap-pens could never have happened otherwise. Thisis a generalization which has been made possibleby a quality of logic which is possessed by thehuman mind. But this very mind of Man has itsimmediate consciousness of will within him whichis aware of its freedom and ever struggles for itEvery day in most of our behaviour we acknowl-edge its truth; in fact, our conduct finds its bestvalue in its relation to its truth. Thus this has itsanalogy in our daily behaviour with regard to atable. For whatever may be the conclusion thatScience has unquestionably proved about the table,we are amply rewarded when we deal with it as asolid fact and never as a crowd of fluid elementsthat represent a certain kind of energy. We can18
  18. 18. MANS UNIVERSEalso utilize this phenomenon of the measurementThe space represented by a needle when magnifiedby the microscope may cause us no anxiety as tothe number of angels who could be accommo-dated on its point or camels which could walkthrough its eye. In a cinema-picture our vision oftime and space can be expanded or condensedmerely according to the different technique of theinstrument. A seed carries packed in a minutereceptacle a future which is enormous in its con-tents both in time and space. The truth, which isMan, has not emerged out of nothing at a certainpoint of time, even though seemingly it mighthave been manifested then. But the manifestationof Man has no end in itself not even now.Neither did it have its beginning in- any particulartime we ascribe to it The truth of Man is in theheart of eternity, the fact of it being evolvedthrough endless ages. If Mans manifestation hasround it a background of millions of light-years,still it is his own background. He includes in him-self the time, however long, that carries the processof his becoming, and he is related for the verytruth of his existence to all things that surroundhim.Relationship is the fundamental truth of thisworld of appearance. Take, for instance, a pieceof coal When we pursue the fact of it to its ulti-mate composition, substance which seemingly is
  19. 19. THE RELIGION OF MANthe most stable element in it vanishes in centres ofrevolving forces. These are the units, called theelements of carbon, which can further be analysedinto a certain number of protons and electrons.Yet these electrical facts are what they are, not intheir detachment, but in their inter-relationship,and though possibly some day they themselves maybe further analysed, nevertheless the pervasivetruth of inter-relation which is manifested in themwill remain.We do not know how these elements, as carbon,compose a piece of coal ;all that we can say is thatthey build up that appearance through a unity ofinter-relationship, which unites them not merelyin an individual piece of coal, but in a comrade-ship of creative co-ordination with the entirephysical universe.Creation has been made possible through thecontinual self-surrender of the unit to the universe.And the spiritual universe of Man is also everclaiming self-renunciation from the individualunits. This spiritual process is not so easy as thephysical one in the physical world, for the intelli-gence and will of the units have to be temperedto those of the universal spiritIt is said in a verse of the Upanishad that thisworld which is all movement is pervaded by onesupreme unity, and therefore true enjoyment cannever be had through the satisfaction of greed, but20
  20. 20. MANS UNIVERSEonly through the surrender of our individual selfto the Universal Self.There are thinkers who advocate the doctrineof the plurality of worlds, which can only meanthat there are worlds that are absolutely unrelatedto each other. Even if this were true it could neverbe proved. For our universe is the sum total ofwhat Man feels, knows, imagines, reasons to be,and of whatever is knowable to him now or inanother time. It affects him differently in its dif-ferent aspects, in its beauty, its inevitable sequenceof happenings, its potentiality; and the worldproves itself to him only in its varied effects uponhis senses, imagination and reasoning mind.I do not imply that the final nature of the worlddepends upon the comprehension of the individualperson* Its reality is associated with the universalhuman rnind which comprehends all time and allpossibilities of realization. And this is why for theaccurate knowledge of things we depend uponScience that represents the rational mind of theuniversal Man, and not upon that of the individualwho dwells in a limited range of space and timeand the immediate needs of life. And this is whythere is such a thing as progress in our civiliza-tion; for progress means that there is an ideal per-fection which the individual seeks to reach byextending his limits in knowledge, power, love,enjoyment, thus approaching the universal. The21
  21. 21. THE RELIGION OF MANmost distant star, whose faint message touches thethreshold of the most powerful telescopic vision,has its sympathy with the understanding mind ofman, and therefore we can never cease to believethat we shall probe further and further into themystery of their nature. As we know the truth ofthe stars we know the great comprehensive mindof man.We must realize not only the reasoning mind,but also the creative imagination, the love and wis-dom that belong to the Supreme Person, whoseSpirit is over us all, love for whom comprehendslove for all creatures and exceeds in depth andstrength all other loves, leading to difficult en-deavours and martyrdoms that have no other gainthan the fulfilment of this love itself.The Isha of our Upanishad, the Super Soul,which permeates all moving things, is the God ofthis human universe whose mind we share in allour true knowledge, love and service, and whomto reveal in ourselves through renunciation of selfis the highest end of life.
  22. 22. CHAPTER IITHE CREATIVE SPIRITONCE, during the improvisation of a story by ayoung child, I was coaxed to take my part as thehero. The child imagined that I had been shut ina dark room locked from the outside. She askedme, "What will you do for your freedom?" and Ianswered, "Shout for help". But, however desir-able that might be if it succeeded immediately, itwould be unfortunate for the story. And thus shein her imagination had to clear the neighbourhoodof all kinds of help that my cries might reach. Iwas compelled to think of some violent means ofkicking through this passive resistance ;but for thesake of the story the door had to be made of steel.I found a key, but it would not fit, and the childwas delighted at the development of the storyjumping over obstructions.Lifes story of evolution, the main subject ofwhich is the opening of the doors of the dark dun-geon, seems to develop in the same manner. Diffi-culties were created, and at each offer of an answerthe story had to discover further obstacles in orderto carry on the adventure. For to come to an abso-lutely satisfactory conclusion is to come to the endof all things, and in that case the great child would33
  23. 23. THE RELIGION OF MANhave nothing else to do but to shut her curtain andgo to sleep.The Spirit of Life began her chapter by intro-ducing a simple living cell against the tremen-dously powerful challenge of the vast Inert. Thetriumph was thrillingly great which still refuses toyield its secret She did not stop there, but defi-antly courted difficulties, and in the technique ofher art exploited an element which still baffles ourlogic.This is the harmony of self-adjusting inter-rela-tionship impossible to analyse. She brought closetogether numerous cell units and, by groupingthem into a self-sustaining sphere of co-operation,elaborated a larger unit It was not a mere agglom-eration. The grouping had its caste system in thedivision of functions and yet an intimate unity ofkinship. The creative life summoned a largerarmy of cells under her command and impartedinto them, let us say, a communal spirit that foughtwith all its might whenever its integrity wasmenaced.This was the tree which has its inner harmonyand inner movement of life in its beauty, itsstrength, its sublime dignity of endurance, its pil-grimage to the Unknown through the tiniest gatesof reincarnation. It was a sufficiently marvellousachievement to be a fit termination to the creativeventure. But the creative genius cannot stop24
  24. 24. THE CREATIVE SPIRITexhausted ;more windows have to be opened ;andshe went out of her accustomed way and broughtanother factor into her work, that of locomotion.Risks of living were enhanced, offering opportuni-ties to the daring resourcefulness of the Spirit ofLife. For she seems to revel in occasions for a fightagainst the giant Matter, which has rigidly pro-hibitory immigration laws against all new-comersfrom Lifes shore. So the fish was furnished withappliances for moving in an element which offeredits density for an obstacle. The air offered an evenmore difficult obstacle in its lightness; but thechallenge was accepted, and the bird was giftedwith a marvellous pair of wings that negotiatedwith the subtle laws of the air and found in it abetter ally than the reliable soil of the stable earth.The Arctic snow set up its frigid sentinel; thetropical desert uttered in its scorching breath agigantic "No" against all lifes children. But thoseperemptory prohibitions were defied, and thefrontiers, though guarded by a death penalty, weretriumphantly crossed.This process of conquest could be described asprogress for the kingdom of life. It journeyed onthrough one success to another by dealing with thelaws of Nature through the help of the inventionof new instruments. This field of lifes onwardmarch is a field of ruthless competition. Becausethe material world is the world of quantity, where25
  25. 25. THE RELIGION OF MANresources are limited and victory waits for thosewho have superior facility in their weapons, there-fore success in the path of progress for one groupmost often runs parallel to defeat in another.It appears that such scramble and fight foropportunities of living among numerous smallcombatants suggested at last an imperialism of bigbulky flesh a huge system of muscles and bones,thick and heavy coats of armour and enormoustails. The idea of such indecorous massivenessmust have seemed natural to lifes providence; forthe victory in the world of quantity might reason-ably appear to depend upon the bigness of dimen-sion. But such gigantic paraphernalia of defenceand attack resulted in an utter defeat, the recordsof which every day are being dug up from the des-ert sands and ancient mud flats. These representthe fragments that strew the forgotten paths of agreat retreat in the battle of existence. For theheavy weight which these creatures carried wasmainly composed of bones, hides, shells, teeth andclaws that were non-living, and therefore imposedits whole huge pressure upon life that needed free-dom and growth for the perfect expression of itsown vital nature. The resources for living whichthe earth offered for her children were recklesslyspent by these megalomaniac monsters of an im-moderate appetite for the sake of maintaining acumbersome system of dead burdens that thwarted26
  26. 26. THE CREATIVE SPIRITthem in their true progress. Such a losing gamehas now become obsolete. To the few stragglersof that party, like the rhinoceros or the hippopota-mus, has been allotted a very small space on thisearth, absurdly inadequate to their formidablestrength and magnitude of proportions, makingthem look forlornly pathetic in the sublimity oftheir incongruousness. These and their extinctforerunners have been the biggest failures in lifesexperiments. And then, on some obscure dusk ofdawn, the experiment entered upon a completelynew phase of a disarmament proposal, when littleMan made his appearance in the arena, bringingwith him expectations and suggestions that areunfathomably great.We must know that the evolution process of theworld has made its progress towards the revelationof its truth that is to say some inner value whichis not in the extension in space and duration intime. When life came out it did not bring with itany new materials into existence. Its elements arethe same which are the materials for the rocks andminerals. Only it evolved a value in them whichcannot be measured and analysed. The same thingis true with regard to mind and the consciousnessof self ; they are revelations of a great meaning, theself-expression of a truth. In man this truth hasmade its positive appearance, and is struggling tomake its manifestation more and more clear. That27
  27. 27. THE RELIGION OF MANwhich is eternal is realizing itself in historythrough the obstructions of limits.The physiological process in the progress ofLifes evolution seems to have reached its finalityin man. We cannot think of any noticeable addi-tion or modification in our vital instruments whichwe are likely to allow to persist. If any individualis born, by chance, with an extra pair of eyes orears, or some unexpected limbs like stowawayswithout passports, we are sure to do our best toeliminate them from our bodily organization. Anynew chance of a too obviously physical variation iscertain to meet with a determined disapprovalfrom man, the most powerful veto being expectedfrom his aesthetic nature, which peremptorily re-fuses to calculate advantage when its majesty isoffended by any sudden license of form. We allknow that the back of our body has a wide surfacepractically unguarded. From the strategic point ofview this oversight is unfortunate, causing usannoyances and indignities, if nothing worse,through unwelcome intrusions. And this couldreasonably justify in our minds regret for retrench-ment in the matter of an original tail, whosememorial we are still made to carry in secret Butthe least attempt at the rectification of the policyof economy in this direction is indignantly re-sented. I strongly believe that the idea of ghostshad its best chance with our timid imagination in28
  28. 28. THE CREATIVE SPIRITour sensitive back a field of dark ignorance; andyet it is too late for me to hint that one of our eyescould profitably have been spared for our burden-carrier back, so unjustly neglected and haunted byundefined fears.Thus, while all innovation is stubbornly op-posed, there is every sign of a comparative care-lessness about the physiological efficiency of thehuman body. Some of our organs are losing theiroriginal vigour. The civilized life, within walledenclosures, has naturally caused in man a weaken-ing of his power of sight and hearing along withsubtle sense of the distant. Because of our habit oftaking cooked food we give less employment toour teeth and a great deal more to the dentist.Spoilt and pampered by clothes, our skin showslethargy in its function of adjustment to the atmos-pheric temperature and in its power of quickrecovery from hurts.The adventurous Life appears to have pausedat a crossing in her road before Man came. Itseems as if she became aware of wastefulness incarrying on her experiments and adding to herinventions purely on the physical plane. It wasproved in Lifes case that four is not always twiceas much as two. In living things it is necessary tokeep to the limit of the perfect unit within whichthe inter-relationship must not be inordinatelystrained* The ambition that seeks power in the29
  29. 29. THE RELIGION OF MANaugmentation of dimension is doomed; for thatperfection which is in the inner quality of harmonybecomes choked when quantity overwhelms it ina fury of extravagance. The combination of anexaggerated nose and arm that an elephant carrieshanging down its front has its advantage. Thismay induce us to imagine that it would double theadvantage for the animal if its tail also could growinto an additional trunk. But the progress whichgreedily allows Lifes field to be crowded with anexcessive production of instruments becomes aprogress towards death. For Life has its own nat-ural rhythm which a multiplication table has not;and proud progress that rides roughshod overLifes cadence kills it at the end with encum-brances that are unrhythmic. As I have alreadymentioned, such disasters did happen in the historyof evolution.The moral of that tragic chapter is that if thetail does not have the decency to know where tostop, the drag of this dependency becomes fatal tothe bodys empire.Moreover, evolutionary progress on the physicalplane inevitably tends to train up its subjects intospecialists. The camel is a specialist of the desertand is awkward in the swamp. The hippopotamuswhich specializes in the mudlands of the Nile ishelpless in the neighbouring desert Such one-sided emphasis breeds professionalism in Lifes30
  30. 30. THE CREATIVE SPIRITdomain, confining special efficiencies in narrowcompartments. The expert training in the aerialsphere is left to the bird ;that in the marine is par-ticularly monopolized by the fish. The ostrich isan expert in its own region and would look utterlyfoolish in an eagles neighbourhood. They have toremain permanently content with advantages thatdesperately cling to their limits. Such mutilationof the complete ideal of life for the sake ofsome exclusive privilege of power is inevitable;for that form of progress deals with materialsthat are physical and therefore necessarily lim-ited.To rescue her own career from such a multiply-ing burden of the dead and such constriction ofspecialization seems to have been the object of theSpirit of Life at one particular stage. For it doesnot take long to find out that an indefinite pursuitof quantity creates for Life, which is essentiallyqualitative, complexities that lead to a vicious cir-cle. These primeval animals that produced anenormous volume of flesh had to build a giganticsystem of bones to carry the burden. This requiredin its turn a long and substantial array of tails togive it balance. Thus their bodies, being com-pelled to occupy a vast area, exposed a very largesurface which had to be protected by a strong,heavy and capacious armour. A progress whichrepresented a congress of dead materials required
  31. 31. THE RELIGION OP MANa parallel organization of teeth and claws, or hornsand hooves, which also were dead.In its own manner one mechanical burden linksitself to other burdens of machines, and Life growsto be a carrier of the dead, a mere platform formachinery, until it is crushed to death by its inter-minable paradoxes. We are told that the greaterpart of a tree is dead matter; the big stem, exceptfor a thin covering, is lifeless. The tree uses it as aprop in its ambition for a high position and the life-less timber is the slave that carries on its back themagnitude of the tree. But such a dependence upona dead dependant has been achieved by the tree atthe cost of its real freedom. It had to seek thestable alliance of the earth for the sharing of itsburden, which it did by the help of secret under-ground entanglements making itself permanentlystationary.But the form of life that seeks the great privilegeof movement must minimize its load of the deadand must realize that lifes progress should be aperfect progress of the inner life itself and not ofmaterials and machinery; the non-living must notcontinue outgrowing the living, the armour dead-ening the skin, the armament laming the arms.At last, when the Spirit of Life found her formin Man, the effort she had begun completed itscycle, and the truth of her mission glimmered intosuggestions which dimly pointed to some direction32
  32. 32. THE CREATIVE SPIRITof meaning across her own frontier. Before theend of this cycle was reached, all the suggestionshad been external. They were concerned withtechnique, with lifes apparatus, with the efficiencyof the organs. This might have exaggerated itselfinto an endless boredom of physical progress. Itcan be conceded that the eyes of the bee possessingnumerous facets may have some uncommon advan-tage which we cannot even imagine, or the glow-worm that carries an arrangement for producinglight in its person may baffle our capacity and com-prehension. Very likely there are creatures havingcertain organs that give them sensibilities whichwe cannot have the power to guess.All such enhanced sensory powers merely addto the mileage in lifes journey on the same roadlengthening an indefinite distance. They nevertake us over the border of physical existence.The same thing may be said not only about lifesefficiency, but also lifes ornaments. The colouringand decorative patterns on the bodies of some ofthe deep sea creatures make us silent with amaze-ment The butterflys wings, the beetles back, thepeacocks plumes, the shells of the crustaceans, theexuberant outbreak of decoration in plant life,have reached a standard of perfection that seemsto be final. And yet if it continues in the samephysical direction, then, however much variety ofsurprising excellence it may produce, it leaves out33
  33. 33. THE RELIGION OF MANsome great element of unuttered meaning. Theseornaments are like ornaments lavished upon a cap-tive girl, luxuriously complete within a narrowlimit, speaking of a homesickness for a far awayhorizon of emancipation, for an inner depth thatis beyond the ken of the senses. The freedom inthe physical realm is like the circumscribed free-dom in a cage. It produces a proficiency which ismechanical and a beauty which is of the surface.To whatever degree of improvement bodilystrength and skill may be developed they keep lifetied to a persistence of habit It is closed, like amould, useful though it may be for the sake ofsafety and precisely standardized productions. Forcenturies the bee repeats its hive, the weaver-birdits nest, the spider its web; and instincts stronglyattach themselves to some invariable tendencies ofmuscles and nerves never being allowed the privi-lege of making blunders. The physical functions,in order to be strictly reliable, behave like somemodel schoolboy, obedient, regular, properly re-peating lessons by rote without mischief or mistakein his conduct, but also without spirit and initia-tive. It is the flawless perfection of rigid limits, acousin possibly a distant cousin of the inani-mate.Instead of allowing a full paradise of perfectionto continue its tame and timid rule of faultlessregularity the Spirit of Life boldly declared for34
  34. 34. THE CREATIVE SPIRITa further freedom and decided to eat of the fruitof the Tree of Knowledge. This time her strugglewas not against the Inert, but against the limitationof her own overburdened agents. She foughtagainst the tutelage of her prudent old prime min-ister, the faithful instinct She adopted a novelmethod of experiment, promulgated new laws, andtried her hand at moulding Man through a his-tory which was immensely different from thatwhich went before. She took a bold step in throw-ing open her gates to a dangerously explosive fac-tor which she had cautiously introduced into hercouncil the element of Mind. I should not saythat it was ever absent, but only that at a certainstage some curtain was removed and its play wasmade evident, even like the dark heat which in itsglowing intensity reveals itself in a contradictionof radiancy.Essentially qualitative, like life itself, the Minddoes not occupy space. For that very reason it hasjio bounds in its mastery of space. Also, like Life,Mind has its meaning in freedom, which it missedin its earliest dealings with Lifes children. In theanimal, though the mind is allowed to come out ofthe immediate limits of livelihood, its range isrestricted, like the freedom of a child that mightrun out of its room but not out of the house; or,rather, like the foreign ships to which only a cer-tain port was opened in Japan in the beginning of33
  35. 35. THE RELIGION OF MANher contact with the West in fear of the dangerthat might befall if the strangers had their uncon-trolled opportunity of communication. Mind alsois a foreign element for Life; its laws are different,its weapons powerful, its moods and manners mostalien.Like Eve of the Semitic mythology, the Spiritof Life risked the happiness of her placid seclusionto win her freedom. She listened to the whisperof a tempter who promised her the right to a newregion of mystery, and was urged into a permanentalliance with the stranger. Up to this point theinterest of life was the sole interest in her ownkingdom, but another most powerfully parallelinterest was created with the advent of this adven-turer Mind from an unknown shore. Their inter-ests clash, and complications of a serious naturearise. I have already referred to some vital organsof Man that are suffering from neglect. The onlyreason has been the diversion created by the Mindinterrupting the sole attention which Lifes func-tions claimed in the halcyon days of her undisputedmonarchy. It is no secret that Mind has the habitof asserting its own will for its expression againstlifes will to live and enforcing sacrifices from henWhen lately some adventurers accepted the dan-gerous enterprise to climb Mount Everest, it wassolely through the instigation of the arch-rebelMind. In this case Mind denied its treaty of co-36
  36. 36. THE CREATIVE SPIRIToperation with its partner and ignored Lifesclaim to help in her living. The immemorialprivileges of the ancient sovereignty of Life aretoo often flouted by the irreverent Mind; in fact,-all through the course of this alliance there areconstant cases of interference with each othersfunctions, often with unpleasant and even fatalresults. But in spite of this, or very often becauseof this antagonism, the new current of Mans evo-lution is bringing a wealth to his harbour infinitelybeyond the dream of the creatures of monstrousflesh.The manner in which Man appeared in Lifeskingdom was in itself a protest and a challenge,the challenge of Jack to the Giant. He carried inhis body the declaration of mistrust against thecrowding of burdensome implements of physicalprogress. His Mind spoke to the naked man,"Fear not" ;and he stood alone facing the menaceof a heavy brigade of formidable muscles. Hisown puny muscles cried out in despair, and he hadto invent for himself in a novel manner and in anew spirit of evolution. This at once gave him hispromotion from the passive destiny of the animalto the aristocracy of Man* He began to create hisfurther body, his outer organs the workers whichserved him and yet did not directly claim a shareof his life. Some of the earliest in his list werebows and arrows. Had this change been under-37
  37. 37. THE RELIGION OF MANtaken by the physical process of evolution, modify-ing his arms in a slow and gradual manner, itmight have resulted in burdensome and ungainlyapparatus. Possibly, however, I am unfair, andthe dexterity and grace which Lifes technical in-stinct possesses might have changed his arm intoa shooting medium in a perfect manner and witha beautiful form. In that case our lyrical literatureto-day would have sung in praise of its fascination,not only for a consummate skill in hunting victims,but also for a similar mischief in a metaphoricalsense. But even in the service of lyrics it wouldshow some limitation. For instance, the arms thatwould specialize in shooting would be awkward inwielding a pen or stringing a lute. But the greatadvantage in the latest method of human evolutionlies in the fact that Mans additional new limbs,like bows and arrows, have become detached. Theynever tie his arms to any exclusive advantage ofefficiency.The elephants trunk, the tigers paws, the clawsof the mole, have combined their best expressionsin the human arms, which are much weaker intheir original capacity than those limbs I havementioned. It would have been a hugely cumber-some practical joke if the combination of animallimbs had had a simultaneous location In the hu-man organism through some overzeal in biologicalinventiveness.38
  38. 38. THE CREATIVE SPIRITThe first great economy resulting from the newprogramme was the relief of the physical burden,which means the maximum efficiency with theminimum pressure of taxation upon the vital re-sources of the body. Another mission of benefitwas this, that it absolved the Spirit of Life inMans case from the necessity of specialization forthe sake of limited success. This has encouragedMan to dream of the possibility of combining inhis single person the fish, the bird and the fleet-footed animal that walks on land. Man desired inhis completeness to be the one great representativeof multiform life, not through wearisome subjec-tion to the haphazard gropings of natural selection,but by the purposeful selection of opportunitieswith the help of his reasoning mind. It enablesthe schoolboy who is given a pen-knife on hisbirthday to have the advantage over the tiger inthe fact that it does not take him- a million yearsto obtain its possession, nor another million yearsfor its removal, when the instrument proves un-necessary or dangerous. The human mind hascompressed ages into a few years for the acquisi-tion of steel-made claws. The only cause of anxietyis that the instrument and the temperament whichuses it may not keep pace in perfect harmony. Inthe tiger, the claws and the temperament whichonly a tiger should possess have had a synchronousdevelopment, and in no single tiger is any malad-
  39. 39. THE RELIGION OF MANjustment possible between its nails and its tigerli-ness. But the human boy, who grows a claw in theform of a pen-knife, may not at the same timedevelop the proper temperament necessary for itsuse which only a man ought to have. The neworgans that to-day are being added as a supple-ment to Mans original vital stock are too quickand too numerous for his inner nature to developits own simultaneous concordance with them, andthus we see everywhere innumerable schoolboys inhuman society playing pranks with their own andother peoples lives and welfare by means of newlyacquired pen-knives which have not had time tobecome humanized.One thing, I am sure, must have been noticedthat the original plot of the drama is changed, andthe mother Spirit of Life has retired into the back-ground, giving full prominence, in the third act,to the Spirit of Man though the dowager queen,from her inner apartment, still renders necessaryhelp. It is the consciousness in Man of his owncreative personality which has ushered in this newregime in Lifes kingdom. And from now onwardsMans attempts are directed fully to capture thegovernment and make his own Code of Legislationprevail without a break. We have seen in Indiathose who are called mystics, impatient of the con-tinued regency of mother Nature in their own40
  40. 40. THE CREATIVE SPIRITbody, winning for their will by a concentration ofinner forces the vital regions with which our mas-terful minds have no direct path of communi-cation.But the most important fact that has come intoprominence along with the change of directionin our evolution, is the possession of a Spirit whichhas its enormous capital with a surplus far inexcess of the requirements of the biological animalin Man. Some overflowing influence led us overthe strict boundaries of living, and offered to us anopen space where Mans thoughts and dreamscould have their holidays. Holidays are for godswho have their joy in creation. In Lifes primitiveparadise, where the mission was merely to live,any luck which came to the creatures entered infrom outside by the donations of chance; theylived on perpetual charity, by turns petted andkicked on the back by physical Providence. Beg-gars never can have harmony among themselves;they are envious of one another, mutually suspi-cious, like dogs living upon their masters favour,showing their teeth, growling, barking, trying totear one another. This is what Science describesas the struggle for existence. This beggars para-dise lacked peace ;I am sure the suitors for specialfavour from fate lived in constant preparedness,inventing and multiplying armaments.41
  41. 41. THE RELIGION OF MANBut above the din of the clamour and scramblerises the voice of the Angel of Surplus, of leisure,of detachment from the compelling claim ofphysical need, saying to men, "Rejoice". From hisoriginal serfdom as a creature Man takes his rightseat as a creator. Whereas, before, his incessantappeal has been to get, now at last the call comesto him to give. His God, whose help he was inthe habit of asking, now stands Himself at his doorand asks for his offerings. As an animal, he is stilldependent upon Nature; as a Man, he is a sover-eign who builds his world and rules itAnd there, at this point, comes his religion,whereby he realizes himself in the perspective ofthe infinite. There is a remarkable verse in theAtharva Veda which says: "Righteousness, truth,great endeavours, empire, religion, enterprise,heroism and prosperity, the past and the future,dwell in the surpassing strength of the sur-plus."What is purely physical has its limits like theshell of an egg ;the liberation is there in the atmos-phere of the infinite, which is indefinable, invisible.Religion can have no meaning in the enclosure ofmere physical or material interest; it is in the sur-plus we carry around our personality the surpluswhich is like the atmosphere of the earth, bringingto her a constant circulation of light and life anddelightfulness*42
  42. 42. THE CREATIVE SPIRITI have said in a poem of mine that when thechild is detached from its mothers womb it findsits mother in a real relationship whose truth is infreedom. Man in his detachment has realized him-self in a wider and deeper relationship with theuniverse. In his moral life he has the sense of hisobligation and his freedom at the same time, andthis is goodness. In his spiritual life his sense ofthe union and the will which is free has its cul-mination in love. The freedom of opportunity hewins for himself in Natures region by uniting hispower with Natures forces. The freedom of socialrelationship he attains through owning responsi-bility to his community, thus gaining its collectivepower for his own welfare. In the freedom of con-sciousness he realizes the sense of his unity withhis larger being, finding fulfilment in the dedicatedlife of an ever-progressive truth and ever-activelove.The first detachment achieved by Man is physi-cal. It represents his freedom from the aecessityof developing the power of his senses and limbsin the limited area of his own physiology, havingfor itself an unbounded background with an im-mense result in consequence. Natures originalintention was that Man should have the allowanceof his sight-power ample enough for his surround-ings and a little over. But to have to develop anastronomical telescope on our skull would cause43
  43. 43. THE RELIGION OF MANa worse crisis of bankruptcy than it did to theMammoth whose densely foolish body indulged inan extravagance of tusks. A snail carries its houseon its back and therefore the material, the shapeand the weight have to be strictly limited to thecapacity of the body. But fortunately Mans houseneed not grow on the foundation of his bones andoccupy his flesh. Owing to this detachment, hisambition knows no check to its daring in the di-mension and strength of his dwellings. Since hisshelter does not depend upon his body, it surviveshim. This fact greatly affects the man who buildsa house, generating in his mind a sense of the eter-nal in his creative work. And this background ofthe boundless surplus of time encourages architec-ture, which seeks a universal value overcoming themiserliness of the present need.I have already mentioned a stage which Lifereached when the units of single cells formed them-selves into larger units, each consisting of a multi-tude. It was not merely an aggregation, but hada mysterious unity of inter-relationship, complexin character, with differences within of forms andfunction. We can never know concretely what thisrelation means, There are gaps between the units,but they do not stop the binding force that per-meates the whole. There is a future for the wholewhich is in its growth, but in order to bring this44
  44. 44. THE CREATIVE SPIRITabout each unit works and dies to make room forthe next worker. While the unit has the right toclaim the glory of the whole, yet individually itcannot share the entire wealth that occupies a his-tory yet to be completed.Of all creatures Man has reached that multicel-lular character in a perfect manner, not only in hisbody but in his personality. For centuries his evo-lution has been the evolution of a consciousnessthat tries to be liberated from the bonds of indi-vidual separateness and to comprehend in its rela-tionship a wholeness which may be named Man.This relationship, which has been dimly instinc-tive, is ever struggling to be fully aware of itself.Physical evolution sought for efficiency in a per-fect communication with the physical world; theevolution of Mans consciousness sought for truthin a perfect harmony with the world of personality.There are those who will say that the idea ofhumanity is an abstraction, subjective in character*It must be confessed that the concrete objective-ness of this living truth cannot be proved to itsown units. They can never see its entireness fromoutside; for they are one with it The individualcells of our body have their separate lives; but theynever have the opportunity of observing the bodyas a whole with its past, present and future. Ifthese cells have the power of reasoning (which45
  45. 45. THE RELIGION OF MANthey may have for aught we know) they have theright to argue that the idea of the body has noobjective foundation in fact, and though there isa mysterious sense of attraction and mutual influ-ence running through them, these are nothing posi-tively real ;the sole reality which is provable is inthe isolation of these cells made by gaps that cannever be crossed or bridged.We know something about a system of explosiveatoms whirling separately in a space which is im-mense compared to their own dimension. Yet wedo not know why they should appear to us a solidpiece of radiant mineral. And if there is anonlooker who at one glance can have the view ofthe immense time and space occupied by innumer-able human individuals engaged in evolving acommon history, the positive truth of their solidar-ity will be concretely evident to him and not thenegative fact of their separateness.The reality of a piece of iron is not provableif we take the evidence of the atom ;the only proofis that I see it as a bit of iron, and that it has cer-tain reactions upon my consciousness. Any beingfrom, say, Orion, who has the sight to see the atomsand not the iron, has the right to say that we humanbeings suffer from an age-long epidemic of hallu-cination. We need not quarrel with him but goon using the iron as it appears to us. Seers therehave been who have said "Vedahametam", "I see",46
  46. 46. THE CREATIVE SPIRITand lived a life according to that vision. fAndthough our own sight may be blind we have everbowed our head to them in reverence.However, whatever name our logic may give tothe truth of human unity, the fact can never beignored that we have our greatest delight whenwe realize ourselves in others, and this is the defi-nition of love. This love gives us the testimony ofthe great whole, which is the complete and finaltruth of man. It offers us the immense field wherewe can have our release from the sole monarchyof hunger, of the growling voice, snarling teeth andtearing claws, from the dominance of the limitedmaterial means, the source of cruel envy andignoble deception, where the largest wealth of thehuman soul has been produced through sympathyand co-operation ; through disinterested pursuit ofknowledge that recognizes no limit and is unafraidof all time-honoured tabus; through a strenuouscultivation of intelligence for service that knowsno distinction of colour and clime. The Spirit ofLove, dwelling in the boundless realm of the sur-plus, emancipates our consciousness from the illu-sory bond of the separateness of self; it is evertrying to spread its illumination in the humanworld. This is the spirit of civilization, which inall its best endeavour invokes our supreme Beingfor the only bond of unity that leads us to truth,namely, that of righteousness:47
  47. 47. THE RELIGION OF MANYa efco varno bahudha saktiyogatvarnan anekan nihitartho dadhativichaitti chante viavamadau sa devahsa no budhya subhaya samyunaktu."He who is one, above all colours, and who with his manifoldpower supplies the inherent needs of men of all colours, whois in the beginning and in the end of the world, is divine, andmay he unite us in a relationship of good will."
  48. 48. CHAPTER IIITHE SURPLUS IN MANTHERE are certain verses from the Atharva Vedain which the poet discusses his idea of Man, indi-cating some transcendental meaning that can betranslated as follows :"Who was it that imparted form to man, gave him majesty,movement, manifestation and character, inspired him with wis-dom, music and dancing? When his body was raised upwardshe found also the oblique sides and all other directions in himhe who is the Person, the citadel of the infinite being."Tasmad vai vidvan purushamidan brahmeti manyate."And therefore the wise man knoweth this person as Brahma."Sanatanam enam ahur utadya syat punarnavah."Ancient they call him, and yet he is renewed even nowto-day."In the very beginning of his career Man assertedin his bodily structure his first proclamation offreedom against the established rule of Nature.At a certain bend in the path of evolution herefused to remain a four-footed creature, and theposition which he made his body to assume carriedwith it a permanent gesture of insubordination.For there could be no question that it was Natures49
  49. 49. THE RELIGION OF MANown plan to provide all land-walking mammalswith two pairs of legs, evenly distributed alongtheir lengthy trunk heavily weighted with a headat the end. This was the amicable compromisemade with the earth when threatened by its con-servative downward force, which extorts taxes forall movements. The fact that man gave up such anobviously sensible arrangement proves his inbornmania for repeated reforms of constitution, forpelting amendments at every resolution proposedby Providence.If we found a four-legged table stalking aboutupright upon two of its stumps, the remaining twofoolishly dangling by its sides, we should be afraidthat it was either a nightmare or some supernormalcaprice of that piece of furniture, indulging in apractical joke upon the carpenters idea of fitness.The like absurd behaviour of Mans anatomyencourages us to guess that he was born under theinfluence of some comet of contradiction thatforces its eccentric path against orbits regulated byNature. And it is significant that Man should per-sist in his foolhardiness, in spite of the penalty hepays for opposing the orthodox rule of animallocomotion. He reduces by half the help of an easybalance of his muscles. He is ready to pass hisinfancy tottering through perilous experiments inmaking progress upon insufficient support, andfollowed all through his life by liability to sudden50
  50. 50. THE SURPLUS IN MANdownfalls resulting in tragic or ludicrous conse-quences from which law-abiding quadrupeds arefree. This was his great venture, the relinquish-ment of a secure position of his limbs, which hecould comfortably have retained in return forhumbly salaaming the all-powerful dust at everystep.This capacity to stand erect has given our bodyits freedom of posture, making it easy for us toturn on all sides and realize ourselves at the centreof things. Physically, it symbolizes the fact thatwhile animals have for their progress the prolonga-tion of a narrow line Man has the enlargement ofa circle. As a centre he finds his meaning in a wideperspective, and realizes himself in the magnitudeof his circumference.As one freedom leads to another, Mans eyesightalso found a wider scope. I do not mean anyenhancement of its physical power, which in manypredatory animals has a better power of adjust-ment to light But from the higher vantage of ourphysical watch-tower we have gained our view,which is not merely information about the locationof things but their inter-relation and their unity*But the best means of the expression of his physi-cal freedom gained by Man in his vertical positionis through the emancipation of his hands. In ourbodily organization these have attained the high-est dignity for their skill) their grace, their usefulSi
  51. 51. THE RELIGION OF MANactivities, as well as for those that are above alluses. They are the most detached of all our limbs.Once they had their menial vocation as our car-riers, but raised from their position as shudras,they at once attained responsible status as ourhelpers. When instead of keeping them under-neath us we offered them their place at our side,they revealed capacities that helped us to cross theboundaries of animal nature.This freedom of view and freedom of actionhave been accompanied by an analogous mentalfreedom in Man through his imagination, whichis the most distinctly human of all our faculties. Itis there to help a creature who has been left unfin-ished by his designer, undraped, undecorated,unarmoured and without weapons, and, what isworse, ridden by a Mind whose energies for themost part are not tamed and tempered into somedifficult ideal of completeness upon a backgroundwhich is bare. Like all artists he has the freedomto make mistakes, to launch into desperate adven-tures contradicting and torturing his psychologyor physiological normality. This freedom is adivine gift lent to the mortals who are untutoredand undisciplined ;and therefore the path of theircreative progress is strewn with debris of devasta-tion, and stages of their perfection haunted byapparitions of startling deformities. But, all thesame, the very training of creation ever makes5*
  52. 52. THE SURPLUS IN MANclear an aim which cannot be in any isolated freakof an individual mind or in that which is onlylimited to the strictly necessary.Just as our eyesight enables us to include theindividual fact of ourselves in the surroundingview, our imagination makes us intensely consciousof a life we must live which transcends the indi-vidual life and contradicts the biological meaningof the instinct of self-preservation. It works atthe surplus, and extending beyond the reservationplots of our daily life builds there the guest cham-bers of priceless value to offer hospitality to theworld-spirit of Man. We have such an honouredright to be the host when our spirit is a free spiritnot chained to the animal self. For free spirit isgodly and alone can claim kinship with God.Every true freedom that we may attain in anydirection broadens our path of self-realization,which is in superseding the self. The unimagina-tive repetition of life within a safe restriction im-posed by Nature may be good for the animal, butnever for Man, who has the responsibility to out-live his life in order to live in truth.And freedom in its process of creation gives riseto perpetual suggestions of something further thanits obvious purpose. For freedom is for expressingthe infinite; it imposes limits in its works, not tokeep them in permanence but to break them overand over again, and to reveal the endless in unend-53
  53. 53. THE RELIGION OF MANIng surprises. This implies a history of constantregeneration, a series of fresh beginnings and con-tinual challenges to the old in order to reach a moreand more perfect harmony with some fundamentalideal of truth.Our civilization, in the constant struggle fora great Further, runs through abrupt chapters ofspasmodic divergences. It nearly always beginsits new ventures with a cataclysm ;for its changesare not mere seasonal changes of ideas glidingthrough varied periods of flowers and fruit Theyare surprises lying in ambuscade provoking revo-lutionary adjustments. They are changes in thedynasty of living ideals the ideals that are activein consolidating their dominion with strongholdsof physical and mental habits, of symbols, cere-monials and adornments* But however violentmay be the revolutions happening in whatevertime or country, they never completely detachthemselves from a common centre. They find theirplaces in a history which is one.The civilizations evolved in India or China,Persia or Judaea, Greece or Rome, are like severalmountain peaks having different altitude, tempera-ture, flora and fauna, and yet belonging to thesame chain of hills. There are no absolute barriersof communication between them; their foundationis the same and they affect the meteorology of anatmosphere which is common to us all. This is at54
  54. 54. THE SURPLUS IN MANthe root of the meaning of the great teacher whosaid he would not seek his own salvation if allmen were not saved ;for we all belong to a divineunity, from which our great-souled men havetheir direct inspiration; they feel it immediatelyin their own personality, and they proclaim in theirlife, "I am one with the Supreme, with the Death-less, with the Perfect".Man, in his mission to create himself, tries todevelop in his mind an image of his truth accord-ing to an idea which he believes to be universal,and is sure that any expression given to it will per-sist through all time. This is a mentality abso-lutely superfluous for biological existence. It rep-resents his struggle for a life which is not limitedto his body. For our physical life has its thread ofunity in the memory of the past, whereas this ideallife dwells in the prospective memory of thefuture* In the records of past civilizations, un-earthed from the closed records of dust, we findpathetic efforts to make their memories uninter-rupted through the ages, like the effort of a childwho sets adrift on a paper boat his dream of reach-ing the distant unknown. But why is this desire?Only because we feel instinctively that in our ideallife we must touch all men and all times throughthe manifestation of a truth which is eternal anduniversal. And in order to give expression to itmaterials are gathered that are excellent and a55
  55. 55. THE RELIGION O MANmanner of execution that has a permanent value*For we mortals must offer homage to the Man ofthe everlasting life. In order to do so, we are ex-pected to pay a great deal more than we need formere living, and in the attempt we often exhaustour very means of livelihood, and even life itself.The ideal picture which a savage imagines ofhimself requires glaring paints and gorgeous finer-ies, a rowdiness in ornaments and even grotesquedeformities of over-wrought extravagance* Hetries to sublimate his individual self into a mani-festation which he believes to have the majesty ofthe ideal Man. He is not satisfied with what he isin his natural limitations ;he irresistibly feels some-thing beyond the evident fact of himself whichonly could give him worth. It is the principle ofpower, which, according to his present mentalstage, is the meaning of the universal realitywhereto he belongs, and it is his pious duty to giveexpression to it even at the cost of his happiness.In fact, through it he becomes one with his God,for him his God is nothing greater than power.The savage takes immense trouble, and often suf-fers tortures, in order to offer in himself a repre-sentation of power in conspicuous colours and dis-torted shapes, in acts of relentless cruelty and in-temperate bravado of self-indulgence. Such anappearance of rude grandiosity evokes a loyal rev-erence in the members of his community and a56
  56. 56. THE SURPLUS IN MANfear which gives them an aesthetic satisfactionbecause it illuminates for them the picture of acharacter which, as far as they know, belongs toideal humanity. They wish to see in him not anindividual, but the Man in whom they all are rep*resented. Therefore, in spite of their sufferings,they enjoy being overwhelmed by his exaggerationsand dominated by a will fearfully evident owingto its magnificent caprice in inflicting injuries.They symbolize their idea of unlimited wilfulnessin their gods by ascribing to them physical andmoral enormities in their anatomical idiosyncracyand virulent vindictiveness crying for the blood ofvictims, in personal preferences indiscriminate inthe choice of recipients and methods of rewardsand punishments. In fact, these gods could neverbe blamed for the least wavering in their conductowing to any scrupulousness accompanied by theemotion of pity so often derided as sentimentalismby virile intellects of the present day.However crude all this may be, it proves thatMan has a feeling that he is truly represented insomething which exceeds himself. He is awarethat he is not imperfect, but incomplete. He knowsthat in himself some meaning has yet to be real-ized. We do not feel the wonder of it,because itseems so natural to us that barbarism in Man isnot absolute, that its limits are like the limits ofthe horizon. The call is deep in his mind the57
  57. 57. THE RELIGION OF MANcall of his own inner truth, which is beyond hisdirect knowledge and analytical logic. And indi-viduals are born who have no doubt of the truthof this transcendental Man. As our consciousnessmore and more comprehends it, new valuations aredeveloped in us, new depths and delicacies of de-light, a sober dignity of expression through elimi-nation of tawdriness, of frenzied emotions, of allviolence in shape, colour, words, or behaviour, ofthe dark mentality of Ku-Klux-Klanism.Each age reveals its personality as dreamer inits great expressions that carry it across surgingcenturies to the continental plateau of permanenthuman history. These expressions may not be con-sciously religious, but indirectly they belong toMans religion. For they are the outcome of theconsciousness of the greater Man in the individualmen of the race. This consciousness finds its man-ifestation in science, philosophy and the arts, insocial ethics, in all things that carry their ultimatevalue in themselves. These are truly spiritual andthey should all be consciously co-ordinated in onegreat religion of Man, representing his ceaselessendeavour to reach the perfect in great thoughtsand deeds and dreams, in immortal symbols of art,revealing his aspiration for rising in dignity ofbeing.I had the occasion to visit the ruins of ancientRome, the relics of human yearning towards the58
  58. 58. THE SURPLUS IN MANimmense, the sight of which teases our mind outof thought. Does it not prove that in the visionof a great Roman Empire the creative imaginationof the people rejoiced in the revelation of its trans-cendental humanity? It was the idea of an Empirewhich was not merely for opening an outlet to thepent-up pressure of over-population, or wideningits field of commercial profit, but which existed asa concrete representation of the majesty of Romanpersonality, the soul of the people dreaming of aworld-wide creation of its own for a fit habitationof the Ideal Man. It was Romes titanic endeavourto answer the eternal question as to what Mantruly was, as Man. And any answer given in earn-est falls within the realm of religion, whatevermay be its character ;and this answer, in its truth,belongs not only to any particular people but tous all. It may be that Rome did not give the mostperfect answer possible when she fought for herplace as a world-builder of human history, but sherevealed the marvellous vigour of the indomitablehuman spirit which could say, "Bhumaiva suk-hamf "Greatness is happiness itself". Her Em-pire has been sundered and shattered, but her faithin the sublimity of man still persists in one of thevast strata of human geology. And this faith wasthe true spirit of her religion, which had been dimin the tradition of her formal theology, merelysupplying her with an emotional pastime and not
  59. 59. THE RELIGION OF MANwith spiritual inspiration. In fact this theologyfell far below her personality, and for that reasonit went against her religion, whose mission was toreveal her humanity on the background of theeternal. Let us seek the religion of this and otherpeople not in their gods but in Man, who dreamedof his own infinity and majestically worked for alltime, defying danger and death.Since the dim nebula of consciousness in Lifesworld became intensified into a centre of self inMan, his history began to unfold its rapid chap-ters ;for it is the history of his strenuous answersin various forms to the question rising from thisconscious self of his, "What am I?" Man is nothappy or contented as the animals are ;for his hap-piness and his peace depend upon the truth of hisanswer. The animal attains his success in a physi-cal sufficiency that satisfies his nature. When acrocodile finds no obstruction in behaving like anorthodox crocodile he grins and grows and has nocause to complain. It is truism to say that Manalso must behave like a man in order to find histruth. But he is sorely puzzled and asks in be-wilderment: "What is it to be like a man? Whatam I?" It is not left to the tiger to discover whatis his own nature as a tiger, nor, for the matter ofthat, to choose a special colour for his coat accord-ing to his taste.But Man has taken centuries to discuss the ques-60
  60. 60. THE SURPLUS IN MANtion of his own true nature and has not yet cometo a conclusion. He has been building up elab-orate religions to convince himself, against his nat-ural inclinations, of the paradox that he is not whathe is but something greater. What is significantabout these efforts is the fact that in order to knowhimself truly Man in his religion cultivates thevision of a Being who exceeds him in truth andwith whom also he has his kinship. These religionsdiffer in details and often in their moral signifi-cance, but they have a common tendency. In themmen seek their own supreme value, which they calldivine, in some personality anthropomorphic incharacter. The Mind, which is abnormally scien-tific, scoffs at this ;but it should know that religionis not essentially cosmic or even abstract; it findsitself when it touches the Brahma in man; other-wise it has no justification to exist.It must be admitted that such a human elementintroduces into our religion a mentality that oftenhas its danger in aberrations that are intellectuallyblind, morally reprehensible and aestheticallyrepellent But these are wrong answers; they dis-tort the truth of man and, like all mistakes insociology, in economics or politics, they have tobe fought against and overcome. Their truth hasto be judged by the standard of human perfectionand not by some arbitrary injunction that refusesto be confirmed by the tribunal of the human con-6*
  61. 61. THE RELIGION OF MANscience. And great religions are the outcome ofgreat revolutions in this direction causing funda-mental changes of our attitude. These religionsinvariably made their appearance as a protestagainst the earlier creeds which had been unhu-man, where ritualistic observances had becomemore important and outer compulsions more im-perious. These creeds were, as I have said before,cults of power; they had their value for us, nothelping us to become perfect through truth, but togrow formidable through possessions and magiccontrol of the deity.But possibly I am doing injustice to our ances-tors. It is more likely that they worshipped powernot merely because of its utility, but because they,in their way, recognized it as truth with whichtheir own power had its communication and inwhich it found its fulfilment They must have nat-urally felt that this power was the power of willbehind nature, and not some impersonal insanitythat unaccountably always stumbled upon correctresults. For it would have been the greatest depthof imbecility on their part had they brought theirhomage to an abstraction, mindless, heartless andpurposeless; in fact, infinitely below them in itsmanifestation.
  62. 62. CHAPTER IVSPIRITUAL UNIONWHEN Mans preoccupation with the means oflivelihood became less insistent he had the leisureto come to the mystery of his own self, and couldnot help feeling that the truth of his personalityhad both its relationship and its perfection in anendless world of humanity. His religion, which inthe beginning had its cosmic background of power,came to a higher stage when it found its back-ground in the human truth of personality. It mustnot be thought that in this channel it was narrow-ing the range of our consciousness of the infinite.The negative idea of the infinite is merely anindefinite enlargement of the limits of things; infact, a perpetual postponement of infinitude. I amtold that mathematics has come to the conclusionthat our world belongs to a space which is limited.It does not make us feel disconsolate. We do notmiss very much and need not have a low opinionof space even if a straight line cannot remainstraight and has an eternal tendency to come backto the point from which it started. In the HinduScripture the universe is described as an egg; that63
  63. 63. THB RELIGION OF MANis to say, for the human mind it has its circularshell of limitation. The Hindu Scripture goes stillfurther and says that time also is not continuousand our world repeatedly comes to an end to beginits cycle once again. In other words, in the regionof time and space infinity consists of ever-revolvingfinitude.But the positive aspect of the infinite is inadvaitam, in an absolute unity, in which compre-hension of the multitude is not as in an outer re-ceptacle but as in an inner perfection that per-meates and exceeds its contents, like the beauty ina lotus which is ineffably more than all the con-stituents of the flower. It is not the magnitude ofextension but an intense quality of harmony whichevokes in us the positive sense of the infinite in ourjoy, in our love. For advaitam is anandam; theinfinite One is infinite Love. For those amongwhom the spiritual sense is dull, the desire forrealization is reduced to physical possession, anactual grasping in space. This longing for magni-tude becomes not an aspiration towards the great,but a mania for the big. But true spiritual realiza-tion is not through augmentation of possession indimension or number. The truth that is infinitedwells in the ideal of unity which we find in thedeeper relatedness. This truth of realization is notin space, it can only be realized in ones own innerspirit64
  64. 64. SPIRITUAL UNIONEkadhaivanudrashtavyam etat aprameyam dhruvam.(This infinite and eternal has to be known as One.)Para akasat aja atma "this birthless spirit isbeyond space". For it is Purushahj it is the"Person".The special mental attitude which India has inher religion is made clear by the word Yoga, whosemeaning is to effect union. Union has its signifi-cance not in the realm of to have, but in that ofto be. To gain truth is to admit its separateness,but to be true is to become one with truth. Somereligions, which deal with our relationship withGod, assure us of reward if that relationship bekept true. This reward has an objective value. Itgives us some reason outside ourselves for pursuingthe prescribed path. We have such religions alsoin India. But those that have attained a greaterheight aspire for their fulfilment in union withNarayana, the supreme Reality of Man, which isdivine.Our union with this spirit is not to be attainedthrough the mind. For our mind belongs to thedepartment of economy in the human organism.It carefully husbands our consciousness for its ownrange of reason, within which to permit our rela-tionship with the phenomenal world* But it is theobject of Yoga to help us to transcend the limitsbuilt up by Mind. On the occasions when theseare overcome, our inner self is filled with joy,65
  65. 65. THE RELIGION OF MANwhich indicates that through such freedom wecome into touch with the Reality that is an end initself and therefore is bliss.Once man had his vision of the infinite in theuniversal Light, and he offered his worship to thesun. He also offered his service to the fire withoblations. Then he felt the infinite in Life, whichis Time in its creative aspect, and he said, "Yat*kincha yadidam sarvam prana ejati nihsritam/* "allthat there is comes out of life and vibrates in it".He was sure of it, being conscious of Lifes mysteryimmediately in himself as the principle of purpose,as the organized will, the source of all his activi-ties. His interpretation of the ultimate characterof truth relied upon the suggestion that Life hadbrought to him, and not the non-living which isdumb. And then he came deeper into his beingand said "Raso vai sah"9 "the infinite is love itself",the eternal spirit of joy. His religion, which isin his realization of the infinite, began its journeyfrom the impersonal dyaus, "the sky", whereinlight had its manifestation; then came to Life,which represented the force of self-creation intime, and ended in purushak, the "Person", inwhom dwells timeless love. It said, "Tarn vedyampurusham ve-dah", "Know him the Person who isto be realized", "Yatha ma vo mrityug parivya~thah" "So that death may not cause you sorrow".For this Person is deathless in whom the individual66
  66. 66. S PIRITUAL UNIONperson has his immortal truth. Of him it is said :"Esha devo uisvakarma mahatma sada jananamhridaye sannivishatah". "This is the divine being,the world-worker, who is the Great Soul everdwelling inherent in the hearts of all people."Ya etad vidur amritas te bhavanti. "Those whorealize him, transcend the limits of mortality"not in duration of time, but in perfection of truth.Our union with a Being whose activity is world-wide and who dwells in the heart of humanitycannot be a passive one. In order to be united withHim we have to divest our work of selfishness andbecome visvakarma, "the world-worker", we mustwork for all. When I use the words "for all", Ido not mean for a countless number of individuals.All work that is good, however small in extent, isuniversal in character. Such work makes for arealization of Fisvakarma, "the World-Worker"who works for all. In order to be one with thisMahatma, "the Great Soul", one must cultivatethe greatness of soul which identifies itself withthe soul of all peoples and not merely with that ofones own. This helps us to understand whatBuddha has described as Brahmavihara, "living inthe infinite". He says:"Do not deceive each other, do not despise any-body anywhere, never in anger wish anyone to suf-fer through your body, words or thoughts. Like amother maintaining her only son with her own67
  67. 67. THE RELIGION OF MANlife, keep thy immeasurable loving thought for allcreatures."Above thee, below thee, on all sides of thee,keep on all the world thy sympathy and immeas-urable loving thought which is without obstruc-tion, without any wish to injure, without enmity."To be dwelling in such contemplation whilestanding, walking, sitting or lying down, untilsleep overcomes thee, is called living in Brahma".This proves that Buddhas idea of the infinitewas not the idea of a spirit of an unbounded cos-mic activity, but the infinite whose meaning is inthe positive ideal of goodness and love, whichcannot be otherwise than human. By being chari-table, good and loving, you do not realize theinfinite, in the stars or rocks, but the infinite re-vealed in Man. Buddhas teaching speaks of Nir-vana as the highest end. To understand its realcharacter we have to know the path of its attain-ment, which is not merely through the negation ofevil thoughts and deeds but through the eliminationof all limits to love. It must mean the sublimationof self in a truth which is love itself, which unitesin its bosom all those to whom we must offer oursympathy and service.When somebody asked Buddha about the orig-inal cause of existence he sternly said that suchquestioning was futile and irrelevant Did he notmean that it went beyond the human sphere as68
  68. 68. SPIRITUAL UNIONour goal that though such a question mightlegitimately be asked in the region of cosmic phi-losophy or science, it had nothing to do with mansdharma, mans inner nature, in which love findsits utter fulfilment, in which all his sacrifice endsin an eternal gain, in which the putting out of thelamplight is no loss because there is the all-pervad-ing light of the sun. And did those who listenedto the great teacher merely hear his words andunderstand his doctrines? No, they directly feltin him what he was preaching, in the living lan-guage of his own person, the ultimate truth ofMan.It is significant that all great religions have theirhistoric origin in persons who represented in theirlife a truth which was not cosmic and unmoral,but human and good. They rescued religion fromthe magic stronghold of demon force and broughtit into the inner heart of humanity, into a fulfil-ment not confined to some exclusive good fortuneof the individual but to the welfare of all men.This was not for the spiritual ecstasy of lonelysouls, but for the spiritual emancipation of allraces. They came as the messengers of Man tomen of all countries and spoke of the salvation thatcould only be reached by the perfecting of ourrelationship with Man the Eternal, Man theDivine. Whatever might be their doctrines ofGod, or some dogmas that they borrowed from69
  69. 69. THE RELIGION OF MANtheir own time and tradition, their life and teach-ing had the deeper implication of a Being who isthe infinite in Man, the Father, the Friend, theLover, whose service must be realized throughserving all mankind. For the God in Man de-pends upon mens service and mens love for hisown loves fulfilmentThe question was once asked in the shade ofthe ancient forest of India :Kasmai devaya havisha vidhema?"Who is the God to whom we must bring our oblation?"That question is still ours, and to answer it wemust know in the depth of our love and thematurity of our wisdom what man is know himnot only in sympathy but in science, in the joy ofcreation and in the pain of heroism ;tena tyaktenabhunjitha, "enjoy him through sacrifice" the sac-rifice that comes of love ;ma gridhah, "covet not" ;for greed diverts your mind to that illusion in youwhich is your separate self and diverts it fromtruth in which you represent the parama purushahf"the supreme Person".Our greed diverts our consciousness to materialsaway from that supreme value of truth which isthe quality of the universal being. The gulf thuscreated by the receding stream of the soul we tryto replenish with a continuous stream of wealth,which may have the power to fill but not the power70
  70. 70. SPIRITUAL UNIONto unite and recreate. Therefore the gap is danger-ously concealed under the glittering quicksand oithings, which by their own weight cause a suddensubsidence while we are in the depths of sleep.The real tragedy, however, does not lie in therisk of our material security but in the obscurationof Man himself in the human world. In the crea-tive activities of his soul Man realizes his sur-roundings as his larger self, instinct with his ownlife and love. But in his ambition he deforms anddefiles it with the callous handling of his voracity.His world of utility assuming a gigantic propor-tion, reacts upon his inner nature and hynoticallysuggests to him a scheme of the universe which isan abstract system. In such a world there can beno question of mukti, the freedom in truth, becauseit is a solidly solitary fact, a cage with no skybeyond it. In all appearance our world is a closedworld of hard facts ;it is like a seed with its toughcover. But within this enclosure is working oursilent cry of life for mukti, even when its possibil-ity is darkly silent When some huge overgrowntemptation tramples into stillness this living aspi-ration then does civilization die like a seed thaihas lost its urging for germination. And this mukhis in the truth that dwells in the ideal man.
  71. 71. CHAPTER VTHE PROPHETIN my introduction I have stated that the universeto which we are related through our sense percep-tion, reason or imagination, is necessarily Mansuniverse- Our physical self gains strength andsuccess through its correct relationship in knowl-edge and practice with its physical aspect. Themysteries of all its phenomena are generalized byman as laws which have their harmony with hisrational mind. In the primitive period of our his-tory Mans physical dealings with the externalworld were most important for the maintenanceof his life, the life which he has in common withother creatures, and therefore the first expressionof his religion was physical it came from hissense of wonder and awe at the manifestations ofpower in Nature and his attempt to win it for him-self and his tribe by magical incantations and rites.In other words his religion tried to gain a perfectcommunion with the mysterious magic of Naturesforces through his own power of magic. Then camethe time when he had the freedom of leisure todivert his mind to his inner nature and the mystery72
  72. 72. THE PROPHETof his own personality gained for him its highestimportance. And instinctively his personal selfsought its fulfilment in the truth of a higher per-sonality. In the history of religion our realizationof its nature has gone through many changes evenlike our realization of the nature of the materialworld. Our method of worship has followed thecourse of such changes, but its evolution has beenfrom the external and magical towards the moraland spiritual significance.The first profound record of the change of direc-tion in Mans religion we find in the message ofthe great prophet in Persia, Zarathustra, and asusual it was accompanied by a revolution. In alater period the same thing happened in India,and it is evident that the history of this religiousstruggle lies embedded in the epic Mahabharataassociated with the name of Krishna and the teach-ings of Bhagavadgita.The most important of all outstanding facts ofIranian history is the religious reform broughtabout by Zarathustra. There can be hardly anyquestion that he was the first man we know whogave a definitely moral character and direction toreligion and at the same time preached the doctrineof monotheism which offered an eternal founda-tion of reality to goodness as an ideal of perfection.All religions of the primitive type try to keep menbound with regulations of external observances.73
  73. 73. THE RELIGION OF MANZarathustra was the greatest of all the pioneerprophets who showed the path of freedom to man,the freedom of moral choice, the freedom from theblind obedience to unmeaning injunctions, thefreedom from the multiplicity of shrines whichdraw our worship away from the single-mindedchastity of devotion.To most of us it sounds like a truism to-daywhen we are told that the moral goodness of adeed comes from the goodness of intention. Butit is a truth which once came to Man like a revela-tion of light in the darkness and it has not yetreached all the obscure corners of humanity. Westill see around us men who fearfully follow, hop-ing thereby to gain merit, the path of blind formal-ism, which has no living moral source in the mind.This will make us understand the greatness ofZarathustra. Though surrounded by believers inmagical rites, he proclaimed in those dark days ofunreason that religion has its truth in its moralsignificance, not in external practices of imagin-ary value; that its value is in upholding man inhis life of good thoughts, good words and gooddeeds."The prophet*, says Dr. Geiger, "qualifies hisreligion as unheard of words (Yasna 31. i) or asa "mystery" (Y. 48. 3.) because he himself regardsit as a religion quite distinct from the belief of thepeople hitherto. The revelation he announces is74
  74. 74. THE PROPHETto him no longer a matter of sentiment, no longera merely undefined presentiment and conceptionof the Godhead, but a matter of intellect, of spirit-ual perception and knowledge. This is of greatimportance, for there are probably not many re-ligions of so high antiquity in which this funda-mental doctrine, that religion is a knowledge orlearning, a science of what is true, is so preciselydeclared as in the tenets of the Gathas. It is theunbelieving that are unknowing; on the contrary,the believing are learned because they have pene-trated into this knowledge."It may be incidentally mentioned here, as show-ing the parallel to this in the development of In-dian religious thought, that all through the Upan-ishad spiritual truth is termed with a repeatedemphasis, vidya, knowledge, .which has for itsopposite avidya, acceptance of error born of un-reason.The outer expression of truth reaches its whitelight of simplicity through its inner realization.True simplicity is the physiognomy of perfection.In the primitive stages of spiritual growth, whenman is dimly aware of the mystery of the infinitein his life and the world, when he does not fullyknow the inward character of his relationship withthis truth, his first feeling is either of dread, or ofgreed of gain. This drives him into wild exag-geration in worship, frenzied convulsions of cere-75
  75. 75. THE RELIGION OF MANmonialism. But in Zarathustras teachings, whichare best reflected in his Gathas, we have hardlyany mention of the ritualism of worship. Con-duct and its moral motives have there receivedalmost the sole attention.The orthodox Persian form of worship in an-cient Iran included animal sacrifices and offeringof haema to the daevas. That all these should bediscountenanced by Zarathustra not only showshis courage, but the strength of his realization ofthe Supreme Being as spirit. We are told that ithas been mentioned by Plutarch that "Zarathustrataught the Persians to sacrifice to Ahura Mazda,Vows and thanksgivings ". The distance betweenfaith in the efficiency of the bloodstained magi-cal rites, and cultivation of the moral and spiritualideals as the true form of worship is immense. Itis amazing to see how Zarathustra was the firstamong men who crossed this distance with a cer-tainty of realization which imparted such a fer-vour of faith to his life and his words. The truthwhich filled his mind was not a thing which heborrowed from books or received from teachers;he did not come to it by following a prescribedpath of tradition, but it came to him as an illu-mination of his entire life, almost like a commu-nication of his universal self to his personal self,and he proclaimed this utmost immediacy of hisknowledge when he said:76
  76. 76. THE PROPHETWhen I conceived of Thee, O Mazda, as the very First andthe Last, as the most Adorable One, as the Father of the GoodThought, as the Creator of Truth and Right, as the Lord Judgeof our actions in life, then I made a place for Thee in my veryeyes. Yasna 31,8 (Translation D. J. Irani).It was the direct stirring of his soul which madehim say:Thus do I announce the Greatest of all ! I weave my songs ofpraise for him through Truth, helpful and beneficent of all thatlive. Let Ahura Mazda listen to them with his Holy Spirit,for the Good Mind instructed me to adore Him; by his wis-dom let Him teach me about what is best. Yasna 45.6 (Trans-lation D. J, Irani).The truth which is not reached through the ana-lytical process of reasoning and does not depend forproof on some corroboration of outward facts orthe prevalent faith and practice of the peoplethe truth which comes like an inspiration out ofcontext with its surroundings brings with it anassurance that it has been sent from an inner sourceof divine wisdom, that the individual who hasrealized it is specially inspired and therefore hashis responsibility as a direct medium of communi-cation of Divine Truth.As long as man deals with his God as the dis-penser of benefits only to those of His worshipperswho know the secret of propitiating Him, he triesto keep Him for his own self or for the tribe towhich he belongs* But directly the moral nature,77

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