No country, community or culture has made a more subtle and beautiful use of the human life as the rishis. It was not an easy task to study the subtle nature of man. For this, Indian sages and saints gave up material happiness and consumerist attitude and researched human life through shadhna Keeping in view the inferences so drawn they prepared an entirely distinct code of conduct and gave instructions to lead the life accordingly. An eternal Philosophy and ideal model of Culture evolved in India, the like of which has never been found in any other country. It is so extraordinary and complete in every respect that even a little contemplation of its glorious aspects overwhelms our hearts with reverence for the sages.
When the whole world was following the policy of selfishness, whereby a person would accumulate in excess and deprive others, saints in India mused, what was the uniqueness of man in practising this dictum? Everybody is desirous of indulging in pleasures. Everyone is willing to commit unethical deeds for earning money. The society is tormented by people’s habit of loafing around in idleness. Who does not crave to eat the best food and wear best clothes? All these are the features of an ordinary man. Many of these tendencies are found in animals too, and if man also wallows in them, what is his speciality? Such an attitude does not make the right use of his knowledge, intellect and wisdom. In spite of being the possessor of extraordinary strength and abilities, if man leads a contemptible life, then where does lie the meaningfulness of the human life? Superior possessions should be used for superior deeds – only Indians have apprehended this fact. For this very reason alone our authority and eminence have subsisted in the world.
The problem of bread and butter could not be more acute for man than the need to understand the aim of life. Even an atheist will accept that human life is a rare opportunity. It would be unwise to waste it like ordinary people do. Going in an opposite direction of the routine, the purpose of human life can be ascertained. The outcome of living life casually, pain and suffering, is evident to us all. Therefore the saints asked: why not go in an opposite direction and discover some new facts? With this ideology a new philosophy emerged in India. It inspired the birth of s³dhan³. The achievements (siddhis) of sadhna were majestic and great. The dispersal of even a fraction of these achievements resulted in heavenly happiness in the world. The name of these achievements was “humanity”, meaning practising the dictum “I do not want it, you take it. Nothing belongs to me; everything belongs to the Almighty God” (i.e. selflessness and sacrifice). After thorough sadhana and the resulting experiences, saints concluded that everyone is entitled to God’s gifts, so they should be distributed to all. By pursuing this guideline, the development of happiness can take place and the world can be kept secure. Save this, there is no other way to establish peace in man’s life.
Worldly glories are automatically attracted to the one who can differentiate between justice and injustice and between righteousness and unrighteousness, and who perceives the same consciousness in all living beings. A person experiences happiness as a by-product resulting from wilful sacrifice (for the welfare of others). A person whose heart is filled with humanity becomes so powerful and capable that material pleasures seem trivial to him. What could be the value of transient pleasures compared to the permanent eminence of the soul?
It is beyond the intellectual capacity of the modern man to contemplate the achievements of saints Vashishtha, Vishwamitra, Gautum, Dadhichi, Kanva, Angira, Jamadagni, Bhardwaj, etc. The whole world bowed before their spiritual and material achievements. Through their resolutions they had a command over various parts of the universe, including space. They could have, if they wished, accumulated material wealth in unimaginable proportions. But they never desired it. For the welfare of humanity they considered the pleasures of the world insignificant. They were ever ready to serve mankind. One of the most famous cases is of saint Dadhichi, who permitted Lord Indra to take his bones and construct an indestructible weapon called “vajra” to defeat the evil forces threatening mankind. Dadhichi experienced immense happiness in self-sacrifice, which he did not experience after attaining spiritual and material achievements. Achievements are meant to aid man realise his goal. The gist that man is born for the service of humanity should be understood.
There was an era during which ennobling feelings of helping others reigned. A person used to think, “How could I be of help to others? Whom should I offer my services to so as to uplift his condition?” This was considered a measure of superiority. People did not yearn as much for riches, glory, etc as they did for sacrificing themselves in the interest of the society and the world. They considered it honourable to give up life for ideals and whosoever got this opportunity considered it God’s grace bestowed upon them.
History contains several examples of sacrifices of highest stature. Pannadai sacrificed her son for the security of the royal throne. Sukanya had accidentally damaged the eyes of Rishi Chyavan. In repentance, she married him and shared all his hardships. Is such sacrifice less than ideal? Gandhari’s husband Dhritrashtra was blind; she could not bear the difficulties he was going through due to his blindness. Hence she voluntarily chose blindness by covering her eyes with a strip of cloth. Can anyone forget this piece of history? Such glorious examples of unbelievable sacrifices have been the backbone of the Hindu culture. It is the reason why India’s fame radiates even today like a brilliant constellation in the sky.
Hindus have exhibited steadfast determination and faith in religious beliefs, gurus, family members, society and nation in the development of humanity. Yet the original beliefs of the Hindus have not been erased, though their flow has decelerated. Owing to the conditions of the Medieval Age, blind faith, irrational faith, narrow-mindedness and sectarianism have gripped Hindus. Who won’t lament over the decline of the authority that once guided the world? This downfall can be a cause of sorrow particularly for those who have faith and trust in the ideals of the rishis. No one could have expected that people would demean the legacy of their ancestors, and let the glory of their self be left to the mercy of fate and watch its demise helplessly.
Today, awareness towards the rich Hindu heritage has geared up. The spirit of India is awakening from a state of inactivity. Today, a huge army of evil is bent upon destroying every single ideal of humanity and the resolutions of rishis are determined to exterminate it. It is our pious duty to welcome this change since every Indian lives for strengthening and stabilising humanity. If we are firmly committed to revive our ideal heritage, it will enhance our glory and pride.
Rishis, rightly evaluating the human life, had preached manurbhava , daivya, janam, meaning, “O man! Be a human being in the real sense (i.e. practice the principles of humanity).” To accomplish this, certain things must be kept in mind. One should not think only about self-development. He should not remain content in adopting humanity but should also try to develop it. He should be always ready to sacrifice for the sake of ideals so that the flow of the stream of humanity is not interrupted and allowed to dry up.
The mystery of human life is contained in the above single mantra and the implementation of its meaning is the imperative need of today. Humanity is the legacy of our ancestors. The responsibility of its protection rests on our shoulders. How vigilant we are about it, is being closely watched with hope by the future.
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