Chapter 9: The cosmos is a Dance of Opposites, Question 5



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Question 5


When Charles Darwin first said, looking at man's physical frame, that it seems he has evolved from some species of monkeys, we were shocked and could not easily take it. How could man, who believed God was his father, suddenly come to replace God with the monkey? It came as a great blow to our egos, but there was no way out. Darwin backed his theory with powerful evidence. and the whole scientific discipline supported him. That is why, in spite of tremendous opposition, it had to be accepted. There was no way out.

There is so much similarity, both physical and mental, between man and monkey that it is difficult to deny Darwin. Even the ways of their being and living are so strikingly similar that we had to accept that man is very much linked with the monkey. Even today, when we walk our hands move rhythmically with our moving legs -- the left hand with the right leg and vice versa -- although it is not at all necessary for our hands to move. We can walk very well without moving our hands; those whose hands are amputated walk as easily. Evidently Darwin thinks that this movement of the hands is only a habit, a hangover from out old life as monkeys millions of years ago when we walked on all fours. Even the little opening where a monkey has its tail is discernible on man's body as a linkage. It indicates that man had a tail when he was a monkey.

In this context Hanumana is very significant. Had he known about Hanumana, Darwin would have been greatly pleased. Darwin was searching for the missing link between monkey and man; he believed that there must be some species in the evolution of man from monkey who was halfway between the two, neither a full monkey nor a complete man. Between the two there must be a transitory period which the monkey took to evolve into man; it is impossible that a monkey was all of a sudden transformed into a man. It should have been over millions of years when some monkeys became men and others remained monkeys.

Biologists and anthropologists are still wondering what happened to the missing link. A worldwide search is still underway to discover the skeleton of that intermediary between monkey and man. Hanumana seems to be, in many ways, related to that missing link, and it would be great if his skeleton were found. Darwin's theory met with stiff opposition, and it took a long time to be accepted. It was accepted because it was supported by proof.

I say yet another thing which is concerned with the evolution of man. I say that as man has evolved from the monkey at the level of his body, similarly, he evolved from the cow at the level of his soul. If the monkey is his predecessor on the physical side, the cow is his predecessor on the spiritual side. While man's physical frame has evolved from the monkey's body, his soul has evolved from the soul of the cow. Of course, in support of this theory we can not advance proofs as direct and strong as Darwin's in support of his. But there are many other kinds of evidence in support of what I am saying: man as a soul has evolved from the cow.

It is not reason enough to call the cow our mother because we are an agricultural community and the cow has great use and importance for us. If it were so, we should have called the bull our father, which we did not. And we don't turn every utilitarian object into our mother. There is no reason to do so. The railway train has great utility for us and we cannot do without it, but we are not going to give it the status of a mother. No community calls the airplane mother, although it is so important to modern life. Never and nowhere has an object of utility been called mother, despite the fact that there are any number of things that have utility. And there is no relationship between motherhood and utility. There must be some other reasons for regarding the cow as our mother.

In my view, the cow is man's mother exactly in the same way as the monkey, according to Darwin, happens to be his father. And I have good reasons to say it. Further, most of these reasons are based on the findings of psychic research into man's memory of his past lives, called jati-smaran in Buddhist terminology. Thousands of yogis down the centuries have explored and recalled the memories of their past lives and have found retrospectively that as soon as the chain of their human lives comes to an end, the life of the cow begins. If you go back into your past lives -- and there are tested methods to do it -- you will find that for many lives you were a human being. but as soon as the series of human lives ends, you will enter the life of the cow that you were. Everyone who experimented with jati-smaran has come to the same conclusion: behind the layers of memory of human lives lies the layer belonging to the life of a cow. And it is on this basis that the cow has been described as man's mother.

Apart from this, there are other reasons to say so. If you explore the whole animal world you will note that no other animal has such a developed soul as the cow. Looking into the eyes of a cow you will find a kind of humanly quality, a humanness no other animal has. The innocence, the simplicity, the humility of a cow is rare. Spiritually, the cow is the most evolved being in the whole animal world; its high qualities of soul are evident. Its evolved state clearly indicates it is ready for a spiritual leap forward.

If you watch the physical restlessness in which a monkey lives, it will be obvious to you that it is not going to rest until it achieves a higher form of body. The monkey seems to be utterly dissatisfied with his body; in fact, he is dissatisfied with everything about it. It is so agile, speedy and restless all the time. Looking at a newborn child, you will find, while his body has the agility of a monkey, his eyes have the peace and serenity of a cow. Physically he reminds one of a monkey, and spiritually he resembles a cow.

The cow is held in deep respect in this country not because we are predominantly an agricultural society, it is so because after protracted investigations in the psychic world, it was learned that man has spiritually evolved from the cow. And as psychic knowledge grows -- and it is growing -- science will soon support this truth that India discovered long ago about the cow. There will be no difficulty in the matter.

You will understand it better if you look at the long chain of God's incarnations as conceived by the Hindus. It begins with the fish -- the first incarnation of God is the fish -- and goes up to Buddha. Until recently one wondered how God could incarnate as a fish; the whole thing seemed so ridiculous. But now the science of biology accepts that life on this earth began with the fish. Now it is difficult to mock the Hindu concept of matsyavatara, God's first incarnation as a fish. Science has such a hold on our minds that we have to accept whatever it says. Science says that life on this earth has evolved from the fish. That is why this country said centuries ago that the fish was the first incarnation of God. The Sanskrit word for incarnation is avatara, which means descent of consciousness. Since life as consciousness first dawned in the fish, it is not wrong to call it the first incarnation. This is the language of religion. Science says the same thing: the first appearance of life on earth was in the shape of the fish.

We have yet another of God's incarnations which is still more puzzling and unique. It is called narsinghavatara, God's incarnation as half man and half animal. When Darwin says that the missing link between monkey and man should be half monkey and half man, we don't have any difficulty in accepting him. But we find it difficult to accept the concept of narsinghavatara. This is again the language of religion, and undoubtedly it carries with it a deep insight.

The cow is man's mother in the same way as the monkey is his father. Darwin was concerned with the evolution of the physical body, in fact, the whole of the West is concerned with the physical. But India has long been concerned with the spirit, the soul; it is not much concerned with the body. We have always wanted to explore the spirit and its ultimate source. For this reason we emphasized the soul much more than the body.

Secondly, you want to know my view on cow slaughter.

I am against all kinds of slaughter, so the question of my favoring cow slaughter does not arise. But whether I am for or against it, cow slaughter is not going to stop. The conditions of our life are such that the cow will continue to be killed. I am against meat-eating, but it is not going to make a difference. Under the present conditions meat-eating cannot go. We are not yet in a position to provide the entire population of the world with an adequate amount of vegetarian food. Let alone the world, even a single country cannot afford to be vegetarian at the moment. It will simply die of starvation if it decides to go vegetarian. Unless we have enough food grains and vegetables and milk to feed the whole world, non-vegetarianism will continue to predominate. There is no way out at the moment. It is a necessary evil. So is cow slaughter.

It is ironic that people who are anxious to ban cow slaughter are doing nothing to create the necessary conditions to make the society vegetarian. So cow slaughter is not going to end because of these people. If it ends someday, it will end because of the efforts of those who are not at all anxious to do away with cow slaughter. Slogan-mongering and agitation are not going to end it, nor is it going to end through legislation. Though we have the largest number of cows, they ate the most uncared for; they ate as good as dead and useless. On the other hand, beef-eating countries have the best kinds of cows, healthy and strong. While a single cow in the West yields forty to fifty kilos of milk pet day, it would be too much for an Indian cow to give half a kilo. We have only skeletons in the name of cows, and we make such a hulla-baloo about them.

The production of vegetarian food, of nutritive and health-giving vegetarian food, is the first imperative if you want to abolish cow slaughter. Supporters of vegetarianism have yet to meet the argument of the non-vegetarians that the world is much too short of vegetarian food to provide nutrition and health to mankind. There is logic in their argument.

It is very interesting that both cow and mon key ate vegetarians. Man inherits his body and soul from vegetarian sources. It is another thing that a monkey sometimes swallows a few ants, but by and large he is a vegetarian. The cow is wholly vegetarian; it will eat meat only when it is forced to. Under the circumstances it is strange how man has turned non-vegetarian, because his whole physical and psychic system is derived from vegetarian sources. The structure of his stomach is such as only vegetarian animals have, and so is his mental makeup. Obviously man must have been forced by circumstances to become non vegetarian. And even today he cannot do with, out animal food.

It seems to me that cow slaughter will continue in spite of all our good intentions to stop it. In my view, it will only stop when we make provisions for adequate synthetic food for all. And then people have to be persuaded to take to synthetic food on a large scale. Synthetic food is the only alternative to non-vegetarianism. The day man accepts living on scientific food, meat-eating will disappear, not before.

So I am not interested in the agitation for banning cow slaughter by law; it is absurd and stupid. It is a sheer waste of time and energy. I am interested in something else: I want science to put its energy into the creation of synthetic food so that man is freed from meat-eating. There is no other way except this. Food derived from the earth will not do; food will have to be produced in factories in the form of pills. The population of the world today ranges between three and a half to four billion, and this goes on increasing. In spite of what we do to control population, it is going to increase in an unprecedented manner.

The day is not far off when we will leave behind this agitation against cow slaughter and will instead be agitating for a large-scale slaughter of men. The day is not distant when man will eat man, because you cannot argue with hunger As we now ask a dying man to donate his eyes or kidneys, we will soon ask him to donate his flesh for the hungry. And we will honor him who donates his flesh, as today we honor one who donates his heart or lungs. There is going to be such a population explosion on the earth.

Very soon we will begin to think it is unjust to cremate dead bodies, they should be saved for food -- and it will not be something new and extraordinary; cannibalism has been known to man since ancient times. There have been tribes where man ate man to satiate his hunger. Once again we are coming close to that situation when cannibalism will be revived. In view of it, it is just stupid to agitate for a ban on cow slaughter. It is utterly unscientific to do so.

I don't suggest that cow slaughter should not and cannot go. It can go. Not only the killing of cows, all kinds of killing can go. But then we will have to take a revolutionary step in the direction of our food and food habits. I am not in favor of cow slaughter, but I am also not in favor of those who shout out against it. All their talk is sheer nonsense. They don't have a correct perspective and a right plan to stop cow slaughter. But it must stop; the cow should be the last animal to be killed. She is the highest in animal evolution; she is the connecting link between man and animal. She deserves all our care and compassion, we are connected with her in an innate and intimate manner. We have to take every care for her.

But remember, caring is possible only when you are in a position to take care. Without the facilities and the wherewithal, caring is impossible. We have to be pragmatic; it is no use being sentimental.

I should tell you an anecdote which I narrated to some friends the other day while we were on a walk.

A priest has to go to a church to give a Sunday sermon. The priest is an old man and his church is four miles away, and the road to it is difficult as it passes through a hilly area with many ups and downs. So the old priest hires a horse-driven coach for his journey. He sends for the owner of the coach and tells him that he will be well paid for his services. The coachman says, "That is okay, but my horse, Gaffar, is very old, and we will have to take care of him."

The priest says, "Don't worry, I will be as considerate of the horse as you are. He will be well cared for."

After only a half mile's drive the coach reaches a steep rise in the hills. So the coach stops and the coachman tells the priest, "Now please step out of the coach, because the uphill road begins and since Gaffar is very old we have to care for him." The old priest gets out and begins to walk alongside the coach. And when they reach the plain the priest is asked to board the coach again. This is how the whole journey is covered -- the priest is made to walk when the road is uphill and rides in the carriage when it is on flat ground. On a four-mile journey he drives hardly a mile in the coach, and the rest he has to cover by walking. In fact, he has to walk where for his age it is necessary to ride, and he rides where he can well afford to walk.

When the coach reaches the church, the priest pays the coachman and tells him, "Here is your fare, but before you go I would like you to answer a question. I came here to give a sermon and you came here to earn money. It is okay, but why did you bring Gaffar? It would have been easier if only you and I had come. Why Gaffar?"

Life is lived according to its needs and exigencies, not according to ideas and theories. The cow cannot be saved when man himself is facing death. To save the cow it is necessary for man to become so affluent that he can afford it. Then, along with the cow, other animals will be saved too. The cow is, of course, nearest to us as an animal, but other animals are not that distant. Even the fish is our kin, although a distant kin. Life really began with the fish. So, as man grows affluent he will not only save the cow, he will save the fish too.

We have to be clear in our view that the cow and, for that matter, all other animals have to be saved. But it is sheer stupidity to insist on saving them even when the conditions necessary to do so are lacking.

Now we will sit for meditation.


Next: Chapter 10: Spiritualism, Religion and Politics, Question 1


Energy Enhancement           Enlightened Texts            Krishna            Krishna: The Man and His Philosophy



Chapter 9






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