HUMAN LIFE AND ITS IMPORTANCE
We have been witnessing this world from our birth. It is as diverse as it is vast. From the insentient things like stones and rocks to man who considers himself the crown of sentient creatures form the world. Stones and rocks are insentient and have no life. Bushes and tress have life but no intelligence Birds and animals have life and intelligence but their intelligence is instinctive, not discriminative. Man alone possess discrimination. He has, like wood and metal an insentient body. Like the plants he has life. Over and above these, he has discriminating knowledge. It is because he has all these qualitative that he is called ‘purusha’, one who is 'purna', complete. Man alone has completeness no other being in creation is so complete. The other created beings have one or two qualities. Man alone is complete with all the required qualities. This is the meaning of completeness.
Completeness is always higher to the incomplete. All these incomplete things in creation are only stages in the effort to attain perfection. The earth and stones are the first stage, and vegetable life is the second stage. Birds and beasts are the third stage. All the creatures seem to have come to a consensus and crown man as head of this creation. The fact that man has gained mastery over things sentient and insentinent confirms this. All the creatures of the world seem to accept man as the sovereign and surrender their all to him, like fiefs their fees .
We see the insentinent earth opening up all its buried mineral wealth. For whose sake ? Is it for itself ?No, It is offering it to man. Trees bear fruit not to eat them but for man to enjoy them. What to speak of the animal Kingdom? From the milch cow to the royal elephant, there is no animal that does not serve man. If thus every creature in the creation is offering itself in the service of man, there must be something special about him. What is that speciality ? Food, fear and physical desires are common to animals and man. The uncommon and unique quality is his discriminating intelligence.
This intelligence too is not unique if it is only instinctive intelligence. For, animals too possess it. Discriminating intelligence is needed. Thus, intelligence is of two kinds instinctive and discriminating. If the intelligence is limited to secure the requirements of hunger and thirst it is instinctive. But if it can reflect on the merits and demerits of a deed and can discriminate what is to be done and what not, then it is discriminating. This is also called reflecting mentation.
Manu is so called because of this faculty of mentation. As we are in his line we are all called men ('manava'). There is a special tool too provided to us for this mentation. It is mind. Manas, manava and Manu – all these words arise from man, the Sanskrit root meaning to reflect. So, it can be said that this reflective ability is the sole quality that makes man special in creation.
It has been observed that this ability to reflect enables one to discriminate between what is right to do and what is wrong and harmful in the long run. This discrimination is absent in the instinctive intelligence of animals. That is the reason why human life is different from animal life. The animal life is driven by instinctive intelligence. Human life is not so driven. If a tiger sees an animal it pounces on it and kills it. If a dog sees another dog, it chases it away. An ox standing on the road is unmindful of the inconvenience of people on the road. A bat hits against a closed glass door again and again, like Duryodhana in the mayasabha. Wd don’t see this kind of behaviour in man. And we should not. Because, man has got past the instinctive animal stage and has reached the stage of discriminating intelligence. He can know the right from the wrong. He also knows what is the right thing to do and what is wrong. When one possesses this ability of discrimination, with it also comes the responsibility of doing the right thing life long.
This is what is called dharma. Whatever goes against it is adharma. The spiritual science teaches us both. Science is what explains the laws of nature, and instructs you to observe the laws and that if you go against them you will come to harm. Thus, science both prescribes and proscribes. Therefore, man should go not by his own intelligence but go in conformity to the laws laid down, aware of what does good to him and what harms. What does good is what is called ‘hita’. This is also called ‘artha’. It is called ‘artha’ because it is what every purusha wants. That is why it is called purushartha. It is only when we are aware of the need to strive and attain it can we deserve to be called purusha. If not, we do not deserve to be called either men or purushas. We are but animals driven by instincts of hunger and thirst, desire and anger.