“In the cycle of evolution, the living entity changes bodies one after another. When the world was full of water, the living entity took an aquatic form. Then he passed to vegetable life, from vegetable life to worm life, from worm life to bird life, from bird life to animal life, and from animal life to the human form. The highest developed form is this human form when it is possessed of a full sense of spiritual knowledge.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shri Ishopanishad, 17 Purport)
It is said in the Vedas that one is not a true philosopher unless they disagree with another philosopher. The unique viewpoint makes the philosopher stand out, and since being a philosopher garners attention, it is not surprising to see so many different viewpoints available in the modern age, which is known as the time period of quarrel and hypocrisy. Many of the new theories focus on man itself, and how he has evolved since his primitive days. No longer is he so foolish; now he behaves in a more refined manner. But in actuality, man hasn’t changed; his nature is still the same. The truly wise are those who describe things as they always are. If there are any discoveries along the way, they are in the new avenues for describing only.
Think of the law of gravity. When it was discovered by scientists, it was a radical concept. “Wow, math can explain how all things can fall? Gravity is what keeps our feet attached to the ground? It’s what causes objects to fall when you release them? The same force that causes an apple to fall makes the moon orbit the earth? Far out.” If you think about it, though, gravity had already existed at the time of its discovery, whenever you believe that time to be. It existed long before the famed scientists ever graced the earth. It will also continue to exist well into the future. The discovery in this case was merely a way to describe something that already existed. A more noteworthy discovery would have been into gravity’s origin. Who created gravity? Why does it exist? Why do I think it is important to study?
The theories relating to the “evolved man” aren’t so important for the very reason that man’s tendencies have not changed since the beginning of time. There is no evolution in behavior or makeup. A man today is the same as a man from ten thousand years ago. The external conditions with respect to lifestyle and society may have changed, but the pain of separation from a paramour is equal in both instances. So is the pain of disease. Old age applies all the same, though it may be effected more quickly in the modern age. Physiologically man hasn’t changed at all, so what are we really describing when we think of the evolved man?
If you know the true purpose to an existence and the cause for birth in the material world, our current home, you understand that the so-called evolved man is actually more animal-like. An animal eats, sleeps, mates and defends. It does not ponder philosophy. It does not hanker over the release of a new smartphone. It does not get sad when its music player stops working. It doesn’t worry about mortgage payments and it doesn’t spend hours preparing its food in an oven. Rather, it eats whatever nature provides. It sleeps wherever it can find a decent temperature, and it mates with whoever is around.
The human being has a higher potential for intelligence. If that potential is used for finding new ways to eat, sleep, mate and defend, then the human being is actually inferior to the animal. Why is this? If you could satisfy your desire to eat with the meal placed in front of you or you could travel hundreds of miles away for the same meal, which option is wiser? The extra travel has a price attached to it. There are fuel costs, the wear and tear on the mode of transport, and the loss of valuable time to consider. The wise person would choose the meal that is right in front of them.
All the effort expended by the “evolved” man just to maintain a family and home is like choosing the meal that is hundreds of miles away. The animal doesn’t have to work so hard. All that intelligence in the human being is thus used for naught. Discovering gravity is wonderful, but the animal doesn’t know what gravity is and yet it gets along just fine. We do have intelligence for a reason, however. The Vedic seers know why and they kindly pass on the secret to anyone who is willing to listen with sincerity.
“For the soul there is never birth nor death. Nor, having once been, does he ever cease to be. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing, undying and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.20)
The Vedas are the ancient scriptures of India. More than just books of faith, they present spirituality as a science. Just as the law of gravity is scientific and thus applicable to all time periods, the science that describes the difference between the body and soul is not limited to a particular section of citizens. It is also not reserved exclusively for members of an ancient time period. The soul is the soul. It can reside within any kind of body. Killing the living entity is destroying the body only. Yet the body is the vehicle for the conditioned soul to gain liberation from the cycle of birth and death, wherein birth in the material land is no longer necessary. To kill the body of any living entity with a soul in it is unwise. This applies to all persons from all countries.
The “evolved man” who gives so much attention to the body is like someone worrying over how to dress a dead body. The body will be discarded eventually, so its appearance is not that important. And neither is its satisfaction in the areas of eating, sleeping, mating and defending so vital. To develop new theories about man’s ideal behavior is to ignore the presence of spirit. The new theories are based on manipulation of matter, something which already takes place in the lower species. Longevity is not a mark of superiority either, as the tree can live for thousands of years. Yet no one would consider the tree to be superior to the human being.
The Vedas come from the Supreme Absolute Truth, who presents just enough information as is required for attaining the proper objective in life. The tendencies of the human being, including his four defects, are presented. Man commits mistakes, becomes easily illusioned, cheats, and has imperfect senses. This was true ten thousand years ago and will be true ten thousand years from today. Man struggles over the nonpermanent appearance and disappearance of happiness and sadness, just as the seasons cause discomfort to the body.
“O son of Kunti, the nonpermanent appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception, O scion of Bharata, and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.14)
In fact, all of the human tendencies, including the affinity towards loving relations, are described in the Vedas. The people who hold on to this information and pass it down don’t make groundbreaking discoveries in human behavior, because there is nothing new that happens. Someone gets happy over the birth of a child and someone goes into despair over the severing of a relationship. This has all happened before. The new theories on how to manipulate matter don’t offer any solutions; otherwise why would new theories constantly be created?
The Vedic teachers do find new ways to distribute the message of divine love so nicely presented in the Vedas. In fact, divine love, or bhakti-yoga, is synonymous with the Vedas. They are one and the same. Depending on time and circumstance, there are certain ways to appeal to the people. In the modern age, the preferred method of transcendental instruction is the congregational chanting of the holy names, a method inaugurated by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu some five hundred years ago.
He was an expert scholar, someone who could describe one verse from scripture in eighty different ways. He could argue with Himself better than anyone could argue with Him. And yet His ultimate conclusion was always that God is everything and that everything should be used to serve Him in a loving way. He was the wisest person on earth, and He chose to spread the wisdom through the holy names, which are non-different from God. Since His time others have carried the torch, and they write new books describing the glories of God and sankirtana, or congregational chanting.
The human birth already represents an evolution. The soul gets the chance to learn about God, understand the purpose to life, and then use their abilities to serve God. The tendency to serve is what defines us; it is our dharma. The manipulation of matter for the pleasure of the senses is the perverted utilization of the service propensity. The correction occurs when one consults the Vedic teachings through someone who follows them faithfully. With the proper consciousness, the full evolution fructifies at the end of life with a return trip to the spiritual land, where everyone is blissful and full of knowledge for all of eternity.
Objects fall because of law of gravity,
Marvel at brand new discovery.
Yet existing always has been that force,
Will continue well into future’s course.
New theories describe man’s behavior,
Evolution in thinking to be his savior.
Yet man has felt emotions always the same,
Sadness in separation and pleasure in gain.
Vedas tell us all that we need to know,
How man acts, and where He should go.
Spiritual land is the ideal destination,
Chant holy names and complete evolution.