“The working senses are superior to dull matter; mind is higher than the senses; intelligence is still higher than the mind; and he [the soul] is even higher than the intelligence.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 3.42)
इन्द्रियाणि पराण्य् आहुर्
इन्द्रियेभ्यः परं मनः
मनसस् तु परा बुद्धिर्
यो बुद्धेः परतस् तु सः
indriyāṇi parāṇy āhur
indriyebhyaḥ paraṁ manaḥ
manasas tu parā buddhir
yo buddheḥ paratas tu saḥ
It is an evolution of sorts, but not in the way commonly speculated. It is an achievement, for sure, but not the final destination. It arrived perhaps after a long period of time, up to millions of years, as long as the existence of the creation, even, but the past is the past.
Athato brahma-jijnasa. The time is now. It couldn’t happen before. Nature prevented it. No longer the case, so make the most of this amazing opportunity. It is already known that the human body type has the potential to bring enhanced living in various aspects.
There is always some, no matter the body type. Otherwise, living beings wouldn’t be able to do anything. No one teaches the horse how to gallop. The tiger and the lion know what it can eat and what it can’t. Birds fly south for the winter and bears hibernate.
The initial cause is intelligence, which always follows the individual, but in the human birth there is the highest potential. The animals could never create a smartphone or run a metropolitan train system that handles millions of travelers each day. The bird knows where to fly, but it cannot explain the scientific principles behind air travel.
You can’t teach a dog new tricks, but you can teach specific things at the beginning. The new dog has the potential to learn, but to only a certain extent. Learning is based on knowledge gathering. Use the senses to pick up information and then store everything in a knowledgebase. When the time comes, reference that information to make decisions.
We know that the human being has enhanced ability in this area for no other reason than it can store knowledge outside of the body. It knows how to read, so at the most basic level there are books to protect that knowledge from getting lost or misplaced. There is memory, for sure, and also different devices used to quickly recall important information.
3. Rational thought
There is the concept of animal instincts. Working off the senses, only. Do whatever the impulses say, at the precise moment they trigger. Don’t pay any attention to past experiences. In other words, don’t apply intelligence and don’t tap into the knowledgebase.
The human being can act rationally. Though the senses say to eat another slice of pizza, knowledge gathered from past experience says that doing so will lead to negative consequences in the future. Though the impulse is to punch that rude person at the store, upon rational review the decision is to walk away, to not get worked up over a trivial issue.
I just heard an interesting lecture delivered by a teacher who says their tradition of instruction dates back to the beginning of the creation. The knowledge is the same today as it was in the past, since there was a descending process of exchange, known as parampara. They tell the audience that every person is spirit soul at the core, and that spirit can never be killed.
न जायते म्रियते वा कदाचिन्
नायं भूत्वा भविता वा न भूयः
अजो नित्यः शाश्वतो ’यं पुराणो
न हन्यते हन्यमाने शरीरे
na jāyate mriyate vā kadācin
nāyaṁ bhūtvā bhavitā vā na bhūyaḥ
ajo nityaḥ śāśvato ’yaṁ purāṇo
na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre
“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)
Though the lecture lasts for upwards of an hour, I can think about what I heard for the next few days. This is contemplation; thought extended beyond the initial period of knowledge gathering. The animals lack this ability, and in some cases it is a positive. Depression and anxiety can be difficult to remove when contemplation on the negative continues. On the other side, thinking about higher topics meant for self-improvement can only be a good thing.
5. Deliberate action
Another word is consciousness. Acting consciously or intentionally. Not an accident. Not a mistake committed while the focus was elsewhere. Not merely the result of following instincts, the human being has the potential to act deliberately, with a specific intention in mind.
The best deliberate action is Krishna consciousness. If thoughts are going to be applied, if there will be contemplation prior to action, steer everything towards pleasing the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Connect with Him in what is known as yoga. This is the true boon of the human existence. All the past mistakes can be cleared up in a single second, as Goswami Tulsidas says, by chanting the holy names.
बिगरी जनम अनेक की सुधरै अबहीं आजु |
होहि राम को नाम जपु तुलसी तजि कुसमाजु ||
bigarī janama aneka kī sudharai abahīṃ āju |
hohi rāma ko nāma japu tulasī taji kusamāju ||
“The many past births you spoiled can be rectified right now, today, if you start chanting Shri Rama’s holy name and renounce bad association, says Tulsi.” (Dohavali, 22)
Use intelligence, rational thought, and contemplation to make the proper decision. Take deliberate action to meet the best end, paramartha, for the individual, spirit soul. That end is possible for every single living thing, but the human birth brings the best chance for success, saphala.
Not for endless lament,
For higher purpose meant.
That to this body type sent,
Past much wasted time spent.
But correcting the process now,
Through holy names how.
Use of human birth the best,
To know Bhagavan the test.
Categories: the five