Should human life be like this only?

Most of the time of most of the human beings are spend in one the following:

  • earning money, accumulating possessions, securing them, preparing oneself to enable to earn money
  • enjoying pleasures by tingling the various sense organs like charming sights, sounds, tastes, etc
  • spending time in a desultory manner or in sleep
  • doing things to enable one’s near and dear ones to do all of the above

Is this all there is to life? If a human being spends life only in the above manners, then can the person be called a human being? What is the difference between such a person and an animal? Animals also do only the above mentioned things.

If we ask this question to people, many people wonder if there is anything to life other than these. Some people even argue why there should be anything to life other these. They ask what is wrong in not doing anything different from animals. After all, human being is also an animal.

Leaving the animals in human form behind, let us see what more can we do as human beings, which animals do not.

  • help strangers who are not related to us and cannot do anything to us in return
  • follow fairness and justice in life even if we need to go through a lot of inconveniences for that, instead of following the jungle law of “survival of the fittest”
  • try to be better human beings, free from anger, arrogance, jealousy, hatred, greed, depression, etc.
  • try to understand the essential nature of ourselves and this world

The more time we spend on these things, the more we assert ourselves as human beings. A life which does not have these predominantly is a precious human life wasted.

A million years ago man went out of his cave in the morning, worked for food all day and came back home in the night. If a typical modern man also does the same, where is human development? The ways of work may have changed, but there is no fundamental change. Development is in refinement of the human aspects of man. Civilization is internal. Big buildings, fast moving vehicles and instant communication around the globe do not make civilization. Even beavers and ants build marvelous structures. Real development and civilization of man is in the refinement of the mind and in being able to empathize with others.

Let us try to lead our life more as humans than as animals.

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  1. A quote from Swami Premananda is relevant in this context:
    Every day the body is moving slowly towards destruction – none can stop it. But the mind continues eternally. Body after body will come and go, but the mind will persist and take up bodies again and again until one attains complete illumination.
    Therefore, the main task is to make an effort to purify the mind.

  2. Dear Girishji,

    Yes. That is covered in “try to be better human beings, free from anger, arrogance, jealousy, hatred, greed, depression, etc.” This is what is meant by “purify the mind”.