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Human life – a special gift of God
October 6, 2010  |  radhanath-swami

For no apparent reason, Richard (now Radhanath Swami) had an urge to walk from Swayambhunath to Kathmandu. As he walked along the paddy fields, it began to drizzle. He saw a man carrying an umbrella over his head. Richard scurried along in hope of sharing his umbrella. Richard struggled to keep himself under the umbrella and after ten minutes, he offered thanks to the stranger. As their eyes met, both were thunderstruck and their mouths dropped open, and their eyes filled with tears. It was Gary from whom Richard had sadly parted on the isle of Crete. Both agreed that nobody would believe this story of incredible reunion, thousands of miles across, in an isolated rice paddy in Nepal.

Radhanath Swami writes, “We were childhood friends but got separated by destiny, and today that invisible puppeteer had once again pulled us together.”

Later Richard (now Radhanath Swami) saw the place where Gary stayed; a little structure where rock and roll music blared, men and women danced seductively, and opium pipes passed abundantly. Richard took Gary aside and pleaded with him to give up this hippie culture, at least while in this land of spirituality. Richard reasoned Gary was doing the same old things in a different setting. Richard then begged Gary to travel with him to holy places and learn the life of a sadhu. Gary agreed and bid goodbye to his friends.

As Richard convinced Gary to abandon the hippie culture, Radhanath Swami too, often says that human beings could do well to abandon lower pleasures and seek real spiritual bliss. He reasons that human  life is very rare and a precious gift of God because only humans have been bestowed with the wonderful and fertile intelligence to seek divine enlightenment. Therefore it behooves humans to seek spirituality. Radhanath Swami quotes his guru who repeatedly implored that animals on the other hand are busy with eating, sleeping, mating and defending, and can’t go beyond these basic necessities. If in the human life, our ambitions are restricted to these pleasures, Radhanath Swami’s guru exclaims, “then we are no better than animals.”

Talking about animals I can’t help comparing humans with animals. Compared to animals, humans have no extraordinary external ability; their bodies are soft and vulnerable, they are not particularly fleet-footed and they can do little to camouflage themselves when in danger. And yet humans stand far above all other species. A puny human can tame a massive elephant and encage a ferocious lion. How? Undoubtedly it is the advanced human intelligence. Empowered by their intelligence, humans have subjugated all the lower species. Not only that, humans have also build civilizations, developed cultures, devised languages, written literatures, come up with fine arts, inquired into metaphysics and advanced in science and technology. Strangely enough, in the modern times, by that same intelligence, humans have created weapons of mass destruction, which threaten to wipe out all life on the planet. Furthermore by that same intelligence, humans have developed perverted ideologies, by which they foster animosity and hatred for others of their own species. William James states in The Atlantic, “Man, biologically considered and whatever else he may be, is simply the most formidable of the beasts of prey, and, indeed, the only one that preys systematically on its own species.” This then is the strange irony of the present condition of humanity: the very source of protection for the human race – its advanced intelligence – is threatening to become its cause of destruction.

Radhanath Swami reveals the cause of this degeneration of human intelligence as our preoccupation to improve the four basic necessities of eating, sleeping, mating and defending.  Radhanath Swami further says that human intelligence is meant for a purpose far loftier than searching for better ways of obtaining bodily pleasures. Equipped with their special intelligence, humans are meant to probe into the deepest mysteries of life, and achieve the fullness of a relationship with the Supreme consciousness. Radhanath Swami’s words of wisdom echo in the innermost recesses of my soul, “Only in the human body does the soul have the intelligence to penetrate the superficial world of matter and perceive the spiritual energy within the cosmos. Humans alone can harmonize themselves not only with the cosmic energies, but also with the Supreme Energetic Person, who is the source and the basis of the cosmos.”

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  1. Materialistic way of living turns one away from God.It then becomes very difficult to reclaim one’s relationship with God as His eternal servitor, unless one is fortunate enough to come across a pure soul like Radhanath Swami.

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  2. Thank you for nice write up.

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  3. Why do we waste this precious human form of life in arranging four basic needs of eating,sleeping,mating and defending when Divine Nature on his own provides these facilties according to one’s previous karma.Rather making use of facilities provided by nature to superior creature,ie. human being, one can transcend this martya lok by association with God’s sincere representatives like Radhanath Swamiji.Thank you very much for this nice meditation.

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