Today’s topic of discussion is “The Ever-Expanding Domain of the Microcosm”. The domains of all microcosms are not equal. It also cannot be said that they are all expanding in all spheres: because certain microcosms according to their destination or goal are losing their psychic dimensions – they are gradually becoming smaller and smaller. As their psychic dimensions are shrinking, their existences are also becoming crude. As a result, they are gradually losing the opportunities for their psychic receptivity. But it may still be said that whatever microcosmic entity a person possessed in the prehistoric period, it used to function within a very narrow sphere.
In the most ancient times, in the very first stage of manifestation, human beings, like animals, used to roam about the whole day worrying either about food or how to find the means to protect themselves from their enemies. They had no other tasks to do than this. Through clash and cohesion the area of microcosmic mind gradually began to develop and the human body as the vehicle of microcosm also gradually became very complex. Now, the interesting aspect of this is that the container of microcosm, the human body – although it became more and more complex with increasingly complex permutations and combinations of the five elements (páiṋcabhaotika) – did not increase its physical power; rather, on the contrary, it lost some of its physical strength. As the nervous system developed, the hands and legs, teeth and nails lost some of their strength, and the eyesight also became weaker. But all these fundamental developments in microcosm occurred through sheer clash and cohesion – and the microcosmic area also expanded, as did its vitality.
In those ancient times people were divided into small groups or clans. During the daytime they used to come down to the plains and at dusk they used to climb up in the trees or on hillocks. With whatever materials they could gather, they used to bind their small huts in the tops of trees, just as birds build their nests. Even today people in the colloquial language, specially in Bengali, do not say “build a house”; they say “binding a home”.
As the struggle of life intensified, human beings also began to think more deeply about various matters; and with this their nervous systems also developed to fulfil the requirements of their expanding psychic domain. This transformation of their nervous system was also reflected in their skin and other parts of their bodies. The people of one clan used to treat the people of other clans who lived on different hilltops or trees, as their enemies. Thus people began to identify themselves by their particular lineage on the basis of their habitation and locality. And with or without cause, one group would start fighting with another group. The more their groupism and numbers increased, the more conflict developed, and with these clashes, the activity of their psychic sphere also began to intensify.
I have said that no true progress can occur in the psychic or in the physical realm of the five elements (páiṋcabhaotika); progress occurs only in the spiritual sphere. But due to the expansion of the dimensions of their mental realm, human beings became very active. One of the many reasons for their hectic activity was the increasing distrust among human beings. In those times this distrust found its outlet in open fighting and clash; but not today. Today human beings’ thoughts, words and deeds never coincide. In civilized language what we call, “diplomacy” is also increasingly practised. As a result, people have lost their tranquillity; with the increasing rate of excitement, peace is lost. What is the overall consequence of this phenomenon? Mental disorders have become rampant – more and more people are becoming insane. Not only that, a plethora of doctrines and ideologies are proliferating among the people of the world today.
Let me give you an example. Buddha did not leave behind anything in writing. As a result of this lapse, great differences in opinion developed among the bhikkus (monks) some time after his death. Two groups of bhikkus emerged – Sthaviravádii, the southern school of Buddhist doctrine, and Mahásáḿghika (the northern school), which later on became known as “Hiinayána” and “Maháyána” respectively. But that was not the end of it. Innumerable branches and sub-branches emerged, countless philosophies of Sthaviraváda, Vijiṋánaváda, Shúnyaváda, Mahásukhaváda, and Atisukaváda. Each one of these groups became so engrossed in their own ideologies, doctrines and subdoctrines that they did not have any time to do any constructive work: they were always engaged in vindicating their own doctrines and maligning others’. In other words, they strayed far from their original ethics and objectives. This state of affairs which began to develop in the Buddhist age is still occurring – and not only in the Buddhist sects. It is also continuing in all respects, in all spheres of life. Wherever there are two individuals there emerge two parties. Conflicts between ideologies have become unavoidable, and have become the order of the day. The reason for this is that human beings have progressed in the mental sphere but not in the spiritual sphere. The spiritual goal is one. But in the absence of this unitary goal, factionalism emerged. Factionalism does not mean only groupism; it is also a conflict of doctrines. And it will prevail until human beings accept a singular goal in the process of synthesis. “Stop, stop – do not quarrel – there is no use of fighting – peace, peace” – uttering all these good words will not do; it will stop no one. Peace may come for the time being, but it will not be permanent; like an ash-covered spark, unrest will again flair up. If human beings want to save themselves from this catastrophe, the only way is to march forward towards a single goal. Humanity must be guided to follow the path of synthesis and not the path of analysis.
There is also a lack of amity among human beings. The cause of this lack of amity is the same: an outlook which is not synthetic but only analytic, compels people to see the differences and bring divisions among different nations. In the one human race there are Aryans, Negroes, and Mongolians. Among the Aryans there are Mediterraneans, Nordics, Alpines – also there are subdivisions of Latins and non-Latins. An analytic perspective brings divisions, and divisive tendencies create impediments to peace. The only way out now to save human beings from destroying tranquillity is to adopt the path of synthesis; there is no other way than this.
Some people declare that evolved human intellect developed religion in order to bring about human welfare. Those who utter these words are civilized and noble people and are entitled to deliver such sermons. But I do not use such polished language, as I am always frank in speaking. I must say clearly that, while “welfare” might be a factor behind the development of religion, the motive for indulging in factionalism was more evident. If welfare to people was the actual aim, then people should not have allowed themselves to be accused of perpetrating falsehood. I do not want to hurt anybody’s feelings nor do I intend to do so. Yet I will say openly that in many scriptures there are some statements which are not at all logical. These sayings will be nullified if they are only tested and rubbed on the touchstone of humanism. Therefore if something is to be done for human welfare, the path of synthesis should be followed, and not that of analysis. “Your God is the only God. You are His blessed sons and daughters, and others will burn in hellfire.” By these sermons, unity among human beings can never be achieved. The human entity exists within the boundaries of time, space and person. While remaining within the scope of time, space and person, people should endeavour to go beyond, to transcend these limitations and march on towards the Infinite. There is no other alternative to reach the goal of the Infinite than following the path of synthesis, than evolving a synthetic consciousness. Thus one will have to adopt the way of mysticism, to break free from the bondages of limitation and merge with the Infinite. There is no alternative.
But this is not happening now. The limited human beings have kept themselves confined in smaller and smaller areas, resulting in the emergence of different types of “isms”. In each area, people inhabiting a particular country have a particular identity. And not only do they have a particular identification, they are also unable to accept as their own, other people who have a different identity. As long as they are unable to counteract this phenomenon by adopting the path of synthesis, peace in human society cannot be established. Continually mouthing the empty slogan, “peace, peace,” is nothing but a hollow sham. Actually, cutting the roots of a tree and then pouring water on its top will yield no result. Emphasis must be placed on the fundamental unity, through the path of synthesis and not the path of analysis. Human beings must march forward by cherishing noble values and ideas. When people will try to bring about unity among human beings, they will have to realize the valuable treasure of their existential stamina, and then that stamina will be properly expressed. And the spontaneous expression of that stamina will lead them along the path of synthesis. Therefore human beings will have to learn and understand many things, and they will have to establish themselves in the Supreme One, together with all. They must bring all people to the same platform, and in doing so, they will have to make enormous progress in the field of thought.
Thus it is also imperative to develop language as the vehicle of thought. In human society today, language is undeveloped; the vocabularies of the world’s languages are very poor. In the German, English and Saḿskrtá language, we do not find more than five hundred thousand words, including all the groups, sub-groups, suffixes and prefixes. Most languages still suffer from this deficiency. The fact that our vocabularies are very poor and dull generally escapes our attention. If we do pay attention, the expression of our thought process will develop, and with that development, we will be able to embrace all within one and the same Entity.
In India the largest vocabulary is in the Bengali Language, with about one hundred and twenty-five thousand words. The second richest language in India is the Gujarati language, which has ninety-two thousand words. Amongst the most developed species of apes, there are only about eight hundred words or sounds, whereas there are about nine hundred words among the most backward human tribes. What difference is there, then, between these undeveloped humans and the apes? Practically speaking, there is none. Yet those people who possess only about nine hundred words in their vocabulary – we could not bring them near to us. We could not do so because we did not follow the path of synthesis, and now we are suffering the consequences: presently distrust amongst human beings is rampant.
So those people who have an expanded vocabulary should come forward to help those people with undeveloped vocabularies so that they may become more eloquent in their expression. It is our duty to make them more expressive, but this we did not do. That is, we did not direct the ever-expanding domain of microcosm towards the goal of welfare; instead, we used it for our own advantage. Because we took an analytic approach, human treatises and scriptures could not become as progressive as they should have been. Likewise, in archaeological research, we have made few inroads; many old scripts are yet to be deciphered. Even now many scriptures remain entirely unread and unknown. The methodology of studying and teaching different histories, geographies, philosophies, etc. is yet to be evolved. And yet our intellect is developing well. This is not a matter of glory – rather it is a most inglorious chapter of our failure.
How much progress has been made in the sphere of social science? Whatever progress we have made, to whatever extent, we have utilized for our own selfish interest and welfare, and thus we have used this social progress to bring about harm to ourselves. And what is the result? Today the materialist scientists of the world have become the objects of fear for the human race, lest they invent and produce various types of lethal bombs.
And in the field of science, what is known to be the most developed subject – applied psychology – has not been really cultivated. As a consequence the number of insane people has increased in most of the countries of the world. We have not been able to bring these people under proper medical treatment; we have not given them proper love and affection, for we followed the path of analysis, not the path of synthesis. During the long 15,000-year-old course of human civilization, we have followed only occasionally, and for short periods, the path of synthesis. Most of the time, by following the path of analysis and neglect, we have lost the great opportunity to build a noble society. Human beings, by their inborn instinct, have love for beautiful and subtle things. They appreciate and seek to cultivate what is beautiful and subtle in their internal and external lives, and in the world of ideas. This love for art is the fundament of the aesthetic science (nandana vijiṋána). Yet we have shattered this science of aesthetics by stamping doctrines upon it. We could have very well utilized this aesthetic science for our welfare through our developed wisdom, and based on this aesthetic science we could have guided human beings to follow the path of synthesis which, alas, we did not do.
I will say that people with developed intellects have been able to realize that the domain of their intelligence is gradually expanding. They ought to have taken it as their foremost duty to refine this aesthetic science and, by the untiring and impartial cultivation of knowledge, to create further avenues for its expression. This aesthetic science uplifts humanity from the dust of this worldly abode to taste and feel the subtler worlds. Therefore every effort must be made to develop aesthetic science – a task not at all beyond the capacity of human beings. As I said before, the periphery of intelligence of human beings along with their knowledge is ever-expanding. The domain of their wisdom is also widening very steadily and rapidly. Now is the time to garner great achievements in their physical and mental spheres. And the cultivation of knowledge should go on side by side with aesthetic science.
Therefore let all the various human scripts be studied and developed impartially, and let the result be utilized in the cause of aesthetic science. Then human beings will certainly achieve rapid progress; the conflict between states, between societies and between races will cease in no time. They must march ahead vigorously with firm steps, keeping a synthetic goal ever before them. “Caraeveti, caraeveti” – “March forward, march forward”. This should be the slogan of today’s humanity.
16 June 1979, Calcutta