Let us analyse the way human beings have evolved physically and psychically since their advent on this earth one million years ago. Human existence is trifarious: physical, psychic, and spiritual. Spiritual progress is movement towards Parama Puruśa while maintaining adjustment with the mundane world. The more human beings advance towards Parama Puruśa, the more their existence radiates the divine effulgence of Parama Puruśa, and the more they expand. When they come in the closest proximity to Parama Puruśa, they attain the state called sárśt́hi: they become like Parama Puruśa. When they merge in Him, there remains no duality – duality is converted into singularity. Spiritual progress depends on two main factors: the factor which determines a person’s physical existence and the factor which determines a person’s psychic progress.
I have already said in a Renaissance Universal meeting that human progress means spiritual progress. Although there is some progress in the quinquelemental and psychic spheres, it is greatly offset by numerous obstacles which arise on the path of progress. So on the whole one can say that there is no real progress in the mundane and psychic worlds. However, human beings will continue their endless efforts for progress because to remain stagnant is ultra-vires to human wonts. Nothing in this universe stagnates, all entities are on the move. Movement is the essence of everything. This world is called “jagat” which means that whose very nature is to keep moving (the root verb gam + kvip = jagat. Gam means to go and the suffix kvip is used to denote habituality.) When movement stops existence is jeopardized. When we say that an entity exists it implies that the entity is moving. Here, we shall make an appraisal on how far humans have progressed in the mundane world or in the psychic world. We are not supposed to consider which obstacles and hindrances have beset the path of progress because I have already said in this regard that ultimately, real progress takes place only in the spiritual sphere and not in the other two spheres.
There is a considerable difference between the physical structure of today’s human beings and the physical structure of prehistoric humans who came onto this earth a million years ago. The cranium of the prehistoric humans was small, the skull was large, the hands were long, and the lymphatic glands were very active. They were quite adept at running and jumping and could easily jump from one tree to another, just like the other creatures of the ape group. In fact human beings were members of the tailless ape group and thus there were many similarities between them and the other members of the group, the chimpanzees, orangutans, gorillas, etc. However, these animals have made very little progress in the mundane sphere compared to human beings. Considerable changes have also taken place in the human structure. What is the reason behind this? Even without going very deep into the subject one can understand that clash and cohesion has brought about this change in human beings. There was not much scope for the expansion and development of the nerve-cells of the tailless apes compared with human beings. That is why the tailless apes have lagged behind whereas the human beings have progressed. So, clash and cohesion caused by the natural environment helped human beings to a great extent.
Like gorillas, the primitive humans sought the relative safety of hilltops and trees for their dwelling places, although they tended to mainly live on hills. Over the course of the years they migrated through the jungles and along river banks towards the delta regions. This migration is a landmark in human civilization. There is concrete evidence to prove this contention. A hill in old Saḿskrta was called “gotra”. In those early days a particular group of humans would settle on a hill. The hill would be named after the group leader. Thus, when meeting someone one would be asked, “To which gotra do you belong?” In reply one would say, “I belong to such and such gotra.” Thus, gotra has come into common usage to denote one’s lineage. As in the society of animals, the human society was completely governed by the matriarchal order. While introducing oneself, one would mention one’s mother’s or one’s grandmother’s name because it was difficult to determine the identity of one’s father in those days. The marriage system had not been introduced at that time.
The society advanced in this way. In those days life was full of conflict. There were frequent clashes between the different hills. The people living on one hill treated each other as brothers and sisters, so whenever they wanted to get married, they had to bring men and women from other hills. Those who emerged victorious in an inter-hill conflict would marry the women of the vanquished gotra. These women were brought to the victor’s hill bound in chains. Even today in many parts of India the newly married couple knot their clothes together after marriage. This practice is symbolic of the time when the girl of the vanquished party was forcibly brought home by the bridegroom. In ancient days, they were brought home captive, their hands bound in chains. Even today in East India, particularly among the women of Bengal, there is a custom of wearing iron bangles. These bangles, reminiscent of those ancient chains, symbolize that the bride has been brought home captive. Besides that, many women had their heads cracked open in battle. Blood flowed from their gaping wounds. These days, of course, such atrocities do not occur. However, to represent the flowing blood of those wounded in battle a vermilion mark is placed on the forehead of a newly married woman.
Thus the human civilization evolved out of its primitive past. Women were the clan mothers. Every hill was governed by a leader who was the clan mother in the early stage. In Meghalaya, the matrilineal order is still in vogue. Later on the institution of clan mothers was replaced by the institution of clan fathers, and together with it came the pravara system. The men became the head of the gotras.
Civilizations have been advancing through clash and cohesion. Human beings are racking their brains in the search for new ways to win battles, and thus their brain cells are developing. They are busying their brains in various ways; they are devising new ways to preserve past history. After thinking for some time they devised words in pictures. By looking at the pictures they remembered what they did ten days ago. This is called pictography. The pictorial script was devised in this way. Even today China uses the pictorial script – the alphabet in pictures. Human beings discovered all this out of necessity. By the same process they also managed to conquer the world of animals. Then they started to struggle among themselves. Those who were less intelligent were defeated and considered as low caste people – they were exploited and thus degenerated in the society. Those who were more intelligent were considered as upper castes. And those who were even more intelligent were considered as the highest caste in society. And thus the clash of the intellect began.
Human beings have been advancing. This advancement also continued in the physical sphere of life. To protect themselves from the cold, humans started wearing clothes and garments. Next, thinking about how to move fast, they invented the wheel. This invention occurred long after the dawn of civilization. It marked the beginning of a new era in human civilization. In the absence of wheels, fast moving vehicles could not have been built.
The Mayan civilization is a transplanted Indian civilization. It migrated to Central America during the rule of the Pallavas of South India. Thus the transplanted Mayan and Indian civilizations existed side by side. The difference between them was that the Indian civilization invented the wheel. Without the wheel, the Mayan civilization lagged behind. Soon after the invention of the wheel bullock carts were invented. That invention also marked a new victory. Human beings had created something new, effecting a greater acceleration in human progress. All this took place in the physical sphere. To keep pace with these changes there were corresponding changes in the human physical structure. The cranium became larger, the skull became smaller, the arms became shorter, the body hair decreased and the jaws became more elevated. In the different parts of the world these changes took place in different ways. In some parts the jaw became more elevated, in other places it dropped. In some parts human complexion was brown, in some parts white and in other parts reddish. These physical changes occurred in adjustment with the changes in the psychic world. This is how human beings advanced.
Where does the thought which causes evolutionary change originate? It originates in the nerve cells. The human mind has two functions – thinking and memorizing. The more the thinking capacity increases the more the power of memory develops. The nerve cells also change, leading to a corresponding change in the nerve fibres. These changes create a stir and a revolution in the world of thought. Human beings started thinking, “Who am I? Where have I come from? Where shall I go hereafter?” No other creature thinks like this – only humans have the power of contemplation.
Má go ei bhávaná
Ámi kotháy chilám, kotháy elám, kotháy yábo
[Oh mother, I have only one thought in my mind.
Where was I? Where am I now? Where am I going?
I have no answer to these questions.]
No other creature thinks like this. This sort of human contemplation was reflected gradually in literature, art, etc. Human beings continued to advance and soon discovered physical sciences in the mundane sphere and philosophy in the psychic sphere. While discovering philosophy they began to search for the answers to “Why? Where? What?”, etc. In the process of humans’ continuous search, Sadashiva emerged about 7000 years ago. He consolidated all the endeavours of human beings, gave them a particular form and brought them within a particular system. This led to the formulation of education, Ayurvedic medical science, dance, song, etc. Everything received a systematic form, a new life.
Lord Krśńa came much later. He further consolidated the human race and constructed society in a better way after having laid its firm foundation stone. In pursuit of answers to the questions, “Why?” and “What?” human beings made further advancement in philosophy. Maharsi Kapil propagated the first philosophy. He tried to explain how the different objects and entities came into being. But the humans did not stop there: they made further progress and even today human beings are making steady progress on the path of spirituality.
Later on, with the further development of philosophy and science the number of impediments and obstacles faced by humans became fewer than those which the ancient humans faced while moving along the path of spirituality during the days of backward science and philosophy. The people of today do not have to labour quite as hard as Vaishishta and Vishvamitra had to do in order to discover the way to move ahead, because modern science and philosophy today are valuable aids to human progress. The people of today are able to realize the Supreme Entity in one life, or maybe in 15 to 20 years, for which they had to practice penance for lives together in the past. Apart from the direct help of philosophy and science, the spiritual quest also greatly helped human beings in their elevation. The humans of today have started to realize that they are the progeny of Parama Puruśa, an integral part of Parama Puruśa. If people can properly ideate on Parama Puruśa, they will realize Brahma. On imbibing cosmic ideation all kinds of ailments will be cured.
In this way human beings are advancing and will continue to advance in the future. In the absolute sense there cannot be any progress in the physical and psychic spheres; nor can there be any progress in the relative sense, either. However, the very endeavour to move ahead has its own importance. This endeavour has made human beings glorious and superior.
It is a fact that humans will make further progress in the future. Those who will assist in this human progress are the Sadvipras. Those who are trying to obstruct human progress are veritable demons in human form (rákśasa). Not only will human beings have to strengthen the hands of the Sadvipras to facilitate smooth social progress, they will also have to remain ever-vigilant against these demons in human form and wage constant war against them. There should not be any hesitation.
This movement of the human beings is an endless one. Human beings must advance. Some people think that one day the universe will meet its thermal death. They believe that the universe will become frozen solid, unfit for human habitation, and cause the extinction of the human race. Their statement is partially true, but the universe as a whole will never meet a thermal death. A certain planet may suffer thermal death, but certainly not the entire universe. Before thermal death occurs on a particular planet, human beings, having made great technological advances, will move to other planets by rocket. So there is no plausible reason for human beings to become frightened by the prospects of a thermal death.
Once I was asked by a Hindi journalist if I believed that atom bombs would destroy the human race. I replied that my firm conviction is that atom bombs do not have the power to annihilate the human race because they are merely a product of the human mind. They do not have the power to destroy the minds of those who created them. The human beings who invented atom bombs will also be able to provide safeguards against them. So human beings have no reason to be unduly worried or frightened.
9 November 1978, Calcutta