....www.rafhaj.com.np
.

Quick Search RAFHAJ
 
 
  .............................................HUMANISM  
 

............................................By
...........RAJA JAI PRITHVI BAHADUR SINGH OF BAJHANG, NEPAL

............................................VOL. I, II & III


 

DEDICATED
WITH HUMBLE HEARTS
TO
LOVERS OF PEACE
AND
SAINTLY MINDS
THAT TOIL
FOR MAN'S EMANCIPATION

-Jai Prithvi Bdr. Singh


CONTENTS

PART I

THE TROUBLE OF MAN AND THEIR CAUSES

CHS

 

PAGE

I

Introduction

 

II

The Troubles of Man-Their Main Classification

 

III

The Troubles of Man; Physical-Man and Nature

 

IV.

The Troubles of Man; Physical-Man and Society; Social Evolution

 

V

The Troubles of Man; Physical-Society, the Cause of Man's Troubles.

 

VI

The Troubles of Man.; Physical-Society, the Cause of Man's Troubles-The Caste System; Its Nature and Growth

 

VII

The Troubles of Man; Physical-Society, the Cause of Man's Trouble-The Caste System; How Oppressive.

 

VIII

The Troubles of Man; Mental-The Constitution, the Function and the Capacity of the Mind

 

IX

The Troubles of Man; Mental-Mind, How far the Cause.

 

X

The Troubles of Man-The True Cause.

 

PART II.

KNOWLEDGE AND ITS ACQUISITION

 

 

 

 

XI.

A Resume of Facts

 

XII.

Learning-Education

 

XIII.

Education (contd.); Modern Education

 

XIV.

Eastern System of Education

 

XV

Self-Learning

 

XVI

True Knowledge

 

Part III

Man and the universe

XVII.          The Universe —Its Significance; The Need for a Knowledge of it.

XVIII.        The Origin of the Universe—Creation by God?

XIX.            The Origin of the Universe—Biological evolution?

XX.              The Cosmic Energy

XXI.            The Cosmic Energy and Existence

XXII.          Existence—The cause and the Nature of its Activity

XXIII.        The activity of Existence—The Coming of the Universe

Notes:— (A) Fire and Air

                 (B) Mind and Aether

                (C) Man and His Place in the Universe

                (D) God, Soul, Mind and Matter

                (E) Can Matter have independent Existence?

XXIV.        Action—Re-action—Karma

Note:— Karma and Fatalism

XXV.          Life and its continuity

XXVI.        Death and After

Note:— Life after death

PART IV

The reality of man and the remedy for mans troubles

XXVII.     The real man
XXVIII. The realisation of the real man—Religion, its origin,
.......... nature and necessity
XXIX.    Religion and life
XXX.          Religion in practice
XXXI.        Religion and sin
XXXII.     Conclusion


FOREWORD
BY
RAJA JAI PRITHVI BAHADUR SINGH

It is not without serious misgivings that I venture to bring out this book for the sake of such among the general public who are philosophically bent and who may, now and then, give themselves to the thought as to what man is and why he should at all suffer in this world.
This is a problem that has been agitating the minds of all great thinkers ever since the dawn of civilisation. Personally, I do not claim equality with such great thinkers, either in the quality or the volume of thought, which any one of them did or can produce. I am fully aware of my several defects: and yet, if I ventured to bring out my ideas and views on this particular aspect of humanity- the troubles of man and their remedy-it was more to learn further on the matter from others who may be similarly thinking than to impose my notions upon the rest as facts of ascertained and affirmed value. I am conscious that the conclusions I arrived at are not near perfection and may, in the light of suggestions received and opinions offered require revision and consolidation. In fact, even during the preparation of this work, I had to revise my views several times as a result of persistent thinking: and, though I may take it that. I have arrived at a particular stage that may merit their publication, I am yet eager that they should receive the full benefit of collaboration of brains similarly working. This is my only apology for bringing out this work, imperfect as it is.
I have refrained from a profuse use of technical terms which a book of this kind demands, partly owing to my personal defect in a knowledge of them and partly to avoid burdening general readers of this book who may not be born or trained philosophers. For the very same reason, I have not also quoted any author whose work or work in the original many, like me, may not have read.
This book has a history of its own. This is the result of a slowly evolving thought, almost from my boyhood, which, as it deepened, brought on several changes in my out-look on the world around.
I quite remember how, as a small boy, like almost every other Hindu boy, I used to believe in the infallibility of the stories given in the ancient Hindu books particularly the Puranas. It was not till I took myself to the study of science, limited as it was, that it occurred to me that such Puranic accounts were mainly, though not wholly, legendary, and that, round a small grain of truth, there was in them a large amount of the unreal and the imaginary. This set me to think and, before long, I was an agnostic, doubting everything I came into contact with, and denying, with the atheists, the possibility of truth in the beliefs of the day, including that in a maker and maintainer of the wide universe.
Still, though I am in no way a scientist, even the very little knowledge in science which I could gather from my school studies soon made me realise that even it, as it is or as it ever will be, does not solve the problem of humanity. It occurred to me that, though it deals with matter in its various aspects, it does not account for its origin. I was never taught in any of my science-classes as to how matter came to be. Hence the thought dawned on me that a subject that cannot trace the beginning cannot solve the end. Science, which deals with matter, so I thought, cannot be much relied on for the understanding of the problem of man.
Class hatred, racial jealousies, communal quarrels, family disputes and a host of others, which divide man from man, began to impress me more as I grew older. Hence I thought of and sought for guidance in such books as Vedanta Sutra, Bagvadgita and the like. My studies in them together with my own thinking of the problem have brought me to certain views which, in 1913, I published in a booklet in my own language, Nepalese.
The difficulty of the language and the abstruseness of the subject, however, conspired against its wide publicity; and I began seriously to think of translating the same into the English tongue, which is known practically all the world over. In the meantime, the war of 1914-18 broke out, and its appalling consequences furthered me in my desire.
It was not, however, till I came to Bangalore a few years later that I could find enough leisure to bestow concerted thought over it. It was there that I came in to contact with Mr. Singarachari, lately lecturer in history in the local St. Joseph's college, who, on my mention of my desire, readily agreed to do what he could in the matter. Since 1924, the work has been going on, and what was intended to be a translation became practically an independent work, and my original Nepalese booklet assumed the proportion of three small volumes in the English language. The central ideas of this expanded English version are the same as those in my Nepalese original, but they have been very much amplified by the addition of historical and other facts which, I believe, will better appeal to the readers of this book than quotations from the works of others. Mr. Singarachari has been of much help to me in the production of this work, and he is responsible for putting my views into proper English and for amply illustration them.

Jai Prithvi Bahadur Singh
JAYABHAVAN
Bangalore, S. India
September, 1928


COMPENDIUM OF VOL. I

 

This book, in a humble manner, tries to deal with the problem of human troubles. It takes for granted, as is indicated in its opening chapter, that there is, even among human beings, a class of men who do not feel any misery even in this mundane world. Why the rest of mankind alone should suffer is the problem that is discussed in the first two volumes of this book, while the last is devoted to what, in the view of the book, is a solution for such troubles.
In part I which is also the first part in this volume, chapters two to nine are devoted to the consideration of what generally are treated as the causes of human troubles.

Chapter two gives a classification of such causes into the external and the internal, or rather into the physical and the mental.
Chapters three to seven deal, with physical causes. Those that are contributed by the surrounding nature are treated in chapter three, while chapters four to seven discuss those supplied by the human society. This portion of the book begins with the evolution of human society, passes on to class or caste-distinctions, points out the troubles brought on by such divisions, and ends with the Hindu Caste System. Chapters eight and nine deal with the internal or mental causes, -the eighth touching upon the nature and the function of mind, its place in the human constitution, its materiality or otherwise, and if it is the real knower in man; while the ninth touches upon the various ways in which the human mind can be a source of trouble.

In the view of this book, all such factors as are generally treated to be the causes of troubles are external entities-external to what constitutes the real individuality in each. This raises the questions of the ego in each, its nature, its relation with other egos, the possibility of a universal individuality, the function of the ego in the universe and the significance of evolution. These problems are dealt with in chapter ten. This marks the end of the first part, which treats of the causes of human troubles and concludes with the true cause thereof.

PART-II

According to this book, it is the imperfection of the ego consequent upon its imperfect evolution that is the real cause of human troubles, while entities external to the ego are but opportunities for that ego's evolution. It is the ego's misreading of such entities that makes it miserable. Hence, the ego has to evaluate them properly, or get a correct knowledge of them.
The second part of the book therefore deals with knowledge and its acquisition.

After briefly reviewing the conclusions of the first part, it touches upon education as the method widely in vogue towards the enhancement of one's knowledge.

It devotes three chapters to this subjects, the first dealing with education in general, the second with the modern, which is mainly the western, system of education, pointing out its merits and defects; and the third dealing with the eastern, (i.e.) the ancient, system particularly Indian, incidentally touching upon the evolution of philosophical ideas in Hindu India, inferring therefrom the several good and evil factors in the Hindu society and consequently upon its system of education that once prevailed. Next, the book passes on to consider self-learning or self-culture where, among others, it devotes some space to attention and its concentration and incidentally touches upon Pranayama, the ancient Aryan method of such concentration.
The book then deals with what constitutes true knowledge, which is essential for man to avoid his roubles. This is the end of part II, which is also the end of this volume*.

J.P.B.Singh


COMPENDIUM OF VOL. II

In Part I of Vol. I the several so-called causes of human troubles were first dealt with and then what this book considers to be the true cause was elaborately discussed.
In this section it was pointed out that the true cause of man's troubles is to be found, not in the environments-both inanimate and animate-of an individual, but in the imperfect evolution of that individual's ego. We suffer because we improperly evaluate our surroundings, ourselves, and the relations that do and must subsist between the two.
Proper evaluation of our surroundings and our-selves naturally and necessarily leads to the appropriate adjustment of the relations existing between the two. This is presumed to be the sure means for avoiding human troubles. Proper evaluation can result only from a proper knowledge of our surroundings and of our-selves. Hence, the second part of Vol. I. deals with "knowledge and its acquisition".
In this section, the various modes of acquiring knowledge are first dealt with, and then what constitutes true knowledge is pointed out.
With reference to true knowledge, this book avers,
"The goal of knowledge must be the discovery of that elemental entity which is at once the agent and the instrument; the knower, the known, and the knowledge; the doer, the deed and the done; the subject and the object. Reality, not in its relativity only, but in its entirety as made up of harmonious co-operative parts, must be the substance and the end of knowledge, and that knowledge alone is true that leads to the conviction that existence is one and whole."
That existence is one and whole is the conclusion with which Vol I end.

If, however, existence is really. One, then how is it that there are so many variations in this universe, and so much conflict of interests and clash of arms among its several members?.
This question leads one to the consideration of the problem of the universe in its several aspects; and hence the third part of the book which is the same as Vol. II. Deals with "man and the universe".
The first chapter attempts to understand the meaning of the term universe, by discussing in detail the viewpoints of the various branches of knowledge, incidentally pointing out how this book interprets the term.

After thus attempting an explanation or rather an elaborate definition of the term universe, the book considers its origin and growth.

It first takes up the time-honoured and widely believed view of the coming of the universe, viz. "The theory of creation by god."
If the universe has really been created by god who is all-merciful, then the several incongruities therein belie his mercy. The book deals in detail with many such incongruities, and then, in the following chapter, discusses the theory of biological evolution as promulgated and developed by Darwin and his successors. Interesting and even convincing as this theory is, it has many short-comings about it which render it, not only an insufficient explanation, but, in certain respects as the book thinks, erroneous explanation.

After thus discussing the two views of the origin and the growth of the universe-one, ancient and theological; and the other, modern and scientific-the book gives its own account of this question.
It deals in detail with this problem in four different chapters, entitled.

(i) The Cosmic Energy
(ii) The Cosmic Energy and Existence
(iii) Existence-The cause and the nature of its activity
(iv) The activity of existence-The coming of the universe
In these chapters, starting with certain observed and obvious facts, the book deduces certain conclusions, thereby tracing the origin of the universe, the elaboration of its contents, and the various modes whereby such contents come to be, To quote the words of the book, "Verily, it is no creation by an extra-cosmic entity; it is only the appearance, the presentation or manifestation of a common immanent factor-the existence and, because the process resembles a growth...the entire course may be termed evolution; but it is a bigger and grander evolution than the one implied merely in the growth of the biological species."
To quote again from another chapter in the book, "Everything of this universe in thus the outcome of a single energy. Now as the innumerable forces of the physical universe, acting and behaving rigorously and uniformly, producing through their activities the qualities of materiality, particles of matter, material bodies and systems of worlds; now as the multifarious factors of a growing consciousness, by whose symbols of thought and sounds and deeds that matter and the material world come to be felt, experienced, known and acted on; that supreme ultimate energy is and does and goes on." "Verily, that energy is cosmic; and it is the maker, the maintainer and the destroyer of all and sundry. It acts and shows itself now as matter and now as non-matter. These are not opposed and independent entities; they are but the different states or modes of it."

This cosmic energy is not to be identified with the physical energy-The energy known to physical sciences, acting rigorously and blindly. It is intelligent, capable of self-activity.

To quote again from the book, "What is left behind on furthest analysis of the several entities and events of the physical world is but consciousness 'annihilation' not being the end of the universe and 'nothingness' not being its root, the manner in which that basic consciousness can be conceived of is only that 'it is. Is-ness is 'being'; and 'to be' is to be 'vital.' 'Vitality' not being 'deadness' is activity, actual or possible; and the universal consciousness therefore is and must be active. Being the root of all and hence none setting. It to act, it acts of its own accord."
Again, to continue the quotation, "The universal consciousness is hence self-active, self aware vitality in bliss and, not being in definite identity with any known or knowable entity that has a particular name, it can, if it is to be in any manner designated, be only in general called existence."

The cosmic energy above referred to is a part and parcel of this existence whose qualities are activity and intelligence.

Activity of its own accord involves inactivity. In the case of existence, however, which is ever-vital inactivity can never mean deadness. It can only mean 'variational activity'- activity varying in its pitch, from the highest to the lowest possible pitch. Since again that existence is also intelligent, the gradations in the rise and fall of its activity are proportionately gradual and are properly set.

In its state of supreme activity, like any ordinary material machine, that existence is absolutely calm and beyond perception; and as it becomes variational, it gets agitated, slower in pitch and comes within perception, the more and more so as it becomes less and less active.

To quote once more from the book, "Being variational in the mode of its intrinsic activity, coming to perception in the forms of systems of the universe like bubbles in certain parts of space; spreading its activities in cyclic wave-like fashion and therefore leading to cycles of lives and systems of bodies; being more intensively active in certain states and less so in certain others, and consequently exhibiting increasing or decreasing levels of intelligence; the all-comprehensive existence or the basic universal consciousness has become the material world."

In its state of supreme activity, this existence is named by this book as the cosmic intelligence, and in its variational character as the cosmic energy. The latter is the cause of or presents itself as the varied contents of the material universe with their multitudinous and ever-varying gradations of physical and mental equipment's and exhibitions.

Man belongs to this order, being the presentation of the cosmic energy in a particular pitch of its activity. He is therefore no different kind of life, but a different type of the same life.

Thus, this book traces the beginning and the elaborate growth of the perceived and perceiveable universe, and fixes the location of man therein.

Then, turning its attention to the sufferings of man, the book considers that they are due to his own activities and the responsive reactions whose combined consequences gradually form his experiences and tendencies that guide him and goad him to particular channels of thinking and doing. Since man is but a presentation of the cosmic intelligence in its agitated pitch of activity, he or his ego is ever-alive. Therefore, his agitated activities are continuous-continuous even beyond the time-limit of this one single body-existence.

These questions-Action and re-action, and continuity of life are therefore treated as the natural inferences of the chapters dealing with the origin and growth of the universe.

The question of "action and re-action" is dealt separately in a chapter called "action, re-action and Karma"; while the other question of the continuous character of life is treated in two chapters entitled (i) "Life and its continuity" and (ii) "Death and after".

Man, therefore, according to this book, suffers because, though a regular part of the same ever-active and all-knowing existence, he considers himself as separate from the rest of the world, treating them as alien and inferior, looking on them with suspicion, hatred and haughtiness. And this inference, is arrived at by a detailed and elaborate consideration of the coming of the universe and the location of man therein. Such are the facts dealt with in this Volume.

J.P.B.Singh


COMPENDIUM VOL.III

In the concluding portion of the compendium of the previous, Volume the following statement was made.
"Man therefore, according to this book, suffers because, though a regular part of the same ever-active and all-knowing existence, he considers himself as separate from the rest of the world, treating them as alien and inferior, looking on them with suspicion, hatred and haughtiness."

Human miseries are hence to be traced to man's own out-look on life and his corresponding conduct therein. Practically the entire human race is subject to this mode of viewing life and the consequent evaluation as much of the entities of the so-called inanimate nature as of the animate members of its own order. Correction of this view-point is at once urgent and necessary, and for this purpose mankind has to appraise itself of not only the real standard of evaluating the contents and the conduct of the multitudinous events and entities of this universe, but also the basis for fixing that standard. This, according to this book, is considered the one and only way of avoidance by man once and for all of his troubles which, under any other standard and on any other basis, will be constant, repeating themselves in diverse ways and in dubious modes.

The third volume, therefore, which is also the fourth part of the book, is devoted to the consideration of the problem, "The reality of man and the remedy for man's troubles."
It is believed that mankind's conduct in general, both as it has been and as it is, is in accordance with a standard that is not unvarying in its merits, and as a consequence it is thought that the very foundation that leads to the establishment of such a standard is not without defect. To quote the words of the Book.

"He and his surroundings are the only constituents of his world, and he cares not for the admission of any other factor within that forum. His freedom is his to get from his world of which he is clearly aware and which he does and can definitely experience."

What are the constituents of man's world from which he thinks he can earn his freedom, and what is their nature? In the words of the book.

"Thus, what man calls life is not consistent with the functioning of any or all of the organs of his body; much less is it so with what he styles his world, his body and his environments. These are but the instruments of knowledge-the environments to produce the facts thereof; and the body, through its several organs and particularly its organisms, the cells, to lead to the means of making and composing those facts, through the several processes of which psychology takes cognisance".

"Again, these so-called constituents of man's world are not permanent too. Our environments are not the same at all times. Today it is sunshine, and tomorrow rainy; now it is light, and now dark. Now we are in the midst of familiar surroundings, and now among strange ones. Our environments when we are old are far different from what they were during our childhood; and, if at all similar, they assume a different meaning. Our bodies too frequently change-now healthy, and now unhealthy, now possessing the graces of form and beauty, and now becoming ugly and repulsive. The rosy cheek and the cheerful face of the youth change to the withering forehead and the hanging brows of the old. From period to period and even moment to moment, we seem to be altering as much in our mentality as in our looks. The mind of an old man is not apt to work as vigorously as that of a young one. To-day we feel able to solve gigantic problems of an abstruse type, and tomorrow we fail to grasp even the simple facts of familiar affairs."
"Instrumentality is thus the function of the factors of man's world, while 'instability' is their only feature. They have no originality about them and, having no fixity cannot possibly lead to continuity. They do not possess any significance, and by themselves are no more than heterogeneous masses of purposeless diversities. They therefore cannot be vouched with the authorship of that freedom which man so much feels to be ingrained in him and which he so much aspires after."

Hence, naturally arises the question as to what it is that gives man his stability. As the book puts it, "What is it that gives us life and vigorous life? What is it that supplies unity to the diversified facts of our world? . What gives us the notion of oneness in the midst of our ever-changing surroundings and never-permanent bodies? What is it that is animate in the midst of the inanimate and intelligent among the unintelligent? Stable in the midst of the unstable, and the one among the many?. Whence comes the Authour of my health and life, the agent for the collection and the classification of the facts of externality, the knower, the giver of unity to my being, the producer of my continuity with the rest? In fact, where from is my sense of stability or what is it that constitutes my reality?
It is the study of this reality that constitutes the first chapter in this volume. In this connection, the book avers, "Having thus descended from the animal and maintaining a biological continuity with it, he has naturally inherited several of its tendencies. Though many millenniums have passed since he evolved from the monkey, enough time has not lapsed for him to give up those tendencies..."

"Still, however, though an animal, man is a better animal. He has developed certain traits, which the animal does not possess or possesses only potentially. He has out-grown the animal in the capacity of his mind. He has progressed in discretion and discrimination in virtue of his enormous possibilities for thinking and deliberation... It is also the prognostication of modern science that the future of the evolutional progress will be more towards the development of the mind than that of the body and therefore the greater display of intelligence with an approach towards a better realisation of its truer aspect-the discovery of sameness and oneness in all."

"Man stands on the threshold, as it were, of great possibilities and big achievements. He marks the parting of ways between that stage of conscious existence, which sees only divisions in the universe and another which perceives unity in and through such divisions... He marks the top of animality on the one hand and the beginning of divinity on the other. As humanity is but an evolution of animality, so is divinity but a growth of animality. A perfected man is equal unto the gods and the fringe of divinity is but the height of humanity. Animality, humanity and divinity are but the different and successive stages in the gradual self-unfoldment of a common, single, intelligent life that from limitations reaches unlimitedness, from being conditioned becomes unconditioned, from a stage of seeing divisions and quarrels to that of experiencing sameness and sympathy. Animality marks the first stage and divinity the second, while man but occupies a position in between the two. He is at once an animal and a god; and while biologically a perfected monkey, psychologically he is a potential angel."
It is this quality of divinity or super-humanity in man that constitutes his reality. In animals and other lower orders of existence, " This divinity is only potential, lying embedded underneath a heap of physical and physiological debris",
Man stands on a different footing altogether, as it were. To use the words of the book, "Man, however, unlike the animal and other beings, in virtue of the enormous actualities and the potentialities of mind he has developed, is in a position consciously to hasten the march of evolution and be and become that super-man sooner and earlier than otherwise."

Therefore, avers the book, "He alone is the real man who opens his vista of out-look to the infinity of existence beyond his petty needs and routine living and deliberately realises that infinity. It is possible for every one, but only a few have attempted and become that, while the rest of humanity is a fumbling and trudging crowd, limiting its vision and action to the things of the hour, the day or the generation, allowing itself to be carried automatically onwards by the imperceptible hands of slow evolution."

This then is the conclusion of the first chapter of this volume, and the four succeeding chapters are devoted to the consideration of the various aspects of the means for knowing and realising that reality which is divinity or super-humanity. These chapter are entitled respectively as:-
(i) Religion-Its origin, nature and necessity
(ii) Religion and life
(iii) Religion in practice
(iv) Religion and sin
In the opinion of this book, religion is the only means for realising the divinity within which alone can save mankind from its troubles here. In the first of this series of four chapters on religion, it is pointed out.

"Religion is no matter of individual opinion and therefore of adoption or rejection. It is a matter of necessity and of cosmic inevitability. Man is as much the product of the cosmic activity in a particular state as a monkey or a mountain happens to be in other and different of its self graduated scales or rates."
Every entity in the universe, both human and non-human, is already religious; for, "religion is no more them the attempt by man to realise his station in the universe and the consequent significance of and the oneness with other entities..."

Amplifying this idea, the book continues to aver, "Cosmos being infinite and all coming within its fold, religion... is as much a part of it as man himself is."

Only, "while man, in virtue of the special means he has come to own during the long and weary course of biological evolution, but consciously attempts to know it, others of the universe but potentially own it without suitable instrumentalities for its open exposition or acceptance."
So, according to this book,
"Every one is religious, but only a few become so."
This view of religion is based upon the facts,
(a) "Every one, as a member of the universe is related to every other."
(b) "The universe being no finality and every member thereof to whichever type of existence it may belong being therefore fundamentally unlimited, every object or entity can and must act in such a fashion as to vouch for it the realisation of that oneness."
(c) "In the case of man, it can, by virtue of the degree of mental progress, be quicker and sooner realised."
(d) "Religion is the attempt to understand the universal oneness and apply that knowledge for the practical experiencing of that oneness."
Every branch of human knowledge like physical sciences, philosophy and theology are also based upon the notion of the entirety of the universe and the inter-relation of its parts. Each, however, takes a different angle of vision and consequently adopts a different procedure to grasp that entirety.
Therefore,
"One school of investigation but laughs at others, not knowing that its own means are as much subject to variations and therefore to ridicule by others not given to accepting them."
Religion is an attempt to compromise the different schools of thought and bring the conclusions within the possibility of daily human conduct.
Such in brief are the contents of the first of the four chapters on religion. But if religion is the preparation of one's life to bring it into tune with the wider universe, then it is of no value to confine one's life only to one portion of it. If properly viewed, individual life is a part of the universal life and hence eternal. There is no use dividing it into that of here and that of hereafter. There is no cleavage between the two sections, and attachment to any one of them to the exclusion of the other and the consequent human conduct evolved therefrom have greatly marred the progress of real religion. Says the book concerning those who advocate the limitation of one's vision to the now and the here,
"He is forgotten to be as much interdependent as he is independent... The supposed independence of the individual or a group of individuals has led to the institutions of slavery, tyranny and priest-craft, or their amplified forms of political organisations of imperialism, capitalistic industrialism and the like. Man has become, openly or under garb, a greedy person existing and contending with others only for his benefit-and that of his associates. Much has been done, no doubt, to mitigate the evils of such a ruthless exploitation by the each of the rest, through the creation and the maintenance of law and legal institutions-individual, communal, national and inter-national. But none of these restraining influences have yet deprived themselves of the notion of man's unchecked individual independence; and, instead of becoming simpler, they get complicated... Legislatures are multiplying or are changing forms; law is being piled upon law, and statute books do but become bulkier. Judges and administration of justice get more complicated and more costly and, instead of being the poor people's relief, they become the rich men's luxuries. They do not eradicate the wrong notions of man's being and behaving but only restrain their evil workings... wars have not ceased; exploitation has not ended, and the weaker are suppressed by the stronger in an organised and subtle manner. Man thinks that he is great and desires others to yield. He looks not ahead to life's continuity beyond the 'now and here' and is consequently ignorant of the unity and the ultimate equality of the all and sundry. "
Therefore, those who advocate living for the present live "in the world of the present which, by that narrow imposition, is one of distractions where each has to contend against the rest for its being and growth."
Hence, concludes the book, "moralists and preachers of truth have condemned the things of the present, only for their potentiality to narrow man's vision and convert him inhuman.
What about those who live for the 'hereafter'?
The very idea of a future, which alone is certain, is based upon an erroneous reading of real life... To isolate the 'hereafter' from the 'here' is to erect a castle in the air. Heaven must be the super-pinnacle of an under-structure, which is after its own fashion. God must be the final unfoldment of a life that advances without cessation. Between the inorganic and the organic; between the plant, the animal and man; and between humanity and divinity, there ought to be no cleavage. The universe in its entirety is a growth and none in it is an emergence out of nothing."
Hence, concludes the book, "he who centres his eyes on a 'heaven of the hereafter' alone aspires for a region that is unsupported. An ultra-mundane god is like unto the water of a sandy mirage. He who lives for heaven alone or god alone lives for the unreal and the unfounded. His life that is lived for that sake is a life that comes out to be a waste. It is anti-evolutional and an indirect check through pious but certain self-immolation."
Continuing in the same strain says the book "self sacrifice is an asset only when the matured energies of the individual are diverted for the benefit of the things 'here'. Asceticism has value and becomes ennobled only when the ascetic lives in the world and works for its benefit. A Buddha and a Jesus are admired and even worshipped, not because of the intensity of their spirituality but because of their interpretation of that spirituality as a goal that can be reached even by persons of this world. With god overhead and feet walking the earth, they spread their hearts of sympathy and words of wisdom even for the men of 'here and now' to become divine. They preached, and practised what they preached, that god is within all and that every one who desired for him can know him. Otherwise they would have been mere contemplatives and men of impracticalities".
Therefore, in the opinion of the book, if one is to be really religious, he has to live a whole life and not confine his attention to one or the other of its sections. To quote the words of the book, "religion in reality is thus life in totality... Man is to neglect neither the present nor the future. He has to take things as they are and convert them into instrumentalities for a brighter future..."
"Life is an en masse march of all and sundry for a future consummation which is the revelation by the each of the spirit of unity.... He has to spiritualise Politics and sociology and deify economics and domestic features...A religious man is a seeker after Truth, hastening or not hesitating as much for a march ahead as for a correction behind. Religion is not bigotry; nor superstition, spirituality. It is an intelligent conduct of life for the harmonious growth of its varied sections... In the words of man it is the march of the finite into the infinite, of man towards God... It spurns none but tolerates all... Religion is the whole of life, and a corrected life is an ennobled religion."
Such in brief is the conclusion of the chapter on "religion and Life" showing the relation between the two. But, in every day practice, is life lived so? This question is considered in the chapter entitled "religion in practice". In this connection avers the book,
"The worship of a super-human entity, in accordance with methods which tradition and culture have sanctified is and has been understood to formulate religion proper."
So, the consequence has been, "naturally enough it came to be denied or degraded by man."
This attitude towards religion has divided mankind into believers and non-believers in god-Theists and atheists. The formers in general have been the common humanity while the latter in certain cases have been scientists and philosophers. Between these two classes of higher atheists there is not much difference.
"The former through their ever-increasing experiments with the objects of nature external to man, and the latter through introspection and logical discussion concerning man's internlity, have gradually led to the increasing conception of the unity of the universe."
While thus among higher atheists there is no difference except in the mode of grasping the goal, there is equally no difference between theists and atheists also, properly understood. In the words of the book, "While the former (the theists) emphasize the psychological inevitability of interim recognisable symbols for man's conception of an abstraction, the latter (the atheists) attempt, if possible, to grasp it direct."
For, while atheists of the higher type-Scientists and philosophers-believe in the being of an immanent, intra-cosmic, impersonal entity to give unity and vitality to the entirety of the universe, theists hold that such unity and vitality would be impossible but for a super-mundane personal god. And this personal god is, in the opinion of higher theists, different from that of the common people. The book avers, "To them, a personal god that is super-human is not a master coercing into obedience a world below. He is not the maker and maintainer at will of that world. He does not dispense awards or punishments to men according to their good or evil deeds. He is not responsible for the world's beginning, progress and culmination.
On the other hand, the higher theists treat this personal god as a symbol. Says the book,
"He just fulfills a psychological purpose in the growth of human knowledge."
That is, in their view,
"God is but a material symbol, invented by the material man, after his own best material fashion, for the understanding of an immaterial something."
For, they have recognised,
"Symbolism is an inevitability for man's mental progress."
Hence, the difference between the higher theists and the higher atheists vanishes when once it is understood that god has only a psychological value for man's mental progress, without any mythological conceptions and appendages to which the world has become used from time immemorial.
Despite, however, the absence of any distinction between the higher types of theists and atheists, lower orders of such classes has not maintained the same relation. Scientists and philosophers have treated the rest of the world as superstitious, bigoted and fanatic. And the rest to whom
"Material monism or spiritual oneness lies beyond the possibility of men's very grasp"
And
"Scientific conclusions and philosophic inferences are but gibberish..."
"Are prone to redicule, if not to punish thinkers and scholars. Galileo was persecuted by the medieval inquisition for his astronomical theories, while Socrates was forced to drink the fatal hemlock for his transcendental philosophy. Buddhistic monism was looked on as heretical by the ceremonial Brahmans, and several pioneers of science were burnt down as wizards and false teachers at the time of the reformation in Europe."
While in the name of religion, the relation between the atheists and the theists has thus not been cordial, among the atheists too there have come into being many degraded types as among the theists. In the words of the book,
"Refusal to accept religion and its ways as current has thus produced monists of science and philosophy, as also arrant materialists and hedonists who have not shrunk to assume the roll of tyrants. It has produced self-torturing and self-killing recluses who try to know and realise the immanent origin of the universe, but deny it to themselves and them to it. It has led to the rise of agnostics who doubt their environments and doubt themselves also."
The fall of the theists has been equally great though in a different direction. To repeat the words of the book,
"The logicality of this thought soon came to be transferred from the single, personal god in Heaven to the multifarious symbolic images, each one of which in the limited knowledge of men, constituted a reality. Hence, it came to be essential that these also should be worshipped for themselves and by themselves. No mode and amount of sacrifice was considered enough, and from the simple prayer to the most sickening blood-sacrifice came to be added to the intricacies and complexities of religious ceremonials. The nature and the amount of the sacrifices are considered to determine one's piety.....Horrible practices and immense wastes of lives and wealth are its only conclusions, while the piety that leads men to it is no more, than timidity that has become smoothened. Man, by nature independent, has changed to a dependant; and, instead of facing and realising the unity of the universe and his oneness with the rest by bold steps, be has recourse to petitioning and begging a something that is no reality but symbolical, wasting his energy and his all for the satisfaction of a figure which truly is nothing. Some others, considering their particular images and ceremonials to be the only correct ones take to strict adherence to them as a necessity and in their observance have become almost fanatical. They adhere to the letter of the law more than to its spirit and, while with some regular attendance of churches and temples alone constitutes religion, with others the loud repetition of prayer with not an intonation left becomes that..."
"Religion in practice has thus deviated from its real course and, while the whole of living is the whole of religion...practical religion has converted man into one of fear and superstition where his supposed faith is but fanaticism and piety is timidity."
This fall in religion is due to the misunderstanding of the significance of symbols in religion. Symbols as such indicate,
"An endless amount of inter-relations that persist among the objects and the events of the broad world..."
Therefore,
"Symbolism...is mysticism. To treat an object as but a symbolical representation of something else is to go beyond the perceived and dive below the surface, To know a known isolation as potential with unknown inter-relations, to see in the seen final a reproduction of the unseen infinity, is to learn more than the actual and the real."
Majority of the human beings are incapable of this, because
"Men in general are prone to content themselves with the information of their senses, and not all do use their mentality to its highest pitch...Images therefore lose their significance for them and, instead of being but symbolical, become the actual."
Such is religion in practice; but there is another aspect of it, which too has spoiled its fair face. It is the Problem of Sin or the possibility and the effect on human conduct of virtue and vice or good and evil. In the view of the book,
"Sin is not perennial nor is one a perpetual sinner from birth or by profession. Virtue is not the monopoly of any particular individual, nor can any one assume the roll of leadership over others for making them better. Virtue and vice are relative in character and conception. They are like light and darkness, each seemingly different from the other, but each gradually margin into the other and also emerging out of it."
Views like that virtue and vice are permanent because they are the creations respectively of the two entities, god and Satan, who are permanent; that they both have been made by god alone; and that they are identical with and are the prompting of one's conscience are all discussed and repudiated. Again, whether what is termed virtuous is the same as sexual morality or non-injury or active charity is also elaborately dealt with. And the conclusion of the Book is that virtue is the truth-which is described as 'the one', 'the same' and 'the intrinsic or the Natural,' as against 'the many,' 'the changeable' and 'the superficial or the unnatural'. Religious men are men of truth, and
"The words they spoke and the lives they led stand as firmament's shining stars for the guidance of an erring humanity that treads the pathless woods of a confounding and entangling world."
The chapter on 'religion and sin' deals with these facts and leads on to the concluding chapter of the book.
In the opening chapter of the first volume, the following sentences occur: -
"This world-the world of human beings with all its surroundings and contents-has been and abode of happiness to some and a home of inexpressible and perpetual misery to many...To the poet and to the prophet, to the seer and the sage, in fact to such of those whom we are apt to think as of a higher order, this world has nothing but beauty and happiness to yield..."
"To the generality of mankind, however...the world has a different picture altogether...Man is born to die and, while he lives, lives only to be tossed hither and thither in the never-ending waves of the sea of suffering."
"The world is one. Its phenomena are the same for all. It proceeds in the same orderly path, doing its set duty in an automatic manner. Yet it appears to be of different colours and varied features. Is it correct to think that the world is nothing but a home of troubles... Is there no hope? Has he no chance of escape from this perpetual sloughs of suffering?"
The answer to these questions is given in the concluding chapter of the book.
"The cause of human misery are thus two-fold. One is the perpetual and the perplexing activities of the entities of man's surroundings; and the other is his peculiar construction of the significance of such entities."
"It is not within the capacity of any one to check the activities of one's externalities."
"The real cause of man's miseries however, is not totally his ignorance of the physical effect of the contact of the external on him. It is rather his own psychological misconstruction of that contact. The contact, he thinks, exists for his personal benefit and, induced by this view, treats external objects as separate entities antagonistic to him which, if he cares to live and be happy, he must subdue and control without contradiction or counter-claim."...Neither those others whom he desires to control for ever, nor the super-position which he likes himself to occupy are permanent.
What is the remedy?
"The remedy for human miseries therefore lies in man's altering his view of things around him and purging himself of the notion of his self-importance. His psychological out-look needs change, not his physical contact which is inevitable. His knowledge of men and maters needs correction and guidance; and, in consequence, his mind needs coercion, correction and elevation."
"The strengthening of one's mind and its practised diversion from the usual and routine is ultimately the only cure."
"The training of the mind is a protracted course of self-correction...
Such a course of life constitutes and leads to HUMANISM which is higher humanity akin to divinity itself."
"Misery is of man's making, Humanism is a cure to it, certain to rescue mankind from the petty quarrels and competitions of society, and raise it above all causes of physical ailments. Man under it becomes happy-not happy by subordinating and owning others, but happy by conquering and correcting his mind, and looking on the world as but the presentation of a common, intelligent entity that is in him and them."
Such is the cure for human troubles, and this remedy every one is capable of. Only while a few practise it, others do not. Those that practise it are styled saints and sages who, in consequence, experience no trouble.
This conclusion is the end of the last chapter in this volume, which is also the final one in this series.

-Jai Prithvi Bahadur Sing

 

 

HUMANISM PART. I