The Human Body Is a Biological Machine
Human existence or any other biological existence is goaded by the propensive propulsion of the psyche. Let me explain why the human body is a biological machine and goaded by propensities.
The physical body is not yours. It belongs to another Entity who has placed the mind in this body, so now you think, “It is my body.” The mind has been authorized to use this body, so the mind is thinking, “It is my body.” The átman [unit consciousness] is watching, witnessing what the mind is thinking. If the átman stops watching, the mind will stop working. So what is the science by which the biological machine is being goaded?
There are ten indriyas [organs] – five jiṋánendriyas [sensory organs] and five karmendriyas [motor organs] – and one antahkarańa [internal faculty]. The sensory and motor organs are bahihkarańa [external organs]. Antahkarańa is directly associated with the body. It is one intrinsic portion of the mind itself. It is by dint of this portion that the mind feels the emptiness of the stomach, and thereby hunger. Once the stomach becomes empty, the mind starts searching for food, and this is expressed through the physical actions of the body. So there are two portions – antahkarańa and bahihkarańa. One consists of an intrinsic portion of the mind itself, and the other of the ten organs – five sensory organs and five motor organs.
The propensive propulsion comes from antahkarańa. The origin or source of the propulsion is antahkarańa. Antahkarańa is made of the conscious and subconscious portions of the mind – thinking, memory, etc., all belong to antahkarańa. Antahkarańa is doing these things. Now, whenever antahkarańa does something, the physical body is activated accordingly. The body is also transformed accordingly. Thus, this biological machine is goaded by propensive propulsion.
The Inner Significance of the Mahábhárata
In Sanskrit there are six main directions – north, south, east, west, up and down – which are called disha or pradisha. There are also four corners – northwest, southwest, southeast and northeast, termed iishána, agni, váyu and naerta respectively – which are collectively called anudisha. So four plus six makes ten.
Now, the mind is blind. With the help of the viveka [conscience] it is able to see and visualize. So the mind is Dhritarastra [the blind king of the Mahábhárata], and its forces – that is, the ten agents, the bahihkarańa – can work in ten directions simultaneously. So the mind has ten by ten or one hundred external expressions. Or in other words, Dhritarastra has one hundred sons.
What about the Pandavas [five brothers of the Mahábhárata]? They are the five fundamental factors in the human structure. Sahadeva is the solid factor represented by the múládhára cakra (capable of answering everything). Next is Nakula at the svádhiśt́hána cakra. Nakula means “water which flows having no boundaries”. Na means “no” and kula means “boundaries” – the liquid factor. Next is Arjuna, the representation of energy or force, luminous at the mańipura cakra – always fighting to maintain balance. Then Bhiima, the son of Pandu, is váyu, the aerial factor, at the anáhata cakra. Finally, the position of Yudhisthira is at the vishuddha cakra where matter ends and the other world starts.
So in the fight between materialists and spiritualists, in the struggle between matter and the sublime, Yudhisthira remains undisturbed, unperturbed. Yudhi sthirah Yudhiśt́hirah [“One who remains steady in battle is called ‘Yudhiśt́hira’”].
Krśńa is at the sahasrára cakra. Now when the kuńd́alinii [sleeping divinity] is awakened, rises and reaches the shelter of Krśńa with the help of the Pandavas, the jiiva [unit being] merges in Cosmic Consciousness. The Pandavas are rescuing the jiiva and bringing it to the shelter of Krśńa.
Sanjaya is the minister of Dhritarastra. Sanjaya is viveka. Dhritarastra is asking Sanjaya, because he cannot see by himself, “Oh, Sanjaya, tell me, in the battle of Kurukśetra and Dharmakśetra, what did my party [and that of the Pandavas] do? How did they fare?”
The hundred sons of Dhritarastra, the blind mind, are trying to control the jiiva, which is being rescued by the Pandavas through a constant fight. Finally, being triumphant, they bring the jiiva to the shelter of Krśńa. This is the inner significance of the Mahábhárata.
Kurukśetra is the world of action, the external world, which is asking you to work and work. Work is the order. Kuru means “work”. [And kśetra means “field”.] Dharmakśetra is the internal psychic world. Here the Pandavas dominate.
The Scope of Bio-Psychology
Now, suppose a sub-gland just below the mańipura cakra is activated which makes a sádhaka [spiritual aspirant] free from shyness. At a later stage the shyness is increased by pressing the same point in a different manner. When one is free of shyness, one can do any activity without any hindrance and move anywhere without any psychic complex. When one is overcome with shyness one’s face becomes red, a physical change, and one will not be able to perform many actions, even though the mind wants to act. So the human structure is controlled by the glands and sub-glands, thus it is a biological machine. Under-secretion and over-secretion of the same gland will bring this machine under different types of impulses and defects.
I want you all to acquire high proficiency in such capabilities through sádhaná [spiritual practices] and learn practically how to control this biological machine through the control of the glands and sub-glands.
Bio-psychology may be divided into several classes – human psychology; the psychology of creatures which stand upon two legs, for example, orang-utans; the psychology of other beings [including monkeys, quadrupeds and other developed animals]; the psychology of reptiles which move through the pressure of the chest but cannot fly; the psychology of flying creatures, that is, birds; and then the psychology of multicellular protozoa, unicellular protozoa, multicellular metazoa and uni-cellular metazoa. These are the main groups or classes.
Human beings are guided and goaded by a common psychology. There may be some exceptions due to certain biological anomalies; that is, biological exceptions must be there; but otherwise all humans are guided by a common human psychology. Ram, Shyam, Mohan, Yadu, Madhu – all are of the same or similar biological structure. So they have to be guided by the same psychic rules, they have to follow the same psychic characteristics, the same wonts, and the same psychic merits and demerits.
What is goading? There are three terms – “direct guidance”, “guiding” and “goading”. Direct guidance is without any application of force. You want someone to go with you and they go. “Guiding” means making some effort to bring someone along the path of your choice. “Goading” means compelling someone to move and act according to your desire. That is, it means to push or to move by the application of force.
Suppose an old man and a young man are arguing, and the young one says tauntingly to the old one, “You are a number one fool. You have no wits. You are a worthless, useless chap!” The old man replies, “What! What did you say? Is it so? Is it so? Have you no manners? Are you now about to teach me manners?” The young one responds, “Yes, yes, sure!” This is an example of common human psychology, of natural human reaction.
Now, suppose certain sub-glands in the elder man’s chest around the anáhata cakra are activated. Then, instead of arguing, his response will become calmer, and not so serious and grave. He will become quieter and not so irritated. In this case, in the attached nerve cells and nerve fibres, certain changes will have been brought about in the glands and sub-glands of the chest portion of the body. By properly activating the controlling point of a human sentiment, the response has changed.
Thus, due to biological change, the psychological reaction or reflection will change. For this biological transformation, one should practise a spiritual cult which changes the human nerve cells and nerve fibres attached to those portions, and brings about changes in the hormonal secretions causing psychological changes. So, through the practice of a spiritual cult, changes come about in the nerve cells and nerve fibres.
You should all learn the various psychologies of the different groups. You should learn about human psychology in particular, and about non-human animate psychologies. Though inanimate objects – gold, silver, iron, etc. – do not have psychology, they have characteristics. That is, each and every entity, animate and inanimate, has its own particular psychology or characteristic. When coming in contact with different entities, animate and inanimate, you should act according to the knowledge of their psychology or characteristics.
By spiritual cult, spiritual sádhaná, you may bring about certain changes in your nervous system, nerve cells and nerve fibres, control the secretions of the hormones from different glands and sub-glands, and become elevated. By this process of elevation a person becomes superhuman and goes beyond the periphery of the common human psychology. Otherwise, the general rule is there. Here lies the necessity of spiritual practice. Without spiritual practice there cannot be such a change.
The main purpose of human beings coming here to this earth is to do spiritual practice. One is to render social service, one is to learn, one is to go through books, one is to help others, one is to do anything and everything just to encourage and accelerate the process of sádhaná. Sádhaná is the main theme of life. Whatever you do in the world, you should do it with a view to promote your sádhaná and help the sádhaná of others. Human beings come to earth to practise sádhaná, to move closer to Iishvara, the Supreme Goal – to come closer to Parama Puruśa [Supreme Consciousness]. Thus, the deeds of human beings will not be like the deeds of animals. Whatever human beings will do, they will do in such a manner that the progress in their sádhaná will go on accelerating.
This biological machine is of great help and assistance to humans. That is, you can perform spiritual sádhaná with this biological structure because it is a biped structure. Bipeds are humans, orang-utans, chimpanzees and gorillas. Monkeys are also bipeds but they cannot stand erect. Their position is in between bipeds and quadrupeds. You will find that by proper training, orang-utans will start to enjoy smoking like humans. Have you seen this in the zoo? They will smoke cigarettes, break coconuts and drink [coconut] water. By further training they will easily come closer to humans. So these creatures are guided and goaded by biped psychology. (Pedis is Latin and means “concerning the foot”; the [Latinate] adjective is “pedal”. “Pedestrian” means “one who walks with the feet”.) This is pedal psychology, not human psychology.
The human biological structure and nervous system are more developed than those of other bipeds. Tailless apes such as chimpanzees, orang-utans and gorillas are less developed than human beings because their backbones contain tail bones. The human backbone does bear a tail bone, just at the bottom of the spine, but it curves inside rather than protruding outside the human body. The tail of a monkey protrudes outside its body. During the first four months of pregnancy, a human foetus begins to develop a tail which grows at the same rate as the body; after four months the rate of growth of the tail is slower than that of the rest of the body. This continues up to eight months. After eight months the tail goes inside the body of the unborn baby and is not externally visible. The foetus now has all the features of a human being. This is one of the main differences between the biological structure of human beings and that of other bipeds.
If a baby is born prematurely there is a risk that it may die. If the parents live in an isolated rural area and are unable to provide proper medical attention for their baby, it may be wrapped in cotton collected from the shimul tree [silk cotton tree, Bombax ceiba L.] and kept in a wooden cot for two months. The cotton should be soaked in pure ghee and changed regularly. This simple arrangement will provide a congenial environment for the baby to grow healthy and strong.
Chimpanzees, orang-utans and gorillas are all tailless apes, but their backbones bear larger tail bones inside their bodies than those of human beings. Human beings have only one tail bone inside their bodies, but the tailless apes have more than one, all inside the body, so they cannot stand erect like human beings. They have to bend a bit, so their posterior portion is bigger than that of humans. The cranium – a container made of bones for the brain – of tailless apes is a bit smaller than that of humans, so tailless apes have fewer nerve cells in the brain. In the case of humans, the rate of growth of the foetus is faster in the second four months of pregnancy, but in the same period the tail grows at a comparatively slower rate. In the case of tailless apes, the tail bone continues to grow at the same rate as the foetus. After birth tailless apes have to bend forward to keep balance. Animals with tails have to bend still further forward due to the weight of the tail, so they cannot stand for a long time.
Tailless apes, because of the absence of tails, are guided by biped psychology. Animals with tails are also guided by biped psychology, but their brains are smaller. Due to the larger tail, the cranium grows smaller thus the brain grows smaller, and so their psychology will not be the same as that of tailless bipeds. Tailless apes can be taught sádhaná after some effort. The tailed bipeds will not be able to do sádhaná like the tailless bipeds because the backbone of the tailed bipeds, containing the controlling points of the five fundamental factors, does not come in one line. The controlling points fall on a curved line, hence they cannot perform sádhaná properly.
Mono-sided, straight or erect beings can perform sádhaná very well because all the five controlling points of the fundamental factors fall on a straight line. In these creatures the cranium containing the brain is a bit bulky at the back, indicating that the brain is large enough to perform sádhaná easily. You see how fortunate you are to have a human biological structure. You have got a human frame. Humans should be obliged to Supreme Consciousness for this favour. There is yet another thing. In the case of tailed bipeds, the front legs [the arms], are not fully utilized for walking. They are used more for catching objects. In the case of humans, they are never used for walking. In the case of monkeys, often they are used for walking as well as catching. So, in any case, monkeys can never be equal to humans, even if their tail is severed from the body. The body of a monkey will always remain tilted forward. So it is a great advantage to have a human body. Sukrtaermánavo bhútvá jiṋániicenmokśamápnuyát [“People are born as human beings due to their past good saḿskáras, but to attain non-qualified liberation they will have to attain self-knowledge.”]
The art of attaining self-knowledge is complete self-surrender. You cannot challenge Parama Puruśa with your intellect and talent. You can challenge Him with one thing only. That is, you must say, “Oh, Parama Puruśa, You have brought me to this earth, so You will have to appear before me, because I am in a human body which I have attained by virtue of Your grace.”
Because tailed bipeds have a tail, they can run faster than human beings – their running speed is increased. If the tail is added to the two hind and the two fore legs, tailed bipeds have five legs. The four legs are actually supported by the tail, which works as the fifth leg. Thus monkeys can run faster than bipeds. If monkeys walk on two legs only like bipeds, they will walk more slowly than human beings. If a monkey walks on four legs, it will move faster than a human being. And if it takes the help of its tail, it will be able to jump from one tree to another and its speed will be greatly enhanced.
The speed of movement is increased with the help of the lymphatic glands. In human beings the lymphatic glands are located at the joints of the arms and of the legs, and also at various other places. Depending upon the hormonal secretions of these lymphatic glands, one acquires the capacity to jump. Can humans jump as much as monkeys even after strenuous effort? Humans cannot even run like them. All this is due to the lymphatic glands. When the lymphatic glands in the armpits and leg joints are activated, hairs start to grow in those parts of the human body. If you find an absence of hair, it indicates that the lymphatic glands are underdeveloped, and that the individual will have less jumping capacity.
Suppose a youth begins to run like a monkey using his hands and legs. He continues to run, now imagining he has a tail. Running becomes easier for him. Next, suppose his lymphatic glands are activated and running becomes more enjoyable because his lymphatic glands are producing significantly more hormones – not as much as monkeys but much more than ordinary human beings. Biologically he is very close to a monkey. Now, suppose his lymphatic glands return to normal. His body feels that it is a bit heavier than it was during the monkey demonstration, and he will not be able to jump as freely. He has become a gentleman again!
Take the example of male and female eunuchs. Generally the cranium of a female is smaller than that of a male. If you see the skull of a female skeleton, you will notice that the upper portion of the skull is smaller. Those who are eunuchs by birth have still smaller craniums. If, by biological processes, a eunuch is transformed into a male or female, he or she will suffer from headaches for the rest of his or her life. He or she cannot get rid of them because it is due to a shortage of nerve cells in the brain. If a male becomes a female by biological processes, he will not suffer from headaches as such; he will have no difficulty. But if a female becomes a male, she will suffer difficulties because the cranium is smaller; that is, the brain is smaller. It is a matter of biological importance that humans have done nothing in this direction so far.
So you see that the human body is a biological machine. Your social service, your socio-economic theories, your political life and your cultural life must be guided and goaded towards the Supreme Self by keeping this fact in mind. If this is done, selfishness will not arise in the human mind and there is no chance of damaging society. But political parties and socio-economic organizations forget this fact, so instead of serving the world they guide it adversely.
In the case of the Communist Party, for example, this is exactly what has happened. This is what happened to the whole world – great damage. Why? They had no spiritual cult, no spiritual goal. Thus, as long as communism exists on this earth, the world will continue to suffer. Communism has to go immediately without any delay, or it is to be removed. This is the demand of humanity. Otherwise a great danger looms over human society.
What is the social impact or aspect of an economic theory – positive or negative? If it is positive, what is its effect? If it is negative, what is its effect?
The human body or human existence is a biological structure goaded by psychology, by certain vrttis [propensities]. Similarly, socio-economic life is a biological structure goaded by psychic urges and the different psycho-physical propensities; that is, it is goaded by psychology. So socio-economic life is also a biological structure. It has to obey certain norms and rules. So I say that the socio-economic structure of society is a biological structure goaded by psychic urges.
When Karl Marx said that property should be owned by the state, by communes, he went against human psychic passion and urge. Both our socio-economic life and the human biological structure are goaded by psychic urges – by fundamental psychic urges – by psychology. Collective social life – socio-economic theory – and the human biological structure are both goaded by psychology, psychic urges, and psycho-physical passions and propensities. These cannot be ignored, they cannot be neglected.
Our ambitions are something that push us from within to fulfil the demands of certain urges which have some clear-cut pabula. Urge is there; the initial sentiment, that is, the inborn instinct, is there. At the same time, there are certain fundamental socio-psycho-physical demands, passions and propensities. One must not forget this.
All socio-economic theories propagated in the past ignored this fundamental requirement of humans beings, and that is why they failed. Marxism is one such theory. This is the reason why it failed, but its failure is not a distinct or special case. The approach of socio-economic theories should not go against the approved structure of human requirements. Now those who once supported communism are themselves finding the reasons for the failure of Marxism and one of its branches, Euro-communism.
The spiritual thirst, the spiritual hunger, is also one of the subtle passions, the subtle propensities, of the human mind. In the múládhára cakra there are four propensities – dharma [psycho-spiritual longing], artha [psychic longing], káma [physical longing] and mokśa [spiritual longing]. So spiritual longing is a fundamental human urge.
Human beings cannot go against or deviate from the recognized path of the One who controls the thought-waves of the universe (Iishvara) – the recognized path or mainstream of human life. They cannot. For all theories, for all practices, for all cults – one cannot deviate from this fundamental path.
Urge is called utcetaná in Sanskrit. [Someone with an urge will set aside all obstacles and move ahead.] Suppose a man tells his friend that he wants to go to Calcutta, but his friend objects. If the man does not listen to any of these objections, pushes his friend aside and leaves for Calcutta, it is called “urge”.
Passion is called utvrtti in Sanskrit. [One who has a passion will threaten to take or even take physical action against those who place obstacles before him, and then move ahead.] If the man threatens his friend for trying to prevent him from going to Calcutta, it is called “passion”. Propensity is called vrtti in Sanskrit. If the man asks his friend to accompany him to Calcutta because he has many desires and hopes that can only be fulfilled there, it is called vrtti.
Sentiment is called bhávapravanatá in Sanskrit. If the friend says, “Why do you want to go to Calcutta when it is always water-logged and congested? It will adversely affect your health. Listen to reason!” but still the man goes, this is called “sentiment”.
The human psyche is guided by these four aspects. Socio-economic theory and cult have to adjust with them.
Take an example. The psychology of farmers is such that under normal circumstances they will never sell their land. Whenever a farmer donates a piece of land to someone it is usually out of pressure of circumstances or adherence to a high ideal. So any philosophy that preaches that all land belongs to the state goes against this basic aspect of human psychology. This is how the teachings of communism go against fundamental human psychology. Similarly, if a farmer is told by the authorities to give one thousand kilos of rice from his fields, he may give them, but if he is told to give them from his home, his wife may only give one hundred kilos. This is because she is accustomed to staying around the home, so her world is very small. Her psychology is also different from that of the authorities. So, although various groups of people have their own psychology, a socio-economic theory should not go against the fundamentals of human psychology.
You have got a human body. Make the best utilization of it. Forget everything of the past from this very moment.
Bigŕi jiivan anek hi sudhari janam áj
Jay Rám ki Rám japu tulsi taju ku samáj.
[Many of my past lives have gone in vain, but now my life is rectified. I will dedicate myself to the lotus feet of Rama and work for Rama, leaving all worldly attachments.]
This is for every one of you – the younger ones as well as the older ones. Go on working in such a way that you give your proper worth to society, and you bring about the actual evolution of humanity. Be a devotee of humanity as well as a devotee of Parama Puruśa. Let victory be with you.
20 July 1990, Calcutta