The life of all other [beings] is for material enjoyment, but human life is for higher pursuits, for something subtle, something higher, something more elevated. There are certain propensities which are common both for human beings and animals, but the old idea of logicians that the human is a rational [animal] is not supported by us. We say the human is not a rational animal. If we say the human is a rational animal, then the human comes within the animal category. Yes, the human is a living being, but the human is not an animal.
We say human life is an ideological flow. The ideological flow is human, it is human life; and where there is no ideological flow it is an animal. But whatever a person is to do – What is a person to do? A person is to do only spiritual practice, only sádhaná. But to maintain the body that person requires food, requires dress, requires medical treatment, requires education, requires so many things; and these so many things are worldly duties. But when engaged in worldly duties naturally one gets detached from one’s spiritual duty. And that’s why mádhuvidyá [the practice of remembering that everything is Brahma] says that whenever one is to do any worldly work, one is to – what? Ascribe Brahma-hood, ascribe Náráyańa-hood, to that worldly duty. So while doing worldly duties, attending to worldly duties, one is not wasting one’s time, one is doing spiritual practice. Because spirituality has been imposed on, has been ascribed to, that worldly work. Do you follow?
Now you know there is a popular mantra –
Pitrpuruśebhyo namah rśidevebhyo namah.
Brahmárpańaḿ Brahmahavir Brahmágnao Brahmańáhutam;
Brahmaeva tena gantavyaḿ Brahmakarma samádhiná.
[Salutations to the ancestors, salutations to the god-like rśis.
The act of offering is Brahma; that which is offered is Brahma;
the one to whom the offering is made is Brahma; and the person
making the offering is Brahma.
One will merge in Brahma after completing the duty assigned to
him/her by Brahma.]
You should know its meaning. It has closest proximity to this mádhuvidyá, that is, this ascription of Brahma-hood to worldly work.
First thing is, what? Pitrpuruśebhyo namah. Pitrpuruśebhyo namah. You are in this world, but before you so many human beings came. The Australopithecus was an old animal which was the forefather of modern humans, and was in this world about ten lakhs of years ago. [One million years ago.] Some time in the Pliocene Age. ([Before that were] the Miocene, the Oligocene, the Mesozoic… This is the Cenozoic Age going on now on this earth, as per archaeology.) Now you know, so many human beings came, and you are descendants of those old human beings who came here and who left this world long ago. You are their descendants. So, Pitrpuruśebhyo namah. Pitrpuruśebhyo namah. To all our forefathers who came into this world and left this world. So many people, so many millions of people, came during the last ten lakh years. So, Pitrpuruśebhyo namah. “I do namah to those people,” because I am a continuity of those people in the flow of the human race.
And rśidevebhyonamah. During this long period so many things were invented by so many great people. Great people are known as rśis. The person who invented penicillin is a rśi; the one who invented the aeroplane is a rśi; the motorcar, a rśi; television, a rśi. So many rśis came, and those who invented bullock carts, they were also rśis. In that dark age the person who invented the bullock cart was also a rśi. So many rśis came, and in their age they were glittering personalities. We may or may not recognize them in this second half of the twentieth century, but in their ages they were glittering personalities. So, rśidevebhyo namah – “I also do namah to those rśis who invented so many things.” And the collection of their inventions is modern human civilization.
The person who first started this knitting. Now you are using sweaters. Rśidevebhyo…
Brahmárpańaḿ. Now I am offering something for Brahma. What am I offering? My reverence. My respect. My cordiality. My love. So, Brahmárpańaḿ. The good action of offering. Offering is an action. Arpańa – offering is called arpańa in Sanskrit. Now this process of offering, this action, is what? It is Brahma. That is, I have ascribed Brahma-hood to this action of offering even. Do you follow? Brahma-hood has been ascribed to this verb also. What verb? – the offering. I am offering something. So, Brahmárpańaḿ. “The offering is Brahma,” because Brahma-hood has been ascribed to it. Brahmárpańaḿ.
Brahmahavih – “and the object that I am offering is also Brahma.” Brahmahavih means – “I am offering,” this verb, this action of offering,(1) is Brahma – and now the object of offering is Brahma. “What is being offered, this stick, is also Brahma” – Brahmahavih.
And to whom it is being offered – Brahmágnao. That [person] who is receiving this offering. “That third party is also Brahma” – Brahmágnao.
Brahmańáhutam – “and the personality, the one who is offering, is also Brahma.” Brahma-hood has been ascribed to that person also.
Offering; offered; to whom offered; offerer, offering personality – that person is also Brahma.
And Brahmaeva tena gantavyaḿ. The person who is offering – that person’s goal, or destination, is also Brahma. That is, Brahma is the goal for this offering entity. And when will that person merge into Brahma, become one with Brahma? The offering entity’s goal is Brahma; when will the offering entity become Brahma? The offering entity is here in this world to do the work of Brahma – “And after completing this work of Brahma that person will become one with Brahma.”
Brahmaeva tena gantavyaḿ means Brahma is the goal, the goal of the offering entity. And when will that person go? Brahmakarma samádhiná – “after he or she completes the work allotted to him or her by Brahma.”
(1) Referring back to Brahmárpańaḿ. –Eds.
14 December 1971 Morning, Patna
Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 30