The zenith of creation

The traditional number of created beings is 84 lakhs, and man is the final item of the evolutionary procession; but, why did the number stop at 84 lakhs? It stopped because man is the zenith, the fullness; he is Maadhava in fact, though he has ignored the truth and holds fast to the belief that he is just a man. He is endowed with manas, buddhi, chiththa and ahamkaara (mind, intelligence, reasoning faculty and ego), all four, in an integrated personality, whereas the birds and beasts and all other species have mostly ahamkaaram (ego) alone. The lives of the later are centred round the aham and its desires and demands. But, man has the capacity to follow sathya, dharma, shaanthi and prema; man alone has it. If he does not evince that capacity and develop it, he is as bad as a vaanara or a daanava (ape or ogre). When man was created, there remained nothing higher to create.

There is a story about Kaalidaasa which illustrates this point. It is said that the other poets and scholars in the court of Emperor Bhoja were green with envy at the quick rise to fame of Kaalidaasa and at the largesses that the Royal patron showered upon him. So, they poisoned the ears of the Emperor against Kaalidaasa and when he challenged Kaalidaasa to disprove the allegations he was alone and helpless against his traducers. Kaalidaasa could appeal only to his other patroness, Kaali maatha, Mother Kaali. He told the king that they could all come to the temple of Kaali and when he prayed to Kaali, to stand witness to his integrity, they could hear the answer that the Goddess would give. He had such faith in his Mother.

The entire court was present next morning at the Temple; Kaalidaasa prayed. Then, in the tense silence, they all could hear a Voice…“Kavirdhandee, Kavirdhandee, Bhavabhoothisthu pandithah” (Dhandi is a poet, Dhandi is a poet; Bhavabhoothi is a Pandith). That was all. No reference was made to Kaalidaasa, when all that was wanted was a judgement about Kaalidaasa and his merits. Naturally, Kaalidaasa was enraged. He forgot himself in his rage and shouted Koham rande? (Who am I, you slut?”). Kaali kept calm; Her temper was not roused. After a moment she replied, ‘Thwamevaaham, thwamevaaham, thwameva aham, na samshayah” (You are Myself, I am thyself, undoubtedly”). That identity is the destiny of man.

Let every act be saturated with Bhakthi

Sage Vyaasa made man aware of his value. He collated the Vedhas, wrote the Mahaabhaaratha and the Bhaagavatha and the eighteen puraanas and, the Brahmasuuthra. All these contain the same nectarine teaching, though the Vedhas may be more highly revered. A boat may be a small appliance, but, it can take you across the sea. A lamp may be a small contraption, but, it can light your path across a jungle. What is wanted is persistent effort, ceaseless karma, activity. The torch may illumine only a distance of two yards and you may have to go two miles in the night. But, do not despair. Hold it in your hand and walk on. With every step, the torch will illumine a few steps more and so, you can reach the goal safe. Walk on, do not sit idly on the side of the road. Move on from one step to another–shravanam, mananam, nidhidhyaasanam (hearing, recapitulation, concentration). Only, let every act be saturated with bhakthi. Bhakthi is not something added on to make life more appetising; it is the very breath of life. It should inspire every act, every word, every thought.

Editor’s Note. The date of the discourse is May 1966, the exact date is not known.