How we are still here

How we are still here

Partha Desikan

All of us have heard the old biblical story of Cain killing Abel when humanity was said to have consisted only of four people, namely these two brothers and their parents. We have heard also how the inflexible Kaurava brothers courted their death at the hands of their Pandava cousins in an avoidable war in which thousands of others too lost their lives. Some of us have lived through the horrors of a world war and most of us keep reading in the newspapers and seeing on the TV screen mindless killings of men by other men, both in battles and in individual- and group-terrorist acts. It would seem that we do not need natural disasters like earthquakes, violent storms, volcanic eruptions and forest fires to get finished off from the face of the earth and can manage the clean-up job on our own.

But wait! The human race seems also to have been programmed not to self-destruct but to survive, judging from the irrefutable fact that each one of us has known even within our own lifespan, that the human population has been continuously increasing!

What is the meaning of this miracle? Are we running out of reasons for which we should fight with and kill our brethren? Have we succeeded in equalizing of opportunities for and therefore equidistribution of wealth of all people? Have we been able to implement use of one language for communication, one way to govern ourselves, one way to relate to our origins and the infinite beyond our ken? Have we learnt finally that we are all one large human family? Have we?

Sad as it might be, we have not. But listen to what the late revered Swami Ranganathananda of Sri Ramakrishna Mission told a group of students in Hyderabad a few decades ago on caring as a measure of godliness. He told the students to raise their right hands if they wanted to rise in life and achieve reasonable success and become happy thereby. Every student raised his right hand promptly and Swamiji said they were all correct in what they wanted. He further said that this desire showed that each student there was adequately selfish. But, said, Swamiji, if each student there practised carefully and learnt to love at least one being other than himself/herself unconditionally and selflessly, he/she would be on the path of God's Love and would merit God's Grace.

It would seem that a large number of us, men and women have learnt this simple lesson at least fractionally and are able occasionally to offer unconditional caring/love to a fellow-human being in need of such caring/love.

Which could explain how so many of us are still here. 

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