By Jyots Bhattacharjee
I am not afraid of ghosts nor am I afraid of beasts. But I am terribly afraid of human beings—that sneaky repulsive species, which claim to be the highest product in the evolutiory process, to which I too belong with all my faults. Of course there are man and man. I am not talking about those super human beings, who can claim to be really good and honest in this world of evil forces. I do not include these extra ordiry persons in the common category of human beings like us. We may mention the mes of Swami Vivekanda, Mahatma Gandhi, Sri Aurobindo, Rabindra th Tagore and many others like them who can be termed as extraordiry human beings with superior intelligence and other excellent qualities. They were great reformers and social workers without any selfish considerations. Such good people are not affected by pleasure or pain, flattery or defamation. The majority of the human beings are selfish, unscrupulous and unbelievably cruel.
In Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krish tells Arju about those people who can be termed as “Sthitapragya”. These people can maintain equanimity in their minds under all circumstances. They are totally uffected by pleasure or pain. They do their duty without any craving for results, which is called “niskama karma” or disinterested action. They are not overjoyed when they get good news nor are they dejected when something bad occurs. But for ordiry human beings like us, it is not possible to be uffected by pleasure or pain; whatever we do it is all for gaining some good result.
Ordiry people like us are always after something and they are not inclined to perform any disinterested action. The majority of human beings seem to be the lowest and the filthiest product in the evolutiory process. Leibnitz, the German philosopher, asserted that God made man in his own image. Then why are the human beings so hateful—ready to pounce on anybody who is down? It is said that rats always desert a sinking ship. I do not know about rats, but I know about human beings who do the same things. When you are having a spell of good fortune, you would be surrounded by scores of unwanted well-wishers, who would overwhelm you with flattery and show of affection. But the moment you are down, they will scuttle away like rabbits. Running away is not half as bad as vicious talks and spreading rumours. There are some people who enjoy making derogatory remarks about another person. Some people love to hear ill of others. Perhaps it is our ture to disparage others.
Human beings are a selfish lot. I wonder how we can claim to be the highest product in the evolutiory process. Some of our actions demonstrate to what extent we can stoop to harm fellow human being. Our cruelty greed, vengeful ture clearly indicate that our claim of being the highest creation of God cannot be justified.
Friendship means nothing to us and most of us are only fair-weather friends. In this context I remember a memorable quotation, framed and fixed on the wall in somebody’s house, which I saw long back It was so impressive that it left an indelible mark on my mind. It is still fresh in my mind and I recall every word. It went on like this:
“I had my friends and my money,
I lent my money to my friends,
I asked my money from my friends,
I lost my money and my friends.”
That is what friendship means to most of us. These wise sayings really make me think. Are we really so despicable? But it is no use blinking facts. We are really a blot in humanity. I think tell-tales are also some of the most obnoxious people you can think of. They are those repulsive people who derive joy out of the misfortune of another.
Human ture is such that we are usually ready to believe any scandal concerning another without giving the story benefit of doubt. We believe the worst things about others and gloat over another’s misfortune. We do not bother that our poisonous tongue may do irreparable damage to some one’s reputation. Sometimes I wonder why we get pleasure by defaming somebody or by listening to some slanderous incident in some one’s life. I suppose human ture is like that and we often succumb to baser instincts.
The frequent incidents of terrorism have demonstrated clearly how cruel man can be. Human beings do not hesitate to perpetrate any heinous activity if it brings some gain to them. They do not mind killing innocent people including children and infants. People are getting killed without any provocation all around the world. In ancient literature we have read about demons who used to cause destruction in the earth and who killed virtuous people, who tried to bring peace to the world. But the demons destroyed all the good people and brought misery to the world. That is why in the Bhagavad Gita Lord Krish tells Arju that whenever evil raises its ugly head and virtue gets destroyed, he comes to the world to protect the good people and destroy the evil ones. He explicitly declared,
“Yada yada hi dharmashya glani bhavati Bharata
Abhutham adharmashya tada tmam srijamyaham,
Paritraya sadhum visaya cha duskritam,
Sambhabami yuge yuge”
But as far as my knowledge goes to the ancient era, I feel that those demons of the past were not half as bad as the demons of the modern era. They were not so destructive and evil as these modern demons, littering the good earth. At least the demons in the ancient era were easily recognizable from their deeds, manners and appearances. They never tried to hide their demonic ture. But their modern counterparts are not easy to detect. None can realize that behind their sleek appearance and smooth manners lurk the demonic spirit. Human beings have downgraded humanity to the lowest level. I suppose we have survived till now due to the good deeds of a few really good people. But they are few and far between.
I do not know if or when the next incartion of God will appear on earth to save humanity from evil forces. But it may be very difficult for even the God on earth to destroy the evil people and protect the good, as the earth is littered by only the evil people. In the ancient era apparently there were only a limited number of evil persons and they were easily recognizable. But now God may be perplexed, as he may not find good people. So destruction of evil forces may lead to the extinction of entire humanity.
I wonder why we unnecessarily torment ourselves with jealousy, greed, vengeful feelings and other degrading emotions which demean humanity. All our actions clearly indicate that self-love is our driving force. Even public good is done for private gain—to achieve me and fame for the do-gooder. That is what we are—supposed to be God’s greatest creation. In talking about the depravity of human beings I am not trying to make an exemption of myself. In fact, I am as bad as others, may be even worse than others. Actually I know about the depravity of human beings from my own experience, since I am also one of them. It is not that I am not trying to get rid of temptations, jealousy, greed and all those evil feelings. It is not easy. But I am really trying to be a better person at this fag end of my life. I think that if all of us try hard we may succeed in being better persons than we are. For that we have to develop strength of mind and sincerity. It will not be easy, but worth making the attempt.
I suppose love of humanity is essential for a happy life. Only then the world will be a better place to live in. But unfortutely we have not been able to generate this excellent quality in our minds till now. We do not have love for others. Rather we have animosity towards others and this feeling may lead to disastrous consequences. Mahatma Gandhi had remarked that it is easy to hate, but difficult to love. It is love that can bring peace and happiness to this earth of ours. But we are going in the reverse direction and it is hate which is directing all our feelings and activities.
That is why we are usually ready to believe any scandalous gossip about another without giving the person the benefit of doubt. Human ture is such that we believe anything about someone as long as it is something bad. I really do not understand why we prefer to hear abomible things about someone rather than the good. Jealousy often gws our heart, when someone we do not like is praised. I believe that jealousy is at the root of our ill behaviour and disreputable conduct. Not for a moment do we realize that by our evil talks we are actually lowering ourselves in the eyes of others and not the person we are trying to discredit.
Are not animals nicer than us? They would not harm anybody unnecessarily or without provocation. They do not nurture ill-feeling against anybody. Can you imagine a more loyal and faithful friend than a dog? All animals are helpful. Cows give us milk which is so necessary for every one’s good health, from babies to old people. In the same way all the animals are very generous to humanity. They provide us with meat, skin and everything they possess, to help human beings. Ducks and hens provide us with eggs, without which the breakfast each day would be incomplete. Horses, elephants, donkeys, goats, sheep and other animals help us in one way or other. Skins of ferocious animals like lions, tigers etc. adorn our homes. We are not only selfish, but are incredibly cruel to them.
Animals are kinder than human beings and they are not wantonly destructive. Even man eaters like lions and tigers are said to kill human beings only when they get old and cannot catch other animals for food. They must survive by eating flesh—it is the law of ture. Don’t we slaughter animals for the pleasure of our bodies, though we can very well survive without depending on meat or flesh? Even a ske, it is said, never bites a human being unless somebody trods on it or is disturbed. A vicious person is often compared to a ske. But I believe that it is an insult to the ske, as a ske can never be as poisonous as a human being.
A majority of human beings, including myself, are a disgrace to Mother ture. We never have any genuine feeling for anybody. We are all in a hell of our own making. We feel happy when another human being suffers. We spread false rumours regarding another person, without sparing a second thought to his feelings. Our ture is such that we believe anything about another as long as it is the worst possible scandal. If we wish to damage somebody’s reputation, it is easy to do it. We can create any number of scandalous stories to take away the character of somebody, only because we are jealous of the person concerned. I think jealousy is the cause of our malicious gossip. Truth cannot be concealed for long, it is bound to reveal itself some day. That is why it is said that no man can harm another human being. We often forget that we belong to the same species of human beings and certainly have kinship with one another. Then why should we try to hurt another?
Tongue is deadlier than a knife. Backbiting is more injurious than stabbing. Even if we cannot do any good, let us not do at least something bad. Surely it is not an impossible task; all it needs is resolution. May be human beings have very weak character, but why should we gloat over somebody else’s misfortune? How will it benefit us? How can we be happy at the cost of somebody’s suffering? I think it is very important to awaken humanity in us, which we seem to have lost. If God made man in his own image, then there must be something good in us, which is being lost in a morass of evil. Perhaps we should try to cultivate spiritualism in order to realize the inherent good in man. Only then we will be happy and content and the earth will regain peace. It is worth trying for the good of humanity and for the good of Mother Earth.
(The writer is a former Head, Department of Philosophy, Cotton College, Guwahati)