The Real Human Being
By Swami Krishnananda
(Spoken on November 18, 1976)
There is an aspect of life called materialism, from which the West is trying to awaken itself by reorienting the perspective of life.
This is a happy idea indeed, and I have also been trying to find out what it actually is that prevents us from this awakening.
It is not easy to find out by ordinary types of investigation what hinders us in our progress. If it had been such a simple thing, we would have been moving towards the goal of our lives by leaps and bounds.
We seem to be chained down to the earth in spite of our fast movements ahead, and it is not infrequently that we realise, to our own surprise and discomfort, that after the so-called progress that we seem to have made throughout our lives we are in the same spot from where we wished to get up and move onward.
It is something like a person dreaming that he is flying in a fast-moving plane, not knowing that he is lying on the bed all the while.
He has not moved an inch from his bed, but yet he is moving very fast in his dream consciousness. The entire flight has been a phantasmal structure in his own individual constitution, a fact that he realises only after he awakens to the consciousness of his being in the bed.
As long as he is dreaming, he feels that he is actually progressing, moving, flying, etc.
This may be our fate also.
Our progressions, whether historically, culturally, technologically or even religiously, may be only phantasms. They may not be real progress at all because we may be on the same spot. On a very thorough diagnostic analysis of the case we may realise this is perhaps the fact.
Humanity has not really progressed qualitatively or tangibly for the past 2,000 years.
Merely because our ancestors travelled in a bullock cart and we fly in a plane does not mean that we have really progressed in life. We have only increased our problems and bound ourselves with more knots, and have been living a very complacent life of an imagined progress through what we call the civilisation or modern culture of mankind.