Dharma 20th August 1999 (Auroville) - Dharma 104


There is a very famous verse in Sanskrit which says: "What is the difference between a beast and man?" And the answer that is given is: "Both are almost equal". A beast and man both cat: as far as eating activity is concerned, both animal and man are equal. Both move about, there is no difference between a beast and human being, both move about, wander about, walk about. Both enjoy, both sleep: as far as sleeping is concerned both human beings and animal sleep. What is then the difference? What is it that makes man different from the beast? And the answer that is given is: "Quest for Dharma that is the only difference." Animals do not seek Dharma. Human beings seek Dharma. You know, sometimes it is said that the one difference between man and animal is that an animal does not think, a human being thinks. But now modern psychology has found out that it is not entirely true. Only animals cannot express their thoughts, but to think that they are not able to think is not true even animals can think, they can plan. If you see the monkeys, they wait for a moment when they can trap you; they know how to think quite well. The cats are very cunning. Many capacities of human beings of thinking, they exist in animals. So the basic difference between man and animal is only one: animals do not have the quest for Dharma, human beings have the quest for Dharma and Dharma is only threefold: Immortality, Certainty and Permanence.

This is the most part of what I want to tell you. The rest of the parts would take a long time, but I'll go rapidly over two or three important points. One day again I'll come to you to speak on this very great subject. What I wanted to do in this talk was just to give you the basic idea of what is Dharma.


And now if I want to tell you, in very short substance, the difference between animal and man, it is this. Even in our language you will find out: there is one word which human beings use and that is what makes human beings quite distinctive. That word is "ought". All of you know English language, in English language there is a word called "ought". Do you know the meaning of ought? I ought to do, you ought to do, you must do, you are obliged to do. You know this meaning, isn't it, "Ought". If you examine this question, from where this word "ought" comes? The easiest word to find in this world is the word "is". Because "is" is all that is here already present before you. So, normally human beings can think of what exists, what is, but human beings are such entities; something is in human beings which create, − in the human being the concept, the idea of "ought".

There is a very short story written by one Englishman A very charitable woman, who has no children of her own, finds that one girl, a small girl of about twelve years, eleven years, is in a street, without being looked after, almost sick, destitute, and she feels a great compassion for her and she brings that child into her house. And she gives a bath to her, and gives good rest to her, feeds her. And next morning she is very fresh, she looks very nice. And suddenly one hefty lady comes to visit this charitable woman in her house and then, to her surprise, she sees this girl and suddenly she cries and says: "What have you done?" She tells the charitable woman. "What have you done, this little creature in your house, with spots on her face, how horrible she is!" These are the remarks which go straight into the heart of this girl. And then this girl − she is very innocent, she is so spontaneous. I am only trying to show you how spontaneously it occurs to her − she says to that lady: "If I were to tell you these very words: ' How horrible you are', how would you feel?" That is the question she asked: “How would you feel? I feel a great pain when you say that I am a horrible creature". And then she says automatically: "You ought not to say to me what you would not like me to tell you. You ought not". Now you understand the word "ought" comes automatically in the consciousness. Human beings are the only creatures who, when something happens, there is something that touches very painfully, and they say: this ought not to be. “Ought not to be" is something that is not there and yet you think of that: ought not to be; or, ought to be. So ought is a concept which takes you away from what is, and makes you aware of something that has to be brought into existence, which would really give you the resting place, which really gives you happiness, which really gives you great relief. So there is something which is not there and which ought to be brought into the picture, into your life, is another definition of Dharma. Dharma is not; Dharma is that which ought to be. That is why human beings are told that you have to be different from what you are. Pursuit of Dharma is what? You become different from what you are. You become what you ought to become. This pursuit of what you ought to become is the movement of Dharma.


And now the final point for today: that which ought to be must somewhere exist. There is nothing which can come into existence as if from nothing. Even that which ought to be, must be existing somewhere. If it does not exist here, it must be existing somewhere. So Dharma is that which exists somewhere, but which does not exist here. That is the third definition of Dharma. Dharma is that which exists somewhere but does not exist here, but which needs to be brought here, which needs to be brought down. In the Veda, there is a word called ‘Rita' This is one of the words which you will come across in your adult life very often. So I tell you this word it is Rita. It is a Sanskrit word 'Rita'. This was the discovery of the Vedic Rishis, Vedic seers. They discovered that there is something which is not here but which exists elsewhere. If that comes here, if that, which is there, if it is brought here, then the human life becomes what it ought to become. So the discovery that there is something, somewhere else, not here, discovery of somewhere else, and discovery of what is there and the possibility of bringing it down, where we are, that is the whole pursuit of Dharma.

So I told you first the meaning of Dharma, and gave you three words always to keep in mind: Dharma refers to Certainty, Permanence, and Immortality. Secondly I told you that Dharma is connected with what ought to be, and thirdly I told you Dharma is a pursuit in which that which ought to be, which exists somewhere but not here; It is a pursuit of that which exists somewhere but not here. And a pursuit of bringing it down here is called the pursuit of Dharma. Rita exists somewhere. If it is brought down, our life becomes − our life is an ordinary life, a mortal life, a life of suffering, when Rita is brought down, it becomes a life Divine. So to turn the life, as it is now, to turn it into the divine life is the pursuit of Dharma.

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