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Chapter 8: Animal, Vegetable or God?

In pursuit of accumulating wealth it generally happens that a person loses his capacity to enjoy the pleasures of the sense organs. Then all that remains for him to do is to take stock of his riches - to see and check his bank balance until eventually this becomes his only interest. Such a person remains absorbed in this activity from morning to evening. He neither sleeps quietly at night nor is he truly awake during the day. He is running after money and amassing it in heaps. Another person is running after fame and goes on pursuing it more and more. Another is after so-called knowledge, setting himself to gather as much information as he can. All our great network of activities begins from our desire to satisfy our ego - our feeling of being somebody.

Be aware how much less disturbance or chaos there is in the lives of animals than in the world of man, because animals are all ardent worshippers of manifest nature. They are firm devotees and cannot be drawn to any other form of worship. They want food, they want protection, they want to satisfy their sexual desires, they want sleep, and then their journey of life is over. An animal does not want more than these things. In a sense their demands are few and limited. In one sense they are very temperate - their wants are very few. They never worry about anything else when the demands of their sense organs are satisfied.

An animal has no desire to be a president. It goes to rest after eating its food, and even its demand for sexual pleasure is very limited and controlled. Except in the world of man, the demand for sexual enjoyment in the whole world of animals is periodical. There is a period when it demands sexual enjoyment, and after the lapse of that period it loses all its urge for sexual satisfaction. Man is the only animal on this earth whose sex drive is always active, twenty-four hours a day and three hundred and sixty-five days of the year. There is no limit to his urge for sexual enjoyment; he remains eager all the time. The thirst for sexual pleasure fills his whole life. No other animal is so eager for it. If it gets food, the matter ends there - no further demands. Animals have no great desire even to collect food for tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow, or for a year or two hence. If an animal is anxious to collect food, it is, at the most, for one year - and such animals are rare. Man is the only animal who not only labors to collect for his whole life, but also labors to collect for that existence after death, if there is such an existence at all.

In ancient Egypt, when a person died the Egyptians used to keep all the things required in life in the grave with the mummified body. The things kept were in proportion to the greatness of the dead person. If an emperor died, all his queens were buried along with him as he might need them after death. All his wealth, food and a great many other things were also kept there. Surviving wives were buried alive along with the dead husband because they might be useful after death! No animal worries about itself after death. It does not even worry about its death. Its expectation of time is very limited. Man makes arrangements in various forms and ways for the next world, the other world. He builds temples and gives in charity so that he may find happiness in the other world. He wants it recorded in the other world that “I have given away so much in charity, here I expect my rewards.”

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