Chapter 8: Animal, Vegetable or God?
The worship of sense organs alone is less subtle and complex; the network of desire and worship of karma prakriti is less sophisticated among primitive people, so there is not much tension in their lives. To a large extent in primitive societies there are only the demands of the sense organs, as there are among animals. Worship of karma prakriti does not exist. As man goes on becoming more and more civilized, the satisfaction of ego instead of sense organs becomes highly valued. We give great honor to the person who sacrifices the demands of his sense organs in order to satisfy his ego. We call him a great and self-denying person who gives up worrying about food, his wife and his children in his race for position. He is pursuing status, he is pursuing prestige, and we say, “Look at this man! - how indifferent he is to his food, to his clothes, to his home affairs!” But when you look behind his activities, you will find that he is sacrificing the demands of his sense organs to satisfy his ego.
The Upanishads say such an individual goes into great darkness. He who is absorbed only in the sense organs is in a better situation than that individual. His web, his network, is not so deep and subtle because the demands of the sense organs are not many. Endless are the demands of ego. The beautiful thing about the demands of the sense organs is that all of them have few, very few, demands, they are limited. They are repetitive, but they are not limitless.
Bear this difference in mind and understand it. Those demands are repeated but are not limitless. No demand of any of the sense organs is limitless. It never happens that you carry on eating and yet your hunger remains unsatisfied. When you have satisfied your sexual desire today, it will appear again tomorrow - but also when your desire for sexual pleasure is satisfied today, all of a sudden you are completely free of that desire. Sexual desire also is not limitless. It is certainly repetitive, but it is also limited.
Ego is limitless. It does not require repetition; it requires more and more. However much you may fill it and satisfy it, it is never filled, it is never satisfied. Ego is insatiable, it cannot be satisfied. If it acquires one position, it immediately begins a campaign for a better position. No sooner does it get one position than it makes preparations for a superior position. If you tell a person, “You have been made a minister,” then he immediately - that very night - begins to have dreams of becoming the chief minister. He says, “It is all right, one desire is fulfilled.” Then his ego sets out immediately on its next journey.
Ego is not repetitive. Desires, passions are repeated, but because their demands have limits they become quiet when they are fulfilled. When they are awakened again, they repeat the demands. That is why animals are not inclined to worry and so never be-come neurotic. They do not commit suicide. They never require to be mentally examined, they don’t need any psychoanalysis. No Freud, no Jung, no Adler is required by them; these are meaningless people for the animals. If you pay attention to how animals are, you will find them very quiet. Even very ferocious animals are quiet. If you have seen a tiger after his dinner, you will find him very quiet, no uneasiness at all. He is a killer, a carnivorous animal through and through, but his killing nature is there only so long as he has not got his food. No sooner has he eaten than he becomes absolutely nonviolent - he becomes a staunch Gandhian. Then he remains indifferent to the food lying before him. When the lion is resting after his dinner, smaller animals which might well be his dinner gather round him and eat the remnants of his food. But then he is not ready to kill them. When he becomes hungry the next day he will be ready to hunt and to kill, but until then the matter of killing is over. The hunger of man’s ego is never over; on the contrary, it goes on increasing as you go on satisfying it.