Chapter 1: Man: A Bridge between Two Infinities
Chidagni swaroopam dhoopah.
To create the fire of awareness in oneself is dhoop - the incense.
For philosophy, many are the problems, infinite. But for religion there is only one problem, and that problem is man himself - not that man has problems, but man is the problem. And why is man the problem?
Animals are not problems. They are so unconscious, blissfully unconscious, so ignorant, that there is no possibility of there being any awareness of problems. Problems are there, but animals are not aware. There are no problems for gods, because they are totally conscious. When the mind is a total consciousness, problems simply disappear like darkness. But for man there is anguish. The very being of man, the very existence of man, is a problem, because man exists between these two realms: the realm of the animals and the realm of the gods.
Man exists as a bridge between two infinities: the infinity of ignorance and the infinity of knowledge. Man is neither animal nor divine. Or, man is both - animal and divine. That is the problem. Man is a suspended existence, something incomplete, something which is still to be, a becoming, not a being.
Animals have beings; man is a becoming. He is not, he is only becoming. Man is a process. The process is incomplete. It has left the world of ignorance and it has not reached the world of knowledge. Man is in between. That creates the problem, the tension, the anguish, and the constant conflict.
There are only two ways to be at peace, to be without problems. One is to fall back, to regress, to fall back to the world of animals. The other is to transcend, to go forward, and to be a part of the divine being. Either to be animals or to be gods, these are the two alternatives.
To fall back is easy, but it is going to be a temporary thing, because once you have grown you cannot fall back permanently. You can regress for a moment, then you are again thrown forward, because there is no way to go back, there is no possibility of falling back. You cannot be a child again if you have become young, adult, and you cannot become young again if you have become old. If you know something, then you cannot fall back to the state when you were ignorant. You cannot go back. But for a moment you can forget the present and relive the past - in your memory, in your mind.
So man can regress to the animal. It is blissful, but temporary. That is the reason intoxicants, drugs, alcohol, have such appeal. When you are unconscious through any chemical thing, you have fallen back, for a moment. For the time being you are not man, you are not a problem. You are again part of the world of animals, the unconscious. You are not a man. That’s why there are no problems.