Chapter 8: Animal, Vegetable or God?
Understand this distinction between sense organs and ego. Satisfy the sense organs and they are soon full. They will be empty again and can then be filled again. But the ego is never filled, it is never satisfied. As you go on filling it, it goes on increasing. When you throw fat in the fire to extinguish it, the fire increases instead of being extinguished; similarly all the things thrown in to satisfy the ego help to increase it. It suddenly sends up a burst of flame and goes higher and higher. So whatever is offered to ego only helps it to grow. Hence, from the moment a person is caught in the grip of ego he is more entangled than animals can ever be in uneasiness, cares, tensions and worries.
A great movement to return to nature is going on today in the West. The young men and women whom we call hippies or beatniks or dropouts are today carrying on this great movement. It is a drive to return to the sense organs. They say, “We do not want your education, your degrees, your positions, your wealth, your cars, and your palatial buildings. It will be enough for us if we get food, love and sex. We don’t want all those things of yours.” And I believe this is a very great happening. Such a movement on such a large scale has never happened in the history of mankind, when people have said, “We are willingly giving up the karma prakriti to return to that nature born of sense organs, the manifest nature of sense organs, desires and passions. This is enough for us, more than this we do not desire.”
This shows that the network of ego-motivated activities has become so dangerous that man wants to be free from it and is willing to be like the animals. Even so, man cannot be free from ego by becoming like an animal. He can be free from ego only by becoming divine. By absorbing himself in the pursuit of the enjoyment of sense organs he will get some relief, but that network of activities will appear again. Man was living in his sense organs two thousand years ago, but ego arose from those circumstances. If we regress again today, ego will surely return tomorrow.
This sutra says they who are absorbed in the worship of manifest nature wander in darkness, and they wander in greater darkness who are absorbed in satisfying their egos. Then who can go beyond darkness? Who are they?
Two types of worship are observed. There are the worshippers of sense organs, and the worshippers of ego, and generally the ego-worshippers are against worshipping the sense organs. Suppose a person is into renunciation. Now if we can explore his mental condition thoroughly, if we can perform an exploratory operation on his mind, we will see that the secret of his renunciation is that it satisfies his ego. He has observed a fast for thirty days, so he is honored with great acclaim by the people of the town; a great reception is arranged for him. He has been able to endure fasting for thirty days.
We declare it to be an act of great self-denial; it is no small matter to remain hungry for thirty days! No, it is not a small matter. But it would certainly be a small matter if the ego were satisfied. If his ego derived satisfaction from it a man would remain hungry not merely for thirty days but for thirty years! Ego will persuade any sense organ to go into self-denial. We have long known this secret - this trick - so if we want renunciation from someone, we start to stroke his ego.