WHAT OTHERS SAY
Loving Sai Ram and greetings from Prashanti Nilayam.
Today's Sunday Special will feature extensive extracts from an article that
appeared recently in the Hyderabad edition of the well-known newspaper, The
Indian Express. The article, entitled Time to quit our Ego-driven Life
Styles, was written by one Mr. K.V.Reddy, a retired officer of the Indian
Police Service. The article attracted our attention because Mr. Reddy has
said many of the things we often say, based of course on Swami's teachings.
Mr. Reddy's main thesis is that we are heavily prone to negative thinking, a
process driven by ego. Negative thinking then affects hormonal balance in
the human body causing all sorts of problems, including stress. Positive
thinking on the other hand, argues Mr. Reddy, stimulates another kind
bio-chemistry within the body, leading to well-being. The importance of the
body-mind connection and the role of positive thinking has no doubt been
commented upon widely these days, especially by doctors who are concerned
with holistic medicine. What is interesting is that a Police Officer is
talking the same language. Obviously, what Mr. Reddy has seen in his career
must have impelled him to examine human behaviour in depth. We present now,
some extracts from the article mentioned above.
When the world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking doubted the very existence
of mankind beyond hundred years from now owing to 'prevailing political,
social, and environmental chaos', one may not sound absurd in assuming that
humans are the latest endangered species.
This is an important point and may be we can interrupt to make the following
comment. In Nature, species are so organised and structured that they act as
mutual checks to maintain balance. For example, there is there is the famous
prey-predator problem in eco-mathematics. According to this, if some animals
or species form the prey for other that play the role of the predator, then
the predator is, interestingly, held in check by the prey itself. This is
typified by so-called Volterra's coupled partial different equations.
Volterra was an Italian mathematical physicist who lived about a hundred or
so years ago in the coastal city of Trieste in Italy. He loved going to the
fishing wharf every evening to drink coffee in one of the cafes there while
working on his scientific problems. While doing so, he would see fishermen
return with their catches. After observing them for a while, he noted that
in some seasons, the fisherman returned with a lot of small fish while in
others, they returned with catches of big fish. The two types of catches
came in alternation.
Volterra then argued as follows: The small fish is the prey while the big
fish is the predator. Big fish survive by eating the small fish, and when
they start eating voraciously, their population multiplies. This increases
their demand for food, and soon the population of the small fish or the prey
starts decreasing fast. Deprived of food, the population of big fish starts
declining, and the absence of prey enables the small fish to multiply in
plenty, feeding on the big fish that have started dying due to lack of food.
In short, thanks to the big fish eating the small fish and vice versa, there
is a delicate balance that Nature maintains on her own. Neither the
population of the prey or of the predator is allowed to grow in excess;
together, the two species keep each other in check. This really is the
Now how is all this relevant to what Mr. Reddy has written' In the following
As far as living species are concerned, man also is one among them.
Question: 'Does man have any predator'' The answer is no and yes! That might
seem like a funny answer but the apparent paradox can be resolved as
follows. In terms of another species, there is none that can act as a
predator to humans. Thanks to God-given intelligence, they have gained
complete mastery over many aspects of Nature. For example, humans can build
huge dams across mighty rivers and harness the waters. Humans have
domesticated animals like cattle, horses and even elephants. Where wild
animals like tigers and lions are concerned, true they have not been
domesticated, but we do have animal trainers who are able to make these wild
animals perform tricks shown in circuses.
In the above sense, human have no predators. That is why human population
keeps on growing, especially because humans have learnt to protect
themselves from the environment, from diseases, to grow more food to meet
increasing demand, and so on. But in another sense humans do have predators,
and it turns out that humans are their own predators! How' That is simple.
When humans become infected with the deadly enemies within, they are capable
of turning against each other and start fiercely destroying each other. That
is what the two world wars of the twentieth century did in some measure. Try
looking up some figures about causalities in the two wars, and you would
find them staggering.
Let us resume with Mr. Reddy and see what more he has to say.
With globalising market economy catering to 'predatory capitalism'
increasing the divide between the rich and the poor, the resultant social
chaos both in developed and developing nations may have destabilizing
impact. And the emergent amoral, mammonic and hedonistic global culture,
might accelerate the burgeoning processes of 'family breakdown' compounding
the social chaos. With eco-hostile and socio-hostile cross commercialism,
health-hazardous consumerism being the driver of our materialistic civilisation, both ecological and sociological degradation seem
irrepressible and irreversible.
We pause once again to reflect. If you read carefully what Mr. Reddy says
above, you would find he echoes exactly the same sentiments that we have
been airing all along, via Radio Sai and via H2H. And that is because that
precisely is what Swami Himself has been saying for almost half a century.
Indeed, during the recent Sivarathri Discourse, Swami referred to Ahamkara
and Mamakara and compared them to the two poisonous teeth of a deadly cobra!
So, Nature is the ultimate winner. Man thinks he has conquered all, but not
being able to conquer his internal enemies, he leaves the door open for his
own destruction through conflicts, through exploitation and through
degradation of the environment. Just consider the enormous scare about
global warming these days. Five years ago, this was hardly any news but
these days, almost everyday someone or the other is warning humanity about
immediate urgency of doing something tangible about global warming. It is
taking these factors into account that Stephen Hawking said in a BBC
interview that if the human race has to survive, at least some must escape
into space and colonise elsewhere. In short, it seems that Science and
Technology that we all admire so much and from which we have derived so many
benefits, seem to have, like the genie out of the bottle, started
threatening us! Let us get back to Mr. Reddy.
Science and Spirituality seem to be irreconcilable, former being objective
exploration of matter and the latter the subjective search of the Spirit.
Science demands verifiable proof while Spirituality depends on the inner
observation of our being. Our common sense rather than Science could a
veritable guide for us to discern factuality and truth of our Spiritual
This is where we find that Mr. Reddy is beginning to offer the same
prescriptions as we advocate, namely to turn away from the outer world to
the Inner World, giving the Self or the Atma a chance to play the leading
role, as God intended it to. In turn, this means developing Spiritual
Discrimination etc. Back to Mr. Reddy.
Soul-centric rather than ego-centric attitude is the creed and credo of
holistic living, with altruism being the philosophy of life. But the
fundamental question is: 'Are we endowed with the capacity for such life'
Could we be sensitive enough with spontaneous care and concern for others
and Nature' Are we capable of reforming our negative lifestyle' Finally, do
we have the in-born capacity to lead an altruistic life''
Let us explore our experience for possible answers. How a smile manifesting
our love inspires others, including pets, wholly into that joy of
communication outstripping our egoistic mindset. That spontaneous and mutual
regard and respect uniting both the giver and the receiver of that
love-laden smile reflects our positive self. Mere act of attention activates
the love hormones called 'endorphins' or 'happiness hormones'. Our state of
well-being depends on the quantum of these hormones in our being.
Conversely, the generation of stressful hormones called 'cortisol' by our
negative emotions makes us uneasy and uncomfortable. These negative hormones
stiffen us affecting the blood circulation in our vital organs, making us
disease prone. And elusive state of dynamism - so critical for any success '
is catalysed by the heart-generated positive hormones while the persistent
state of dullness by mind-induced negative hormones.
Note the reference to even pets responding to Love. Recall the many times
Swami has told us about how in ancient days, Rishis lived in dense forests
amidst wild animals and deadly snakes because they all became docile under
the spell of love that the sages radiated. Believe it or not, one saw a
practical demo of this last January, when on the 21st, there was a public
meeting in Chennai called the Chennai Citizens Conclave. [Radio Sai and H2H
would carry detailed reports of this event]. You must have heard about this
event and how more than a dozen politicians of various hues gathered on the
same stage to honour and thank Swami for giving water to Chennai. Commenting
on this in a magazine, the daughter of Karunanidhi [the octogenarian Chief
Minister of Tamil Nadu, (the State whose capital is Chennai), and a
long-standing atheist] wrote in a magazine that it was astonishing to see
how docile and reverential the various politicians were when sharing the
stage with Bhagavan, as opposed to their normal dominant and aggressive
styles! To get back to Mr. Reddy.
In practical terms, it is the heart-focus rather than mind-focus that makes
us dynamic and spirited in action, intelligent, intuitive and innovative,
while coping with life's challenges. So essentially, Spirituality is the
science of mobilising and harnessing the positive hormones in us not only to
overcome the challenges but also to outgrow our stubborn egoism to open out
to bliss and beyond.
Here you see Reddy drawing attention to the subtle body-Mind connection,
that is receiving a lot of attention not only from Western doctors but also
researchers who are trying to investigate this fascinating subject through
the use of Functional MRI. Of course, from the point of Vedanta, it is no
surprise that the body and the Mind have a close tie up. What is important
in the present context is that Reddy, who served in the Police, is also
drawing attention to need for going beyond the ego to the realm of spiritual
values. This is a significant matter. Normally, Police Officers who are so
used to fighting crime tend to take a dim view of social problems. But when
one sheds prejudice and examines matters dispassionately, one is compelled
to come to the same conclusion, namely that the adoption of Higher Values
alone can solve the massive problems of today.
Think about it! Jai Sai Ram.
With Love and Regards,