“In the process of living on this our planet Earth, humans experience pleasure and pain continually; but, as one gets on in years, the net-remainder or quotient after all tallying is completed, is seen to be misery only. Lord Rama, at the age of 16, came to this conclusion through cogitation and that brought him to the feet of Sage Vasishta whose instructions are compiled in that unique scripture and guide-book Yoga Vaasishta. The finding of Gautama Buddha, through meticulous observation and analysis of the world-process was the same; and he formulated the Eight-Fold-Path as a way out of the morass.


            “The question we are taking up this evening is: ‘Why should the world-process inflict net-misery on man and not net-joy when it has both in its coffers from which it dispenses pleasure and pain in the normal course? Why is it that we have to cope with the Pandora’s box in the end and not lay our hands on cornucopia?’


            “You have all been listening to me for quite some years and by now you must have become convinced that the Totality of Nature, in its Omniscience, does nothing without purpose or reason. So, would it be wrong to assume that misery which is the ultimate allotment to humans has some valid basis? Does the dark cloud of net-misery have a silver lining at all and if so, why should it come packed in a bitter pill?


            “Nature is a patient instructor of humans through events and objects. There are omens and warnings aplenty from Nature before calamity strikes. Only we, in our obsession with the pleasures of the world-process, turn a blind eye to the warnings and land in trouble, becoming wiser after the event or not even then!


            “I tell you, the net-misery in life is a reminder to you that you have still to progress, to advance on the Evolutionary scale. The English poet Tennyson was talking through his hat when he placed the cap on Evolution and described Man as ‘the roof and crown of things.’ Evolution is to take one more leap and we, in our present form, are only holding the fort. The Tenth Avataram or the Sustainer of the Universe is yet to make its appearance on the stage and it is waiting in the wings.


            “Have you ever pondered over the fact that the puranic legend of Dasavataram (the ten Forms of the Creator) that is deep-rooted in our land, details actually the phenomenon of Evolution? How so, you may ask. I will explain.


            “An offshoot of burning Sun, our planet Earth began its life as a fiery globe. At that temperature the Earth could have housed or sustained no living being. Well, it became a sphere of water subsequently and marine life came into being. That was fish, matsya-avataram.


            “Patches of solid land emerged from the ocean, this giving rise to amphibious life – sea-turtle, koormavataram. More of land, and the time was propitious for an entirely land-based life-form which, however, had to burrow into the earth to protect itself from the inclements of weather. That was the wild boar - varahavataram.


            “Animals roamed and ruled the Earth for aeons and the human form was to come. Our Sages wanted to identify a beast that resembled the present-day man in some remote way at least. They lighted upon the lion and metamorphosed it into Narasimhavataram. The next and the fifth avataram was Vamanan, a human form distinguished from his animal-ancestor through two features – the spoken language (Vai in Tamil for mouth) and a discriminating mind (Manam in Tamil). ‘Vamanan’ is a compound-word derived from ‘Vai’ and ‘Manam’, don’t you see? The first man would have had the height and stature of an animal only and hence the picturisation of Vamanan as a dwarf.


            “Lest we forget the Source and Origin of life at this the fifth stage of Evolution, our Sages made Vamanan to assume Viswaroopam – without beginning, middle or end. What profound thinkers, our chroniclers were!


            “The first human could not burrow into the earth for residence. He needed a hovel and to build one out of branches and palm-fronds an implement was required. So we had Parasuraman sporting a pickaxe.


            “Early man could have depended only on hunting wild life for food. The obvious weapon was bow-and-arrow. Rama was thus made an ace-archer.


            “By observing plant-life, the rudiments of Agriculture and Horticulture were learnt by man. The plough was fashioned and it became the insignia of Balaraman.


            “Architecture and Agriculture having been mastered, man had come of evolutionary age. He was now in a fit frame of mind to learn a philosophy for self-improvement. Lord Krishna came as charioteer to expound the essence of such a philosophy. That was the Bhagavad-Gita.


            “Lord Krishna is the ninth avataram; and the tenth slot has been thoughtfully and deliberately left vacant by our Sages. There will be no further descending of gods from the skies or beyond! You, man, have to take a quantum-leap and land into the tenth slot.


            “The net-misery in life is reminder to you that your journey is not completed in Evolution. The rear-lobe of man’s brain is the one inherited from animals and it is the segment harbouring thoughts of vengeance and war. Neurologists say that the front-lobe of the brain came into being after man emerged from the animal-kingdom. It is designed to accommodate noble qualities such as friendliness, sympathy and compassion. It is still too junior to assert its authority over the rear-lobe and hence the conflict in human life between good and evil.


            “O ye humans, you have to embark on a conscious effort to imbibe divine qualities if you are to overcome misery in life. There is no way other than this to Peace and Bliss. Dare you come over, or are you going to wallow in net-misery, generation after generation?


            “I have had my say. Decide for yourself.”


 — Sage TGN


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