Loving Sai Ram and
greetings from Prashanti Nilayam.
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
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.
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 important point.
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
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 destabilising 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 Self.
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.
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
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.
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.