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What is Life?

By Karmayogi

I know I have a life. Each man has a life. We say social life, human life. What is it? The lives of all people in the society together is social life. But there is more. I breathe, everyone breathes. Air is inhaled and exhaled. The atmosphere of earth is covered by air. We don’t see it, but feel it. We speak of the atmosphere of the earth. The atmosphere is different from the air. There is light all over the earth. We feel the heat or cold. Gravitation is a force. Electricity is in the atmosphere. We see it as lightning. As magnetism, air, light, heat, moisture, electricity, and gravitation are in the atmosphere, they are all in life and all of life together. Life is a plane of force enveloping earth. Life has a personality. It is not inert. It is alive and acts.

At the railway station someone steps on your foot. We quarrel with him, feel hurt, protest. As he is timid, the hero in us rears its head. We assert a little more than necessary. The pride in us pricks up. Something in us is pleased. It is an occasion to feel fulfilled. We go home. There is a news waiting for us. Our son arrived by a taxi. The taxi driver was a rough fellow. He demanded more than the meter reading. The boy protested. Raising his voice, we are told, the driver threatened him vulgarly. The family gave the money unreasonably asked by him and sent him away. The driver and all of us are part of life. What we did at the railway station is reflected at home. Life is ever present. Its personality is all-pervasive. It has standards, rules, etc.

It requires a subtle sense to know of life, to feel its presence and respect its power. Life is not moral, but it is sensitive. Man is one formation of life. As the waves on the sea are a formation of seawater, Man is one formation of life, and the animal is another formation of life. Matter itself is a hard formation dense to our touch. It is life that created man; or God has created Man in the plane of life, through the force of life. It is usual that people who come to the Ashram hear the word consciousness very often. Any book they read employs that word copiously. It is part of their vocabulary. A senior engineer with an arts and engineering degree came here and took to Mother with zest and enthusiasm. After about a year he raised the question. ‘‘What is consciousness?’’ Life that we live often escapes our comprehension when we set about thinking seriously. It is necessary to know it, as we have to live it.

 
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