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The Milk of Human Kindness

Friday October 8 2004 07:51 IST

By Karmayogi

Shakespeare's words have become household idioms, of which the Milk of Human Kindness is one. A lady who was enticed by an intellectual phase in her life took to acquiring higher knowledge of English language and literature.

In her quest she came to reading Shakespeare for the first time and exclaimed, “Who is this author who has taken all the household phrases and put them into his dramas?” People travelling north of Madras for the first time find the Andhras gentle and North Indians soft.

In the South, the mind is clearer than usual, and is quick in its perception. It grasps philosophic ideas more readily. The three great Acharyas-Shankara, Madwa, and Ramanuja-are from the philosophic South.

The Punjabis are illustrious warriors. UP is a home of national leaders and has been supplying the Prime Ministers to independent India for long. The emotions of Bengal are well known. Maharashtra is intellectual.

The clarity of mind has another side which is scepticism. It undermines faith. When scepticism is fostered, it will ripen into perversity and finally hostility to the Divine, as in the story of Nakeeran, the Sangam poet, who defied Lord Shiva.

It is a yogic truth that man is 99% hostile to the Divine. That man is basically the Spirit and he is also 99% hostile are contradictory truths we have to grapple with. I am endeavouring to put these high philosophic truths in the context of the common man in his daily life in the midst of intense activities.

Man is on the border where Light and Darkness meet. So, his CHOICE at each moment is of significance to creation and to his life. “Set the man right, the world will right itself,” is a maxim.

In any good work we do, after the work is over there will be a tinge of bitterness or frustration. Any wrong doing, intentionally or not, if followed over the years, can be seen to end in GOOD.

“Good comes out of evil, evil comes out of Good” is true, at least yogically. Should one choose to make great progress in yoga or in career - both are the same - he can look for these subconscious symptoms in his work and can DENY himself the joy of perversity.

Should his sincerity be of that order, he can witness luck in life and Grace in devotion enter into his atmosphere. Reading biographies, Sri Aurobindo said, is good education. One who is given to such reading cannot miss this element - the element of conscious endeavour to detach oneself from a small perverse joy - in the lives of great men.

Great men are great by birth. The greatness in them is born when the choice is there to deny the impulse of perversity which is hostility to the Divine.
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