KNOWLEDGE AND HUMAN PROGRESS[corrected from different source not from electronic edition]


18 November 1966 DMC, Delhi, INDIA

Today’s subject of discourse is, “Knowledge and Human Progress.”

Knowledge is necessary for any kind of progress. It is hence necessary to find out what is knowledge.

Man’s existence is threefold. There are three elements in him as a composite being, viz, the physical body, the mental body, and the spiritual body. The physical body of the individual houses his mind and this mind is the reservoir of all knowledge that the man possesses.

Now, what is this physical body of man?

The individual’s physical body is composed of many kosas, i.e., cells.

These cells are of two kinds – the protozoic cells and the metazoic cells.

Thus all parts of human body are composed of a combination of these two types of cells. But in another sense, man’s own complete structure can also be regarded as one metazoic cell.

Each of these cells have a mind. But this mind is different from the individual’s human mind. The cell-minds are dormant and underdeveloped.

Furthermore metazoic cells are a collective effect of the protozoic cells.

The human mind, too, is composed of these cells. But the human mind is much more developed. It is the unit microcosm plus a collection of both the protozoic and the metazoic cells which made up the individual.

Therefore the human mind is a collective mind.

The Macrocosm has a mental relation with all its parts i.e., composites.

Similarly, in the human mind there exists a system of relations between itself and its components. Thus, the human mind has a different relationship with both the protozoic and the metazoic cells in the individual.

But the cells, as a composite part of the mind, have also a collective relation with it.

I had said earlier that every unit cell has a mind. The unit protozoic mind is instinctive. And because of the above relation, instinct comes in man. These cells are made by the food and drink that we consume. And so in the ultimate effect, we can regulate the mind by the regulation of his diet.

These two types of cells compose different parts of man’s body.

Or in other words, different portions of the body are composed of a different collection of

the two types of cells mentioned. So in each of these portions a collective mind is created and that portion works through its commands, irrespective of whether or not the human complete mind effects it.

This collective mind of a portion of the body is possible because, as said earlier, every cell has a unit mind no matter how undeveloped, for without this there would be no reproduction, movement, sound or reflection in the cell.

The individual human being virtually becomes an animal when his mind comes predominantly under the influence of the unit or the collective minds of these protozoic and metazoic cells. This is because these cell-minds are undeveloped like animals.

However, when the human collective mind dominates in an individual he begins to act more like a devata. Hence, you

should strive to achieve this condition. The explanation of this is in the fact that while the protozoic and metazoic mind (i.e., your own mind) is threefold:

partly psycho-physical, partly psychic and partly psycho-spiritual.

What happens when a man dies?

Death results in the loss of any physical relationship between the human mind and his physical body (i.e., the protozoic & metazoic cells and their minds).

The nerves are dead. Therefore, the mind, on the physical death of the individual, does not remember anything physical thereafter.

It is for this reason that we hold the Shraddha ceremony to be useless and meaningless. This also explains the English saying: out of sight, out of mind.

But the longing for the Macrocosm or Iishvara is psycho-spiritual in character and therefore your mind is engaged in it even after the death of your physical body.

What then is knowledge?

The protozoic mind is guided by instinct and its sole concern and relation is with the physical body. A protozoic cell hence does not know of its existence but it displays reproduction, movement, sound and reflexes.

An individual e.g., the born criminal who is guided by the collective effort of so many protozoic cell mind will not rise in action, understanding, and appetite to anything higher and above physicality.

Intellectual and spiritual values will not appeal to him. That is why the effect of mere physical culture is never good.

The Metazoic mind, on the other hand, is not solely concerned with the physical. It is also physico-psychic in nature.

Human collective mind too has a greater element of the physico-psychic than the purely physical. This is because it has more metazoic cells. But the human mind as a whole is much

more complex than even the metazoic mind. It is a collective mind being a collection of:

(i) The mind’s own collective mind

(ii) The protozoic minds in the parts of the body

(iii) The metazoic minds in the parts of the body.

The protozoic mind, being a physical mind, is impervious to knowledge. On the other hand the metazoic mind is the receptacle of knowledge because it is mostly physico-psychic and to a very little extent psycho-spiritual.

Physico-psychic knowledge is the subjectivisation of external objectivity which may be physical, psychic or spiritual. In other words, knowledge is not sterile. It consists in the recognition of some objective matter and action done accordingly. Such knowledge, practice, is born out of a clash of instincts.

From different kinds of physico-psychic knowledge and from psychic knowledge is born the next higher form of knowledge – the psycho-spiritual.

In practice, a developed man has all these types of knowledge in some measure. The stage and amount of human development corresponds to the type of knowledge that is predominantly held by his mind.

A living being with psychic knowledge alone is a complete man. However, his natural thirst cannot be quenched by psychic knowledge alone because it comes from the source of physico-psychic knowledge which is unsatisfactory.

It is limited by the factors of time, space, and person. For example, if you take up a geography book printed 30 years ago you will learn from it that Lahore was the capital of the Punjab. This knowledge will prove to be wrong today.

Similarly, limitations of space or person can be equally grave.

If psychic knowledge does not satisfy us because of its defective source, the only way would be to acquire knowledge from sources which are independent of the limitations of time, space and person.

What is this? Átmá.

The individual will. Therefore, try to acquire psychic knowledge from Átmá.

In other words, the individual would make the Cosmic his object and then subjectivise it. Then it would generate psycho-spiritual knowledge which would be more satisfactory. Following this process, a phase would come closer.

What would happen then?

This is the scheme of this creation including the human mind. But at this stage we find an opposite position; the individuals are trying to become the subject and He is object. Therefore, if you have to proceed further you will have to set this right by always taking the Bháva that Paramátmá is seeing

you and not vice-versa which is impossible. This is the correct process of Dhyana.

When man’s mind will acquire the knowledge that Paramátmá is watching us all the time, you will be in Dhruva Smrti. Here psycho-spiritual knowledge will be converted into spiritual knowledge. At this stage, object, subject and objectivization will merge in one. Here there will be no blending of relativity.

Here human progress would come to its end. What do we then conclude?

We see that physical knowledge has negligible importance in human progress; that the importance of the various kinds of knowledge increases in an ascending order. Physico-psychic knowledge has more importance than mere physical knowledge. Without psychic knowledge, man is not a complete man.

Spirituo-psychic knowledge is Absolute Knowledge. It is the maximum evolution of Bhakti. This would mean that mere intellectual knowledge, in the long run, hardly contributes to the final end of human progress.