VOL138, October 2015


A human being is basically an animal. He belongs to the Homo Sapiens group of primates. Homo Sapiens have been defined as the species of bi-pedal primates. Modern man belongs to this species and is characterised by a brain capacity averaging 1400 CC and by dependence upon language and the creation and utilisation of complex tools - the only surviving hominid. How is the human being different or superior to other animals? The question is whether our cognitive abilities differ from those of other animals in kind or in degree or in both. Charles Darwin held that, otherwise similar, human beings are incrementally more intelligent than other animals due to the process of evolution. However, some research findings assert that basically there exists a profound gap between our intellect and that of the animals.

Why do the animals behave in the manner they do and how is it different from human behaviour? The real secret of how animals are born with the knowledge of how to do things or behave in a certain manner seems to be a mystery. However, they possess ‘innate behaviour’. Such an ‘innate behaviour’does not have to be taught or practised. It is an activity that an animal knows from birth. It can be said that ‘innate behaviour’ is nothing but a part of animals’ DNA make-up. However, sometimes they can be taught ‘learned behaviour’ through formal training e.g., as in the case of the circus animals. These behaviours are passed down from one generation to the next through the genes. Human behaviour is mostly, the outcome of an adopted mind. Adoption means adopt from the environment and the prevailing culture. The consciousness of an animal, other than the human beings, is instinctive consciousness whereas that of human beings is intellectual consciousness. Through his adopted culture, the human being is able to control the propulsions of his instinct at will. Unlike an animal, he doesn’t always react to instinctive motivations. The three strongest common instinctive behaviours of both animals and human beings relate to hunger, anger and sex. The study of human behaviour has aptly proven that when a man is severely inflicted with any of these three motivations, he behaves no better than an animal. In such a state of mind, he is capable of inflicting grievous violence like murder, rape or robbery on others.

Anger, if not controlled, has all the potentialities of leading to violence and committing of crime. Usually, physical violence is a result of a state of mental violence. A person may seem to be extremely polite and calm in his external behaviour but may be nourishing a lot of mental violence within. There are examples of many people who committed major crimes like murder and repented later. This is indicative of the fact that they were not aware about the burning amber of violence within their mind. Such persons are prone to find fault and imperfection in others without realising their own deficiencies. A large number of such persons develop mental and neuro diseases because they live in a virtual world of hatred, jealousy, revenge and inflated ego. They need serious counselling. That is why, the Vedic culture and the wise advised for the control and suppression of mental violence. The entire Indian Culture as propounded by the Seers and the Gurus has been programmed to develop this state of mental equipoise through Yogic practices, meditation and various other methods. It is said that a man who is capable of controlling his mind is capable of controlling everything.
May we always strive to shun hatred and violence.

Dr. C. B. Satpathy, New Delhi


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