On be­com­ing hu­man

The Sunday Guardian - - & Comment Analysis - By Davin­der P.S. Sandhu

In 2011, the United Nations En­vi­ron­ment Pro­gramme said that 8.7 mil­lion (give or take a mil­lion) is the es­ti­mated to­tal num­ber of species on Earth, with 86% of all species on land and 91% of those in the seas yet to be dis­cov­ered, de­scribed or cat­a­logued. The Guru Granth Sahib men­tions the to­tal num­ber of species at 8.4 mil­lion, and places the hu­man species as the apex of all cre­ation, and chides the hu­man for wast­ing a once in 8.4 mil­lion chance of self-ac­tu­al­iza­tion:

In this world, you are ser­viced by all oth­ers. //But your great­ness has been over­come by un­end­ing de­sire.

But one day, I heard Saint Kabir say this in the pages of Guru Granth Sahib:

Serv­ing the Guru, I earned his grace,// Then, this hu­man body was ob­tained.

This new in­for­ma­tion con­founded my log­i­cal mind. I can un­der­stand that Man is the most evolved species on the planet, and in­deed is the mas­ter. But Saint Kabir says that the hu­man body is earned af­ter self­less ser­vice of the Guru? So, was the Guru served in some ear­lier life cy­cle? I asked my Teacher for the an­swer.

A lamp stood in the cor­ner, its wire dis­con­nected from the elec­tri­cal socket. He pointed to it and said that looks like a lamp, but a lamp should give out light. I said that would hap­pen when it is con­nected to the socket, and he asked me to do so, and it lit up.

“Just so, hu­mans con­duct them­selves – take birth, eat, sleep, procreate, and die – like any other species. They have a hu­man body ca­pa­ble of ac­tu­al­iza­tion, but just like the lamp, its ca­pac­ity is un­used. They need the Guru to light them up, and from then on, they truly be­come Hu­man. Now, read Saint Kabir again,” he said.

As I read it again, I mar­veled at the spir­i­tual wis­dom hid­den in the sim­ple lines:

Serv­ing the Guru, I earned his grace,//Then, this hu­man body was ob­tained.

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