Swami Chaitanya Keerti
Yes, there is a destiny–and we all have a destiny. A seed is destined to become a flower. It has an intrinsic potential which becomes a possibility, also a certainty, if it gets the right soil and the environment. Although we all human beings have the destiny to have a certain flowering, it always remains uncertain about the kind of flowering. We can become a Buddha or Changez Khan, an ordinary politician or a priest, an entrepreneur or businessman–everything depends on the various factors and environment. But, as far as our consciousness or awareness is concerned, the choice is ours. An animal does not have the same choice as his consciousness is not evolved to make a choice, though there had been rare cases in the world of animals when some animals chose something in a somewhat conscious manner and they evolved–and there was a revolution in their world.
For example, when in the past a certain monkey decided to walk not on four legs, but on two legs–though it must have been very arduous for the poor fellow–he got a wonderful reward to gradually grow into a human being. He became the forefather of the whole of humanity. This monkey must have been ridiculed by the monkey society around him, also threatened and boycotted by it. And he remained stubborn and followed its instinct. This was certainly a conscious choice.
There’s another beautiful story of one of the previous lives of Gautama the Buddha. In one life he was an elephant – but then too he was superior. He tells the story that when he was an elephant the jungle caught fire. The fire was spreading rest a little in the coolness of the shadow. As he was just going to move and had lifted up one of his feet, a small rabbit, running in just the same fear of the fire, also came under the shadow of the tree, and rested there just where the elephant was going to put his foot. Now, to put his foot down would kill the rabbit, but not to put his foot. How long could he stand on three feet? And you should understand: an elephant standing on three feet is a really heavy job, just the one foot up is enough. But Buddha said, “I kept my foot up and saved the life of the rabbit, although because of balancing that great a load I tumbled and fell sideways and died. But because I had done that good deed, I was born as a man.”
Now, even while he was an elephant he was a superior elephant, not an ordinary elephant; otherwise, I don’t think any elephant is going to be bothered by a rabbit. In the first place, he won’t even see if the rabbit is there. Elephants are big but their eyes are very small. Have you seen that strange combination?- such small eyes in such a big animal. Who is creating these designs? A little proportion is needed. Or do you think the elephant can see the rabbit who is just sitting underneath his feet?I think it will take long yoga practice for the elephant to look down; it is not easy for an elephant to look that far down.
Just draw a picture of an elephant – I have drawn one and I have tried in every possible way to imagine myself as the elephant, but I couldn’t see the rabbit. The foot is there, and the rabbit is underneath the foot – but such small eyes in such a big body. It is just not possible. Even in his elephant life, Buddha was so non-violent, non-hurting, that he preferred his own death rather than killing a rabbit. He tells many stories of his past lives, and in every life he is superior. That superiority continues even into this last life: now he is the supreme-most enlightened man.
A monkey or an elephant could make a conscious choice, but sometimes the seemingly evolved human beings are unable to make a conscious choice–they continue living with their animal instincts. And they play havoc with the world. They do have the same potential as Gautama the Buddha had–to become an awakened one–but they do not have the consciousness or awareness to observe it or feel it within their being. They become Hitler, Mussolini, Changez Khan, Stalin and Lenin, the list is endless. The world is full of such people with violent instincts.
Osho explains it: “Violence is not the nature of man; it is the acquisition of his past, it is the impression of his past. Violence is man’s conditioning, which was unavoidable through the process of his evolution from beastly life. The beast is to be pardoned because violence is unavoidable in its life. Man cannot be pardoned, because violence is his choice.
“Violence is inevitable for beasts, it is a responsibility for man. It is a fact for beasts, for a man it is merely a historical memory. It is the present for beasts, it is past for man. We have a choice in front of us. Man can take a decision to be nonviolent; he can take a decision to be violent also. That is why when a certain person takes a decision to be violent, no beast can compete with him. Really, no beast can be as violent as a man can be, because a beast is violent by nature while a man becomes violent by planning. So, even after a thorough search among beasts, we cannot get such violent beasts as Changez Khan, or Timur, or Nader Shah, or Hitler. If we consult the history of beasts and ask them if they had parallel examples they would reply, “We are very poor in that, we do not have any memory — any record — in this matter.” It is very interesting to know that no animal except man commits atrocities against its own fellow-members. No animal kills another animal of its class, or commits violence against it.”