Learning… The Right Contact with the World…

Every object or being in this world has an inherent nature which we identify them with.

We identify fire with heat, water with wetness/dampness, sugar with sweetness, salt with saltiness, fox with cunning nature, cow with compassion, rock by hardness, etc.,  Their inherent nature gives them their identity. Objects and beings may have many other properties, but they are essential identified with one specific property. If there is no saltiness we do not call it salt. Sugar generally goes with calories as well, but these days people have identified sugar devoid of or with very low calories… but it has sweetness and is hence designated as sugar.

Similarly, Humans have an inherent nature and that is called as humaneness. Being Humane is not just about love and compassion towards fellow beings and environment. It is something more than that. All beings go by their basic instincts of hunger, fear and sex. It is only Humans who have an intelligence, that can think beyond this. It is only they who can use their intellect intelligently and use it to maintain a right kind of contact with the world.

People generally identify themselves with their body, mind and intellect. Body relates to senses and sense indulgence, Mind to its emotions and feelings and intellect to thoughts and ideas. These faculties are available in different proportions to all beings. It is proven that even plants and animals have feelings and emotions and they respond to feelings and emotions expressed to them. Many birds and mammals also have intellect and they use it to fulfill the three basic instincts. However, it is only Humans who have an intelligence to exercise a choice in using his faculties of body-mind-intellect. Humans have the ability to choose. They can choose the thoughts they entertain and ideas they forbid. Based on the chosen thoughts and ideas they entertain, they determine the kind of contact they maintain with the objects and beings around.

Fire is identified with heat. However, based on the substratum and surrounding environment we get different kinds of flames and thus the heat it emanates varies. This determines the quality of fire and we use various kinds of fires for various applications.

Similarly, the nature of human beings vary in the extent and the way this intelligence is used. As in the case of fire, environment does play a significant role in the development of this intelligence in human beings. Right kind of environment during his early formative years determines the extent to which this intelligence is developed in him and the way he responds to his environment during his later years.

The environment, circumstances and incidents one comes across are not in his control. Seldom does a person has the ability to make a choice here. However, he always has the choice to choose his response to the circumstances or environment he is in.

One may meet with an accident (No exercise of choice) and chose the way to respond to the after effects of the accident.

One may be offered a bounty feast (No exercise of choice) and chose the way he indulges his senses to that feast… chose what and how much to eat

One may win an olympic medal (limited exercise of choice… as it is also dependent on other’s performance and preparedness) and chose the way to respond… be Thankful for all those who helped and trained or exhibit arrogance and brag about his achievement.

Let’s take a couple of  live examples…

Both Baba Ramdev and Anna Hazare protested and made demonstrations against corruption and the government. They both exercised their choice. The government then responded by trying and arresting both in different instances. This they had little control over. But the way they both responded during the time of their arrest evoked absolutely different kinds of responses from the general public and also the who’s who in the country. The idea here is not to make a judgement about the right response or their intelligence, but only to demonstrate that one has the freedom to make a choice.

Here is a man, Spencer West, who lost his legs as a child, but scales 19,000ft-high Kilimanjaro by crawling on his HANDS for seven days…


Exercise of choices is determined by one’s intelligence. True Intelligence and humaneness lie in using one’s sense objects, one’s emotions and one’s mental and intellectual faculties to maintain the right kind of contact with the objects and beings in this world so that one lives in harmony with this world.

Learning the art of living is in Learning the right kind of contact one has to make with this World… and the foundation for this learning is laid down while one is in mother’s womb and significantly developed and determined during his formative years in school.

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