KVE301/KVE401 Universal Human Values and Professional Ethics
Chapter 10: Harmony in Nature – Understanding the Interconnection and Mutual Fulfilment
Understanding the Four Orders in Nature
Let us look at the four orders in more detail:
Soil, Water, Metals, etc.
Plants and Trees
Animals and Birds
Potential for Understanding
Exisetence + Growth
Exisetence + Growth
Exisetence + Growth
Will to live
Will to live with continuous
Non Cruelty, Cruelty
Perseverance, Bravery, Generosity
Assuming, Recognising, Fulfillment
Knowing, Assuming, Recognising,
1. Innateness means “Self Organization; being in a definite order.”
2. Inheritance means “How conduct is decided/maintained generation after generation.”
Each order is composed of a number of ‘things’. Each one of these ‘things’ is also called a ‘unit’.
It is clear to us that the material order is the most abundant in nature and exists in the form of all the soil mixtures, metal and compounds, various gases, water, and other liquids, etc.
Pranic order exists as the smallest seeds to the plentiful grass, the various plants and trees, and all the vegetation in the ocean. When we consider humans and animals, we can understand that they are as a coexistence of the self (‘I’) and the body. If we look at the body, we find that in its fundamental unit, there is a cell. The cell belongs to the pranic order. Thus, the body of both animals and humans is essentially made up of cells and this belongs to the pranic order.
The animal order is made of various kinds of animals and birds. These entities display both a body (Physico-chemical activity) as well as a conscious activity (self or ‘I’). The animal order thus is the coexistence of the animal body (pranic order) and the self (or ‘I’ = consciousness).
Human (Knowledge) Order
The human order is constituted of all human beings. Each human being is co-existence of the self (‘I’, conscious entity = consciousness) and the body (pranic order).
An activity means something that ‘has motion’ and /or ‘has a result’. You are sitting in a room. But you are active. You are thinking, desiring, the body has breath running, heart throbbing. The air in the room is blowing. The walls standing constantly also have activity. The chair in the room is also active. It may not be very visible to our eyes but the chair is still active.
All units around us, including ourselves, are active, all the time. They are interacting with the environment. In the activity, there is a state or configuration and motion simultaneously. This remains all the time.
All material things (i.e. units in the material order) can be understood as an activity of ‘units’ coming together to form a bigger unit. We call this ‘formation’. For example, the chair is made of smaller pieces of wood. Bigger units can also separate from each other to form smaller units and we call this ‘deformation’. Like a wooden chair can decay after a few years. Thus any unit in the material order can be understood as an activity of ‘formation/deformation’.
- Body In Animals – Physico-Chemical Activities: The body displays the same activities that we see the plant. The body displays respiration, or breathing, or pulsating, as we call it. The body is also formed at one point in time and keeps building cells as well, i.e. there is a composition in the body. Hence, the activities in the body are the same as those in the plant/bio order, which are: composition/decomposition and respiration. Hence, we say that the body belongs to the pranic order.
- ‘I’ In Animals – Conscious Activities: The activities in ‘I’ are fundamentally different from those in the body. ‘I’ is a unit that has the ability or capacity of assuming. Animals make assumptions. If you have a dog and some strangers come into the house, the dog may start barking at him. If this person stays at your house, the dog may stop barking at him but will continue to bark at other strangers. What has happened here is that the dog’s ‘assumption’ about this person has changed, due to which, the way in which it responds to the person has changed. We call this assuming.
It is important to note that this consciousness or faculty of assuming is not in the body. The body belongs to the plant/bio order and is Physico-chemical in nature. It just responds to Physico-chemical inputs.
Human (Knowledge) Order
The activities in the human body are similar to that in the animal body, and we have seen this in detail as composition/ decomposition and respiration. When it comes to consciousness or ‘I’, however, the human displays more than just an ability to ‘select’ or make choices as animals do.
Thus, in human beings, ‘I’ has the activities of desiring, thinking, and selecting/tasting, with a possibility or need for understanding and realization. Only humans have this need to know and that is why it is called Gyan Avastha – the knowledge order.
Each unit in existence exhibits innateness, an intrinsic quality that cannot be separated from it.
When we burn coal and it has finished burning and only some ash is left and smokes have gone out, it is not that the basic material, the fundamental particles in coal, have ‘cease to exist’ or ‘disappeared’ from existence. They may not be visible to the eye at that moment, but they continue to exist, they still are in the form of other matter or in the form of gases, etc. This is there with all material units. We cannot destroy matter, we can only convert it from one form to the other. Thus, “to exist”, or ‘existence’ is intrinsic to all material, it is innate to it. We cannot separate the ‘existence’ of a thing from the thing itself.
Because the pranic order is a development of the material order, it also has the innateness of ‘existence’. In addition, it also exhibits ‘growth’. This principle of ‘growth’ cannot be separated from any units of this order. If it is of pranic order, it will grow. For example, if you have a plant, you cannot stop it from growing. It will continue to respire and keep changing in this way. The only way you can stop it from growing is by cutting it, but when you do that, it ceases to belong to the pranic order, instead decays and then belongs to the material order. So, as long as you have a plant, it will grow.
The animal body is a development of the pranic order and therefore this order inherits the innateness of the previous order namely ‘existence’ and ‘growth’. This is at the level of the body, which is Physico-Chemical in nature. In addition, all units in this order have the ‘will to live’ in ‘I’. Indeed no unit in this order can be separated from this ‘will to live’. It is intrinsic to every unit in this order.
Human (Knowledge) Order
When we look at the human being, we find that ‘existence’ and ‘growth’ are fundamentally present in the body, just as in the animal body. At the level of ‘I’ however, in addition to the ‘will to live’, a human being’s innateness is the ‘will to live with happiness’.
Natural Characteristics (Svabhav)
When we look at the different orders, we find that each order has a certain value. In a fundamental way, this is the ‘usefulness’ or ‘participation’ of the order in existence. This ‘value’ or ‘participation’ is also referred to as “natural characteristic”. The ‘characteristic’ the order displays are ‘natural to itself’. This is the same as the value of the entity, or its participation also called ‘Svabhav’.
The fundamental characteristic or ‘Svabhav’ of ‘formation/deformation’ enables units or entities to come together and form a bigger unit. Bigger units transform into smaller units. Particles of the soil combine to form a brick. Bricks combine to form towers. This is a case of formation. When the tower falls, it breaks down to small particles of soil. This is deformation. This is the way material entities participate with other material units.
We can see in this order that pranic units nurture or worsen other pranic units. To nurture means to be supportive, to aid other pranic activities in the growth of pranic units. For example, a vegetable is a pranic unit and our body is also a pranic unit. If I eat vegetables, it helps my body grow. Similarly, if I eat Dhatura, the thorn apple, another pranic unit, it will worsen my body. If I eat the same vegetable in a larger quantity than required, it will work to worsen my body. To worsen means to be a deterrent, repressive to the other pranic activity. Hence, we say that the Svabhava or ‘value’ or ‘natural characteristic’ of the plant/bio order is to ‘nurture/worsen’. This is the ‘value’ of the pranic in existence for all the orders.
When we look at the animal order, the body of the animal belongs to the plant/bio or pranic order and hence has the same ‘usefulness’ or ‘value’ as the pranic order. Thus ‘nurture/worsen’ is the svabhav of the animal body.
The svabhav of the self (‘I’) of the animal order is non-cruelty (akrurata) and cruelty (krurata). Cruelty (krurata) means the feeling that it can fulfill its needs through violence and forcefulness.
We can observe the above in animals and may find a more-or-less predominance of one of the above in certain kinds of animals. For example, cows may largely be living with a feeling of non-cruelty (akrurata); while animals like tigers and lions may exhibit cruelty (krurata).
Human (Knowledge) Order
Similar to the case in animals, the human body also belongs to the plant/ bio order and hence has the same svabhav or value/natural characteristic as the pranic order. It either nurtures or worsens other pranic units. As in the example above, when I digest the vegetable, I absorb the plant and it worsens, while my body is nurtured.
The svabhav/value of the self (‘I’) in human beings is perseverance (Dhirata), bravery (Veerta), and generosity (Udarata).
- Perseverance (Dhirata): Being assured that the all-encompassing solution is to understand and live in harmony at all levels of existence, living with this commitment without any perturbation.
- Bravery (Veerta): Being assured that the all-encompassing solution is to understand and live in harmony at all levels and I am ready to help the other to have the right understanding. This is the commitment to help the other have the right understanding of harmony and living at all levels of existence.
- Generosity (Udarata): Being assured that the all-encompassing solution is to understand and live in harmony at all four levels and I am ready to invest myself, my body, and my wealth to help the other have the right understanding.
Human beings are not living as per this natural characteristic; even though we have a svabhav, we are not living according to this. This is the basic reason for the contradiction and conflict that we see in human beings. This is what leads to a state of unhappiness. Only when we live according to our basic human characteristics as mentioned above, we have definite character, otherwise, it is not definite, it is uncertain, unlike the other three orders as discussed above.
Let us understand how the activity in the different orders is different at the basic level. In the material and pranic order, there is only recognition and fulfillment. Such units do not have the activities of assuming and knowing. For example, hydrogen and oxygen recognize the relation to each other and combine to form water. Brick and the other brick have a definite relation, recognise it and get arranged to form a building. A plant recognizes the relation with sun and water and fulfills it by acting accordingly. Such activities take place in a similar way all the time, there is no selection involved here. A plant does not choose to turn or not to turn to the sun, absorb or not to absorb water. Similarly, the fan in your room does not choose to rotate clockwise or anti-clockwise. It turns as per the winding in the motor. No choice.
When we look at the animals and humans, we find selection taking place.
The continuity of the fundamental nature of the material unit is preserved through the physical and chemical processes. Take iron for example. Each atom of iron conforms to the constitutional structure of ‘Iron’. There is no atom of iron that will be unlike the other atom of iron, if it were, we would not call it iron. We call this ‘constitution conformance’. The material order exhibits constitution conformance. We can verify this for all things in the material order. For example, oxygen, nitrogen, other gasses, gold, silver, aluminum… all of them conform to and are always according to the constitution of their kind. Hence, we say that any matter conforms to its constitution or has ‘constitution conformance’.
A neem seed will always sprout a neem plant. All of us know this. Its fruits, its leaves, the taste of the leaves, the color of the leaves, all this information, this basic information of every neem plant is stored in the seed. Thus, we say the plant is always as the seed, or we can say, ‘as the seed, thus the plant’. Hence, we say that a plant conforms to the seed, or has ‘seed conformance’. This ‘seed conformance’ method is the mechanism by means of which the continuity of a plant species is maintained in nature/existence.
We see that a cow is always like a cow, and a dog is always like a dog. Animals conform to their lineage. How animals are, their behavior is according to their lineage they belong to, the lineage they come from. Hence, we say that an animal conforms to its breed, or has ‘breed conformance’. This breed conformance method is the mechanism by means of which the continuity of an animal species is maintained in nature/existence.
Human (Knowledge) Order
We can see that we humans are not according to our lineage or race, as in animals. We may pick up something from our parents as we grow up, but we are usually very different in many ways from them. We, humans, are according to our imagination; according to our desires, thoughts, and selection in ‘I’. the desires, thoughts, and selections we have in ‘I’ can come from anywhere. It can come from past memories, it can come from our parents, the environment, the media, anywhere. In the case of humans, we can say ‘as the education, so the human’. We are according to our desires, thoughts, and selections. Together, we call this ‘sanskar’. Hence, we say that a human being conforms to his or her sanskar or has ‘sanskaar conformance’.