At present, we are concerned primarily with two things: one, ourselves; and the other, the place where we live. In other words, we are concerned with two objects: namely, everything that is related to our gross and subtle bodies; and the world at large, with all its paraphernalia. But there are others above us, the transcendentalists, who are concerned not only with their body and mind and the world at large, but also with the transcendental subject that is above the body and mind and the world at large. The transcendentalists are very much concerned with the Absolute Truth, and much less with relative truths.
These transcendentalists (ordinarily known as saints, philosophers, reformers, messengers, and so forth) appear in various places in the world at various times. They render transcendental service to the Absolute Truth and to humanity, also, by preaching the message of the transcendental world. According to these transcendentalists, even lower animals like cats and dogs are also concerned primarily with two things, namely, themselves and the world at large. Living entities other than human beings have no capacity to understand transcendental subjects. The human being is therefore considered to be the highest of all creations, and we must understand the nature of this higher standing.
When man, who is the highest of all created beings, is fully developed in consciousness, he concerns himself not only with his own self and the world where he lives, but he tries to understand the Absolute Truth. The Absolute Truth regulates man as well as the world, and knowing Him, the transcendentalist regulates his activities on the right path. This regulating process is commonly known as a system of faith or religion. All over the civilized world we find some process or form of religion—when man is devoid of any such religion or of transcendental traits, he is nothing but a beast. This subject matter, which the religionists delineate according to different countries, times, and people, is more or less aimed at the objective of the Absolute Truth.
The Absolute Truth is one without a second, but He is viewed from different angles of vision by different religionists or transcendentalists under different circumstances. Some transcendentalists view the Absolute Truth as an impersonal force, generally known as the formless Brahman, while others view Him as the all-pervading localized aspect, dwelling within all living entities and generally known as Paramātmā or the Supersoul. But there is another important sect of transcendentalists, who understand the Absolute Truth as the Absolute Personality of Godhead, possessing the potentialities of being impersonal and all-pervasive simultaneous with His Absolute Personality.
At the present moment, the word religion is being sacrificed on the altar of materialistic tendencies. The human race is more concerned now with subject matters related to eating, sleeping, defending, and gratifying the senses, much as are the lower animals. The general tendency is to avoid transcendental subject matters as far as possible or, in any case, not to go into the details. Even the biggest political leaders have been heard to say that the hungry man or woman finds no meaning in God and religion. People in general, under the leadership of such materialistic men, are gradually descending to the status of lower animals, devoid of all transcendental realization, knowing nothing beyond their material bodies and the material world.
Thus, the human race has descended to the qualitative status of the dogs, who are habituated to barking as soon as they come upon another set of dogs who happen to hail from another quarter. We cannot conceive of a greater degradation of the human being than when he is apt to raise a hue and cry as soon as he sees another human being who does not happen to belong to his quarter or his religious denomination. He raises this hue and cry as if he had been faced with a tiger or a wolf. Without transcendental knowledge, the human race has actually become no more than the tigers and the wolves.
It is therefore necessary at the present moment to understand something about absolute knowledge if we want to bring the human race back to sanity. Thus intelligent persons or leaders of men should not devote their energies only for worldly betterment in the matter of eating, sleeping, defending, and gratifying the material senses. Leaders who think a hungry man or woman has no use for God and religion should be told emphatically that no man or woman in the world is not hungry—and that it is precisely the hungry man or woman who has to understand the meaning of God and religion now, more than ever.
In this connection, we would like to quote the substance of a speech delivered by Śrī Radhakrishnan (former president of India) at a recent meeting of UNESCO in Paris. He said that when a nation proudly turns away from God and concentrates on worldly success and prosperity, it meets its doom. What is essential today is not so much the rehabilitation of schools and libraries or shops and factories but the rehabilitation of man; we must re-create man if we are to create a new world community.