Guest Post · Spirituality beyond Religion · When a Picture Leads · Words of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo

Being Human (Guest Post)

I am very pleased to share today some of the photographic work of a talented, not-yet-18 young man. Pranav is a sensitive, introvert and quieter-than-his-(teen)age type of fellow, who sometimes uses poetry and prose to give an expression to his pondering, questioning and reflecting. On other occasions he relies on his camera.

Small animals, ocean and nature are some of Pranav’s favourite subjects to capture on camera. The photographs selected for this guest post tell a story that is best expressed via an excerpt featured here. A story about being human. The selected excerpt is from one of the ‘evening talks’ Sri Aurobindo used to have with a small group of his close disciples between 1923-26 and 1938-50. 

Featured at the end of the selected passage from Evening Talks is one of Pranav’s poems, something he penned a few weeks ago. It expresses a moment of deep aspiration he felt when he began to accept and ‘see’ some truths about life that had been hitherto repressed by the noise of the mind and heart. This poem too tells a story. A story of being human.   

I thank Pranav for allowing me to feature his photographs and poem on this blog. 

Disciple: How is it that man is regarded as the highest being in creation?

Sri Aurobindo: It is the egoistic ignorance of man that makes him think so. He is high because there is in him the possibility of evolving a divine life.

P1160263 (800x599)

P1160316 (800x588)

You can say also that he is high because he has developed a mind and the mind gives him a chance of conscious evolution. But it does not necessarily follow that because man is a mental being he has used his mind for his evolution. 

P1160385 (800x600)

P1160387 (800x597)

Exactly because he has a mind, man has an infinite capacity to be devilish. He brings to the help of his devil a mind, and the devil himself can’t be so bad as man with his mind when he puts it at the service of his vital being.

P1160007 (800x580)

Disciple: Infinite possibilities! Both ways divine and devilish!

P1160446 (800x600)

Sri Aurobindo: It is the egoistic ignorance of man which makes him think he is the highest in creation.

P1150937 (800x600)

Disciple: But then there is the great difference between man’s body and the animals.

Sri Aurobindo: That is all; and even that is not so much as you try to make it out to be.
After all, what is the difference between the animal body and the human?

P1150920 (800x600)

P1150928 (800x588)

P1160231 (800x600)

If you see carefully, you will see you have discarded the tail, and instead of walking on four legs you have been using two, and the other two you have changed into hands. There have been slight but very important changes in the brain and some details here and there. You have cast off your fur and horns.

Disciple: Not all men! K. has a lot of fur yet (laughter)

Sri Aurobindo: You see, after all it is not so great a change in the physical as would create a gulf between animal and man!

P1160457 (800x592)

P1150947 (800x588)

P1160252 (800x599)

No. All that is human nonsense! Man is great because he can open to something higher and can consciously go beyond the mind and live a divine life upon earth.

P1150924 (800x600)

P1160509 (558x800)

I’ll reach there

I’ll reach there, I’m certain of it.
There will come a day when I’ll be rid
of the need for passing pleasures.
A magical air I’ll breathe, potentiality
and life will flow through me.
Godlike I shall be.
I’ll reach there, I’m certain of it. 

~~ Excerpt from Evening Talks with Sri Aurobindo, (recorded by A.B. Purani,  14-08-1926)

~~ All photographs and the poem, ‘I’ll reach there’ by Pranav.

33 thoughts on “Being Human (Guest Post)

  1. Pranav is such a talented person I must say. The photographs deserve to be exhibited and the poem speaks of a mature mind. Wishing him lots of joy in creativity.

  2. Those are beautiful photos thank you for sharing

    Man does think of himself as the greatest creation but in spite of that and in spite of having so much knowledge and know how.. man himself is the biggest enemy of mankind.

    1. Thank you, Bikramjit for your comment. I agree, in its present state of consciousness mankind is causing more and more harm to the humanity and the entire world. But perhaps through this evolutionary crisis of consciousness man will find a way to evolve out of his limitations and renew himself.

  3. Beautiful photographs and a perfect anecdote you have shared with it. We can’t even channelize the rain water and we think we are supreme. All we have done is choke the natural drainage system in our attempt in advancement. We’ll not reach anywhere. We’ll just rot. Because that is what we have done to our fellow beings.

    1. Thank you, Rekha! Yes, we really have been causing more harm to the nature and mother earth than any other creature on the planet. Hopefully we will wake up from this ego-driven deep slumber we have been sleeping for centuries now. Happy you enjoyed the photographs, and given your photographic talent, it means a lot to hear you appreciate these.

  4. Wonderful guest post and photos. Only 18 going on 70 with such wisdom and insight. Those photos are so beautiful and interesting. Love the thoughtful poem. I am a thoughtful introvert, too who is greatly affected by the world but can’t always express it except through photos and writing so I can relate to Pranav a lot. Great post!

    1. Thank you so much for this wonderful comment and for your generous appreciation. I am so happy that you could so well relate to this post. Thank you, once again!

  5. Having read some of his other works, I can only nod in agreement with his poem. You will indeed be there, Pranav. Your aunt is justifiably proud of you. And Beloo, you have managed to find just the perfect words of Sri Aurobindo to elucidate the point he is making. Lovely, evocative photographs. Way to go, Pranav!

    1. Thanks Zephyr! Your appreciation and encouragement will certainly make him very happy and motivated. He has been a bit busy with life and stuff, but has said that he will write a note of thanks to be shared here on the blog, hopefully soon!

  6. Thank you so much everyone! It really delights me that all of you liked the photographs and the poem. All your appreciations have motivated me to pursue photography and creative writing with a greater seriousness!

  7. Lovely photos pranav!! So very proud of you.. May you find the peace within. Great effort by Beloo Mehra to put this together so beautifully

    1. Thanks for your lovely comment and appreciation. Happy to know that you enjoyed the photographs.

      As for the award, thank you so much for the nomination. But I have to say that I have kept my blog as a no-award blog. So while I sincerely thank you for the generous nomination, I will not be able to participate in the process. Thanks for your understanding. You may read about my reasons for this choice in a post I did two years ago –

      1. You are very welcome for the lovely comment and appreciation as well as the nomination. I understand your choice of keeping your blog as a no-award blog. Similar to how I do not review my books by stars or raw numbers, you choose to keep your blog free of awards. As part of the nomination process, I was required to nominate 5 blogs with sub-200 followers that I believed were noteworthy, and your blog was a perfect fit of this category. Again, I understand your choice of keeping your blog free of awards, and wish you the best of luck in enriching the world with Sri Aurobindo’s teachings.

Response? Reaction? Thought? Question? Criticism? Let me know.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s