In the world of religion Devatma represents a different type of personality. In the main there has been a monolithic or one-track type of religious leaders or gurus. They thought that the human soul 'comes from afar' and has its destiny linked to 'the afar' whence it comes. The human soul is not part of the natural or empirical world and in fact the empirical world and its pleasures are mirages, from which it must seek deliverance. Its destiny is to link itself and seek communion with the world afar, the world of God or Brahmn. This intellect foundation has moulded the personalities of gurus, prophets, messengers, rishis and munis, etc. who developed vairagya or detachment from the empirical world and sought communion with God, Allaha Ishwar. They have been God-intoxicated souls, bhaktas, mysties and sufies. Their definitive characteristic is their exclusive communion with the Divine.
Let us suppose for the sake of argument that there is God. Even if there is a God, it is no less true, that there is the inanimate world air, fire, water, earth; there is the world of vegetables, fruits and flowers; there is the world of the animals, birds and beasts; and there is the human world of parents, brothers and sisters, husband and wife, the members of the community, the nation and mankind. If there is a relation to God and the duties of appreciation, gratitude, love and devotion for him, there is need to recognise our relation to the human, the animal, the plant and the mineral worlds and to render appreciation, gratitude and service for all the existences in these four kingdom which contribute to our grow1h and development. The traditional gurus sang with fullness of heart in praise and love of God, but where are the gurus who sing repeatedly in full gratitude for their parents, brothers and sisters, their animal friends, the vegetable world and the inanimate world? Where is the guru who shows the same concern to serve the inhabitants of the four worlds as he does to devote himself to God? Where is the guru who has made it part of his spiritual life to meditate on and to lay down the spiritual exercises in relation to the Denizens of these worlds? The traditional religious genius is monolithic personality. He is a one dimensional personality. His contemplation or sadhna is exclusive of recognition of his duties gratitude and loving service of the plurality of beneficial existences in the four kingdoms. By a process of spiritual exercise in samadhi he withdraws his sense-organs, the mind and buddhi from the surrounding human and physical worlds of which he is an inseparable part, and concentrates on the single being of God or the soul. His whole waking routine is to seek the maximum time for the mystic ecstasies of God- intoxication.
Devatma represents a new type of personality. The intellectual foundation of his personality was his recognition of the plurality of individual beings. Every existence has its own individuality, even a rose plant. It needs to be recognised and respected and in case of its serviceability to us, be served with gratitude and love. In his contemplation, Devatma not only sought union with the creative process in Nature, but also remembered all such beings of the four kingdoms as had rendered service to him at one time or another. He intensified his relationship with them all and sought with concern to determine new ways of being useful to them. He offered good wishes for their protection from harm and provision of favourable conditions for their welfare. He remembered to the last day of his life, his parents, grandparents, his brother and all those who served him and his cause, as also the existences of the other three worlds. His sadhna was rich with the all-round comprehensiveness of his objects of contemplation and all-round harmony with them. In his daily routine, he occupied himself with establishing unity and harmony by his activity of service of the human beings, animals, plants and things with whom he was in contact. His biography is dominated by touching anecdotes describing how he felt his relationship with human beings, animals, plants and things. Such events were not incidental or secondary. It was part of his highest spiritual life to work with his own hands, to keep his things neat and clean and in beautiful order; to hoe, water and prune the plants and to beautify their beds; to feed and cleanse birds and animals under his care; to take full care of his own body, to give it exercise, to wash and clean it daily, to feed it with the best nutritive food, to dress it in clothes of cut design; and above all to serve his parents, brother, wife, children, community, country and mankind in varied ways.
His relationship with all these things and persons was not that of dettachment but of altruism, a deep, moving respect for the separate beings of the tiniest and humblest of men, animals, plants and things and a welling - forth desire to serve their welfare. It was basic to his spirituality to accept and respect the plurality of beings. His concept of unity in diversity was that we achieve unity with the plurality of existences when we respect their right to existence and fulfillment and when we feel concerned for their welfare. When we are exclusive in our relationship, say, with God, or Brahman, we regard the plurality of beings as secondary or derivative or maya. The Brahman-gyani is conscious of a blank unity without diversity. It is this blank unity mere that, our rishis have sought. Their life lacked colour, richness of experience, fullness and expansiveness of the soul. That soul attains true unity in diversity which recognizes and respects the individuality of all existences and gives its heart in the service of the innocent useful among them. That soul is Devatma. It is clear that Devatma represents a new order of personality in the world of religion, a soul of all comprehensiveness and all-harmony, unknown to the history of religion.
His altruistic love and concern for the existence in the four kingdoms had a different psychology. Our altruism can lead us on the wrong path, just as our greeds and lusts can make us do wrong. A greedy man may cheat or exploit his customers. A man of mercy may rob the rich to feed the poor. Just as attachment to our children makes us partial to them and unjust and unkind to others, in the way altruism for the poor makes us partial to them and unjust ruthless to others. Benevolence stands on the same level as the passions, for the psychology of both is the same. Both are under' dominance of the pleasure principle. The pursuit of pleasure is not the pursuit of the good. Their paths diverge at several points. So altruism based on the pleasure principle and altruism based on the principle of truth and goodness belong to different genera. Pleasure based altruism has a tendency to falsehood and evil. An altruist does not hesitate to sacrifice truth for social good. He will even justify the sacrifice of the 'right means' or 'truthful means' out of impatience with some social evil. Devatma, as an altruist, would not tolerate the sacrifice of a right principle of conduct even for that good for which he lived every breath of his life.
This booklet gives brief glimpses of the life and conduct of Deva in multiple social relationships no less in relation to the animal, the plant and the inanimate worlds. His intimate relationship in cosmic relations is part of the definition of his spiritual uniqueness excellence.
This booklet is from the pen of Principal P.V. Kanal, one of great apostles of Dev Samaj who watched his Master's life at close quarters and who noted daily incidents of his life which later appeared in his book entitled My Bhagwan -- What I Saw of Him.
DEV ATMA IN SOCIAL RELATIONS
BY P. V, KANAL