We often say that we should behave like human beings. But what is so great about a human being who behaves as a human being, asked Suki Sivam, in a lecture. Suppose a man has to cross a river to get to a town. Suppose there is a bridge across the river. If the man says that he will build a house on the bridge and live there, so that he can cross over whenever he wants to, would we call him sensible?

We would have been a blade of grass, a plant, an animal or a bird in previous janmas. None of these operate according to rules. If a tiger kills at will, we don't consider it wrong. If an animal chooses its mate by violent means, we don't think it is unnatural, because they have no code of conduct. So at one end of the spectrum we have animals, and at the other end we have God. There is no right or wrong in the animal stage. And we don't question the rightness or otherwise of God's actions either. If we push a man into the sea, and he dies, we would be labelled murderers. But God brought the sea into the land during the tsunami, and thousands died in the process. But while we may have cried for the victims of the tragedy, did we blame God for what happened? But man is in the in- between stage. He is neither an animal, whose conduct is not questioned, nor is he God, whose conduct is not questioned. He is the bridge between the two stages. So a man merely continuing to be a man is like building a house on a bridge.

We must transcend the human state to reach the divine state, and that is what gnanis do. Think of human life in terms of a plane taking off. A plane starts off taxiing on the tarmac, before it takes off. But can a plane reach its destination, if it only keeps moving on the tarmac, without taking off?

Similarly, what sense does it make for a human being to be merely human, without aspiring to a higher philosophical state? A human being, therefore, must see the human state as an intermediary step in his upward journey. To be content to be human is to stagnate.