Mankind is so absorbed in life's pleasures and pains that man hardly has a moment to think what privilege it is to be human. Life in the world contains, no doubt, more pain than pleasure and that which one considers as pleasure costs so much that when it is weighed against the pain that it costs, it also becomes pain, and as man is so absorbed in his worldly life he traces nothing but pain and complaint in life, and until he changes his outlook man cannot understand the privilege of being human.

          Yet, however unhappy a person may be in life, if he were asked, "would you prefer to be a rock than a human being," his answer would be that he would rather suffer being a human being than be a rock. Whatever the condition of man's life, if he were asked, "would you rather be a tree than a man," he would choose rather to be a human being. And, although, the life of the birds and beasts is so free from care and troubles and so free in the forests, yet, if man were asked whether he would prefer to be one of them and be in the forest, he would surely prefer to be a man. This shows that when human life is compared with other different aspects of life then it shows its greatness and its privilege, but when it is not compared with other life then man is discontented and his eyes are closed to the privilege of being human.

           Another thing is that man is mostly selfish and what interests him is that which concerns his own life, and not knowing the troubles of the lives of others, he feels the burden of his own life even more than the burden of the whole world. If one could only think in his poverty that there are others, who are poorer than he; in his illness that there are others whose sufferings are perhaps greater than his; in his troubles that there are others whose difficulties are perhaps greater than his. Self-pity is the worst poverty. It overwhelms man and he sees nothing but his own troubles and pains and it seems to him that he is the most unhappy person - more than anyone in the world.

          There is a story of a great thinker of Persia, Sa'adi. He writes in the account of his life, "Once I had no shoes and I had to walk in the hot sand barefoot and I thought how very miserable I was; then I met a man who was lame, for whom to walk it was very difficult. I bowed down at once to Heaven and offered thanks that I was much better off than he, who had not even feet to walk upon." This shows that it is not the situation in life, but it is man's attitude toward life, that makes him happy or unhappy. And this attitude can even make such a difference between men that one in a palace would be unhappy and another in a humble cottage, could be very happy.

          The difference is only in the horizon that one sees. There is one person who looks only at the condition of his life; there is another who looks at the lives of many people - it is the difference that the horizon makes. Besides this, it is the impulse that comes from within that has its influence on one's affairs. If there is an influence from within always working, if there is discontent and dissatisfaction in life, one finds its effect in one's affairs in life. For instance, a person impressed by an illness can never be cured by a physician or medicines. A person impressed by poverty will never get on in life. A person who thinks, everybody is against me and everybody troubles me and everybody has a poor opinion of me, wherever he goes will always find it so.

          There are many people in the world, in business, in professions, who, before they go to their work, have as a first thought in their mind, "perhaps I shall not be successful." The masters of humanity, in whatever period they came to the world, always taught man to learn as his first lesson, faith; faith in success, faith in love, faith in kindness, and faith in God. And this faith cannot be developed unless man be self-confident. It is very essential that man should learn to trust another. If he does not trust anyone, life will be hard for him. If he doubts, if he suspects everyone he meets, then he will not trust the people nearest to him in the world, his closest relations, and it will soon develop to such a state of distrust that he will even distrust himself. But the trust of the one who trusts another and does not trust himself is profitless. Then, it is he who trusts another because he trusts himself who has the real trust, and by this trust in himself he can make his life happy in whatever condition he may be.

             In the tradition of the Hindus, an idea is very well known, that of the tree of the fulfilment of desires. There is a story told in India that a man was told there was a tree of the fulfilment of desires, and he went in search of it. After going through the forests and across mountains, he arrived at last in a place, where, without knowing that the tree of the fulfilment of desires was there, he laid down and slept. And before he went to sleep he was so tired that he thought, "What a good thing it would be if I had just now a soft bed to rest upon and a beautiful house with a courtyard around it and a fountain and people waiting upon me!" With this thought he went to sleep. When he opened his eyes from sleep he saw that he was lying in a fountain and there were people waiting upon him. He was very much astonished, and he remembered that before going to sleep he had thought of all this. But then, as he went further in his journey, he thought on the subject and found, "The tree that I was looking for, it was under that tree that I slept and it was the miracle of the tree which was accomplished."

            Now, friends, the interpretation of this legend is a philosophy in itself. It is man, himself, who is the tree of fulfilment of his desire and the root of this tree is in the heart of man. The trees and plants, with their fruit and flowers, and the beasts with their strength and power, and the birds with their wings, are unable to arrive to the stage that man can attain; it is for that that he is called man, which in Sanskrit means mind. The trees in the forest await, that blessing, that freedom, that liberation, in stillness, in quietude.

          The mountains and the whole nature seem to await that unfoldment, the privilege of which is given to man. Therefore, the traditionalists say, that man is made in the image of God. You may call it this, that the most fitted instrument for the working of God is the human being. But from the mystical point of view, you may also say that the creator takes as his means of experiencing the whole creation, the heart of man. And that shows that no being on earth is more capable of happiness, of satisfaction, of joy, of peace, than man. And it is a pity when man is not aware of this privilege of being human, for every moment in life that he passes in this error of unawareness is a waste, and is to his greatest loss.