Who is the perfect human being? How does one achieve perfection in life? To reach a state of perfection one does not require the ability to understand esoteric concepts of the soul, atman, Brahman or to understand how one can unite with the Universal Consciousness. Neither does it require the practice of austerities nor the mindless chants of hymns or prayers.
What is required of everyone is to understand the import of philosophy and the need to understand the principle behind the unalloyed devotion to God. The end of all philosophy is that we become better human beings. Whether one understands the higher flights of philosophic thought or whether one performs rituals daily is not important. What is more important is the need to be a more compassionate, kind and an understanding person. We need to be able to perform our duties with integrity, to be charitable and to be forgiving. We need not indulge in intellectual understanding of philosophy but we definitely should make ourselves a better person. In fact it is harder to be devoid of hate, pride and envy than it is to mouth philosophical cliché’s. This is the most important learning that all of us should take away.
In fact, in the Mahabharata, there is the story of the sage who through the practices of extreme austerities is able to achieve great powers. In a fit of rage he is able to burn two birds just by his look. This sage goes to a village to beg for some food. He goes to a house and is asked to wait by the housewife. The sage thinks to himself “how dare this woman ask me to wait. She does not know my powers yet”. While he is in the midst of his thoughts the woman tells him from inside the house not to mistake her for the two birds he burnt in the forest. The sage is amazed and asks the woman how she knew what the sage was thinking. To which the housewife replies that she is just an ordinary housewife performing her duties to her husband and to her family. She also tells him to meet a “vyadha” or a butcher in the village if he wants to really wants to learn philosophy and dharma. The sage then meets the vyadha who expounds the meaning of dharma and the importance of ahimsa (non-violence) and satya (truth) . This is known as the “Vyadha Gita” and contains profound philosophic thought.
Hence achieving perfection does not depend on comprehending neither abstruse philosophical concepts nor the observance of rituals but the need to perform one’s duties with the absence of hatred and envy. We are also required to be forgiving, charitable and magnanimous to others. This is truly a state of perfection worthy of being achieved by all of us.