Prof. Daniel Wolne
The Natures of People Human nature is fascinating, but even more interesting is the interaction of our human nature with our spiritual nature. In many cultures across the globe, the nature of man has been recognized as having a second nature with a different will than the first. No two cultures define this conflict in the same way, although they are conceptually the same. In India, the people there view the human person as being inherently divine, although all are blind to their own divinity. Judaism claims that we have a spiritual, divine essence, or soul, though we are tempted to disobey this essence. Hinduism and Judaism both view human nature as negative, or illusive, with an underlying, perfectly divine nature that can be returned to through hard work and obedience. We are all containers of the essence called “Brahman” or “Atman” in Hindu culture. (13) Brahman is an intangible part of the divine, which comes from the Hindu god Brahma, the father of creation. (25) In Judaism, one prophet says that the essential personality, or soul of any one person was in Heaven, and that God knew that personality before birth. The prophet Isaiah’s book elaborates clearly that the body is the cause of many troubles. (403) The book of Genesis explains how God created the body, then breathed life into the body. (401) We can say that the body seems to be more of a vehicle or container for a more divine nature to both parties. Once this physical birth occurs, we are introduced to a new nature that has a different, conflicting will than our spiritual nature contained within. The nature of the human body is animalistic and impulsive, while intrinsically, we feel the need to be civilized and structured, clean and kept. This difference in will is defined in Hinduism as something called “Maya”. (13) Maya can be translated as an “illusion” to our divine nature, or Brahman. (13) This illusion keeps one from achieving something called “Moksha” (15), which means “freedom” or a “release” from the repetitions of life, and all subsequent lives since the religion also favors reincarnation. There is no reincarnation once Moksha is achieved, because since you have overcome Maya and learned your true, perfect nature, there is nothing more to learn. Therefore reincarnation at that point would have no purpose, negating it. If there was no conflict between the Brahman and human nature, or Maya, then Moksha could be achieved in one lifetime. To move closer to Moksha, one must do their inherent “Dharma”, or duty, in order to obtain good “karma”, which is like spiritual “credit” that is saved up over lifetimes. Dharma usually includes things that sometimes people don’t want to do, such as work. This is because we would prefer to relax, and eat, and appease the human body in everything it asks for, like food, restroom service, and pain avoidance. The human body makes demands and the essential personality or soul within responds promptly, unless we choose to act more civil and follow our Dharma.
This can be mirrored in Judaism, by the soul within the body as a unique personality who also is tempted by the sins of laziness. In many proverbs and psalms of Judaism, there is mention of laziness and how it will come and take everything you have, simply because you wanted to fold your hands a little. (402) Along with this example, many Jewish laws describe how one should control their impulses, which come from our human body, the source of human nature. Fighting physically is impulsive, emotions are impulsive, to name a few. All these impulses can destroy relationships and other things if not controlled properly. The Jews look to overcome human nature through The Tanakh, which includes three parts. The law, the prophets and the writings. (334) The law includes more than 600 laws on how one should conduct themselves through the world and in relationships, in a civilized manner. (347) For example, the…