Man Shall Not Live By Bread Alone

This is a Biblical question. The full quotation reads “Man shall not live by bread alone; but by every word that proceeds of the mouth of God”. Food is necessary to exist but mere existence cannot be the be-all and end-all of life. We eat in order to live but life is a means and not an end in itself. Bread is like a staff and support to help us reach our destination. Man does not live simply to eat and drink. Eat and drink and be merry cannot be the aim and objective of life. We share the need for food and shelter with other animals. But man is the crown of creation. God has created man in his own image. His intellectual and capabilities are limitless. There cannot be more majestic, wonderful, awe-inspiring, and valuable things than a man in the whole creation. He signifies the ultimate creation. Then, how can he be satisfied with mere bread?


Man is an intellectual being. His intellect urges him to probe the mysteries of nature, to conquer the elements, reach to the moon and planets, and go beyond them. It wants him to unravel the mystery of life, death, and creation. It inspires and stimulates him to evolve higher and higher and still higher till perfection is achieved. His hunger for knowledge and thirst for enlightenment knows no bounds. Even the sky is not the limit for him. His spiritual, ethical, aesthetic, social, cultural, and technological urges are too strong to reside. He wants to create wonderful, fantastic, and very beautiful things. He dreams of making life a perfect example. Satisfaction, in the ordinary sense, is not his cup of tea. It belongs to animals and beasts.


Had he been satisfied with the gratification of his sense alone, there would not have been such great religious literature, pieces of wonderful art, cultures ever reaching greater heights and so wonderful technological, scientific, and industrial advancements. He could have then not planted his foot on the moon or probed Mars and sent flying machines far beyond the planets. Today he is master of all that he surveys only because of these deep urges to reveal the secrets of nature and spirit. No doubt, the man was at first a savage animal-like all other animals. Then he lived in caves, under trees, covered himself with barks and leaves, and satisfied his hunger by eating the flesh of the animals. But it was just the beginning of the long and triumphant march-a march from savagery to civilization culture and great spiritual heights.


Obviously, bread is important but not at all important. Bread sustains us but the purpose of life is far higher, nobler, subtle, refined, and wonderful. Man is by nature a dreamer, an idealist, and a prophet. He wants to translate his dreams into reality. He does not treat life as an empty dream. It is not a walking shadow or a poor player signifying nothing. He is ready to lose his life to discover its real meaning, to lace it with a nobler purpose and significance. Man's search for the truth, the ultimate reality leads him to higher and higher steps of evolution. He knows how to live but still better he knows how to die. He eats to live but never lives to eat.




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