We have different stages of our life—the bodily concept of life, the mental concept of life, the intellectual concept of life, and the spiritual concept of life. Actually we are concerned with the spiritual concept. First of all we have to learn that “I am not this body,” that “I am spirit soul.” That is Vedic instruction.
If our education extends only to these points (the dog is eating according to his nature, and we are also eating, but in a nice place, with nicely cooked food on a nice table), that is not advancement. The principle is still eating. Similarly, you may sleep in a very nice apartment in a six-story building or in a 122-story building, and the dog may lie in a street, but when he sleeps and when you sleep, there is no difference. You cannot know whether you are sleeping in a skyscraper or on the ground because you are dreaming something which has taken you from your bed. You have forgotten that your body is lying there on the bed, and you are flying in the air, dreaming. Therefore, to improve the sleeping method is not advancement of civilization. Similarly, the dog has no social custom for mating. Whenever there is a she-dog, he mates on the street. You may mate very silently, in a secret place (although now people are learning how to mate like dogs), but the mating is there. The same principle applies to defending. A dog has teeth and nails with which he can defend himself, and you have atom bombs. But the purpose is defending, that’s all. Therefore, scripture says that human life is not meant only for these four principles of life, bodily demands. There is another thing—a human being should be inquisitive to learn what is Absolute Truth. That education is lacking.
That is the difference between the man and animal. Animal cannot control; man can control. Although he is hungry, he can control, out of civility: “How can I taste without invitation?” So that is the difference. Therefore, the conclusion is, man’s life is meant for control. Not like animal: “I want to eat or mate, immediately catch it.” The inclination is there, both in the animal and both and in the human being. But a human being supposed to be controlled. The more you control, you become perfect. And the more you become loose in control, you are animal. That is the difference. Thats why we call man a rational animal and without control he is only animal.
Ref >> Srila Prabhupada Vani.