by Ac. Krtashivananda Avt.
Different psychological classes or varnas dominate the society in successive eras. After the culmination of Vaeshya or capitalist dominance, the second warrior era appears through mass revolution. Although the ruthless economic exploitation comes to an end, intellectual suppression appears in the warrior era of the second order. Now the question arises: how can exploitation by the dominant class of the era be avoided?
The impact of collective social psychology influences the evolution of socio-economic values and the social character itself. The psychological makeup or character of the political or social leaders guides collective opinions or actions. Many revolutionaries, especially of the Marxist school, believe that once a new social order is established, a new kind of human being will automatically emerge. They do not realize that the leaders, belonging to the old character structure, will try to impose their old beliefs on the new socio-political conditions. In this way, all the declared ideals of revolution will be defeated at the very outset. The French and Russian Revolutions are glaring examples. These revolutions, which were supposed to ensure freedom for the people, opened the way for dictators to take over. The Russian character before perestroika was nothing but a reflection of the imperialist character of Stalin and other Soviet leaders. Glasnost and perestroika were a revolt against Stalinist social character.
Today many psychologists and social scientists, especially radical humanists, believe that only the active involvement of human beings with a higher level of consciousness can influence the socio-economic structure for the welfare of all. It is a simple matter of logic that if the leaders are not enlightened moralists, they cannot create proper social conditions to ensure justice and all-round progress. Personal transformation is the key to social transformation.
M. N. Roy, once a close associate of Lenin, propounded his own concept of Radical Humanism. In his book New Humanism, he commented: “The ideal of radical democracy will be attained through the efforts of spiritually free men and women united in a political party, with the determination to create a new order of freedom. The members of the party will function as guides, friends and philosophers of the people rather than their would-be rulers”. He further said, “Revolution presupposes iconoclastic ideas. An increasingly large number of people, conscious of their creative power, motivated by their indomitable will to remake the world, moved by the adventure of ideas, and fired with the ideal of a free society, of free people, can create conditions under which democracy will be possible. Spiritually free individuals in power will smash all chains of slavery and usher in freedom for all”.1
M.D. Mesarvie and E. Pestel contended in their report to the Club of Rome, that a new society is possible only if in the process of developing it, a new human being also develops.
According to E.F. Schumacher, a radical humanist of the last century, only a person with wisdom can avert the catastrophes the world is facing today. “The neglect, indeed the rejection of wisdom has gone so far that most of our intellectuals have not even the faintest idea what the term would mean.” He continues, “To be able to find it (wisdom), one has first to liberate oneself from such masters as greed and envy. The stillness following liberation – even if only momentary – produces the insights of wisdom which are obtainable in no other way”.2
Erich Fromm, one of the most brilliant social psychologists and philosophers of the last century, assumed the emergence of a new human being with a higher form of qualities. These attributes, according to him, are:
- “Security, sense of identity, and confidence or faith in what one is (self). An exploration of one’s needs for relatedness, interest, love and solidarity with the world around one, instead of one’s desires to have, to possess, to control over the world – which make one become the slave of one’s possessions.
- Acceptance of the fact that nobody and nothing outside oneself can give meaning to life, but that this radical independence and nothingness can become the condition for fullest activity devoted to caring and sharing.
- Joy that comes from giving and sharing, not from hoarding and exploiting”.3
According to Fromm, one has to give up all forms of having, in order to fully be (self-realized). In simple terms this means one has to attain a spiritually awakened state.
Now the question arises: what is the practical means for the evolution of a higher level of consciousness or spiritual awareness? Can it be left to chance or fate, or can human beings wait for an infinite period for a Christ or Buddha to appear? In history all great masters showed the path to emancipation and enlightenment. Buddha taught awakening through the Eightfold Path for spiritual awakening.
Buddha’s teachings today are almost a forgotten chapter of history. The concept of spiritual awakening and the desire for its attainment became lost in the turbulent flow of materialistic thought-waves. At this moment we need a clear and practical idea for the development of the self, as well as strong personalities who can create a dynamic impact on the social character, those able to demolish the selfish and cruel manipulation of society by veritable demons in human form.
At this juncture of human history, Shrii P.R. Sarkar, the philosopher and intuitionist, has demonstrated that the limitation of the human mind is a myth. Human beings can reach the highest state of spiritual perfection and supreme knowledge if they make a whole-hearted effort for realization. He envisages the evolution of spiritually conscious beings, powerful enough to influence the social character in a spiritual direction, calling them “neo-humanists” or “sadvipras”.
Human beings appeared on this earth about a million years ago. Today, human understanding and feeling have reached a highly advanced state, and human intellect has attained a unique dimension. Even so, human beings have yet to realize the deeper essence of humanity or humanism. This is the limitation in the conception of today’s radicals. Humanism, as defined today, is the collection of all the perfection and imperfections of the human being; the limitations of the human mind have been accepted as the ultimate truth. It has not been understood that human evolution is from imperfection to perfection. Evolution otherwise understood is incomplete. Because of this misunderstanding, since its inception human society has been guided by narrow geo-sentiments, socio-sentiments and other group sentiments. Society has continued to protect class interests and narrow sentiments like nationalism, racism, religious dogmas, male chauvinism etc. These sentiments are the cause of disunity and injustice and constant suffering for millions.
“For one million years, human society has moved forward at a snail’s pace. Humanity or humanism has remained a victim of injustice. If people have lagged behind or committed a mistake, society has hated or excommunicated them. Society has not sincerely tried to help them to regain their confidence and recover their human dignity and value. Human beings have remained more concerned about themselves than about others, nor have they cared about other living beings – the flora and fauna of this earth. The lives of other beings are equally dear and precious to them as our lives are to us. If a human being cares for the well being of a particular family, group or nation alone, that is indeed harmful. If a human fails to care for all living beings, including plants and animals, with equal compassion, the all-round progress of humanity is impossible. Those who have realized the spiritual bond of unity with all living beings and developed compassion for them are known as “Neo-Humanists”. Hence Neo-Humanism is the humanism of the past, humanism of the present and humanism newly explained of the future”.4
Awakening of Neo-Humanistic Consciousness
A deeper knowledge of human characteristics reveals that the human personality is actually physico-psycho-spiritual. The psycho-physical or physico-psychic layer of the mind (i.e. analytical intellect) has the tendency to be affected by the environment or through intellectual manipulation. Those whose perception and judgment depend on this portion of the mind alone, whose intellect is generally influenced by the environment, are generally victims of psycho-economic exploitation. They do not possess the capacity to understand the subtler strategies of exploitation. This is the limitation of the analytical intellect. That is the reason why in the modem era, although there has been a great evolution of intellectuality, there has been a failure to recognize the real problems of society and to propose practical solutions. Rather, problems are becoming aggravated day by day, and people are becoming more and more confused. The demonic face of domination by the economic and political oligarchies is strangling the freedom of the people.
A deeper part of the mind is psycho-spiritual. Some Marxist analogs and materialist philosophers reject the idea of psycho-spiritual freedom. This is because the extroverted mind cannot comprehend the inner spirit in a spiritual sense. As knowledge is infinite, there must be a process to reveal that subtle knowledge.
Spiritual science is also a process to discover inner power and to transform the intellect into a subtly pointed intellect or intuition. Spiritual awakening not only opens the door to real knowledge, but also enables the mind to realize the spirit of oneness of living beings. PROUT advocates a collective spiritual awakening through systematic effort, such as a process of spiritual education.
The first step in this regard is spirituality as a practical process, in the sense of a physico-psycho-spiritual approach to spiritual emancipation. In this entire cosmological order physicality exists – the material world. We cannot neglect the physical world in our pursuit of spirituality. It is essential to make an effort to rectify the ills of the socio-economic structure while moving on towards our spiritual goal. In other words, spiritual practice is not confined to the psychic world, rather all our struggles to modify social character and to eradicate the unjust social order are united with our spiritual efforts.
The second practical step is spirituality in essence. This means to affect the psychic and psycho-spiritual dimension of the collective mind. It is not practicable that all human beings will try to reach the cherished goal of Neo-humanism individually. A second phase will usher in the spiritual orientation of collective psychology through cultural revolution. Evolution of higher social consciousness is not possible without a socio-cultural and intellectual revolution to eradicate dogmas. Spiritual culture will revitalize all stagnant and dying cultures and will initiate an era of collective spiritual awakening.
The third step is spirituality as a mission. This is the goal or culminating point of spiritual emancipation. In this stage, one can transcend dualism and appreciate the spirit of unity in diversity. Spirituality is not just a metaphysical concept pursuing some imaginary freedom. It is the realization that our existence is entwined with the cosmological order. This Neo-humanist status will not only save human beings from present catastrophes, but will save animal and plant life as well. This is the highest state of human emancipation. When the ideals of a universal society will be established, humanity will move forward with tremendous speed, accepting spirituality as the mission of life. These Neo-humanistic beings or sadvipras must emerge to become the nucleus of the society.
Sadvipras as the Nucleus of the Society
PROUT does not support one-man or party dictatorship. Idea of sadvipra is not institutionalised leadership but qualitative. To bring about real revolution, sadvipra as qualitative leadership has to emerge in every walk of life. In the fields of administration, education, art, literature, politics, economics, culture – in every sphere – such leadership has to emerge. In other words in every sphere of social activities leadership must emerge as nucleus. It will grow centring around the ideology of Neo-humanism. Such qualitative evolution can emerge only in the state of higher social and spiritual consciousness.
As the Sadvipras are not institution or organised body, the question to control the political administration directly does not arise. They will guide the people and the dominating class by remaining in the nucleus of the society. Sadvipras cannot change the natural flow of the social cycle. In different eras, a particular classes will take the political reins of the society, with Sadvipras observing their actions. If at any time a dominant warrior, intellectual or capitalist class misuses its power, Sadvipras from different walks of life will unite and initiate evolutionary change in the society. At the culminating phase of capitalist exploitation they will organize for revolutionary upsurge. In this way the speed of the social cycle will be accelerated.
1. Roy, M.N.: The New Humanism, Renaissance Publishers, Calcutta 1952
2. Schumacher, E.F.: Small is Beautiful, Harper & Row, New York, 1973
3. Fromm, Erich: To have or To Be, Sphere Books, London, 1985
4. Sarkar, P.R.: The Liberation of Intellect, AM Publications, Kolkata 1983