To understand PROUT involves understanding revolutionary dynamics. Apart from formulating an original concept of revolution, PROUT discusses a number of revolutionary concerns such as the spiritual, historical psychosocial cycles and the structural.
PROUT defines revolution as “the application of tremendous force within a short time to destroy the formidable control of any era and replace it by the next era”(1). Here an “era” denotes a phase of collective psycho-social evolution marked by the dominance of a particular class. The concept of revolution presents radical concepts of counter-revolution, evolution, counter-evolution, and full circle (“peripheric”) evolution wherein the potentials of all classes are exhausted and a fresh cycle of social dynamics commences.
PROUT’s definition of class
The social cycle allows for one collective mindset — a class — to step up and assume the dominant position in society whenever a former collective mindset or class has become corrupted, deranged and degenerate. “In the flow of the social cycle, a class is always dominant.”(2) In Sarkar’s Ananda Sutram, the social cycle with its classes are purported as follows:
“Originally, no well-knit social system had evolved. So we may call this age the proletarian era. In those days all people survived by their physical labor. Then came the era of the valiant, which we may term the warrior era. This was followed by the age of intellectuals. Finally comes the commercialist or capitalist era. As a result of the rapacity of the capitalist era, when the warriors and intellectuals are relegated to the level of proletariat, proletariat revolution occurs. As the proletariat has neither a strongly built society nor sufficient intelligence, the administration of post capitalist society goes into the hands of those who lead the proletariat revolution. These people are brave and courageous, and so they establish the advent of the second warrior era. After the successive order of proletariat-warrior-intellectual-capitalist eras comes revolution, and then the second cycle of similar successive order begins. Thus the rotation of the social cycle continues.”(3)
Conditions for revolution
A revolution takes place when the old order, under the domination of its thoroughly degenerated dominating class, no longer can provide fresh momentum for the natural progress of people at large. When exploitation in such a corrupted society has reached its zenith, barring any chance of further evolution for humanity, the path of revolution is the only way out for a society that is otherwise doomed to indefinite regress and annihilation.
Potential for revolution
The potential for successful proletarian revolution against capitalist exploitation lies not with any of the four psycho-social classes (described below) but with disgruntled warriors and intellectuals forced into capitalist slavery. In his seminal discourse on nuclear revolution Sarkar notes:
“As a result of capitalist exploitation, those having warrior or intellectual mentalities are transformed into the disgruntled slaves of the capitalists. They have no alternative but to toil at the behest of the capitalists to fill their bellies. Those warriors and intellectuals who are turned into proletariat under circumstantial pressure carry a simmering discontent in their hearts. This group is known as the “disgruntled proletariat”. These disgruntled proletariat — the exploited intellectuals and warriors — give systematic expression to the frustrations of the masses to end capitalist exploitation. This is the class with revolutionary distinction.”(4) (5)
Linked to the concept of the social cycle and its classes are also PROUT’s concepts of social evolution, counter-evolution, counter-revolution and full circle (peripheric) evolution. Social evolution is acceleration of the speed of the social cycle by the application of force. It means that the force of the rising class is pitted against the failing and falling strength of the decaying class.
PROUT distinguishes between evolution and natural change in that evolution of the movement of the social cycle is accelerated by the application of force by morally and spiritually enlightened well-wishers of society who form an independent, de-classed group of people.(6) Such upright and upfront people will:
“… initiate and establish the intellectual age by bringing under control the warriors as soon as the warriors degenerate into exploiters. Here the advent of the intellectual/priest age, which should have come in natural course, is expedited by force.”(7)
Counter-evolution is the application of force to turn the flow of the social cycle in the reverse direction. “If any era reverts to the proceeding one by the application of force, such a change is called counter-evolution. For example, the establishment of the warrior era after the intellectual era is counter-evolution, and is very short-lived. Within a very short time the next era or the one after it again replaces this era. In other words, if the warrior era suddenly supersedes the intellectual/priest era through counter-evolution, then the warrior era will not last long. Within a short time either the intellectual/priest era or, by natural course the capitalist era, will take its place.”(8)
The reversal of the movement of the social cycle by the application of tremendous force is called counter-revolution. “If, within a very short time the social cycle is turned backwards by the application of tremendous force, such a change is called counter-revolution. Counter-revolution is still more short-lived than counter-evolution.”(9)
Full circle (peripheric) evolution
PROUT calls a complete rotation of the social cycle as peripheric evolution. “A complete rotation of the social cycle, concluding with the proletariat revolution, is called peripheric evolution.”(10)
Ideologically-wise, the speciality of PROUT’s revolution lies in its concept of nuclear revolution . In his discourse on universal spiritual family(11), Sarkar remarks that the needed change against capitalist exploitation will
“… certainly come through revolution which may be democratic or undemocratic; or it may be a pyramidical, palace or nuclear revolution. Among all the types of revolution, nuclear revolution is the best. The nucleus of creation is Cosmic Consciousness. It is also the goal of revolutionaries, and whatever they do by way of revolution with this goal in mind leads them to the culminating point of their life’s march. Revolution must have an ideological goal. In essence, revolution means controlling all the three nuclei of the universe–physical, psychic and spiritual.”
PROUT’s concept of revolution is based on the idea of integrated progress for all towards physical, mental, and spiritual consummation of life. The idea of nuclear revolution is one with the idea of all-pervading Cosmic Consciousness; that each and every human being, indeed each living being, is an expression of the Supreme. Thus the morally and spiritually enlightened can only include all in their concept of liberation and revolution. This is the basis of nuclear revolution – that the individual becomes morally and spiritually aware and attuned to the idea of universal spiritual creation.
Pyramidical and palace “revolutions”
According to PROUT, earlier concepts of pyramidical and palace revolutions do not qualify as revolutions. Pyramidical revolution is artificially conceived and dictated revolution from above to the unprepared masses below, the result being an autocratic and despotic imposition of dogmatic ideas that can only produce the stopping and standstill of the inherent vitality of the masses. Palace revolution consists of internal reshuffling, castling and upending amongst the top hierarchy with no consequence or benefit to the masses.
Revolution of the individual
PROUT’s concept of nuclear revolution stresses the importance of individual revolution in order to make a greater collective change possible. Preparing the masses, individual by individual, group by group, is essential to its success. “There are several requirements for the success of nuclear revolution — the presence of exploitation in any form, revolutionary organization, positive philosophy, revolutionary cadres, infallible leadership and revolutionary strategy,” details Sarkar in his discourse on nuclear revolution .
A practical example of nuclear revolution is seen in PROUT’s appeal to intellectually astute people to become more of an asset and less of a liability to society by doing their bit towards the establishment of a progressive and more ecologically balanced society by leaving the urban and moving into the rural. Under capitalism the masses are manipulated into unhealthy lifestyles, moulded and influenced by pseudo-cultural ideas of urban life in monstrous commercial centres. Centralized capitalism’s undying thirst for ever-increasing control and widening profit margins is the motivation for this lethal marginalization of quality of life for all living creatures. In order to counteract this trend and re-establish vital balance in human life, PROUT advocates that resourceful people shift their focus and habitat out of the cities and into the rural in order to support the restructuring of life for all people. It is a practical example of nuclear revolution; without an ideological nucleus no society will grow anywhere.
In his discourse on nuclear revolution, Sarkar intonates: “A society may be described as the collection of numerous parallel psychic waves which originate due to the psychic tendency of moving together in unison. The glory of human society lies in the formation of a universal collective structure inspired by exalted ideas.”(12)
The spiritual lies at the root of all of PROUT, its concept of revolution being no exception to this fundamental idea. Progress, according to PROUT, is integrated movement towards the realization of the spiritual at all levels. Cultivation and integration of human cardinal principles in individual and collective life sustains the progressive movement in all spheres – physical, mental and spiritual.
1. Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, Ananda Sutram , Ananda Marga Publications, 1961. 5-4.
2. Ibid, 5-1
3. Ibid, 5-1
4. Prout in a Nutshell Part 21 , Ananda Marga Publications, 1991, Kolkata.
5. Apart from the succinct aphorisms of the fifth chapter of Ananda Sutram, the source for reading on the social cycle would be P.R. Sarkar’s original discussions on social dynamics and the social cycle and its classes, in Human Society, Part 2, which is available from the following on line book store: www.2checkout.com/cgi-bin/buyers/orderpage.2c?sid=74383. The first chapter of this book, on social dynamics, is found here. The Prout Study Guide discusses the social cycle in some depth.
6. See R. Batra on the political system of Prout and G. Coyle on de-classed leadership).
7. Shrii Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar, Ananda Sutram, 5-3
8. Ibid, 5-5
9. Ibid, 5-6
10. Ibid, 5-7
11. Shrii Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar, “Talks on Prout,” in Prout in a Nutshell, Part 15, Ananda Marga Publications, Kolkata, 1988.
12. Prout in a Nutshell Part 21, Ananda Marga Publications, 1991, Kolkata.
Copyright The author 2011