Understanding PROUT

Dr. Ravi Batra
In 1977 I wrote a book entitled The Downfall of Capitalism and Communism, predicting that both systems would collapse by the year 2000. The intellectuals ignored and ridiculed my book because of its title that appeared outlandish to them. By now the Soviet style communism has breathed its last, whereas the Chinese version is much transformed and disfigured. At the same time, capitalism is tottering under the crippling weights of excessive wealth concentration and a vast ocean of debt. No matter how far-fetched it may seem, believe me, capitalism will also soon vanish from the face of the Earth. This is simply a dictum of Sarkar’s laws of social cycle, which has so far been infallible in its predictions.

The question is what will replace the two socio-economic systems familiar today. To my mind, the new system will be PROUT, which, though not a yet a household word, will soon become known and popular all over the planet.

The propounder of PROUT is P.R. Sarkar (1922-1990), a brilliant historian and philosopher from India. PROUT is actually an acronym for what Sarkar calls Progressive Utilization Theory; that is Pro from Progressive, U from Utilization and T from Theory together make up PROUT.

PROUT is bound to be a controversial philosophy, at least among secular intellectuals. According to Sarkar, human existence has three aspects – physical, intellectual and spiritual. Intellectuals today ignore the spiritual aspect of life in their hypotheses, but to Sarkar spirituality is as much inherent in human nature as physical and intellectual traits. We are all familiar with a person’s physical and intellectual needs, but the spiritual needs are equally obvious and no less important.

No one can deny that human thirst for happiness is unquenchable. We all want more and more from life; seldom are we satisfied with what we have. There is hardly anyone content with his circumstances. Why is it so? What does it mean? To Sarkar it means that human beings have a spiritual nature. They have needs that cannot be possibly satisfied with material objects. The human have needs that cannot be possibly satisfied with material objects. The human thirst for happiness is infinite, but material things are all infinite; hence they can never quench the human thirst. Human beings all seek unlimited joy, but material objects, being limited, can never offer that. The limited cannot yield the unlimited. Only an infinite entity can satisfy the infinite human hunger for enjoyment. Spiritual activity is simply a pursuit of the infinite entity. The way Sarkar puts it, it is clear that spiritual needs are an integral part of human nature.

This concept of spirituality is essential to an understanding of PROUT.

From Proutist ecology and economic developmen, PROUT Research Institute, Italy 1990

Copyright The author 1999

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