Category Archives: Philosophy

History and Superstition

By Shrii Prabhat Rainjan Sarkar

(27 August 1958 RU, Ramnagar, India) – It is the Renaissance Universal Convention.* Our subject today is “History and Superstition”.

Let me tell you at the very outset that the English word “history” and the Sanskrit word itihása are not synonymous. The chronological record of past events which is called “history” in English should be called itivrtta, itikathá, purávrtta or purákathá in Sanskrit. Itihása refers to the aspect of itivrtta or history which has educative value. Itihása is defined as:

Dharmárthakámamokśarthaḿ niitivákyasamanvitam;
Purávrttakatháyuktam itihása pracakśyate.
“The type of itivrtta which has the possibility of fulfilling physical longings, psychic longings, psycho-spiritual longings and spiritual longings, and which also imparts moral education, should be called itihása.”

According to this definition, the Mahábhárata can definitely be regarded as itihása. I do not subscribe to the views of those who treat it merely as an epic or educative story. So you can now understand that the book called The History of India, which is usually taught in schools and colleges, should not be called Bháratavarśer Itihása, but Bháratavarśer Itikathá.

Books which only impart moral education and have no historical context are called puráńas. Books of this type are unable to help us to determine historical fact. In fact, their exaggerated and imaginary content creates confusion in the minds of the readers. For example, we can cite the case of the Rámáyańa. The Rámáyańa has great educative value, yet it is not itihása or itikathá. It is a puráńa. All the characters in the Rámáyańa are imaginary. The puśpak chariot, the imaginary flying vehicle in the Rámáyańa, may create the misconception in people’s minds that during the Rámáyańa period the people of India knew how to manufacture planes. If they read such written records of our ancestors, people today may misunderstand history and be led into the false belief that the unreal is real, and thus fall prey to superstition. This is not the case only with the Rámáyańa and other famous mythological books; many ancient stories and works of fiction are wrongly regarded as itihása, causing the seeds of superstition to penetrate deeply into the minds of contemporary readers.

There are many reasons why superstition takes root in the human mind. These reasons can be divided into several categories: ignorance of history, ignorance of science, superstition caused by blind attachment and superstition which has become a habit. Today we will analyse the superstitions which arise due to ignorance of history.

First, let us discuss casteism. It is an undeniable truth that at the dawn of creation the earth was not inhabited by human beings. In the course of pratisaiṋcara [the process of introversion in the Cosmic Cycle of creation], first plants evolved out of the five fundamental factors, then underdeveloped creatures, and finally human beings. The study of history has taught us that about one million years ago a class of semi-humans, closely related to apes of those times, emerged on the earth. These semi-humans were the tailless apes (gorillas, chimpanzees, orang-utans, etc.) and the early ancestors of human beings. After thus studying the origin of the human race and tracing the earliest human ancestors, every educated person will have to admit that all human beings have come from this semi-human clan. No group of people can logically claim that their ancestors are superior to those of others. Every intelligent person will have to admit that the ordering of the castes was something created by human beings and is not divinely ordained. As human beings originated from apes, all belong to one race. Were the ancestors of Brahmans monkey Brahmans, and the ancestors of Kayasthas monkey Kayasthas? Such a ludicrous concept will provide historians with amusing anecdotes. In fact, primitive people established themselves as members of the higher castes through verbal jugglery or by defeating others in battles of wits, and today their descendants claim this ancestral lineage. At the same time people with little intellect were forced to accept positions as members of the lower castes.

Many people today talk about purity of blood. Let us also discuss this point. If by purity of blood people mean pure Aryan blood, I will ask, did not non-Aryan blood enter into the collective body of the Aryans who migrated to India from Central Asia and the Arctic? Certainly it did, and this is the reason that their skin colour was gradually transformed from white into black or yellow according to the routes they took as they migrated into India. In India we can see black-skinned Brahmans and white-skinned Shúdras because of this mixing of Aryan and non-Aryan blood.

Some people support casteism by referring to books about caste history. Although many of the historical texts of the different castes were written in difficult Sanskrit, one fundamental defect is apparent. If we believe the shlokas [couplets] in these texts, we will be led to believe that one caste was born from the mouth of the Supreme Entity, another from Its arms, another from the middle of Its body, and yet another from Its feet. Only those who are under the influence of intoxicants will accept such scriptures as authentic! Obviously, no human being can be born from the mouth, and although it is philosophically accepted that the quinquelemental universe was created out of the vast formless Cosmic Body, it is foolish to imagine that that Body has a mouth, arms, [etc.,] out of which the different higher or lower characteristics of the different castes were created. In fact, this Rgvedic shloka, which is a mere interpolation, has been used to perpetuate the defective concept of casteism. Furthermore, the actual meaning of the shloka is different from this.

Bráhmańo’sya mukhamásiit váhurájanyo’bhavat;
Madhya tadasya yadvaeshya padbhyá shúdra ajáyata.
“Brahmans came out of the mouth (of the Supreme Entity), Kśattriyas were born from the arms, Vaeshyas came out of the trunk of the body, and Shúdras were born from the feet.”

Actually, here “Brahmans” means “those who are sattvaguńii [of a sentient nature] and have an intellectual disposition”. Through allegory it is being suggested that intellectuals symbolize the mouth of the Supreme Entity, warriors (rajahguńii) represent the valiant arms, capitalists, merchants and traders (rajastamaguńii) represent the middle portion of the Cosmic body, and workers (tamoguńii) symbolize the feet. This is the proper interpretation of the shloka.

It is also easy to find numerous contradictions in caste history. For example, according to caste history there were only ten categories of Brahmans: five from North India and five from South India. As other groups of Brahmans did not fall into these ten categories, they were considered to be non-Brahmans. Besides this, the histories of different castes refer to the widespread practice of niyoga prathá (fathering a child by a woman other than one’s wife), which resulted in widespread promiscuity. Moreover, in the Buddhist Age the rigidity of the caste system loosened and the intermingling of castes became quite common. In regions where orthodox people tried to strictly follow caste rules, new castes and sub-castes were formed.

Let me tell you an interesting story which will illustrate the contradictory nature of caste history. In the caste history of the Bengal Brahmans it is mentioned that King Jayanta Shur brought five sincere Brahmans from Kánya Kubha to Bengal. These five Brahmans are described as the ancestors of the millions of Brahmans of Ráŕh and Barendrabhúmi. (Did each of these five men marry a large number of Bengali women? Otherwise how could they have had so many descendants?) It is also stated that five Shúdras came to Bengal along with the Brahmans as their servants and became the ancestors of the Kayasthas of Bengal. Now, in the caste history of the Kayasthas it is mentioned that King Jayanta Shur brought five warriors to Bengal from Kánya Kubha, and they are the ancestors of the Káyasthas of Ráŕh and Barendrabhúmi. These Kayasthas were all warriors, and came on horseback wearing leather shoes. Despite their skill as warriors, they did not know how to cook, so five cooks accompanied them. These cooks became the ancestors of the Brahmans of Ráŕh and Barendra. Obviously the question arises, are such caste histories reliable?

Káko nindo káko vando dono pálrá bhárii!
“Whom should we criticize, whom should we worship? Between the two there is an even balance!”

According to the caste history of the Kayasthas, Chitragupta was the first ancestor of the Kayasthas of Bengal. (All the Kayasthas except four or five groups accept Chitragupta as their first ancestor.) The amusing thing is that Chitragupta is only an imaginary character. He is the mythological son of Brahma (the Supreme Entity). The caste history states that Chitragupta had twelve sons: Cáru, Sucáru, Citru, Citracáru, Aruńa, Yatiindraya, Himavána, Matimána, Bhánu, Vibhánu, Vishvabhánu and Viiryabhánu. The twelve categories of Kayasthas – Ambaśt́ha, Shriivastava, Bhattanágara, Máthura, Sakhasená, Ganda, Súryadhvaja, Valmiiki, Kulashreśt́ha, Aśt́hána, Nigama and Karana – descended from these twelve sons. But the interesting thing is this: the Kayasthas belonging to these twelve categories had two hands, but their father, Chitragupta, is depicted as having four hands, holding thunder, a club, a pen and an ink pot. Though Chitragupta was supposed to be human, he was the record keeper of an invisible kingdom. I leave it to you to decide whether the account of Chitragupta is reliable or not.

There is an unhealthy tendency among some sections of society to give credence to baseless stories and mythologies. They do so because they are ignorant of history. I have heard people say that since India was named “Bháratavarśa” after the Puranic character King Bharata, neither King Bharata nor the Puranas themselves should be regarded as false. However, facts contradict this. India was not named after King Bharata. In fact, the term “Bháratavarśa” is much older than the story of King Bharata. People have been misled and confused because of the similarity in the names. Etymologically, bhara means “feeding the people” and ta means “expanding”. So “Bháratavarśa” means “a land which can readily supply food and shelter to its population and easily facilitate the unhindered psycho-spiritual development of its people”. (Varśa means “land”.) When the nomadic Aryans, who were used to living in an inhospitable environment, arrived in the fertile, prosperous land of India, they were so overwhelmed by the abundant wealth, warm climate, lush vegetation and verdant beauty of the country that they called it “Bháratavarśa”.

It was the practice of the Aryans to name geographical regions or individuals according to their special qualities or characteristics. For example, the Aryans noticed innumerable pebbles and stones resembling jám (Eugenia jambolana Lam.) in the northwestern region of India, so they called it “Jambudviipa” (modern Jammu). (Jambu is the Sanskrit equivalent of the Bengali jám, and dviipa is Sanskrit for “island”.) A region that had two large lakes they called “Dvigarttabhúmi” (modern Dogra). (Dvi = “two”, gartta = “lake”, bhúmi = “land”.) As the northern part of India was inhabited by people of the Kash tribe, the area was called “Kashmeru”. (Meru means “land”, and “Kashmeru” became “Kashmir”.) Thus because the Aryans considered that India possessed wonderful qualities and vast resources, they called it “Bháratavarśa”. This name has nothing to do with the mythological King Bharata.

Some people in India attach great importance to the tradition whereby men wear a pigtail on the back of the head and a sacrificial thread across the body. They believe that a man is not virtuous unless he follows these two practices. When in ancient times the nomadic Aryans migrated to and settled in India, the country was already inhabited by Dravidians and Austrics, so naturally there was racial mixing between the Aryans and the non-Aryans. Eventually there was so much social blending that it was impossible to determine who were the torchbearers of Aryan culture and who were not. To distinguish themselves from the masses as the upholders of Aryan culture and Vedic religion, the Aryans started wearing a pigtail. Through their pigtail the Aryans proclaimed their Aryan identity, in spite of the fact that tremendous racial mixing had already occurred in India and that the skin colour of many of those who followed this custom was black. How can there possibly be any relation between these external rituals and the observance of dharma?

Regarding the custom of wearing a sacrificial thread, one need not bother trying to find a connection between an ordinary cotton thread and one’s internal spiritual elevation. The fact is that the Aryans – the original inhabitants of the Arctic and Russia – were very partial to drinking. The Aryans of the Vedic Age who came to India maintained many of the original Russian customs (some of which can still be found in the Russia of today). In that primitive age before the development of science, the Aryans, like numerous other tribes and races, were basically animists. They regarded the various natural forces as expressions of a divine entity and attributed all their fortunes and misfortunes to those deities. In order to save themselves from natural calamities, they used to chant hymns, make offerings of their favourite food and burn sacrificial wood to propitiate their gods. This is how yajiṋas and homas (two kinds of sacrifice) arose and why the Aryans of that time used to offer ghee, animal flesh and other favourite food items into those sacrificial fires. As the colour of clouds and smoke appear similar, the Aryans incorrectly thought that the smoke rising from their sacrificial fires would climb high in the sky, form clouds and bring down rain. The Aryans wrongly thought that the diseases which originated and spread from stinking, filthy places could be counteracted by the scented smoke of sacrificial fires. In an age in which science was still very primitive, the undeveloped Aryans engaged in sacrificial rituals, goaded by mundane considerations. Unfortunately, there are still groups of people today who think that unless sacrificial rituals are performed, religious practices will be incomplete.

The five categories of Brahman priests (Hotá, Rtvik, Udgátá, Adhvaryu and Bráhmańa) who performed sacrificial rituals were supposed to perform their religious duties with perfect calmness and mental serenity. This is how the Aryans expected their priests to conduct themselves. Obviously, the priests would scrupulously avoid drinking alcohol and shun the company of drunkards during a ritual or sacrifice. To keep drunkards away, they used to wear a piece of deer skin across their left shoulder as a distinguishing mark. As this symbol was used during sacrificial rituals, it was called a yajiṋopaviita. And when the priests wore the same symbol on their right shoulder during the performance of oblations to their departed ancestors, it was called a práciiráviita. When they suspended the same symbol around their necks, it was called a niviita. Women were entitled to perform religious sacrifices, therefore it can be presumed that they also wore a yajiṋopaviita.

Later on, after deer had become somewhat scarce and the Aryans in India had become acquainted with cotton, the custom of wearing a deer skin was replaced with the custom of wearing a cotton thread. Subsequently, it became a part of their religious practice to always wear a cotton thread over the left shoulder. Whatever might have been the importance of sacrificial rituals and a sacrificial thread to the ancient Aryans, today in this relatively developed age of science, when people use their intellectual power and developed technology to fight against natural calamities and no longer propitiate deities by offering ghee in sacrificial fires, the intelligentsia should decide whether or not the custom of wearing a yajiṋopaviita is useful.

Many people become confused and believe in superstitions because they do not have a proper understanding of the correct meaning of words. I have often seen people debate over useless, trivial matters such as whether Rama or Krśńa is greater, or whether Shiva or Narayana is greater. The word Ráma is derived from the Sanskrit root verb ram. Etymologically, Ráma means “The Entity Who Is the Embodiment of Bliss”, that is, Puruśottama (Nucleus Consciousness). Similarly, the word Krśńa is derived from the Sanskrit root verb krś. Krśńa means “The Entity Who Attracts the Entire Universe towards Himself”, that is, Puruśottama. Ráma and Krśńa are therefore two names of the same Entity. Similarly, the word Shiva means Parama Puruśa [“Supreme Consciousness”]. Náráyańa is a combination of two words: nára and ayana. Nára means Prakrti (“Supreme Operative Principle”) (nára can also at times be used to mean “devotion”) and ayana means “shelter”. So Náráyańa means “The Shelter of the Supreme Operative Principle”, that is, Supreme Consciousness. Thus Shiva and Náráyańa are merely two names for the same Entity. So where is the scope to wrangle over this issue? The Persian word Khudá and the Sanskrit word Svayambhu (according to some people the Vedic word Svayambhu has been transformed into the Persian word Khudá) are also two names for the same Entity. Is there therefore any scope to debate over whether Khudá or Svayambhu is greater? It is only due to their ignorance of etymology that people take part in unnecessary debates and arguments over the correct meaning of words and divide society. If all human beings are the offspring of the Supreme Entity, how is it possible that only Muslims are the favourite children of Allah, and only Hindus are the favourite children of Náráyańa?

The fact is that all the created objects in this universe are the children of Parama Brahma – all are Its finite manifestations. Nobody is inferior; nobody is insignificant. All are bound by the ties of fraternity.

We have to move forward, shoulder to shoulder, together with all. No one will benefit if human beings remain confined within the quagmire and filth of ignorance or the foggy atmosphere of superstition. Superstition and a false sense of superiority can only pave the way for the annihilation of the human race.

* The author founded Renaissance Universal on 27 January 1958.

Copyright Ananda Marga Publications 2013

We All Want More

By Dr. Ravi Batra
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?

PROUT holds 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 PROUT sees it, spiritual needs are an integral part of human nature.

From Proutist Ecology and Economic Development, PRI Italy, 1990

Copyright The author 2011

Science and Mysticism: The Cosmic Wave

By Susmit Kumar, Ph. D

Although human civilization can be traced back thousands of years, our scientific and technological knowledge was very limited until two or three centuries ago. This limited knowledge caused us to mystify most physical phenomena and to attribute them to heavenly entities.

In some civilizations earthquakes were explained as being caused by the rumblings of the large snake which held the Earth on its head. And those performing so-called miracles (acts generally unknown or unfamiliar) gained popularity and admiration. Fakes, who defrauded people by performing tricks, also gained some influence. However, in general people followed the paths of those truly endowed with spiritual powers – Krishna, Jesus, and Mohammed.

While the recent advances in scientific and technological knowledge has led to an increase in worldly comforts, we have also witnessed increased skepticism among the scientific community about what we commonly call miracles, parapsychology, or extrasensory perception (ESP).

If we are unable to explain such phenomena by current scientific laws, we automatically assume they are fraudulent. But in making this assumption we disregard the limited nature of our scientific knowledge. In fact, science has discovered only a small fraction of the laws of nature, and our knowledge is always growing. The sun, for example, has generated energy through nuclear fission for billions of years, but our scientific knowledge of fission was developed only recently by Albert Einstein. About four hundred years ago, Galileo was able to see the Moon’s craters and Jupiter’s satellites through the telescope, which he invented. But his telescope is primitive compared to the Hubble telescope, which is able to see the birth of new galaxies billions of light years from the Earth. The Hubble telescope will in turn be primitive compared to the telescopes of the future. Similarly, more information can be stored on computer hard disks than ever before. At last count, we were able to store five billion bits of data per square inch. And the speed of data transmission has reached one billion bits of data per second.

Such scientific wonders were inconceivable only a few decades ago, and in the future scientific achievements are going to advance even further, both in speed and accuracy. How many and what kind of discoveries await us in the near future is unknown. Furthermore, what are termed miracles today may be explained by a new kind of science in the future.

Electromagnetic Waves

The similarity between physical and spiritual laws is found in the phenomenon of waves.

The electromagnetic spectrum was discovered this century. Visible light, radio and television waves, and X-rays can all be defined as electromagnetic waves. These waves are emitted, transmitted and absorbed in discrete energy packets called quanta, and they travel at the speed of light (300,000 kilometers per second). Max Planck, Nobel Prize winner in physics in 1918, introduced his quantum theory in 1900, which later led to the field of quantum physics.

The human eye can see only a small part of the electromagnetic spectrum. The wavelengths of visible light lie within the range of approximately 400 to 700 nanometers (one meter = 1,000,000,000 nm). Different parts of the visible spectrum create different colors. The approximate ranges for different visible colors are as follows:

400 to 450 nm Violet
450 to 500 nm Blue
500 to 550 nm Green
550 to 600 nm Yellow
600 to 650 nm Orange
650 to 700 nm Red

The energy of a “quantum” depends on its frequency. The relationship between these two quantities can be written as follows:

energy of the quantum = h x (frequency of the wave),

Here h equals Planck’s Constant. Hence, the greater the frequency of an electromagnetic wave, the greater the energy of the quantum. For this very reason, ultraviolet rays, x-rays and gamma rays are harmful, and longer exposure to them can lead to skin cancer and other diseases.

The portion of the wave that repeats itself is equal to one wavelength. “Frequency” is defined as the number of times a second a wavelength is repeated. The speed of a wave is equal to the product of its wavelength and its frequency:

speed = (wavelength) x (frequency).

The speed of all electromagnetic waves is equal to the speed of light.

During a radio broadcast, sounds at the radio station are first converted into the electromagnetic waves of a particular frequency and then transmitted. At the receiving end, the radio captures the electromagnetic waves of a radio station by tuning into its particular frequency and then converting the electromagnetic waves into sound. TV stations use a similar principle; they convert both sound and pictures into electromagnetic waves.

Thus, in the minutest space around me, for example at my finger tip, millions of waves are passing every second. Consequently, all we need to do is to tune in and amplify a particular frequency in order to listen to or watch a subject of interest.

Thought Waves

In the U.S., people change the time on their clocks by one hour twice a year. This system is called “daylight savings time”. Until today people have been accustomed to setting their clocks back or forward manually. However, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is planning to erect eight powerful transmitters across the U.S., and watches and clocks, including those in videocassette recorders and microwave ovens, will be installed with tiny receivers. This new system will do away with the old manual one, and automatically take care of daylight savings time and changes in time while traveling across different time zones.

Similarly, in April 1990, the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA) launched the Hubble Space Telescope in order to probe deeply into space in order to answer questions about the birth of the universe and its distant galaxies and stars. After launching the telescope, scientists found some problems in its large primary mirror.

Then three years ago, space walking astronauts aboard space shuttle Endeavor corrected the mirror’s reflection. Since then scientists have been able to detect several galaxies which are billions of years old.

Distance in astronomy is calculated in terms of light years. One light year is equal to the distance traveled by light in one year. For example, Jupiter is about 50 light minutes away from the Earth – the light from Jupiter takes about 50 minutes to reach Earth. Hence, if we watch Jupiter at this moment, we are watching events on Jupiter which took place 50 minutes ago. If by using the Hubble we can view the galaxies which are billions of light years distant from Earth, we would be witnessing events which happened billions of years ago. If there are people on a planet which is 65 million light years from Earth, they would be able to see the dinosaurs that existed here then. Recently, space-walking astronauts aboard shuttle Discovery replaced some of the earlier instruments in the Hubble telescope by state-of-the-art technical instruments in order to increase its deep space probing capabilities and to get more detailed images.

The Hubble telescope indicates that in any given space around us we are getting signals from every part of the universe. This telescope could theoretically have worked on Earth too, but light and signals from distant galaxies become blurred or weakened when they pass through the atmosphere. If somehow we could filter these waves, there would be no need to send Hubble into the outer atmosphere. Waves can be detected if only the proper instruments are attuned to receive them.

The same principle applies to thought. When we think, an electrical pulse is created in our brain, and this creates very minute electrical waves (alpha, beta, theta and delta waves). For example, I live in Cincinnati, U.S.A., and my mother lives in Patna, India. Whatever my mother says or thinks enters the space around me, and if I can somehow make my mind tune in to the waves of my mother’s thought or speech, I would be able to listen to her. Waves can be detected by the human mind if it is properly attuned to receive them.

Tuning into the past

Every action in the universe creates some kind of disturbance, and its intensity decreases with an increase in time and distance. In addition, despite the presence of over five billion people on the planet and countless more non-human organisms, none are alike. Everything in the universe has unique characteristics. Thus, the wavelength and amplitude of the waves created in my brain are different from all others. If someone can tune into my brain, he or she will be able to know what I am thinking about.

When a wave (electromagnetic or any other kind) comes in contact with an object, it is partially absorbed by the object and the rest is transmitted and reflected. Suppose two persons are talking. The intensity of the sound waves they create decreases as they leave them, and after some time the intensity of the waves becomes zero. Still, whatever they have said creates some kind of wave which is propagated in all directions. When it comes into contact with an object some part of the wave is reflected and some part transmitted through the object. Although the intensity of the reflected/transmitted waves is very small, when compared with the original wave, it can still be recognized.

Another example is found in the light waves from distant galaxies captured by the Hubble telescope. Some of these light waves come to the Earth, some are immediately reflected by the atmosphere, and some come to the Earth’s surface and are reflected into space again. Hence, this back-and-forth motion of a wave (the reflection and re-reflection of a wave created by numerous objects around the universe) can be tuned into in order to listen to or see into the past. Theoretically, we can tune into these reflected waves and listen to past conversations.

Now, it is a question how to tune into a particular wave which has its origin in either the past or the present. There are two paths for this purpose: (i) scientific instruments, and (ii) spirituality. At the moment science is rapidly making headway in tuning into the waves of the present. It will take time for science to tune into the waves of the past. For tuning into the past (and also the distant present), spirituality is the answer, and for that purpose, the mind is the laboratory.

A Spiritual Hypothesis

The wavelength and amplitude of a wave determines if it can pass through an object. Light is unable to pass through wood, but X-rays can. X-rays passing though the body create a picture on an X-ray plate showing the relative absorption of these rays by various organs, which in turn helps us detecting diseases such as tuberculosis. Radar works on the same principle.

The electromagnetic spectrum/wave was discovered during the last century. There may be other kinds of waves about which we have no knowledge. Some of these “unknown” waves may pass through all objects in the universe and their speed might be higher than that of light.

It is said that we use less than one percent of the capabilities of our minds. There are many unexplored mental potentials about which we have little knowledge. For an example, there is an Indian named Shakuntala Devi whose mind works faster than a computer. She calculates multiplications and square roots of numbers faster than a supercomputer.

So, how can we tap into the unexplored potentials of the human mind?

The basic approach of science is to develop a hypothesis and then test it. According to Newton light consists of the emission of material particles (the corpuscular theory of light). But when scientists could not explain one of light’s characteristics, they opted for the wave theory. And when the wave theory failed to explain other characteristics of light, they went for the duality theory and its uncertainty principle. If this theory also fails, they will have to search for another theory.

I do not see anything wrong in making a hypothesis if it does not divide society. My hypothesis is that there is a “Cosmic Wave” which is regular and has either infinite wavelength, infinite amplitude or a combination of the two, and that it pervades the universe. This Cosmic Wave has the capacity to penetrate into or pass through any object and this enables it to know about anything.

It has been scientifically proven that if a person’s mind is disturbed, the electrical waves generated by his or her mind are irregular. But, if a person is cool and calm, the waves are regular and systematic. Meditation and systematic chanting of mantras superimpose regularity and system upon the irregular mental waves a person may be experiencing and his or her waves become more like the Cosmic Wave.

Prolonged chanting of mantras and meditation enables someone to make his or her mental waves such that they either become the same as the Cosmic Wave or able to communicate with It at will. If a person is able to tap or tune into the Cosmic Wave, he or she will be able to know what a particular person is thinking or saying. It is just like a telephone wire running outside the house. If one knows how to connect to the wire, one can relay a message to someone or listen to two people talking.

This is similar to the state termed savikalpa samadhi. This altered state is achieved when an individual’s waves becomes one with the Cosmic Wave, or with God. Numerous saints from various traditions have experienced this state, and many others have come close to it. According to them our mind is in constant touch with the Cosmic Wave, and vice versa. It is therefore up to each one of us to realize our link to this Cosmic Wave, to realize our constant companionship with the Mind of God.

Copyright The author 2012

Dr. Susmit Kumar is an Indian-born writer presently residing in Canton, MI, USA.
His latest book is Karma, Mind and Quest for Happiness.
Blog: www.susmitkumar.net

The Moon, Mantras and Belief

Susmit Kumar, Ph. D
To begin with I would like to ask readers a question (I hope Apollo astronauts are not among them): Why, if they have not gone to the Moon, do they believe that men went to the Moon?

Most probably they will answer that they learned this through newspapers, television and radio. In other words, belief that Moon landings actually took place is due to acceptance of TV and its live transmissions of Apollo astronauts on the Moon.

One could of course argue that the U.S. made an artificial surface like that of the Moon somewhere in the Arizona desert and televised a landing there to the world. To satisfy a person who argues along this line, you can show him Moon rocks which were brought back by the Apollo astronauts and photographs and films of the landing, but the authenticity of all your evidence can be questioned. In fact, whatever you show to aboriginals living in remote parts of Australia, most of them will not believe that the landing ever took place. The point I am making concerns BELIEF – we have belief in modern technology and that’s why we accept that the Moon landing and other space flights actually took place.

Suppose you are walking with your friend, who tells you that a passerby is a Nobel Prize winner in physics and very knowledgeable in the field. Will you believe this? If you have faith in your friend, you will. But if you do not have faith in your friend — or other people for that matter — how can you verify that the passerby is as good in physics as receiving a Nobel prize says he is? First you will have to learn physics, and then you can ask the person questions about physics to plumb the depths of his knowledge. Without knowledge of physics, however, you have no right to doubt the person’s knowledge.

This is true in the case of spirituality too. Most of us have no knowledge in this area, but because of our opinions about ourselves we sometimes think we have general authority in many fields without knowing anything in depth about a particular field, including the inner world and spirituality.

Spirituality and miracles

Spirituality is often equated with miracles. The great saint Vivekananda said people should not blindly believe stories about miracles, however. He said rather that it is possible for everyone to experience them. We call these incidents miracles because modern science is only 2-300 years old, and cannot yet explain them. Of course, to experience miracles a person will have to meditate or follow the paths set by spiritual leaders.

One should not take spirituality and religion to be the same. In my opinion, spirituality is much more scientific and is 99 percent practical; physics, chemistry, biology, etc. are 50 percent practical and 50 percent theoretical. By doing mental exercises and using appropriate Sanskrit mantras, one can know about these so-called miracles.

I will also say that not all the stories about miracles are accurate. Some are, of course. The rest cause harm to spirituality.

Mantras are generally in Sanskrit because the combinations of acoustic sounds generated by the Sanskrit alphabet have profound effects on the body’s cakras. Cakras are nothing but the glands. At the origin of Yoga around 3-4000 B.C., its founders gave utmost importance to the cakras they discovered in the human body. It is only in the last 2-300 years that we have come to know that these cakras occupy the positions of various glands in the body. Most of our bodily and mental functioning depends on the hormones secreted by these glands.

Concentration of mind is the secret

Aside from miracles, yogic mental exercises help a lot in concentration of the mind. It is the mind that is the final recipient of everything – sorrow, happiness, pain, etc. If people can control their minds, they can use them according to their preferences.

We witness a common example of this in the classroom. Many times, despite their best efforts, students are unable to concentrate on the teacher’s lecture. The subject of their minds change from time to time, even every 5-10 seconds. If at one moment a student’s mind is focused on the lecture, within some seconds its subject may change to a movie, then to his residence, and so on. This shows that they are not masters of their minds, but instead that their minds master them.

The mind has an unique characteristic. At any given instant, it can focus on only one subject. We all see this characteristic in daily life. If someone is walking on the road thinking about something, he might ignore his best friend who happens to be standing on the pavement. At that time, his eyes were working and the friend’s picture was being formed on his retina, but as his mind was busy with some other thing, he was not taking notice of the information sent by the eye. Similarly, if someone is eating and reading an interesting book simultaneously, he might not notice the lack of salt in the food; as his mind was busy with reading, the information sent by his tongue (the food being less salty) to the mind was blocked. Hence, by controlling the mind, people can use it according to their preference.

For whatever reason, many people believe in modern technology but do not believe in the science of spirituality. But in varying degrees these are beliefs, not facts based in experience. And the nature of our experience depends in large part on our concentration of mind, which is helped by proper meditation practices.

Copyright The author 2011

The article was originally published in Global Times, 1995
Dr. Susmit Kumar is an Indian-born writer presently residing in Lansing, MI, USA. Blog: www.susmitkumar.net

Happiness, A State of Mind

Susmit Kumar, Ph.D
Everyone tries to get happiness, but we do not get the desired results every time. Mostly, the results are not according to one’s wishes, and this becomes the cause of unhappiness or sorrow. It is said even love causes unhappiness. Either the wife or the husband has to die first and this will cause unhappiness.

There are two types of philosophies. According to one philosophy, one should work according to capacity and should not worry about the results. In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna said – Karmanye waadhikare astu ma phale su kadachana … “Surrender the fruits of actions unto Me”. This is one extreme. Buddhism also represents this philosophy. Here the ideal is detachment from all worldly objects. The other extreme is the materialist, or capitalist, attitude, i.e., to indulge in the worldly objects or pleasures.

Both positions are flawed. It is impossible to detach oneself from worldly objects. Unless one has some goal, i.e. to achieve some desired pleasure, he or she can not work with a maximum of effort. Hence, it is very difficult to follow the verse in the Gita. On the other hand, as already hinted, results are often not according to one’s wishes and this causes pain or sorrow.

Pain, sorrow and unhappiness are inevitable in the world. So how to minimize them? Personally I am completely against Buddhist philosophy, which is to detach oneself from all worldly objects in order to eliminate unhappiness. The follower of this principle will not enjoy any pleasure in life.

Longing after an object may also not bring happiness. In the movies, when the camera is focused on a person’s face, his face is very clear, but faces of others are hazy. Similarly, if we focus our mind on a particular object, that object controls our passions and other objects become less important. I try to work with all my abilities to get the best results, but if I do not get the desired results, then I will focus my mind on some other object to minimize the unhappiness. Even so, I had to experience unhappiness first.

We may also try to rationalize our unhappiness by playing down the importance of our desired object. Suppose I am to appear at an examination. I study very hard. If I get the desired results, then everything is OK. If the results are not according to my wishes, I may think – “This is not going to be of any importance to me after 20 years, so why should I bother for this?” And what happens to me now may not be of importance to me after 20 years, such as examination results when I was 15 years old.

Happiness is a state of mind. Worldly objects like wealth, sex, power, etc. are sources of happiness, but these are not ultimate goals. Such worldly pleasures are not absolute, but relative in nature. A graduate student assistantship in the US brings in about $13,000 per year. He compares himself with his professor whose salary is around $60,000 per year and thinks that if he had that much money, his life would be very easy and full of happiness. But after a few years, when the student finishes his degree and earns $60,000 per year in some corporation, he starts comparing himself with someone whose salary is higher than his and feels bad.

Hence, wealth, power, etc. are relative in nature. There will be always many who will be ahead in the materialist queue. A better philosophy for happiness is rather: I will try my best to achieve a goal, but whether I achieve that goal or not, I will always think for life’s long term meanings in order to minimize any losses or pain. I shall also start comparing myself with those who are behind me in the queue. After all, it could be that they are better off than me.

Copyright The author 2011

The article was originally published in Global Times, 1995
Dr. Susmit Kumar is an Indian-born writer presently residing in Lansing, MI, USA.
Blog: www.susmitkumar.net

A Quest for Fulfilment

Krsnadeva
The essence of humans’ search for meaning to life and philosophical thought should have no conflict with science. What spiritual yogis said about the structure of atoms millennia ago, for example, has been found to be on the mark by modern scientists. The human quest for fulfilment and transcendence has been frustrated by consumerism and dogmatic impositions, however. Ancient knowledge states that lasting satisfaction is to be found in spiritual thought and practices.

The problem has been that delving into the world of transcendent spirituality has previously led to isolation from the world. The world has not benefited from the yogis who achieve their private bliss in the caves of the Himalayas. The realisations of the mystics have not spilled over to influence society, and esoteric thinkers have been silent about social ills.

Of late the ideas which liberated the mystics have come into wider public knowledge. They have proved very effective in inspiring people to overcome their individual problems as well as initiating social change. Environmental concerns have also made people realize what enlightened people have long asserted, namely that we are an intrinsic part of Nature and that everything is interrelated and interdependent. Such thoughts provide a proper base for environmental ethics.

The oneness of the universe is commonly experienced by astronauts during their first orbits around the planet. It is quite usual for them to gaze in rapture and talk on and on to mission control about the beauty of the world passing below them. A feeling of bliss and indescribable thrill comes over them. These experiences give an idea of the deep enlightenment experienced by spiritualists for millennia. The existential malaise of society brought about by the materialistic monoculture, in other words, can find deliverance in the spiritual theme of interrelatedness.

A spiritual base of life not only helps to expand the mind and make a person more fulfilled. It also puts us in touch with the controlling source of our world. The guiding intelligence behind Nature that our ancestors feared and sought to appease is accessible by the subtle processes of intuitional science. Tapping into inexhaustible inspiration from the very source of the universe, a person can rise above the narrow-mindedness of materialism and dogmatic ideas like sectarianism and racism.

Spiritual thinking can also complement the philosophies of the present day. The change in consciousness needed to radically change the direction of society away from materialism to sustainable existence can be brought about by a deeper perception of the value of the animate and inanimate. New social systems must have new values. In light of this, to draw up a bill of rights without taking into account animal and plant rights would be travesty, when we need them all to be able to sustain a balanced environment and the unity of the universe. Not to safeguard animals and plants that are a vital link in the food-chain, like foxes and wolves, for example, leads to imbalances and damage to crops and forests. Pollutants are one of the biggest scourges of birds and prey like the eagle and the hawks, which keep down the rat population.

Cultivating spirituality through meditation and other practice brings about an expansion of consciousness and understanding. A person feels much more in tune with the world around and the new found empathy with others stimulates a feeling of wanting to help and serve others. This awakening of our potential is also a great tool in shrugging off the mental shackles of the pseudo-culture of consumerism with which big business has burdened us.

Excerpted from the booklet PROUT, Neohumanism and Self-reliance, PRI Copenhagen, 1993

Copyright PRI Copenhagen / Proutist Universal, 1993-2011

Violence

Trond Overland
Force is a natural phenomenon and human beings have been eager ever since ancient times to benefit from the many forces of nature. In the process we have learnt that the unnatural use of force begets unnatural results.

Various uses of force will be deemed more or less destructive or constructive. A flower presses up from being a seed in the ground to gradually embrace realities above ground – sunlight, wind, the presence of other sentient beings. Most people would be appreciative of the flower’s force. Should a pathological hater of flowers call it “a rotten weed” and trample the flower to the ground many would deem it a destructive action.

The use of force is often perceived as unjust and unwarranted by those at the receiving end. Violence is the term given to the rough and injurious application of force. Violence directed against government authorities and the establishment is routinely labeled by them as “terrorism”.

Another well-known fact about political violence is that while governments legalize their own use of force they simultaneously disallow all citizens the same right. This is of course how we get police officers beating up people as part of their regular duty while the other way around people only land in jail.

The following fact is not much discussed: While a particular use of force may not be acceptable in ordinary circumstances it may be anticipated in special circumstances. For instance, during war killing may be acceptable but not during peace time. Extraordinary circumstances warrant exceptional measures.

We humans react in different ways to being trampled upon; in ways that are natural to each one of us. Over time our individual and collective reactions to oppression, suppression and repression may mature into anti-exploitation attitudes and activities. They may even lead to the realization of a new social set-up. Such processes take place in many people’s lives as they continue to develop and grow, and they happen in societies as well.

Thoughtful people will not be for or against force. They will simply acknowledge it and rally behind its proper development and application. A wise person once said that when a little child begins to show signs of exercising its own will, it is not an occasion for censure but for celebration – bake a cake and invite friends! Still, the actual goal is something more: i.e. the future outcome of a continuous process of a synthesis of clashing forces beyond the present situation.

Many will agree that change through evolution is the norm; evolutionary forces keep shaping our individual and collective lives and we accept them. However, revolutions also happen now and again. They are natural phenomena, too, occurring suddenly like violent earthquakes and exploding volcanoes, leaving the world greatly changed. The application of tremendous force that brings sweeping changes is what is known as revolution.

Force is life. Our individual and collective lives constitute a web of natural forces, some known, some less known, and some completely unknown to us. Who can predict what will happen and when? At the least we may expect evolution to continue and revolutions to come and go. At best we may attempt to take any force in our stride and use it for the common good.

Copyright The author 2011

FAQ: Philosophy and Psychology

What is PROUT’s philosophy of ownership and distribution?
In the final analysis, the ownership of this world and everything in it does not belong to individuals but to their creator. We all have a right to utilize the world and its potentialities but none can claim an absolute right to ownership. We should therefore develop a system of maximum utilization and rational distribution of all resources. To accomplish this, we will have to get established in morality, and then create a congenial environment for morality to flourish.

Is human culture one or many?
Human society is one and indivisible and has one culture, which is expressed in so many ways around the world.

Why is the universe our common patrimony?
The universe is created by the Comic Mind as It goes on imagining it. All living beings are part of that creation and have therefore the same right to inheritance. In this respect, PROUT holds that the Supreme Consciousness is the father of all, the Cosmic Force of Creation is the mother of all, and the Universe is our common home.

What is the scientific basis of PROUT’s fundamental values?
The Universe is being continuously created as a mental projection of the Cosmic Mind; whatever the Macrocosmic Mind imagines becomes the creation. It means that whatever exists is a part of Cosmic Mind and is therefore permeated by Cosmic Consciousness. As part of the Universe, human beings come into existence at some point in this flow of creation. Hence, existentially speaking Supreme Consciousness is our father, the Supreme Force of Creation is our mother, and the Universe is our common homeland. Socio-economically speaking all created beings are therefore siblings–brothers and sisters–with the same right to inherit and enjoy a common ancestral property; the physical, psychic and spiritual resources that are found within the Universe. PROUT’s vision is to create a society where this ideal is realized for the good and happiness of all. The spiritual view is of great consequence to PROUT’s principles of accumulation of physical wealth, the utilization and distribution of any crude or subtle resources, and issues such as culture and leadership, to name a few.

Are spiritual values anything more than abstract assumptions?
PROUT concretizes the spiritual in the concept of human cardinal principles. In the words of Sarkar:

“Human existence is trifarious, a combination of three currents: physical, mental and spiritual. Most people cannot transcend the limits of their physical existence: crude worldly pleasures become the only enjoyment of their lives. They embody all that is beastly in nature, goaded and tormented as they are by carnal desires. The subtle feelings of life, the subtle expressions and practices are beyond their reach. Their world is limited to their bodies and physical requirements. Other people are more concerned with their minds. They feel that it is the supremacy of the mind that has differentiated them from animals. Their lives are guided by their desires for mental satisfaction. By virtue of their endeavours they create poetry, art, music, sculpture, etc. They express the finer human feelings of mercy, sympathy, love, friendship and pity. They believe that the mind flows for the sole purpose of attaining the Infinite, and hence they focus their energies on the contemplation of the Transcendental Entity. […] The culminating point of animality is the commencement of humanity. The highest peak of human progress is the beginning of divine bliss. Where animality ends, humanity begins, where humanity ends, divinity begins. The meeting point of the highest attainment of humanity and the blossoming of divinity is the base on which the cardinal human principles are established.” (A Few Problems Solved 2, and other compendia)

Why is the spiritual at the base of PROUT’s rational philosophy?
Spirituality is at the base of PROUT because subtle pure consciousness embraces the physical and psychological realities of life.

What does PROUT mean by metaphysical?
Meta (Greek) denotes “behind” or “beyond”. Metaphysical means those psychic forces or abilities that deals with the physical, for example socio-economics, engineering, medical science, etc. It also includes the spheres of aesthetics and parapsychology. (It does not however comprise supra-aesthetic science, which is purely psycho-spiritual in nature.) It is such faculties that are taken into consideration in the 3rd fundamental principle of PROUT.

What is dogma?
A dogma is a mental construction that does not allow one’s thoughts or ideas to go outside of it.

Why does dogma go against the spirit of human mind?
Dogma goes against the fundamental spirit of human mind as it won’t allow one to go beyond its periphery of that boundary line.

Why is it that religions denounce each other?
One religion cannot accept another because they are all based on dogma.

What is the philosophical makeup of communism?
Communism is an unhappy blending of dogma-centered and matter-centered philosophy thriving on poverty.

What is the philosophical makeup of religions?
The philosophical base of religions is dogma-centered, consisting of a blending of matter-centered and self-centered philosophies.

How do religions inject superiority complexes?
Religions inject superiority complexes into peoples’ minds by the propagation of stories, myths and parables.

How do religions inject inferiority complexes?
Religions inject inferiority complexes into peoples’ minds by the propagation of stories, myths and parables to create inferiority complexes.

How do religions substantiate these complexes?
Religions substantiate their injection of superiority and inferiority complexes by the propagation of fear complex and inferiority complex amongst the people, especially amongst the proletariat (shu’dras).

How to counteract the negative effect of dogmatic religions?
Emphasis should be placed on proutistic and Neo-humanist education that produces a high degree of rationality in the human mind. Simultaneously, the spiritual sentiment must be inculcated in human minds as this is more powerful than the religious sentiment.

How did capitalism come into being?
The historical seeds of capitalism lie in the desire to accumulate consumer goods “just in case”. It is with this mentality of acquisition and accumulation that capitalism takes root; what began as a precaution against bad times developed into speculation and the insanity of unbridled acquisition.

What is the inherent contradiction in capitalism?
Capitalism’s basic contradiction is due to its self-centered profit motivated psychology. It expresses itself as an urge for infinite accumulation of wealth in a world of limited resources. Socially it results in luxury for a few and poverty for the many rather than welfare of all. When the centralization of wealth becomes extreme it leads to stagnation, recession, depression and finally collapse of the capitalist system. Capitalism is not congenial to the integrated growth of human progress and will eventually burst like a fire-cracker!

Why is external force needed to rectify the conduct of capitalists?
It is necessary to curb capitalist greed by placing a ceiling on accumulation, because capitalists themselves will not be able to reform as their internal urge to do so is very weak.

What are the psychological reason for the rampant economic disparities and discrimination under capitalism?
Human longings are infinite. As physical objectivity is finite it can never quench the infinite physical longing. Here the psychic body and physical objectivity are always separate and so the seed of dualism and eternal frustration sprouts. Therefore capitalists’ infinite longing for physical objects is an internal contradiction that expresses itself as a dangerous psychic ailment.

What is the permanent cure for this psychic ailment of capitalists?
The permanent welfare of capitalists lie in the attainment of spiritual objectivity, which means bridging the gulf between the self and the object, and therefore leading to peace.

How will PROUT counteract capitalism in the physical sphere?
PROUT stands for an economic system where money will not be restricted or immobile in the hands of a few capitalists. The more the optimum mobility of money is kept unrestricted, the more it will strengthen and invigorate the socio-economic life of the collective body. The 1st fundamental principle of PROUT ensures such development.

What is capitalism in the psychic sphere?
The selfish psychology developed by an apathetic, elitist intellectual class, that does not like to exchange its privileges with working earnestly for the welfare of all, is the cause if intellectual capitalism.

What are the main problems caused by such intellectual capitalism?
The five main pressing problems in society caused by intellectual capitalism are:

  1. Illiteracy and ignorance, as intellectual people do not come forward to enhance people’s literary and cognitive skills.
  2. The socio-economic consciousness of the indigenous people is not encouraged, as intellectuals have become selfish and only care about their own well-being.
  3. Since intellectuals support the status quo rather than challenging it in a constructive way, unhealthy inferiority complexes and fear complexes continue to influence the minds of the people so that they are kept psychically weak.
  4. Due to lack of rational education and non-dogmatic inspiration through both the educational system and mass media the intellectual and moral development of people is hindered; so intellectual backwardness and irrationality become rampant in society.
  5. Due to the same lack of rational education and non-dogmatic inspiration narrow sentiments like geo-sentiment and socio-sentiment start exerting a destructive influence on society. Consequently, intellectual exploitation, dogmatic theories and doctrines, and religious superstition and rituals become widespread.

What should intellectuals do about the ills caused by intellectual inertia?
Intellectuals must keep their intellects pure and unblemished. They will have to mix with the common people, engage themselves in their welfare, assist the common people in their development and extend their support to all anti-exploitation movements.

What is capitalism in the spiritual sphere?
Those who neglect their family and society and instead withdraw into seclusion in order to fulfill their longing for spiritual emancipation are spiritual capitalists.

What is the one great harm caused by spiritual capitalism?
Because of their selfishness, spiritual capitalists keep spiritual knowledge to themselves and do not bother to arouse spiritual awareness in individual and collective life.

How will PROUT cure spiritual capitalism?
PROUT deems that spiritual practice is a cardinal human right. In order to secure this right and infuse society with spiritual vigour, PROUT introduces the concept of a spiritually strong leadership armed with an ideology based on universal spirituality. In this way spiritualist will be able to fulfil the ideal of Salvation for self and service to the creation.

What is meant by progressive in PROUT?
Any development is not progress. Where development is towards psycho-spiritual welfare PROUT calls it progress. According to Sarkar:

“Normally, people associate the word progress with scientific progress, but actually, scientific progress may or may not be true progress. The essence of progress is movement towards psycho-spiritual welfare. Human existence is trifarious. It has the physical, the intellectual and the spiritual aspects. There is movement in all three spheres, and therefore there can be progress in all three spheres. The main consideration, however, is what is the goal or the aim of movement?” (A Few Problems Solved 6 and other compendia)

Why is there no true progress in the physical and mental spheres?
Physical and mental objects are relative and cannot offer any permanent or absolute solution. Rather, reactions follow in the steps of such limited development. Progress is a Latin word that means well-directed movement; it is movement towards Supreme Welfare. Any physical or mental advancement supporting such true progress is progressive.

Why does something crave for more?
The acquisition of something limited only creates the want for acquiring more because human thirst is unlimited. Only by acquiring the Unlimited will this thirst be quenched.

What are the essentials of an integrated ideology?
It must have a rational analysis of socio-economic problems and must not ignore the human need for mental/intellectual expansion and spiritual emancipation. Finally, it should be imbued with inherent dynamism and vitality so that it can guide humanity forward in its quest for all-round progress. Thus a spiritual base is required for Prout economy to succeed. Spirituality stands for evolution and elevation, not for superstition or pessimism. Spiritually oriented people will be infused with a strong sense of morality, and for this reason will fight al forms of exploitation and propagate moral and spiritual values in the society, as per the maxim, “Self-realization and service to humanity!”

How does PROUT describe human society?
Human society is one and indivisible. It is like a garland which is made up of different types of flowers, linked by one common thread. The overall beauty of the garland is depend upon the beauty of each flower. Similarly, each facet of society is linked together. To maintain the unity and solidarity of the social structure, all spheres of social life must be strengthened and developed.

What does PROUT imply by the term common philosophy?
A common philosophy embraces the whole of creation, explains all its phenomena and its noumenal cause, and is therefore applicable and useful for all.

Why is struggle the essence of life?
Fight is the essence of life because without the struggle between the vital force and the static force no development will take place. Even a flower has to struggle to grow out of the earth and rise towards the sunshine.

What is “psychic pabula”?
Pabulum (Latin) means food; psychic pabula (pl.) means “mental foods” or “mental objects”. Whenever a person does something physical or mental his or her mind is in the process of acquiring some mental pabulum.

Why does the human mind keep running after psychic pabula?
The mind depends on the acquisition of psychic pabula in order to maintain its own existence.

What is the proof of this assertion and how is the human mind structured?
The human mind is the composite of four factors:

  1. Mindstuff, which recreates impressions begotten through the sensory organs.
  2. Ego, which think itself to be the doer of all actions dealing with these impressions.
  3. Intuition, which observes the ego’s dealings.
  4. Soul, which observes what the intuition observes and is the final link with the Supreme.

Ordinarily the intellect of a human being is centred on the ego, which cannot envision an existence beyond itself as it is too attached to sensory stimuli to understand the nature of its origin. The intuitional part of the mind is less attached to the sensory organs. When it is developed it is intimately attached with the soul. The final proof that mind depends on the acquisition of psychic pabula for its continued existence is seen in the above model, and has two main aspects. If the mind of a human being does not involve itself with external physicalities, it withdraws into the ego’s relative mental world where it continues to associate itself with impression previously formed in the mindstuff. From here it will again return to the physical world and will continue to go back and forth in this mechanism of physical involvement and mental analysis. However, if the mind goes deeper beyond the limitations of the egotistical mind it will gradually enlarge and merge this limited ego with the intuitional faculty, and subsequently merge its intuition with the all-knowing soul. Mind is then liberated from limitations and embedded in the totality of creation. This state of freed mind is called liberation. The existence of this liberated state is a verified fact, its condition is called qualified absorption, savikalpa samadhi, and is the result of practicing certain techniques of psycho-spiritual and spiritual meditation. If the mind chooses to go further and merges itself with non-qualified consciousness, it will be lost in the infinite formless bliss that is the origin of all being. This state is called salvation or nirvikalpa samadhi and is outside of the human mind where no relative mind or qualified consciousness exist, only Absolute Being.

How to solve the various problems caused by psychic urges?
The problems caused by unbridled psychic urges cannot be solved by running after crude, limited objects. Neither should they be suppressed as they would only rebound with even greater force in some shape or the other. Instead, psychic urges should be channelized towards the unlimited and most subtle Supreme Desideratum through proper psycho-spiritual approach; means through a scientific system of spiritual practices.

How does the socio-economic path of PROUT satisfy spiritual hunger?
By removing all disparities and artificial barriers human beings will be able to move together towards common physical, mental and spiritual goals. Spirituality means togetherness in the absolute sense, not only in the physical and mental sense. In order to achieve this subtle togetherness, the complications and problems of the physical and mental worlds must be solved.

Can you explain the policy of “ensuring the well-being of all in a gradual way”?
The Neohumanist policy is to ensure the well-being of all creation by first serving human beings, then animals, then plants and then inanimate objects. PROUT takes care of the first part while Neohumanism embraces the welfare of animals, plants and the inanimate world. The policy of focusing on the welfare of human beings first is scientific as human beings will be able to assimilate the ideas of Neohumanism only when their minimum requirements are safeguarded in a proutistic setup. PROUT and Neohumanism are the two wings of bird of society.

What is Neohumanism?
Neohumanism is an original philosophy formulated by P.R. Sarkar. It teaches that human beings must cultivate an all-pervasive outlook embedded in spiritual essence. Neohumanism’s social perspective stresses the existential value of all – plants, animals and human beings, and exhorts human beings to rise above petty geo-sentiments, socio-sentiments and ordinary human sentiments in order to embrace the neohumanist sentiment of devotion to all.

Where is the importance of caring for the inanimate world?
By polluting and seriously disturbing the inanimate world in many ways human beings seriously affect the ecological balance of the earth. In the non-living world there is mind but that mind is dormant, as if asleep, because there is no nervous system. Hence, the non-living world cannot express its grief when it is damaged or destroyed. To protect the inanimate world human beings should conserve and properly utilize all natural resources.

What is the principle of selfish pleasure?
The principle of selfish pleasure rests on dogma. It tells people that due to their particular form of communalism (religious groupism), capitalism or nationalism they may continue to look after themselves only and ignore others’ need to enjoy the level of welfare that they do. This principle enslaves even educated people to dogma.

What is the principle of social equality?
According to PROUT, all living beings are the children of the same Cosmic Father and Mother; the Supreme Consciousness and the Supreme Force of Creation. They should therefore enjoy their common inheritance – the potentialities of the creation – together and move together towards the Supreme stance of being. The neohumanist principle of social equality has very much to do with the principle of advancing cardinal human values before ordinary social values.

Why do we need a theory that comes after practice?
The best and only practical theory succeeds practice. Such theories can merge with other practical theories and form new theories. On the other hand, if practice follows theory – it means that the theory is speculative – chances are that it may fall into one of the following four categories:

  1. Hypocritical theory; motivated by some selfish gain and never meant to be implemented in actual life.
  2. Theoretician’s theories; blind to the facts of the real world and ignores the spiritual; such theories remain confined to the mental sphere only and can never be implemented anywhere.
  3. Inefficient in field of application; propounded by people who somehow are efficient themselves but their theory is not practical to others.
  4. Environmental difficulty; good intention but due to the limitation of the thinker’s mental environment such theories can be disastrous if introduced in the real world; ref: Marxism.

What is the difference between the rule of reason and spiritual guidance?
The path of the rule of reason is “from the known to the unknown”. It takes as its point of departure something limited in the physical and mental world and draws its conclusion on it. Therefore the premises of reason are always embedded in the sphere of relativity where change is the only permanent factor. Because of this stigma of relativity the rule of reason is never able to go beyond the relative and establish itself in absolute truth, satya. The rule of sadvipras, on the other hand, is based on spiritual guidance. The spiritual sphere is beyond the relative and is therefore absolute. The path of spiritual guidance is “from the unknown to the known”; it opens itself to the Supreme and brings spiritual inspiration and intuitional knowledge into the world of physical and mental relativities. The rule of spiritual guidance infuses day-to-day life with supramundande knowledge and Supreme Grace.

According to PROUT, what is the origin of the path of synthesis?
The path of synthesis originates from the psychology of service and welfare.

For the Good and Happiness of All

PROUT proposes to deliver “the good and happiness of all”. Why this absolute claim?

P.R. Sarkar chose to conclude his fundamental economic principles with the following: “This is the Progressive Utilisation Theory, propounded for the good and happiness of all.” PROUT aims higher than creating welfare for many. Its concept of society states that no one should lag behind in the collective movement from the first expression of morality to the final establishment in ultimate existential bliss.

PROUT is the first philosophy and theory to recognise the potentiality of all to move forward in all spheres of life. The theory does not recognise differences in race, sex, etc. It acknowledges all living beings as members of the same universal family with the same intrinsic potential for growth and fulfilment.

Stirring issues page

Copyright PROUT Globe 2011

Economics and Spirituality

How can you mix economics with spirituality?

If spirituality is real to you, how can you not mix it with everything else in your life? As spirituality is a fast-rising trend, PROUT views the integration of spirituality with all other aspects of life as an essential future human trend.

It was certainly not the intention of Karl Marx, but his materialistic philosophy produced a brutal monstrosity instead of a compassionate human society. The socio-political and economic dynamics of communism led to general standstill and immense suffering in all countries where it was imposed on people. By denouncing spiritual values of life, it seems that communism left out life altogether.

Among all the values, the spiritual aspect produces the most optimism, inspiration and dynamics. Society should therefore integrate socio-economics with spiritual values as much as possible. Spiritual values in the form of “lived” morality offer the best hedge against corruption and other maladies that have made socio-economics, politics and cultural life rot under capitalism.

Stirring issues page

Copyright PROUT Globe 2011