Category Archives: Spiritual values

Revolutionaries Should Practice Yoga

By Trond Øverland
Written for Prout (Delhi)

As is commonly known, the job of revolutionaries is most challenging. They have to deal with all three aspects of time in quick succession. Revolutions are processes of rapid change driven by pressing, irresistible forces. If revolutionaries cannot move swiftly from the past towards the future, they might end up as the proverbial children of the revolution, consumed by the very same uncompromising changes that they themselves initiated.

Two critical issues in particular rise with the onset of the fury of revolutionaries:

  1. How can they remain unattached to their firebrand ideals, ways and means that possibly become outdated with the passing of time?
  2. How will they behave justly towards anyone perceived to stand in the way of their revolutionary ideals?

Action

Perhaps no one ever pondered the nature and science of action as deeply as Lord Krsna did. The teachings of this world teacher of truly free will are preserved in the Bhagavad Giita, the concluding 18th chapter of which states (verse 14):

"The five essential factors of any action are its circumstances (body), the doer, the tools or instruments (senses), the styles or kinds of effort, and Divine Providence."
(Adhiṣhṭhānaṁ tathā kartā karaṇaṁ cha pṛithak-vidham vividhāśh cha pṛithak cheṣhṭā daivaṁ chaivātra pañchamam.)

Here Lord Krsna states that there are innumerable individual and collective bodies, such as plants, animals, human beings and their various associations binding them in mutual associations. These assemblages and combinations – family, class, caste, community, nation, region, continent, etc. – constitute the circumstances of any political, socio-economic, cultural, and other actions. Individual and collective doers (kartā) execute those actions (karaṇaṁ) by various means (pṛithak-vidham),* and in various ways or styles (pṛithak cheṣhṭā).

In this way, our world is constantly dominated by innumerable wills and their varying patterns of conduct and behaviour. In such a stupendous mesh of multifarious motivations and diverse ambitions, what is the way to secure non-exploitative, fair governance in a world where everybody may progress freely physically, mentally and spiritually?

Yoga

As is widely known, the Bhagavad Giita is not only a technical manual of consummate deeds. It is "the Bible of Yoga", the ultimate exposition of enlightened action.

Perhaps this piece of universally recognized literature is not simply a rendering of what Lord Krsna may have told his friend Arjuna on the battlefield. Possibly it is the collection of his life-long teachings to humankind, poetically framed to take place on “life’s battlefield” (that coincides with the very battlefield of the historical Kurukshetra war). In any case, the Bhagavad Giita merges worldly action and the practice of yoga into a profound message and practical recipe of true humanity.

According to Prout, society’s real leaders and revolutionaries must be Yogis. Without directing spiritual light towards the centre of human endeavour and ambition, all our actions will gradually and finally backfire as far as the welfare of living beings is concerned.

The Supreme Divinity is life's mystery and reality. It is the factor on which all other elements depend for their recognition and fulfilment. It is our Soul and the very definition of Yoga:

“When the unit consciousness merges itself fully and is finally identified with the Supreme Consciousness, Shiva, that is called yoga.”
(Saḿyoga yoga ityukto jiivátmá Paramátmanah.)

This shloka, which Shrii Shrii Anandamurti ascribed to Lord Sadashiva, provides another philosophical basis for the concept of the rule of Sadvipras. It explains that the ultimate unity – Yoga – is the merger of our individual soul with the Supreme Soul. In this merger the individual rises above worldly relativities and beholds Supreme Reality beyond temporal and spatial relativities.

From both the shlokas above we can extract Prout's principle of value-oriented leadership; its idea of the paramount importance of morally and spiritually enlightened revolutionaries – sadvipras. According to Prout, the only way is sadvipra samaj, the society of the morally and spiritually enlightened, whose minds (vipra) remain embedded in the Supreme (sat). It is both a wedding of souls and a socio-economic system where Divine Providence, the fifth factor of Lord Krsna’s formula of action, is properly fixed at the political centre of society:

“In the nucleus of the social cycle, spiritual revolutionaries (sadvipras) control the cycle in order to liberate all.”
(Cakrakendre sadvipráh cakraniyantrakáh.) – Ananda Sutram 5:2

The merger of the individual with the Ultimate Oneness makes for a just society where no individual and group are discriminated against. The Universal Soul observes and knows that there are no shortcomings, there is only divine potentiality everywhere and in everyone. A person or leadership wedded to this truth will tend to act in the interests of all and not only against someone. Spiritual Yoga, therefore, is the way and mode of fair policy. 

Synthesis

The Supreme Soul is independent of the past, the present and the future. It is one with all but wedded only to Supreme Truth. While navigating and sorting out life's trials and tribulations, human beings therefore require regular daily practice of Yoga. It is the way to remain inspired by the Divine while steeped in all sorts of worldliness. In order to increase morality – the practical value of spiritual ethics – and not diminish it, human beings must practice Spiritual Yoga on a daily basis. This reality is true for revolutionaries, politicians, and also for all others involved in the evolution and revolution of human society.

Proper yogic training and spiritual self-analysis bring about synthesis in life.** Synthesis is just another name for spiritual truth, and the path of Yoga is the practical way for its actual realization. Yoga yields ultimate success and achievement, without which life remains unfulfilled, incoherent and ultimately tragic. Analysis alone takes life apart; analysis by itself does not create new life and vigour. Only Yogic synthesis brings about renewed energetic change and increasing meaningful purpose.

The processes of both evolution and revolution must be directed towards synthesis and not analysis. Analysis may be a means but synthesis should always remain the fundamental aim and reason for any action. Adolf Hitler stated that love is weak but hatred is strong. He opined that love cannot be used to unite people and propagated nationalist socialism based on racial hatred. The rest is history. Actually, revolutionaries need the synthesis and Supreme Love of Yoga first and foremost.

When Ananda Marga Guru Shrii Shrii Anandamurti languished in jail during 1970s, a visiting follower asked him: “How do I know if I am making progress in my sadhana?” His Guru replied: “If your love is increasing and expanding you are making progress.”

Modern human beings live in a highly complex world. Their increasingly perplexing circumstances require renewed spiritual vision and steadfast divine endeavour for the goal of true human society to be accomplished. Individual and collective lives devoted to the realisation of the Divine and the good of all are the only guarantee against corruption of power and all sorts of exploitation. Hence the significance of spiritual Yoga in the personal and collective lives of revolutionaries becomes clear.

In order to bring about spiritual good in society, proper work has to be initiated in individual life. Spiritual Yoga practised individually as well as collectively is the mighty foundation that can carry all of us forward towards the increasingly blessed state of a spiritual society.

Footnotes

* Instruments, tools or senses.
** For the latest medical and other scientific findings on the benefits of yoga, please see medindia.net/yoga-lifestyle and other available sources of authoritative information.

The Uplifting Effects of Vidya Tantra

By Dr Dhruba Hojai

In the Ananda Marga system there are six lessons in meditation. One cannot go to the next higher lesson unless and until the groundwork is prepared in the lower lessons. Each lesson is related to the chakras (nerve plexuses) of the spinal chord which awakens with the practice of spiritual meditation. It is saddening to note that there are many gurus exploiting the common people in society in guise of spiritual masters virtually turning away from Vidya Tantra (scientific yoga) into Avidya Tantra (mesmerism) and establish money spinning rackets.

Shrii P.R.Sarkar termed the yogic postures as "innercises" or exercise of the internal organs and the endocrine glands (hormone secreting glands). According to the Upanishads (sacred books of the Hindus), there are more than 5000 yogic asanas in existence. However, only three to four yogic asanas or innercises each day are sufficient for the maintenance of psycho-physical wellbeing of an individual. This in turn depends upon what type of yogic asanas are required for a particular individual. The asanas are prescribed by an Acharya (teacher).

It has been observed that many of so called self-styled Yoga teachers have been able to convince some sections of the pubic the benefits of three to five common yoga asanas. The disciple at first, will feel good with positive vibes absorbed as he is in a collective atmosphere. It is just like going through a phase of cocaine or hash try. Once they return to their regular business, the effects of the vibes wear off. The mental stress return even after doing the exercises taught to them regularly for many days. They are then bound to return to their guru (usually by paying hefty consultation fees) and thus they become trapped in the vicious cycle. This process is called Avidya Tantra. The mental stress cannot sublimate out of the mind and body.

Instead, Vidya Tantra must be practised by every individual in order to attain equipoised state of body and mind.It is only through the correct practice of the various stages of meditation that one can attain salvation. Avidya Tantra causes imbalance in both body and mind.

Shrii Shrii Anandamurtiji gifted the present and future civilisations with 5018 "Prabhat Sangit" which are or the songs of crimson dawn. The Prabhat Sangits are the modern version of the Vedas. Shrii Shrii Anandamurtiji also said that "Kiirtan" or praising God aloud in a loud voice in unison with minimum of at least five people is a very important component of spiritual practice. Doing profound kiirtan charges the spot with positive microvita and vibrates the highest nerve plexus in the head or Sahasrara chakra or the crown plexus. The positive vibes thus gathered in the crown plexus have to subsequently be sublimated out of our bodies through the first lesson of meditation in order to bring us back to reality.

In conclusion, we should learn Yoga or meditation from an Acharya or a teacher who is authorised to do so by the collective body in Yoga. Each lesson is related to the respective chakra or plexus in the spinal chord which awakens with the practice of Yoga for self realisation or God. This process is called Yoga which is in essence the path to Ananda or "Absolute Bliss".

Religions Today Have Outlived Their Utility

By Dr. Dhruba Hojai

Mankind has suffered more in the name of religions than any other cause. The First Crusade (1096-1099) was followed by the Second to the Ninth Crusades to recapture the Holy Lands. It started as a widespread pilgrimage in western christendom and ended as a military expedition by Roman Catholic Europe to regain the Holy Lands. The Muslims on the other hand are still fighting the Christians and the Jews to win back the holy land of Jerusalem. Both the warring factions remain defiant until today inspite of loss of millions of human lives on both sides.

"We are on the verge of entering into a new Yug or Age in which religions have become practically redundant."

The advent of the Taraka Brahma, Shrii Shrii Anandamurti as 'Mahasambhuti" on this planet on 21st May 1921, is considered to be an absolute change in our way of looking at life by His followers. Ánanda Márga or officially Ánanda Márga Pracáraka Saḿgha (organisation for the propagation of the path of bliss), a socio-spiritual organisation and movement was founded in Jamalpur, Bihar, India in 1955 by Shrii Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar (the civil name of Shrii Shrii Anandamurtii). Ánanda Márga is also the name of the philosophy and life-style propounded by Shrii P.R. Sarkar, described as a practical philosophy for personal development, social service and the all-around transformation of the society.

Shrii Shrii Anandamurtiji said that religion is an "ism". Religions were founded and preached by "mahapurashas" during certain periods of the societies which necessitated their emergence. The world now still remain divided on religious lines and many a war have been fought because of one's faith in their respective religions. But, have the religions been able to bring peace to the world as preached in the holy scriptures? This unnecessary bloodbaths in the name of religions have to stop once and for all. Of course, religions have their own sides of goodness because the intentions of messiahs or founders of the religions were meant to save humanity at one stage of time. But a universal dharma are missing in the religions because the religions were based on dogmas without scientific philosophies. The religions of the world have miserably failed to cater to the needs of humanity; rather the world has been divided by religions which has led to unnecessary bloodbath. Therefore, it is imperative that all religions of the world today come together, shed their differences and join a common platform for the all round development of Mankind because the Yug (Era) has changed. We are living in a small Globe today.

Who can deny the exemplary selfless service of the Christian community? The kothurta (firm affinity) of the Muslim community towards their religion? The dharma chakra (religious rituals) of the Buddhists? The povitrata (holiness) of the Hindus? The vigorous fasting of the Jains? These are some of the unparalleled virtues of the respective major religions of the world. Shrii Shrii Anandamurtii had always favoured the harmonies blending of cultures,societies and languages.Today,all civilised Societies condemn violence in the name of religions.Similarly,the harmonious blending of various religions of the world into one universal path towards God is the most sought after way today.The civilised world want peace for the troubled and torn human society.

Shrii P.R. Sarkar founded the Ananda Marga or Ananda Marga Pracharaka Sangha for the welfare of the suffering humanity. Unlike religions which are based on dogmas, Ananda Marga or the path of Bliss is a Dharma based on scientific philosophy. Just like Dharma of water is to flow downwards until it merges with the mighty ocean or the Dharma of fire is to burn anything that is inflammable, the Dharma of atman (unit soul) of any living creature is it's effort to merge into Parmatman (Ocean of souls) or God. Shrii P.R. Sarkar said that we have attained the human form not by our efforts but after millions of years of rebirths from lower forms of life by the efforts of Sagun Brahma or Prakriti or Maya. This human form is the ultimate form of life on this planet. We must utilise this opportunity to do spiritual practice in order to merge into God by utilising the mundane and supramundane materials of Prakriti. The process of temporary merger of one's soul into God during life is called "samadhi" and permanent merger into God after death is called "Moksha" or mergence into Absolute Bliss or Ananda. The anandamargis believe that Shrii Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar or Shrii Shrii Anandamurti advent to this planet was extraordinary due to the fact that He was not an ordinary man. His advent is called "Mahasambhuti" as Shrii Shrii Anandamurti was a "Taraka Brahma" just like Lord Shiva who came to this planet 7000 years ago and Lord Krishna came to this planet 3500 years ago. A Taraka Brahma's advent to this planet take place during certain periods when Dharma or Righteousness become endangered in the societies by Evil people or "the Papis". The Law Of Dharma compels God to come down to the planet during extreme imbalance in the Society. The Taraka Brahma whose brain function cent per cent or to its full capacity has the immense spiritual powers to revolve the wheel of "Yug" or Ages to the appropriate "Yug" or Age in order to give victory to the the suppressed people for reestablishing  Dharma or righteousness. This is required to regenerate and maintain balance in the society.

We are, therefore, now on the verge of entering into a new Yug or Age in which religions have become practically redundant paving way for the new concept of the "Path To Bliss or Ananda Marga" for the suffering humanity. The Path to Bliss is for the unification of mankind into one universal family without any caste, creed or religion through establishment of Progressive Utilisation Theory or "PROUT".

That's why the song "Imagine" by the late John Lennon was offered to the United Nations to play on International Peace Day on 21 September as "The Right of Peoples to Peace."

John Lennon sang in IMAGINE-

"Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today…

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace…"

-dhruba 

– Dr Dhruba Hojai,
Guwahati,Assam,India.
PIN:781028.
Mobile:+919678098099

Taraka Brahma

Image above: The Mahabharata (Great India) epos has enhtralled Indians for thousands of years with its dramatic saga of struggle between good and evil centering on its protagonist in excelsis Lord Krsna, the Taraka Brahma of the era. The above rendering in medieval style displays the scene when Lord Krsna expounds the timeless teachings of the Bhagavad Giita, a part of the entire ancient epos, to Arjuna at the battlefield before the final war commences. 

By Dr. Dhruba Hojai

The philosophy of Ananda Marga can be explained in a very simple way through a cycle called "Brahma Chakra". Shrii Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar said that God has two defects. First, God cannot create another God and second, God cannot dislike or hate anybody, whether one is a thief, robber, murderer, good person, bad person, etc. Before God created the universe, He was all alone. He was in a Nirguna (non-qualified) stage. This stage of God is known as the "Nirguna Brahma". One can easily imagine the tortures of loneliness when one is all alone.God, thus, created the Universe out of his thought projection, known as "Sagun Brahma" (qualified greatness) or "Prakriti". Thus, God is no longer alone now. He enjoys playing with His creations.This play with His creations is called "Liila" in Sanskrit. The Universe is the stage of His own show in which He is the Generator, Operator and Destroyer (GOD).

God is also known as "Paramatman" or the collection of souls. Literally, God is the ocean of souls. Our soul is known as atma or the unit soul which is ever longing to merge into the Paramatman just like every drop of water is ever longing to merge with the mighty ocean.Therefore, Dharma in real sense of the term is the journey of the Unit Souls to merge into Parmatman just like dharma of every drop of water is to merge into the ocean. Each individual, whether its a human being, animal, or plant is a soul with a body around it. Shrii Shrii Anandamurtiji said that we have attained the human form after many rebirths from lower forms of life not by our own efforts but through the efforts of Prakriti or Sagun Brahma. Sagun Brahma helped us to attain human form in order to do spirituaĺ practice under the loving guidance and shelter of Taraka Brahma to merge back into God or Brahma or Paramatman and thus attain Absolute Bliss. This can only be possible when we surrender ourselves to Taraka Brahma or Parampurusha.

The definition of Taraka Brahma is that he is/was a person like us. But, unlike an ordinary person's brain which utilizes only between 1-2 % of its full capacity, a Taraka Brahma's brain function cent per cent. A mahapurasha (a great man who bring great social revolution)'s brain function at between 10-20 % of its full capacity. Anandamurtiji said we can raise the percentage of our brain-functioning to higher levels by sadhana (meditation). Anandamargis believe Sada Shiva, Lord Krishna and Shrii Shrii Anandamurtiji were Taraka Brahmas in the three Yugas, which passed after human beings evolved. Sada Shiva was born 7000 years ago, Lord Krishna was born 3500 years ago, and Shrii Shrii Anandamurtiji was born in the 20th century.

Shrii P.R.Sarkar said, "Avatara" means "descending" to come to form of a "unit". Every person, animal or plant is an Avatara of Paramatman. But the advent of Taraka Brahma is known as "Mahasambhuti". He said that during a period when the "Papis" or evil beings become too dominant in the society and the "Oppressed" are exhausted of all means to fight the Demons or Evil, the Law of Dharma compels Paramatman to descend down to the society in the form of an ordinary man but having immense supernatural powers in order to regenerate and maintain balance in the society. The Taraka Brahma does this by revolving the wheel of "Yuga" or "Age" to the appropriate era by applying tremendous spiritual force in order to uphold Dharma or Righteousness. That is why Lord Krishna had to stage the "Mahabharata" in order to give victory to the Pandavas who were on the side of Dharma against the Kauravas. This Epic Battle of Kurushetra in which many a great hero and thousands of soldiers from both sides laid down their lives is a vivid reminder to mankind that God is compelled to side with the oppressed in order to uphold Dharma or Righteousness in any of the four Yugas or Ages revolving on the wheel of time.

Values for Another World

By Trond Øverland

What would be the value-building blocks of a society where 100% – and not only the 1% – flourish and progress in all possible ways?

“The synthesis of self-realization and service provides a sound base for progress and dynamism.”

Today most of us live in a capitalist world where profits, concentration of wealth in the hands of a few, and self-interest are the standards. But it was not always like that. Throughout history, essential values have differed from one form of society to another. The characteristic values of any society inform us about the principles and qualities considered worthwhile, desirable, and basic by that society and its people.

In warrior-minded states, sheer physical strength, courage, discipline, respect for authority, and societal unity were fundamental values. Chivalry, adventurousness, and righteousness are further values deep-seated in classical warrior lore of most countries.

Intellectually- and spiritually advanced societies, on the other hand, revered subtle minds and did not hold physical strength to be a most essential value. The lofty values of enlightenment societies included philosophical and religious merit, inventiveness, profundity, and the power to communicate subtler realities in general, typically generating considerable academic acumen along with sophisticated culture. All developed civilizations of the world went through such stages of brilliant human individual and collective development.

The legacies of those warrior- and intellectually- minded societies are still with us today.  In fact, a speciality of the system of capitalism is that it commercializes the human and structural resources developed and emphasized by preceding forms of civilization and society.

Examples of such commercialization are innumerable, such as the modern evolution of the Olympics. The original Olympic Games of ancient Greece celebrated the universality of physical sports. Only a few decades ago, participants would be banned from participation if it were known that they had made any amount of money from their sport. Today’s thoroughly commercialized Olympics present us with a very different picture.

Actually, the Olympics were not commercialized for sports reasons but because those with economic interests smelled profits. Today it is safe to conclude that much of the natural sports world is being destroyed by frenzied commercialization. Endemic doping and increasing financial costs involved in participating even at the child entry level are only two of the symptoms of capitalism’s hijacking of our natural sports world.

Another symptom is that the universality of our sports has been lost. If you don’t pay, you are not allowed to participate and you cannot even watch, depending on broadcasting rights, etc. In fact, the most obvious remaining feature of the antique world we see in today’s sports world is that human beings are purchased and sold like horses on the open market.

Future World Values

While looking for values that would sustain a society for all, and not only for the one per cent, here are a few practical examples. Let us start with the role of an everyday enterprise.

“Service first, profitability second.”

Under capitalism, the purpose of any company, fundamentally, is to increase value for its shareholders. Like any principle this one, has its particular dynamics. One of those dynamics is that owners increasingly or completely regard employees of their own company as a cost factor and not as human beings and part of the enterprise. Outsourcing, capital flight, and rampant unemployment, where there was none previously, are symptoms of this dynamic.

Such selfish owners might identify their employees as customers or complete strangers who are welcome at certain times but not at others. Some have even labelled such type of owners as mad and psychopaths, who do not regard, in most concrete terms, another human being as fellow humans.

The basic self-centeredness of profit-hungry shareholder companies estranges their owners from the rest of the living world. They tend to live and work inside a speculative bubble while everybody else is kept outside of that privileged exclusive domain.

Such an all-out exploitative system is clearly not sustainable. On this little planet of ours both the source of physical wealth and human needs remain the same. Irrespective of this hard fact, capitalism continues to concentrate wealth in the hands of a dwindling number of super rich big owners of the world. Capitalism is certainly short-sighted. The logical result of its self-contradictory system is the destruction of either party – the exploited or the exploiters – or in the worst case both. In any of those scenarios capitalism will go down due to lack of fresh fodder.

One of the many serious consequences of the present level of economic self-interest is the increasing ecological and biological callousness that now threatens all life on our planet. Social and cultural degradation is another looming catastrophe resulting from capitalism’s insensitivity to real human needs.

The essential damaging factor of capitalism is egotism. Often identified as greed, the self-seeking personality of capitalism expresses itself in many other obnoxious forms, too, such as arrogance, insensitivity to the needs of others, the cancer of mental crudeness, existential isolation, etc.

Currently, this destructive core of the prevailing global system is experienced by all and sundry – exploiters and the exploited – in the form of collapsing family and societal structures, loneliness resulting in physical and mental discomfort, and mental, political and social diseases leading to corruption, crime, abuse, suicidal behaviour, and other impulsive, irrational behavioural patterns in individual and collective life.

In essence, these are all values issues. We have already seen that the value of selfishness is very much in conflict with human needs at large. Other large-scale experiments of importance to us here, such as communism in its various forms, proved once and for all that “economic equality” and “materialistic socialism” are values that are doomed, too.

What would be the alternative to capitalism and communism? On which values may we safely base our work for a better tomorrow for all?

The conflict between capitalism and communism has often been labelled as “individual freedom vs. collectivism.” Much of the victory of capitalism over communism seems to lie in the former’s concept of individual liberty. However, life teaches us that like any other element of human life, individual freedom needs to be balanced and integrated with collective considerations into a benevolent whole. Indeed, this truth of the need for a synthesis of individual and collective good is relevant to family life, social life, and planetary life.

The natural and most benign complement to an individual outlook is service-mindedness. The mutual influence of those two – self-realization and service – is most fertile and constructive for both individual and collective life.

The Progressive Utilization Theory (PROUT) deems that the good of the individual lies in the collective, and the good of the collective lies in the individual; hence both have to be developed to the maximum. It follows that profits, in order to serve common interests, should be subordinated to service. A company of tomorrow needs to be based on service firstly and economic profitability secondly.

What kind of socialism is this, you may ask. Well, “self-realization + service” really means for an enterprise that on principle its activities first and foremost should be of real use to people, and to all living beings, and to the environment, and to the entire world, directly or indirectly. A business venture should do real good deep down, and not only be of service to a few at the cost or loss of all others.

Only when a basic principle of “local and universal good” is established and drafted into the business plan, may we think of a company’s profitability. If, on the other hand, economic profitability is placed first, the nature of the benefit of such a company may be in serious doubt. Therefore, PROUT advocates “service first, profitability second” as far as business is concerned.

A basic service foundation will guarantee the sustenance and progress of all while maintaining ecological solidarity. Not only that, only sincere service-mindedness would guarantee a proper existential outlook. What does it mean to be a human being, how do real human beings progress, what are the ultimate human potentialities and goals? Such increasingly subtle considerations should be intrinsic to both the short- and long-term development plans of any enterprise and company.

Service-mindedness – a viable option?

In view of the current capitalist paradigm, some would perhaps ask whether it is at all possible to run companies  based on service-motivation primarily and only secondarily on profitability, as discussed above.

“PROUT stands for human diversity in existential unity.”

While PROUT presents a rich discussion on the topic of profits and profitability, covering many areas and practical issues, the following will serve to clarify certain fundamental issues and mechanisms in the development of an exploitation-free industry and world of trade. (All quotes from “Decentralized Economy 1”. In Proutist Economics, and in PROUT in a Nutshell Part 21, if not otherwise noted.)

“Production should be based on consumption, not profit. Most countries in the world have adopted economic systems, which are profit-oriented – that is, production is undertaken for profit. Producers give first preference to those items, which bring maximum profit, so everywhere there is keen competition regarding the production of the most profitable goods. India is no exception. To increase the standard of living of the people, a new system of production will have to be introduced. Consumption, not profit, should be the underlying motive in the field of production.”

“The sweetest unifying factors are love and sympathy for humanity. The wonts of the human heart are joy, pleasure and beatitude. In the physical realm the best expression of this human sweetness is the cooperative system. The cooperative system is the best representation of the sweet nectar of humanity.”
– P.R. Sarkar, “Cooperatives”. In Proutists Economics, and in PROUT in a Nutshell Part 14.

“The members of the cooperatives should decide the policies concerning such things as agricultural production, price fixation and the sale of agricultural commodities. Local people should not only control cooperative bodies, but supervise all activities related to the local economy. The local administration will have to assist the economic development of cooperatives. The price of agricultural commodities should be fixed on a rational basis by taking into account the price of commodities; the cost of labour, raw materials, transportation and storage; depreciation; sinking funds; etc. In addition, this price should include a rational profit of not more than fifteen per cent of the cost of production. In a decentralized economy agriculture will have the same status as industry.”

“Most key (raw material) industries should be managed by the local government but they should be guided by the principle of “no profit, no loss”. Most medium-scale industries should be managed as cooperatives, but they should not be guided by monopoly production and profit.”

“As far as possible, agriculture, industry and trade should be managed through cooperatives. In these sectors of the economy private ownership should be abolished in stages. Only where production cannot be undertaken by cooperatives because of the complex nature or small scale of operations should it be undertaken by private enterprises. The distribution of commodities should be done through consumers’ cooperatives. Adequate safeguards for cooperatives will also have to be arranged.”

“For example, if batteries are produced through cottage industries, power should be supplied on a no profit, no loss basis, but the battery producers will be able to sell their batteries at a rational profit. Here the power that is used to manufacture the batteries is not an industrial commodity but a raw material. The power for such things as transportation, communication, schools, colleges and hospitals should also be supplied on a no profit, no loss basis to maintain social dynamism. The immediate government or the state government will have to take the responsibility to supply power as a key industry.”

“In the cooperative system there should not be any scope for interest earning shares; that is, there should not be profit earning shares in cooperatives. Rather, shares should be according to the production of the land. If there are profit earning shares in farmers or agricultural cooperatives, then these shares will be sold in the share market, capitalists will buy the shares, the rate of share prices will fluctuate according to share market prices, and cooperatives will become commercial enterprises.”

“Similarly, in industrial cooperatives there should be dividend earning shares and not profit earning shares as in bank interest, otherwise these cooperatives will also become commercial enterprises. If there are profit earning shares, the spirit of the cooperative system will be destroyed and cooperatives will go into the hands of the capitalists.”

PROUT holds “Self-realization and Service to All” to be the requisite value base for another world; a world where everyone may flourish and progress. Moreover, PROUT presents a theory of the social cycle where the aforementioned values of various forms of human society continue to express their dominance in succession under the enduring imperative of self-realization and service. PROUT stands for human diversity in existential unity as far as all socio-economic, political and cultural areas of human life are concerned.

Trond Øverland is an editor of PROUT Globe.

The Middle Class Potentiality

By Trond Øverland

[January 2015] – All over the Western world, the middle class is now sinking into poverty. The economic crisis has planted its roots both in Europe and in the USA, and millions now have to live with insecurity, uncertain about what the future holds for them.

Just before the 2015 Davos Summit being held in Switzerland this week, the charity Oxfam has published details of how the mega-rich 1% now own and control more than half of the world’s wealth. This miniscule group now have cornered more wealth than 99% of world’s population as a whole have.

“This is one of the worst psychological states of mind for human beings. We see quiet desperation spreading among Europeans, resulting in depression, resignation and loss of hope,” says a 2013 report from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

“Whilst other continents successfully reduce poverty, Europe adds to it. The long-term consequences of this crisis have yet to surface. The problems caused will be felt for decades even if the economy turns for the better in the near future … We wonder if we as a continent really understand what has hit us,” the report ponders.

According to Germany’s Bertelsmann Foundation some 5.5 million Germans have lost their middle-class social status over the past decade and fallen into the ranks of low-income earners while at the same time half a million others made the grade as high-income earners. Despite Germany’s vaunted success in avoiding the high levels of unemployment prevalent across much of the EU, a quarter of the country’s employed are classified as low-wage earners, almost half of new job contracts since 2008 have been low-paid, flexible, part-time so-called mini-jobs/zero hours jobs with little security and usually no social benefits, The Guardian reports.

Values

As Mike Konczal of the Roosevelt Institute has pointed out, a strong middle class and a more egalitarian distribution of income can build long-term growth. The conventional capitalist idea is to see the middle class as a middle economic tier, a buffer, sandwiched so to speak, between the rich and the poor, preferably with certain values attached to it:

“In the USA being middle class does not just imply a particular financial state but a set of values, and even a way of life, that is assumed to be broadly shared not only by members of the middle class, but by Americans in general. A strong work ethic, understanding the value of the dollar, striving for economic success and the promise for a better future for one’s children are the values, which have made the huge American middle class possible. They are also central to the broader American ethos and to the maintenance of the social fabric. When these values are threatened, as they are now, our whole society is threatened.” – Lincoln Mitchell

PROUT’s middle class, on the other hand, is not defined by people who perform intellectual (non-menial) work, or of people of average wealth (neither super-rich nor poor). The critical middle class in a capitalist society consists of warrior-minded and intellectual people who refuse to accept capitalism as their life ethos. Instead they choose to work for the introduction of economic democracy focussed on humane cooperation and all-round progress for all.

PROUT’s concept of middle class springs out of the theory of the social cycle. The social cycle spans four classes — workers, warriors, intellectual, and acquisitors (capitalists) — who dominate their respective eras and times. During capitalism, the three other classes are subjected to working round the clock for the continuous enrichment of the minority rich.

It is this situation we see today: the 99% and the 1%. Of the 99% the majority are of worker mentality, understanding or knowing little beyond slaving for their exploitative employers. Only a small minority of the 99% hold on to their original warrior and intellectual values that enable them to see beyond capitalist rule and cherish the vision of a new human society where all can progress.

The difference between PROUT’s concept of the middle class and the conventional capitalist view of it reflects a deeper view of human nature and potentialities. PROUT is for maximum utilisation and rational distribution of all physical, mental and spiritual potentialities, both of the individual and the collective.

The Rise of Spiritual-Centered Social Philosophy

By Ravi Logan

There are four basic psychological orientations that are found to lie behind humanity’s various philosophies: dogma-centered, matter-centered, self-centered, and spirit-centered. Many religious philosophies are dogma-centered. Materialist philosophies are matter-centered. Philosophies that stress self-interest and personal enjoyment and accumulation are self-centered. And philosophies that treat the world as sacred, that acknowledge wholeness, and that value inner realization are spiritual-centered.

“While materialism has limited ability to meet human needs, humanity cannot afford to reject material development for an otherworldly approach to life.”

In the present world, we find nations or societies which are guided by dogma-centered, by matter-centered, and by self-centered philosophies. Dogma-centered philosophies prevail where religious fundamentalism is the characteristic outlook of a society. Matter-centered philosophy prevailed in communist societies, but now holds sway only in North Korea and perhaps Cuba. And self-centered philosophy prevails in capitalist countries.

Spiritual-Centered Philosophy

Nowhere is there a society guided by spiritual-centered philosophy. Spiritual-centered philosophies exist, of course, but they do not provide the core values nor guide the social outlook of any modern nation. However, there is rapidly growing interest in spirituality. And this shift toward a spiritual orientation to life is having impact on political philosophy. This impact can be seen, to one extent or another, in the ideas of deep ecologists, ecofeminists, liberation theologists, bioregionalists, ecological postmodernists, economic decentralists, indigenous peoples movements, visionary futurists, and others.

Spirituality and Human Development

Any philosophy that aims to guide social development must promote the needs of people — and this includes their spiritual needs. A society that fails to support peoples’ spiritual aspirations will stifle human development. Suppression of spiritual aspirations not only harms individuals whose spiritual needs are denied, but harms society as a whole. For spiritual development nurtures valuable human qualities such as compassion, altruism, cooperation, sacrifice, mental balance, joy, and love. Where these spiritual qualities abound, exploitation, inequity, and repression do not afflict society, and the movement of strong and free individuals toward a collective ideal gets natural expression.

Spirituality dissolves alienation and nurtures connectedness with other people, other living beings, and the larger creation. Out of this awareness come cardinal values that express respect and concern for the welfare of all life. These are values that foster collective prosperity, expansion, and freedom in society; and that promote a balanced relationship with the created world.

Spirituality and Religion

Sectarian religious beliefs tend to create divisions within humanity, justify the oppression of one group by another, and allow the plundering of the natural world. These effects occur when religious doctrines lack rationality and constrict the natural expansion of the human mind. Such religious dogmas impede individual and collective development.

Religious dogma and spirituality are not the same, and to reject spirituality by confusing it with religious dogma is a mistake. This mistake limited Marxism’s ability to have a more humanistic effect on society. Marx was certainly justified in objecting to the harmful effects of certain religious beliefs, but he failed to recognize the vitalizing effects of spirituality. Due to this, Marx’s social vision degenerated to the brutal materialism of communism.

Spirituality and Materialism

Materialism, as is now recognized by many, has failed both as a philosophical outlook and as a way of life. Materialism has not brought deep fulfillment to human beings, even to those who lavish in material abundance.

While materialism has limited ability to meet human needs, humanity cannot afford to reject material development for an otherworldly approach to life, as occurred in medieval religious culture, or for a world-denying idealism, such as impeded the material progress of South Asia.

But neither can humanity equate material progress with personal fulfillment. For, as many now recognize, making the accumulation of physical wealth the central goal of our collective dream has brought destruction of natural environments, disruption of local communities, evisceration of traditional cultures, and the exploitation of workers and consumers.

What is needed instead is an holistic approach to socioeconomic development which fully provides for our physical needs while, at the same time, nurtures the development of our subtler capacities — and that does this in a manner that promotes the welfare of all, and that is not destructive towards nature.

A New Philosophy for a New Era

Today’s dominant political ideologies cannot accomplish this. They are too immersed in either dogma or materialism to grow beyond their limitations. A new, spiritually-based approach to socioeconomic development must be adopted. Should this not occur, intensifying imbalance and unsustainability will cause human society to face dead-endings.

The Progressive Utilization Theory (PROUT) meets humanity’s need for a post-materialist, spiritual-based social philosophy. It is a social philosophy grounded in expanded humanism, in love, and in hope. It is a philosophy whose time has come.

Ravi Logan is the Director of the PROUT Institute (www.proutinstitute.org) and author of PROUT: A Solution-Oriented Paradigm of Development.

– Buddhism May Regain Its Status as the World’s Largest Religion

In his new book, Casino Capitalism: The Collapse of the US Economy and the Transition to Secular Democracy in the Middle East, Dr. Susmit Kumar suggests Buddhism may be in for a comeback as the world’s largest religion:

“All religions are officially banned in China at present but it is said that nearly half of Chinese population practice or believe in Buddhism. Until the 1949 communist takeover, Buddhism had the largest number of followers in the world, with Christianity as the second largest. Hence once China starts to move away from the communistic ideology (that considers religion as “the opiate of the masses”) we will see the revival of Buddhism.”

According to PROUT, a world constitution should guarantee the fundamental right of spiritual practice to every individual, among other essential rights.

Kumar writes: “As China is poised to be the world’s military and economic superpower in very near future, Buddhism may eclipse all other religions and regain the position of the world’s leading religion. It may even make an inroad into India at the expense of Hinduism. During the heyday of Buddhism in India, from 3rd century BC to 12th century AD, there were several large universities like Taxila (4th century-6th century) and Nalanda (5th century-12th century) that attracted scholars and students from such faraway places as Greece, Korea, Japan, China, Tibet, Indonesia, Persia and Turkey. Nalanda University was one of the first great universities in recorded history. It had eight separate compounds, ten temples, meditation halls, classrooms, lakes and parks. It had a nine-story library where monks meticulously copied books and documents so that individual scholars could have their own collections.”

“At its peak, Nalanda provided dormitories for nearly 10,000 students, perhaps a first for an educational institution, and also accommodations for 2,000 professors. It was devoted to Buddhist studies, but it also trained students in fine arts, medicine, mathematics, astronomy, politics and the art of war.* In 1193, it was sacked by an invading Muslim army of Bakhtiyar Khilji, a Turk. The invading army burned thousands of Buddhist monks alive and beheaded thousands in order to uproot Buddhism. They also set fire to the nine story library that continued to burn for three months and the smoke from the burning manuscripts could be seen from hundreds of miles afar. Now efforts are underway to revive this grand old university. A consortium led by Singapore and Japan, with funding from India, China and other nations, have collected $500 million for this purpose.”

* Garten, Jeffrey E, “Really Old School,” The New York Times, December 9, 2006.

See our review of Casino Capitalism: The Collapse of the US Economy and the Transition to Secular Democracy in the Middle East. The book is available at Amazon and other online book stores.

A Meditation for the 99 Percent

From Dada Krsnasevananda’s presentation at the interfaith “Sermon on the Steps” outside St. Paul’s cathedral, London, 29- October 2011.

We are gathered in the city squares and streets of the world because we are the 99 percent. We have allowed a small minority to dominate us but we are waking up and we will be free. Alongside this struggle we are waging another struggle, a hidden struggle — the struggle for inner liberation. The two are part of each other and together are creating a force which no power on earth can resist.

Each and every one of us is 99 percent spirit and 1 percent material. Yet we have allowed the 1 percent of matter which is the smallest part of us to dominate the 99 percent of spirit which is our true nature. We have allowed the one percent which divides us to dominate the 99 percent which unites us all as brothers and sisters – as inextricable parts of the entire universe. But we are waking up and we will be free.

What are our weapons in this struggle for inner liberation? The first is to constantly redirect our attention from that tiny part of ourselves which is matter to that great part of ourselves which is love and spirit. We must declare with a lion’s voice – “I am spirit” – “I am the 99 percent”.

There is a song which captures this great idea. It was written by one of the first spiritual teachers who brought Yoga to the West, Swami Yogananda, and it goes like this:

I am That I am
I am That I am
I am That I am
I am That I am
I am neither body nor mind
Eternal Self I am
Neither body nor mind
Eternal Self I am

By embracing the meaning of this song and identifying our sense of Self with that within us which is most beautiful and great we can liberate ourselves from the bondage of the finite and claim the freedom of infinite spirit.

The second weapon we have in this struggle is the power of sustained attention. It is not enough to remind ourselves now and then, “I am spirit”. To fully experience the actual meaning of these words requires something more. We must focus the attention of our entire being on the idea of spirit and hold this focus for a sustained period of time. We must do this regularly. When, through practice, we are able to sustain our attention, without pause or waver, on the thought of love and spirit -. at that moment we will be free. This is called meditation. The following is a simple yet powerful meditation technique which can be used for this purpose:

Sit comfortably with your back straight but relaxed. Close your eyes and take a couple of deep breaths. Focus on the feeling of love which unites us all — which is your own true self. As you breathe in think the words, “I am”. As you breathe out think the word, “Love”. Breathing in “I am”, breathing out “Love”. With patient persistence continue meditating in this way as long as you are able. Whenever any other thought or feeling disturbs your mind just gently and patiently keep returning to the beautiful rhythm and meaning of the mantra, “I am — Love”.

We are standing on the brink of a new world. Let the beauty of spirit which unites us all shine forth in smiles of inner peace and the brightness of social justice.

Dada Krsnasevananda
Monk of Ananda Marga

Spirituality and Social Change

By Dada Jinanananda (Congo-Brasil) Yoga monk
Translation of his presentation at the First Global Prout Conference in Venezuela, “Building a Solidarity Economy based on Ethics and Ecology”, July 7-9, 2011, Caracas.

Good afternoon, I would like to thank Dada Maheshvarananda and the other organizers of this conference for inviting me to speak here in Venezuela. I think this event is of the greatest importance for society’s current search to establish a more ethical and supportive human society that guarantees the progress of humanity. I would like to highlight the relation between the approach of spirituality and social transformation.

First of all, it is important to go beyond theory to talk about specific points regarding spirituality. This is not a utopia, it is not idealistic and it is not something only for people who have lost contact with earth and prefer to live in the stars.

On the contrary, spirituality is the link, the connection we have with the whole universe and which connects every existence in this planet to one another. A holographic image shows a how a piece of an apple recreates the entire rest of the apple. The view I want to share with you is cosmic spirituality.

It is important to distinguish it from so-called spiritualism or from the religions that I would qualify as “exoteric”. These are the lines of thought where consciousness is separated from the individual. In the outer world we need to be nice with people, and in the inner world the sense of spirituality or consciousness is intrinsic to people and throughout the universe.

The line I would like to talk about for now is the evolutionary one, which shows that nowadays our planet is about to mutate. After many transformations and changes, today we are in a moment in which both nature and the economy are in degradation, making it difficult for excluded people to obtainn their basic needs. Now I ask you: Where are we heading?

Let’s start this intervention with something regarding human nature. Thank God, today science has discovered that human nature is not only made up of the body, it also has the mind, the psyche, the nerves, and, above all, it has the energetic centers called chakras. According to Tantra Yoga, human tendencies and feelings are united and controlled by the chakras. This is exactly why the understanding of spirituality is important, because whatever we do outside in society has its roots within us.

When you see a human being, you are also seeing an animal, a reptile within the same being. In the long process of evolution, human beings evolved from lower species including reptiles. For example, a crocodile has no problem to eat its own offspring, it has no feelings, it’s survival is the most important thing to it. Higher animals also developed, through struggles and cohesions, the affective part of the brain. Finally human beings also have the neocortex, which is the area of the brain with all its connections and the one that takes the affective decisions in life.

There is interaction between the different parts of the brain. The economic and social crises we are currently facing are products of this evolutionary process. And if we want to overcome this process, we need to understand our own nature and methods of transmutation and a spot that exists within us: the consciousness.

To put it simply, the concepts of solidarity, ethics, cooperativism and cooperation are born within our hearts. They cannot just be stamped or imposed on people.

The reptilian brain, which only cares for survival, is where I believe capitalism originated, in which the individual’s survival is more important than the group’s. In the psychology of Tantra Yoga, this develops in the first and second energetic centers.

Capitalism supposes that human beings are selfish by nature, and if each person seeks their own personal benefit, collective benefit will be obtained, as if by magic, within a competitive environment. This is a utopia. We must see its consequences: intimidation, depression, humiliation, wars, violence, and all those situations that make life on Earth very difficult. And we also find, within superb buildings, human beings with very difficult life situations, and our environment facing serious dangers, despite our capability to travel beyond the biosphere.

This photo was taken when I was no longer in Africa, in which a child sits in an agricultural field beside a vulture waiting to eat it for dinner. Here we see the whole structure is corrupted. The human’s evolution process is achieved through feelings, and feelings originate in the third energetic center.

In Brazil, where I live and work, we can see on television that spirituality has succeeded up to certain point, but it is missing in the development of the human being and the society. The consequence of ignoring spirituality is the dysfunctionality of the human being’s inner world and collective world.

Thank you very much.
[Translated by Juan Pablo Sans Palacios]