By P.R. Sarkar
Extracts from Problems of Day
Supreme Consciousness (Parama Puruśa) is my Father, Supreme Operative Principle (the force of creation, Paramá Prakrti) is my Mother, and the threefold universe (pysical, psychic and spiritual) is my homeland. We are all citizens of this universe. The universe is the thought projection of the Macrocosmic Mind, and it is in the extroversial and introversial phases of the Cosmic imaginative flow that the creation, preservation and destruction of all entities continues.
When an individual imagines an object, then that person alone, and no one else, is the owner of the object. For example, when an imaginary human being roams about in an imaginary green field, the imaginer, and not the imaginary person, is the owner of the field. The universe is the thought projection of the Supreme Entity (Brahma), so the ownership of the universe lies with the Supreme Entity, and not with His(1) imagined beings.
None of the movable or immovable property of this universe belongs to any particular individual; everything is the common patrimony of all, and the Father of all is Brahma. All living beings can enjoy their rightful share of this property, like members of a joint family in the Dáyabhága(2) system. As members of a joint family, human beings should safeguard this common property in a befitting manner and utilize it properly. They should also make proper arrangements so that everyone can enjoy it with equal rights, ensuring that all have the minimum requirements of life to enable them to live in a healthy body with a sound mind.
We must not forget, even for a single moment, that the entire animate world is a vast joint family. Nature has not assigned any portion of this property to any particular individual. Private ownership has been created by selfish opportunists, as the loopholes in this system provide them with ample scope for self-aggrandizement through exploitation. When the entire wealth of the universe is the common patrimony of all living beings, can the system in which some roll in luxury, while others, deprived of a morsel of food, shrivel up and starve to death bit by bit, be said to have the support of dharma?
In a joint family every member is provided with adequate food, clothing, education and medical treatment, and amenities, as per their individual needs, according to the financial capacity of the entire family. If, however, any member of the family appropriates more grains, clothes, books or medicines than he or she requires, will that person not be the cause of distress to other members of the family? In such circumstances his or her actions will be certainly against dharma – certainly antisocial.
Similarly, the capitalists of this modern world are anti-dharma, or antisocial, creatures. To accumulate massive wealth, they reduce others to skin and bones gnawed by hunger and force them to die of starvation; to dazzle people with the glamour of their garments, they compel others to wear rags; and to increase their own vital strength, they suck dry the vital juice of others.
A member of a joint family cannot be called a social being if he or she does not possess the sentiment of oneness with the other members, or if he or she does not want to accept the lofty ideal of joint rights and the principle of rationality. According to true spiritual ideology the system of private ownership cannot be accepted as absolute and final, and hence capitalism cannot be supported either.
The Eradication of Capitalism
Considering the collective interests of all living beings, it is essential that capitalism be eradicated. But, what should be the proper method to achieve this end?
It cannot be denied that violence gives rise to violence. Then again, nothing can ensure that the application of force without violence, with the intention of rectification, will necessarily bring good results. So what should be done under such circumstances?
Nothing would be better, if it were possible, than the eradication of capitalism by friendly persuasion and humanistic appeals. In that case the peace of the greater human family would not be much disturbed. But can it be guaranteed that everyone will respond to this approach? Some people may say that a day will come when, as a result of repeatedly listening to such appeals and gradually imbibing them over a long time, as well as through proper mental and spiritual education, good sense will prevail among the exploiters. This argument is very pleasant to hear. Such attempts are not reprehensible. But is it practicable to wait indefinitely for good sense to prevail among the exploiters? By then the exploited mass will have given up the ghost!
Though the humanistic approach works in some cases, in most instances it does not produce any result; and even where it does work, it takes a very long time. So, wherever necessary, capitalism must be forced to abandon its ferocious hunger by taking strong measures. But it cannot be assumed that even these measures will be completely successful, because those who appear to be under control due to fear of the law will adopt other ways to fulfil their desires. Black marketing, adulteration, etc., cannot be totally eradicated by threats or by arousing fear of the law.
Thus, stronger measures will have to be taken; that is, tremendous circumstantial pressure will have to be created. To create this sort of circumstantial pressure, the application of force is absolutely necessary. Those who believe that the non-application of force alone is not to hurt anyone (ahiḿsá) are bound to fail. No problem in this world can be solved by adopting this kind of ahiḿsá.
Criticizing Capitalists Only Will Not Do
I cannot support the attitude of those who denounce capitalism at every opportunity, because this allows capitalists to become alert and invent more scientific and devious ways to exploit the people. Those who lack a constructive ideology will never be capable of destroying capitalism, even if they speak sweet words, use threats, or create circumstantial pressure.
Capitalism, a Psychic Disease
The ambition to become rich by exploiting others is a type of psychic disease. In fact, if the infinite longing of the human mind does not find the proper path leading to psychic and spiritual fulfilment, it becomes engaged in accumulating excessive physical wealth by depriving others. If any member of a joint family appropriates food from the family food store by using physical or intellectual force, he or she becomes the cause of misery to others. Similarly, when capitalists declare, “We have amassed wealth by our talent and labour. If others have the capacity and diligence, let them also do the same; nobody prevents them,” they do not care to realize that the volume of commodities on the earth is limited, whereas the requirement is common to all. Excessive individual affluence, in most cases, deprives others of the minimum requirements of life.
The incapability to recognize the requirements of others because of insensitiveness is a psychic disease. Those afflicted with this disease are also members of the vast human family; they are also our brothers and sisters. So, either by making humanitarian appeals or by creating circumstantial pressure, arrangements will have to be made to cure them of their ailment. It would be a great sin even to think of their destruction.
Human longings are infinite. If these infinite human longings are allowed to run after objects of worldly enjoyment, conflict among human beings is bound to take place. As material wealth is limited, over-abundance for one leads to crippling scarcity for others. These infinite human longings can be fulfilled only through psychic and spiritual wealth. The Supreme Entity has generously arranged infinite psychic and spiritual wealth for human beings; humanity will have to properly utilize that wealth.
Unity and benevolent intellect lead human beings towards supreme fulfilment. Reading voluminous treatises on philosophy will be of no use in awakening this benevolent intellect. For this, one will have to sincerely follow moral principles (Yama and Niyama) in individual life. To establish unity, the society will have to select an ideology which remains unassailed by any spatial, temporal or personal differences. That is why only Cosmic ideology will have to be adopted as the polestar of life.
In all human actions the tender touch of humanity should be present. Those with the tendency to not deprive others cannot, on the grounds of justice and equity, accept the principle of private ownership. The economic structures in the world today, however, are not based on human rights. In order to recognize human rights, one will have to be ready for revolutionary changes, and one will also have to welcome them. The socialization of landed property, industry, trade and commerce – almost everything – is the major objective of this revolution.
Here, in this context, I deliberately have not used the term “nationalization”. Just as the slogans, “Landlords are not the owners of the land” and, “Industrialists are not the owners of the factories” are incorrect, similarly the slogans, “Land belongs to those who push the plough” and, “Factories belong to those who wield the hammer” are also incorrect. The people in general are the real owners of all the wealth in this world, and that is why I have used the term “socialization”.
Among those who support the elimination of private ownership, some consider that adequate compensation should be paid before taking over landed properties, factories and commercial enterprises. Others consider that, until now, the capitalist owners of such enterprises have perpetuated immense exploitation, so the question of compensation cannot arise. If the payment of compensation continues for a long time, it is very true that the rapid welfare of the people will not be possible. Hence, the proposal to purchase the properties of capitalists cannot be supported.
It is also true that the owners of such properties are not always physically fit or financially well off. The owner of a property may be a helpless widow or an extremely old invalid. In such cases, certainly, a pension should be arranged for them. Of course, if the owner of a property happens to be a minor, then, definitely, a stipend has to be arranged for his or her upbringing and education! Even in the case where the owner is a strong and healthy man, if there is no other means of livelihood, suitable opportunities will have to be made for his income, according to his qualifications and capacities. This is the proper humanistic arrangement.
(1) Brahma is the composite of Puruśa and Prakrti, and is therefore usually spoken of philosophically in neuter gender. Here the author uses “His” (and in the following paragraph, “Father”) for Brahma to emphasize the paternal relationship that exists between Supreme Consciousness and living beings.
(2) In the Dáyabhága system the heirs’ right of inheritance is subject to the discretion of the father. For a more detailed discussion of the author’s views on inheritance, see the chapter “Ideal System of Inheritance”, Caryácarya Part 1, 1956.
Copyright Ananda Marga Publications 2012