When we look at our society today, we see systemic collapse in many spheres and asreas, be it ethical, economic, political, ecological, intellectual, spiritual, etc. When we go the core of the problem, we find a focus on using the latest and most sophisticated technology and knowledge to serve the basest of human instincts. Tendencies towards crude enjoyment without social enhancement, amassment of physical wealth without thinking for the next person, commercialization of every aspect of human existence and not its genuine development, have taken over completely. The overall trend is towards the crude and not towards a more subtle individual and joyful collective existence.
In socio-economic terms, it is evident that mere economic theories, such as those of material socialism and capitalism, cannot solve this debasement of human civilization. A much more far-reaching and profound thinking is needed.
The propounder of the Progressive Utilization Theory, Shrii Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar has stated that this present omni-dimensional crisis confronting humanity and the planet is in fact a crisis of existence. The inner barbarism combined with external pseudo-humanity presents a death signal for humanity and its related species on this planet. We hear hypocritical verbose statements about poverty and human rights by powerful people who lose no time in eviscerating the meaning of such sentiments in the same breath.
Into this crisis, Shrii Sarkar has offered new visions, new values and has tested them in the fire of persecution, attempted murder and a five year liquid fast. For aside from being the creator of the PROUT socio-economic paradigm, Shrii Sarkar was above all a preceptor of righteousness. In this vision, revolutionary righteousness arises from an internal revolution wherein one fights debasing propensities within oneself while at the same time fighting them in the society. This dual struggle is the very heartbeat of PROUT.
The dynamics by which this struggle unfolds can be seen in the following chart.
We see here, how animal instincts evolve into Mystical or Divine Love (bhakti). As per Shrii Sarkar, any genuine mystic who has true love for the Supreme Beloved who lies within his or her very existence or I-feeling will have to take an uncompromising stand against exploitation and injustice. Ordinary people are bound by animal fear for survival, but the divine love that suffuses a mystic removes all animal instincts.
In the chart above this mystical love is seen two have two dimensions: internal (Dharma) and external (cardinal human values). The internal is in the form of the elevation of human Consciousness to more subtle, more selfless and more intense forms of Love. The external is in the form of cardinal human values. Cardinal human values as per Shrii Sarkar, are those universal values that emanate from the core of the human mind where it attains contact with pure Spirit or Consciousness. This Consciousness is practically known only by an internal revolutionary struggle to expand one’s limited mind into Consciousness. The systematic process by which this is achieved is known as Tantra Yoga or union through expansion and from this comes true Dharma or righteousness. In the chartm we see well known cardinal human values from the West as well as spiritual principles of the East. The synthesis of Eastern sublimity with Western dynamicity found in PROUT is revealed here.
First, from the animal instinct of hunger comes the desire for expansion. When primitive man saw the limited nature of resources for survival and that there were so many other competing groups and dangerous animals, the hunger changed into a hunger for land and territory. Today we see birds, dogs and humans each marking territory as belonging to them alone and fighting against any intruders. This endless fight created in human beings a desire to outwit and defeat by cunning due to a lack of physical power. Hence arose the hunger for knowledge which took many forms such as later, the knowledge of agriculture, medicine, combat and so on. This instinct evolved into the spiritual principle of vistara or expansion of the mind.
As Shrii Sarkar famously said, the expansion of the mind can be likened to when one sees a small cloud of a particular shape and then some hours later one goes outside and find that this very cloud now fills the sky. This expansion of the mind into infinity is the basis of every spiritual meditation the world over – be it shamanism, Zen, aboriginal and other indigenous religions or yoga. In the social realm this is manifested in the ideal of liberty that has dominated European thought and European psychology for the last 300 years.
Expansion and Liberty
In the East, very sophisticated forms of meditation developed in East Asia and in India to attain expansion of unit Consciousness into Cosmic Consciousness. However we find that the cardinal human value of liberty was criminally neglected by most yogis. Hence this inner freedom contrasted strongly with social repression and this led countless yogis to the path of spiritual capitalism or escapism to the mountains. However without unity and harmony between one’s inner values and one’s external values, genuine spirituality or yoga is impossible. This is why in the East there developed spiritual nihilism or the doctrine that the entire world and everything in it is a meaningless illusion. This social cowardice created tremendous apathy and hopelessness in the societies of the East which aided Emperors and other totalitarian rulers. The resulting cynicism amongst the common people led to extreme immorality in the form of endless varieties of corruption that has plagued the East to the present day.
In the West, the quest for liberty developed early on from the legacy of Greek democracy and the Roman Republic. However the key idea was always liberty for some at the expense of liberty for others. The Enlightenment created abstract doctrines of universal rights but the culture remained that of the past. Moreover the very creation of the idea of human rights went in tandem with the takeover of the economy by capitalism. This greed-based assertion of personal and national freedoms naturally dovetailed into colonialism. As Boaventura de Sousa Santos has noted the very development of knowledge, culture and democracy in the West was based on wealth generated by the destruction of indigenous knowledge, culture and freedom in Third World colonies. This is the current model of development to become wealthy by robbing other nations – all the while spouting pious phrases about human rights and democracy.
Various intellectuals have tried and are still trying to broaden the scope of human rights to become universal ignoring the fact that the very current of society is that of rapacious greed. What these attempts to create universal rights usually means is to impose western ideas (such as the omission of economic, cultural and community rights) on others in the name of universalism. This is part of cognitive imperialism that has seen in the last century the extinction of huge numbers of languages and cultures. Various leftist movements failed to change this situation as is seen by the oppression of minorities in China and the former Soviet Union. The reason is straightforward – a pathological culture based on materialistic greed. Unless there is an attempt to purify the individual and collective minds by meditation then any ideology, any revolution is bound to fail to bring liberty for all. The tragic fate of such would-be reformers is revealed in stark imagery in the Taoist Classic Chuang Tzu. The social reformers are described as being like a leper woman who has just given birth, running in the night searching for a light to see if her child is as diseased as she is. Without internal freedom from limiting and debasing propensities, external freedom is simply the freedom to indulge in these degrading propensities. This is perhaps the major reason for the majority of the suffering in the world today. This is the essence of the consumer society in the wealthy countries and the impoverished majority today.
Shrii Sarkar, has created a new form of meditation that accepts the world as a manifestation of Pure Consciousness. This meditation creates mystical love which generates the courage to fight to change the world and the vision to realize a world free from exploitation. The type of vistara or expansion created by this meditation is described by Shrii Sarkar as follows;
Human beings want expansion, but this is not possible by depriving others of their wealth. It is only possible by drenching one’s human values and existential awareness in a flow of sweetness and expanding them throughout the universe – by infusing the sweetest feelings of the innermost recesses of one’s heart into the heart of each and every entity. (Shivokti 11, Namah Shivaya Shantaya)
The PROUT vision of freedom is svatantra. This Sanskrit word is comprised of two words: sva means self and tantra means liberation from crudeness, expansion beyond bondages. So to be free is to liberate oneself from internal and external debasing propensities and exploitation by the path of self-expansion of one’s Consciousness.
For Shrii Sarkar freedom goes beyond the political freedom of the West which is void of economic rights and the socio-economic freedom in socialist countries in which there is medical care, education and other basic rights but there is no political freedom. Freedom in PROUT means freedom from both corporations and government. It means economic freedom in which networks of cooperatives drive the local economy and participatory block-level (district sub-division) planning. This is in addition to the guarantee of purchasing power of the basic essentials of life (food, clothing, shelter, education and medical care) in the constitution.
Currently political freedom is fading fast as we see the rise of a global police state. Even the traditional political freedoms were meaningless since whichever party won power; it was bribed by the corporations. Cultural freedom is impossible today as the corporations control all the media and decide which culture and above all which values are broadcast to the world. Inevitably, this culture is morally debased by pseudo-culture such as Hollywood and Bollywood films. This is because communities have no right to control their own media.
Finally, there is spiritual or religious freedom in which overt and covert crusades and jihads will no longer be allowed to destroy indigenous spirituality. And this movement for all-round or holistic freedom is the struggle for nuclear revolution. This is the meaning of svatantra or inner freedom blossoming outward.
Rasa and Equality
From the animal instinct of the reproductive urge stems the desire to unite with someone and create new life. However in human life, deep union with a human being is short-lived. Hence in prehistoric societies there arose the idea of merging one’s flow with natural objects such as rivers, fire, thunder and so on in various forms of animism. Gradually this longing for union moved towards the reality behind these natural phenomenon which was called Tao, Brahman or Noumenon. Thus developed the dharmic (righteous) principle of rasa or flow. The urge to unite one’s flow with the ocean of the Absolute led to the realization of that Absolute as the Beloved or Supreme Beloved. Hence was born mystical love. This mystical love was found in Europe in saints like Hadewijch, Richard Rolle, Mechthild of Magdeburg and St. John of the Cross. In Iran this mystical love dominated the culture through the works of poets of mystical love such as Attar, Rumi and Hafiz. In Turkey there were the followers of Rumi and the great humanist Yunus Emre. In Arab lands there was Ibn al-Farid, Rabia and others In nearly every single language of the Indian subcontinent there blossomed such movements of mystical love. However, either from the start or in later stages all of these movements neglected the fight for social equality.
Mystic love enables one to see one’s Beloved in all beings thus creating deep unity and oneness that frees one from the social pathologies of geographical, racial, ethnic, class and religious discrimination Social equality is the natural expression of mystical love and to urge and direct the society towards equality is the very nature of mystical love. However in most cases, in the East, due to compromise with religious and political authorities, this natural vocation for establishing equality was neglected and often rejected. As a result these devotional movements focused increasingly more on rituals and created their own dogmas and superstitions. This led them to become transformed from movements of mystical love into various sects of a religion. This only increased the disunity in the society as various sects came to strive for political favors. The resulting social depression and resentment created by the increasing disunity and increasing inequality was harnessed by religious and political authorities in the form of crusades, jihads and colonialism. This is the reason behind the rise of religious fascism in our own times.
In the West, the quest for equality began as part of various apocalyptic movements in which the common people despairing at their suffering, yearned for the end of the world, when everyone would share things in common like the Apostles and the lion would sleep with the lamb. These movements towards equality were ruthlessly repressed by the ruling regimes but they only proliferated both in Europe and in the Americas with the increasing exploitation and misery caused by the rise of capitalism. Finally, with the rise of natural law and natural religion, these aspirations became intellectually concrete.
Capitalism used the natural urge for equality amongst the people to propagate equality before the law in order to gain more and more freedom to control the economy. We see this in our own times where corporation use constitutional rights to take control of our society. The materialistic greed of these capitalists created deep hatred and envy in the society. This led to a transformation of movements for equality into various non-spiritual forms of socialism. While all these movements gave grand, utopian (as in the Critique of the Gotha Program) visions of a society where everyone lived in harmony and equality like in the past, the driving sentiment was that of materialistic hunger for wealth.
In reality however, nowhere in this world be it in the ocean, or in the jungles do we find any sign of equality. Equality is an ideal that transcends not just physicality but the mind as well. This as we have seen is the very nature of cardinal human values. The result of this artificial quest for equality was horrific violence and hypocrisy. In every communist regime we saw dictatorship of party bureaucrats and inequality arising from capitalism of the party bureaucrats. This is because equality can only become real by spiritual practice which generates that mystical love. Without this love we find desperate attempts to establish artificial uniformity through genocide as seen in the case of Pol Pot.
Shrii Sarkar created a new movement of mystical love through His more than 5000 songs. The hallmark of those songs was deep devotional tenderness, radiant optimism and Neohumanistic love and service to all of creation, even so-called inanimate objects. He has explained rasa as follows,
Rasa means flow. An unbroken Cosmic flow is in extensive motion in this universe and maintains it…Regarding Supreme Consciousness, it has been said Raso vae saha – “He is the embodiment of rasa, He is a universal flow.” (Better to Die – 1, Discoureses on Krsna and the Giita)
Rasa, the principle of total surrender to Supreme Consciousness… to be saturated with ever-blissful awareness – to enliven human existence with sweet freshness. This becomes possible only when one maintains a constant link with the Supreme Entity from whom one’s individual existence has emerged. (Shivokti 11, Namah Shivaya Shantaya)
The ideal of equality in PROUT is called Sama-Samaja Tattva or the Principle of Social Equality. From the realization of the Supreme Beloved in all beings comes this urge to manifest social equality. As Shrii Sarkar says,
We are all moving towards the Supreme Consciousness, both individually and collectively; but we will not be able to move ahead if we compromise with all the disparities and inequalities of collective life. We should eradicate all these inequalities, while at the same time moving towards our spiritual goal. The progress of all would be accelerated if the inequalities were uprooted, if this were the motivation behind our movement towards the Supreme, we may not attain selfish pleasure, but we will enjoy spiritual peace and pure spiritual bliss in the realization of Cosmic Grace. So the endeavor to advance towards the ultimate Reality by forming a society free from all inequalities, with everyone of the human race moving in unison, is called Sama-Samaja Tattva. ("Sama-Samaja Tattva", Liberation of Intellect: Neohumanism)
This movement to eradicate inequalities is rooted in the struggle against economic inequality between individuals in a country and in other countries and also inequality between nations. The curse of economic inequality based on economic colonialism and political imperialism is the crime of our times. Right now, again the UN has warned of another burgeoning food crisis by next year and once again it is caused by bestial greed wherein companies gamble in stock markets with the lives of thousands around the globe. Those countries that resist this economic cannibalism are subjected to invasions in the name of human rights and democracy.
We see further in countries like South Africa where the current explosion of protest amongst miners the bane of economic apartheid, where the majority of wealth is in the hand of the white minority. Similarly in India, we see an even more brutal apartheid in the form of the caste system. Every year in India the number of rapes and murders of untouchables (dalits) is steadily increasing while new forms of discrimination are being created. Even in urban universities, dalit students commit suicide when deliberately failed by their professors. This is why Shrii Sarkar began work in Bihar by fighting against casteism and stated clearly that fighting casteism is a crucial part of PROUT. This is because even in Pakistan, a so-called Muslim country, the entire economic structure is based on caste exploitation. The mission to eradicate these inequalities is what is sama-samaja, which is an ancient ideal propagated by the father of Tantra Yoga Lord Shiva and by saints such as Basava and Ravidas.
In Europe the mystical movement for pure equality freed from the tyranny of the church and aristocracy was the movement of the Free in Spirit whose founder, the luminary of divine love Marguerite Porete was burned at the stake at present day Hotel de Ville in Paris. It is the legacy of these great souls in addition to modern fighters for equality such as Martin Luther King and Dr. Ambedkar that is embodied in the mission of PROUT to establish sama-samaja on this planet.
Service and Fraternity
From the animal instinct of fear arises the selfish form of service, where one serves a powerful leader so as to be protected from predators. However as social bonds grew stronger, domestic love expanded to include love for people in one’s own group. This is found even amongst wolves. However, due to the betrayals and disillusionment people experienced in serving human beings, there arose the idea of serving that Supreme Beloved who truly and selflessly pours forth love from the very core of our hearts. From St. Francis to Father Damien to Mother Teresa we have seen many saints who dedicated their lives to serving suffering humanity as a form of their Lord. However, almost always these saints failed to work for the establishment of genuine fraternity or brotherhood in the society.
From seeing God in the suffering, it is natural to then serve God by empowering the suffering and helping them liberate themselves from those who cause their suffering. However, this moral rectitude was lacking in the majority of these saints. Hence various Christian and Sufi missionaries were used as a tool by imperialist powers to weaken local culture and religion thus making them ripe for conquest. This process has been going in South American for 400 years. In India similar colonization by self-styled Aryan upper-castes by the seizing of lands of indigenous Indians (adivasis) in the name of development has been going on for 7500 years. This participation of saintly people in heinous forms of imperialism corrupts the very soul of society leading to various forms of religious fascism from the Spanish Inquisition to Franco and Mussolini and their Buddhist, Islamic and Hindu fundamentalist disciples. Countless people have lost their lives because of the lack of moral honesty and courage of these so-called saints. This is perhaps the reason why Mother Teresa lost all feeling and faith in God near the end of her life.
Fraternity is by far the vaguest and least developed cardinal human value in the West. Fraternity was in fact never seriously implemented or fought for in any country. Artificial forms of fraternity such as using terms like citizen and comrade failed to create a genuine fraternity or sisterhood in so-called egalitarian societies. Certain elevated personalities may have practiced fraternity in their personal lives and made an impact on the culture but today we see in every country the destruction of those legacies as increasing inequality and exploitation destroy any meaningful forms of fraternity. As religious animosities and economic disparities poison the souls of so many fraternity truly seem to be the illusory of cardinal human values.
Preaching ecology and love for humanity and the impoverished, while robbing millions and murdering entire species of animals and plants is the character of humanity today. Those who remain silent while these crimes against our brothers and sisters around the globe and in countless forms of life and creation – they are complicit in these crimes. To establish fraternity and sisterhood is no longer a utopian dream, it is simply what we must do in order to survive as a species on this planet.
Shrii Sarkar created a new form of service or seva. This involves the blossoming of internal service to the Supreme in ideational spiritual practice (dhyana) into the form of serving the Supreme Being in each and every entity as a means of realization or enlightenment. The first step lies in the relinquishing the desire for the results of one’s service (such as gratitude, fame, success, etc.). This selflessness only happens because of divine love and surrender. The second aspect lies in abandoning the vanity of performing the act of service. A true mystic will realize her or his Beloved as the sole entity behind all actions. Hence, when one serves as per Shrii Sarkar one should ideate that this body is but a form of that Supreme Consciousness as is the body of the person being served and that by serving Himself in this way, He enacts the divine drama of creation. The third aspect is the surrender of all actions unto the Supreme Beloved as a form of surrender of one’s very unit Spirit to Cosmic Consciousness.
The ideal of fraternity or sisterhood is embodied in the mission of PROUT to establish the Ananda Parivara or Divine Family of Cosmic Bliss. Each and every entity in this universe emerges from, is being sustained by and in and eventually will merge in the Supreme Bliss or Supreme Consciousness. Since everyone is a part of this family, to discriminate against anyone and above all to rob any brother or sister directly or indirectly by hoarding resources is a crime against the Cosmic Family and the Supreme Progenitor. This what Shrii Sarkar calls the Principle of Cosmic Inheritance. According to this principle the doctrine of greed or capitalism is the highest form of blasphemy. In addition this means that the rights of animals and plants to life and dignity must be guaranteed in any world constitution. This vision of a Cosmic Family steeped in divine bliss arises from spiritual practice and explodes into an uncompromising fight with those who are dividing and starving our brothers and sisters. As Shrii Sarkar says,
The entire humankind of the universe constitutes one singular people. All humanity is bound together; those who are apt to remain oblivious to this very simple truth, those who are prone to distort it, are the deadliest enemies of humanity. Today people should identify these foes very well and build up a healthy human society, totally ignoring all obstacles and difficulties.
It must be borne in mind that so long as a magnificent, healthy and universalistic human society is not well established, humanity’s entire culture and civilization, its service, sacrifice adn spiritual endeavour, shall not carry any worth whatsoever. (Ananda Vanii, January 1 1973)
The animal instinct for sleep is amongst the most powerful human drives. Even during the day the urge for relaxation and peace is an urge to attain the peace of sleep while awake. However, real peace in sleep is very fleeting. We have so many distorted dreams, many of which frighten us and strain our hearts. In addition while we can escape our problems in the world for some hours eventually we have to wake and confront them. From this urge to loose oneself in sleep there arose the desire to be in a heaven or paradise in which one can have true peace and freedom from worry. Different higher levels (kosas) of mind were identified with this heavenly state, but they all proved to be void of the eternal peace and bliss people long for. Eventually the process of meditation evolved by which one could attained total merger with the Absolute Consciousness and Bliss, particularly in the East.
However these countless forms of meditation neglected the ideal of theosis or losing oneself in the Divine Bliss so that one’s body becomes a vehicle in the fight for righteousness and justice to all beings. The concepts of being liberated while alive (jiivanmukti) that evolved were primarily escapist and rejected the Cosmic drive towards social, economic, cultural and political freedom. However, without service and without the fulfillment of one’s moral responsibility to liberate humanity from external exploitation and degradation, true salvation or merger with Supreme Consciousness is very, very difficult. The frustration that ensued produced deep cynicism in the form of endless philosophical debates about this highest state that they could not attain and endless rituals created out of desperation. This plunged society into a mire of superstition and backwardness because inevitably these yogis did not share their spiritual meditation with the common people.
Still today we find so many countries plagued with religious dogma. That is why Shrii Sarkar devoted as much time in His PROUT discourses to fighting dogma as was done to discussing economic exploitation. Shrii Sarkar alone had the moral courage to call for a revolution against religious dogma in a new and sublimated form of Voltaire’s cry, “Ecrassez l’Infame,“ which means “Crush the Infamy (of religious dogma)“.
The ideal of being a god has been a very powerful urge in the history of the West. Stemming from the urge to become like one of the Greek gods and later Roman occult religions, this took the form of various Masonic movements who were behind the majority of revolutions in the history of the West. The aim of these movements was like Faust to become a god through occult rituals and knowledge. In reality however, genuine merger with the Macrocosm could not be achieved by these neo-religions due to their lack of any developed form of spiritual practice.
The temporary and partial powers that some achieved failed to purify their minds and hence their latent vices became virulent. In reality however these rituals had little capacity to give any genuine psychic powers and all that remains is barbaric rituals in search of fleeting moments of internal power. The result of this is seen in the debased lives of many famous people who became part of these movements, both in the past and present such as in the case of politicians who are part of the Skull and Bones society. This is why Shrii Sarkar used to insist that if one wants to have a miracle, i.e., one has to become a miracle by radical internal transformation via meditation.
The many paths of meditation of Shrii Sarkar are based on the principle of Tadstithi or ensconcement or merger with Supreme Consciousness. This merger is attained though meditation both internal and external. For as Shrii Sarkar has said that to an experienced meditation, each and every action will be a form of meditation and of union with Supreme Consciousness. And this action mediation will become a mission whereby as one’s union with the Supreme Beloved deepens the more and more revolutionary energy pours forth in the form of endless service and endless fight against all forms of exploitation. This spiritual revolutionary was called by Shrii Sarkar a Sadvipra. As Shrii Sarkar has said,
There has to be consciousness and to be established in this consciousness people have to stand up. They have to move ahead. It is the same whether it is individual or collective…In collective life as well, when this stage comes, those who are well advanced, who are more courageous, more firmly established in morality, who are truly righteous, they have to take the lead, to assume the mantle of leadership. In such times those who worry about what others will say or think, or worry about being criticized, and due to this fear hide behind closed doors thinking that if they take action their good name will be tarnished, such people are not true human beings. They are beggars, begging for reputation. They have no manliness or womanliness; they have lost the courage to move ahead. At that time, those who come forward and say, “Let’s go. I’m with you. If trouble comes, let it come. I’ll take it on my shoulders“ – such people I have given the name sadvipra. (Ananda Vacanamrtam Part 9)
Now we have seen how we can evolve from instinct to true revolution by uniting meditation with the fight for the cardinal values of liberty, equality, fraternity and Sadvipra. This fight, this aspiration for holistic revolution is innate in every one of us, be it overtly or covertly in the core of their hearts. Everyone longs to be fully free not just externally but internally from all our complexes and vices. Everyone longs to free humanity from the imperialism and exploitation of the Washington and Chinese Communist empires. Everyone longs to be economically free, to attain real economic democracy with an economy of the community, by the community and for the community. Everyone longs for a world free from racism, ethnic imperialism, religious fascism, casteism and above all economic exploitation.
When that longing become eloquent in our lives we become true human beings and when it becomes resplendent with combat against exploitation, then we become sadvipras. We can only repress this longing for so long; eventually it will explode, because it is our destiny to become a sadvipra. It is a destiny that calls upon us when we cry seeing the Iraqi babies born with terrible defects due to depleted uranium in American bombs. It is a destiny that calls upon us when we read with shame of yet another dalit (untouchable) girl being raped. It is a destiny that calls upon us when we see the heartless indifference of so many in our society to the suffering of others. It is a destiny that calls upon us when we read the vision and programs of PROUT for the economic emancipation of every human being on this planet from starvation, exploitation and murder. That destiny is not in the future, that destiny is now as you read these words and decide what you are going to do, finally.