Social Defects in Gandhism

By P.R. Sarkar

(September 1960, Ranchi) – Society is a collective entity; it does not belong to any individual. The goal of society is to continuously promote the collective welfare. When individuals realize the imperative need to sacrifice for the collective interest, then and only then is it possible to establish a strong and healthy society.

“Practicality does not come from mere idealism.”

Now the question is, what should be the relationship between individuals and society? Every individual possesses two invaluable and extraordinary potentialities: psychic and spiritual. The collective body cannot issue dictates concerning these two potentialities – its jurisdiction is limited to physical wealth only. In the physical sphere if individuals do not violate the interests of the collective body, both society and the individual will avoid difficulties and enjoy a state of well-being. For this reason the individual right to go against the interests of the collective has been withdrawn. But in the psychic and spiritual spheres, every individual has complete freedom to advance and progress.

From this perspective Marxism is irrational, unnatural and unscientific. Even if the mundane wealth of the universe is properly distributed, people will not be satisfied. A cry will ring out from the depths of their hearts, “I long for more. I long for more.” This is because the desires of the human mind are limitless. These unlimited desires can only be satisfied in the sphere of the infinite. It is not possible to satisfy infinite longings in the physical sphere, because although the amount of physical wealth is extremely vast, it is not infinite. That is why wise people channelize their unfulfilled infinite longings towards the psychic and spiritual spheres.

In Gandhism we find two defects: psychological and material. Although Gandhism is not pure capitalism, it undoubtedly protects capitalism. Capitalists find complete protection in this system. Gandhism claims that the capitalists are the trustees of the people, but how is that possible? Can those who thrive on human blood be the protectors of the people? How can the exploited masses believe that their exploiters will be their saviours? We can therefore see that Gandhism directly contradicts psychology.

Secondly, Gandhism always tries to avoid fight and every type of struggle, including class struggle. According to Marxism, there are two main classes: the exploiters and the exploited. Gandhism does not recognize this sort of division. The fact is that of the four classes in society – the shúdras, kśattriyas, vipras and vaeshyas – the dominant or ruling class exploits the other classes to the best of its capacity. Although the period of exploitation may be short or long depending upon the inherent strength or vitality of the ruling class, the order of mundane advancement follows this pattern. According to Gandhism, it is possible to transform exploiters through persuasion. Theoretically this view may be acceptable, but it is neither natural nor practical. If a goat tries to persuade a tiger, won’t the tiger eat the goat.

Struggle is natural and indispensable. Tantra(1) also supports the idea that progress is achieved through struggle. The denial of struggle is a capitalist-serving [i.e., material] defect.
According to Ananda Marga, if persuasion fails it is essential to apply force. In the final analysis we can say that the golden rule is: “Protect the virtuous; punish the wicked.” A human society can only develop if this principle is followed.

Only to those who aspire to realize Supreme Consciousness (Parama Puruśa) and are free from selfishness may be entrusted the guardianship of society. Only those who are established in Yama and Niyama(2) and who have accepted the Supreme Entity (Brahma) as the goal of their life are capable of safeguarding the interests of the human race. Such people alone are sadvipras and only they can represent humanity – they alone can serve all creation selflessly. Sadvipras will be identified by their conduct, their commitment to service, their dutifulness and their strength of character. Only they will firmly proclaim, “All human beings belong to one race! All have equal rights! All are members of the same human family!” Only these sadvipras can warn the exploiters in a thunderous voice: “No exploitation of one person by another! No exploitation in the name of religion!” Such sadvipras will become the guardians of society. Sadvipras will never stop the ongoing class struggle which manifests according to the laws of the samája cakra [social cycle]. They will only ensure that the rulers do not exploit society; thus they will rule the rulers.

The propounder of Gandhism was a man of humble temperament who did not like conflict, but this is unnatural and impractical. A principle can only be accepted if it is practical. Practicality does not come from mere idealism.

(1) For further discussion on Tantra, see the author’s Discourses on Tantra Volume 1, 1993, and Volume 2, 1994. –Eds.
(2) Yama and Niyama are the cardinal principles of human morality. See “The Place of Sadvipras in the Samája Cakra”, or the author’s A Guide to Human Conduct, 1957. –Eds.

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