T N Das
Regarding earning money and hoarding wealth, most capitalists today are pishácavats [ghouls]. In Sanskrit pisháca means “one who breaks the neck of an animal and then sucks out all the blood, leaving only the flesh and bones”. In India it is said that it is extremely difficult to understand the nature of these bloodsucking ‘vampire capitalists’ – because when they drink water, even if it is already pure, they filter it; but on other occasions they drink people’s blood, which, even if it is not pure, they do not bother to filter!…
If, after analysing the economic structure of society, I described capitalists from developed countries as polished devils, I would find it extremely difficult to find a suitable term for their counterparts in underdeveloped countries. Such capitalists are not satisfied with just sucking people’s blood, they often devour their flesh and bones as well; then they beat drums made from the skins of their victims as they deliver religious and philosophical discourses, build temples and construct lodgings for pilgrims (dharmsalas), and undertake various other activities.
Shrii Shrii Ánandamúrti
The words above are strong words but for those who know the story revealed by Greg Palast, Michael Hudson and others of how the current Global Economic Depression was deliberately planned by wealthy elites (economic terrorists) to create a global economic tyranny and a global police state, these words speak to the depths of our hearts where the flames of shame and rage are smouldering beneath the ashes of our blindness and our cowardice. We all know that every day, the future of this beautiful planet itself is being doomed further by the armies of corporate capitalist greed. And we all know that those responsible for the regime of economic tyranny and responsible for most of the misery of this planet are veritable demons in human form. We all have heard the endless statistics of economic inequality, poverty, malnutrition and we have all seen their victims on TV, the internet and newspapers. For example the Organization for Economic Development in October of 2014 has said that the world is facing the greatest economic inequality in health, education, inequality, the environment, and personal security in the last 200 years. This inequality is revealed in the 2014 Global Wealth Report of Credit Suisse Bank which reveals that 1% of the wealthiest people own 50% of the assets of the entire planet and that the bottom 50% of the population owns less than 1% of the world’s wealth. The report stated that in almost every country the top 1% of the wealthy elite owns from 100 to 1000 times the median amount of wealth. A stunning 95 percent of the world's population lost a share of its wealth over the past three years. Almost all of the gain went to the world's richest 1%. Inequality is a polite word for the wholesale robbery and misery of millions of people. We all know how so many “natural disasters” such as cyclones, floods, landslides are caused by human himsa against the environment. So no more facts, dialectical analyses or pictures are needed. We all know the truth no matter how we lie to ourselves. What is really needed is the blazing tenderness of love for all beings that drives us forth into action to deliver justice for every single one of them. Yet, by our continued failure to act we provide indulgence to corporate malevolence.
Economics is a principal part of human life. To ignore it, is to damn the planet and its beautiful beings as it literally becomes a hell on earth. So what must a new economic order be based upon?
In the article “Economic Ethics and the Quality of Life” submitted to the Indian Economic Association in 1994, it was proposed that a new moral economics be founded upon the famed Sanskrit shloka (verse) said to be based on the sayings of Buddha,
Sarvetra sukhinah bhavantu sarve santu nirámayáh;
Sarve bhadráńi pashyantu má kashcid duhkhamápnuyát.
[Let everybody be happy;
Let everybody be free from all physical or psychic ailments;
Let everybody see the bright side of everything;
Let nobody be forced to undergo any sorrow under pressure of circumstances.]
PROUT, which stands for the Progressive Utilization Theory, was given by Shrii Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar in the form of sutras (aphorisms) in 1962. It is a revolutionary paradigm of socio-economic freedom designed to end this capitalistic order which as Blanqui said long ago is nothing but high-tech cannibalism. We should note that in the benediction given at the end of the sutras of PROUT it is stated that PROUT exists,
[For the purpose of the physical, psychic and spiritual welfare of all beings
For the purpose of the all-round happiness of all beings.]
The Sanskrit word for this sacred “purpose” is “Artha”. “Artha” is also the Sanskrit word for “economics.” Shrii Sarkar has defined Artha as that which temporarily relieves, liberates and brings to an end all physical, psychic and spiritual bondages, afflictions and suffering. The basic theoretical understanding of this new science is elaborated in some detail in the book, What is Economics? What is clear however is that economics is by nature a libratory science and a revolutionary form of activity.
Permanent relief from sorrow and suffering is only possible by Param-artha or the Supreme Liberation which comes from spiritual meditation whereby we fight and transcends our internal weaknesses and then merge our mind in Pure Consciousness deep within our own “I-feeling.” Due to the countless forms of suffering caused by malevolent exploiters human beings are too traumatized and degraded to pursue the path of spiritual liberation. Hence the path of economics, of liberating them from sorrow is the bounden duty of everyone. When we have a tyrannical economic system that has killed so many people directly or indirectly by enforcing through the IMF or EU or national economic policies that plunge millions into misery, the only way to create a humane economic structure is the path of economic revolution.
Revolution for Liberation
On January 26th, 1958 Shrii Sarkar set forth the mission of this revolution
“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.” (Problems of the Day)
To genuinely accept basic human rights, above all the rights of life – food, clothing, shelter, medical care, education – demands that one must accept revolution. And the essence of this revolution is that the control over all aspects of the economy will no longer be in the hands of a few business elites or of politicians and bureaucrats – sovereignty (swaraj) over all aspects of the economy will be in the hands of the local people of a community. And the movements that will launch this revolution have two aspects because
“Movement means the active effort to destroy an existing structure and construct another. The very effort to destroy old, worn-out systems gives rise to the possibility of creating newer systems and codes.” (Moralism)
In the socio-economic paradigm of PROUT, these movements are for the economic and cultural sovereignty of bioregions or samajas. When many people of a particular community are moving forward for a particular purpose, it is called samája (Samánamejati) – the community of people who have taken a vow to move together. The people of these samajas, have decided to move collectively hand in hand sharing the common joys and sorrows of life, struggling collectively against wrongs and injustices. Prout samajas have 2 aspects 1) destructive of the current exploitative economic order – at the district (bhukti) level 2) constructive of a new Prout economy via master units and networks of cooperatives – at the block (subdistrict, upabhukti) level.
The main mission of Prout is to examine how the basic laws of justice are being violated in the daily lives of the common people. Above all the most fundamental form of justice is economic justice since without economic justice one cannot remain alive. If the government is failing to enforce these basic laws or if the government is enforcing an economic order that enforces economic exploitation and injustice then the duty of the Proutists is to establish and enforce basic justice by creating “pressure of circumstance.” This means that the Proutists will create a social, cultural and political environment that will either force the authorities to take action against exploiters or the Proutists will directly take action against exploiters. This can take the form of three approaches.
“To materialize the ideals of rational acquisition and rational distribution of mundane resources, our first approach will be spiritual, followed by psychic. Where even the psychic approach fails, the application of force would also be supported for the greater interest of the society. Those who are trying to avoid this fight are shirking their human responsibility.” (Discourses on PROUT)
This is the path of revolution that aims to destroy the existing network of economic exploitation throughout one’s district. This is the work of an entire network of communities (district) coordinating with other community networks (districts) in the socio-cultural region (samaja). This is a process that varies greatly in accordance with local conditions. However, we should mention that aside from removing outside exploiters another crucial task is removing foreign products that are preventing the growth of local industries. The dumping of cheap products in a poor country has been used by the UP (Holland), UK, USA and now China. The fight to stop the influx of foreign good is the key to establishing economic independence.
Let us focus then on the Economic Revolution or the struggle to construct a PROUT economy. This is primarily a localized industrial revolution based on organic industries. As Shrii Sarkar explains how this should function in North Bengal,
““So you must try to bring about an industrial revolution in the country. Just as there was a French Revolution, there should be an industrial revolution in Bengal.
For this industrial revolution we must not depend upon raw materials from foreign countries. Remember that no country should depend on imported raw materials for development. Indigenous raw materials, that is, materials available within the country itself, must be used for this purpose. Those who love society – those who love the people of their country and are keen to bring about their socio-economic elevation – must think in terms of an industrial revolution based on the raw materials available in their own socio-economic unit.
The districts of North Bengal – Coochbehar, Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling and West Dinajpur – can produce and supply enough raw materials for industrial development. We must utilize the available raw materials. For example, Coochbehar district can supply jute and tobacco; Jalpaiguri district can supply pineapple fibres; and western Jalpaiguri district can supply jute fibres. Malda district can supply mango; textiles; silk; rice bran for producing edible rice bran oil; and jute and maize which can be used to make paper. The Malda silk industry can successfully compete with Chinese and Japanese silk, but unfortunately Malda, which has so much industrial potential, is the third poorest district in Bengal.
These things should be done, and they should be done in a short span of time. No industry in Bengal should depend on raw materials imported from outside.
You should bring about this revolution. You should collectively chalk out plans and programmes and demand such a change, such a revolution. Do not delay.” (Principles of Balanced Economy)
The main mission of this industrial revolution is to fulfill the basic needs of the local people. Aside from the basic needs for survival by increasing agricultural and industrial production, this in particular means the spread of educational institutions based on the local culture and with the mission of all round liberation of the people from exploitation and to foster their socio-spiritual enlightenment.
The main way this is done is by creating networks of cooperative such as 1) Consumer’s cooperatives (Upabhokta Samgraham), 2) Producer’s cooperatives (Utpadaka Samgraham), 3) House Building cooperatives (Vastukara Samgraham), 4) Family Annuity (Insurance) cooperatives (Vipraya Trana Samgraham) 5) Cooperative Bank (Arthopayoga Samgraham) and 6) Service Cooperatives (Seva Samgraham). Creating networks of consumer cooperatives stores is also crucial so that the local people are not bound to the economic network of the exploiters. Housing cooperatives are also necessary not just to provide shelter for families but also for charity homes for those with special needs. In order for this to happen cooperative banks are required to provide credit and financing to cooperatives. Finally to free the community from the capitalist greed-based psychology various cultural cooperatives of artists, dramatists and musicians are required. Medical cooperatives are a part of this because holistic medicine is about changing the entire lifestyle and behavioural culture of the people.
Let us now briefly explore this economic revolution. Economic revolution embraces all walks of daily life but is driven by 3 forms of revolution – Production Revolution, Distribution Revolution and Consumption Revolution
In every nation, the tale of exploitation of countless people is part of the vicious history of the “modern” world. The production of a community’s wealth is the heart of economic exploitation everywhere. Still today the stories of how, those who produce the world’s wealth are terrorized by exploitation and violence, continues being written in the sweat and blood of these victims and their descendants. That true history does not just cry out for justice, it damns those who consent to this economic himsa by their silence.
So a revolution in the realms of economic production is the duty especially of those middle class citizens fortunate to enjoy some of the luxuries and amenities that come from so much misery. Once an African slave who worked his whole life picking cocoa beans that are made into chocolate but he himself had never tasted chocolate. He was asked what message he wanted to give to those wealthy people fortunate enough to eat chocolate. He said, “When you eat chocolate, you eat my blood.”
A Production Revolution consists primarily of movements for Earth Democracy, Food Democracy and Ecological Democracy.
1) Earth Democracy
The religions of most communities of the world during the Middle Ages were committed to aversion, hostility an animosity towards Nature and the communities of plants and animals. The crimes of human beings were used to justify rejecting, renouncing this world as an illusion or as a place of suffering. The religious leaders perpetuated the misery of the world by supporting various exploitative rulers and proclaiming them to be caliphs, living Buddhas, vicars of God (European kings) or descendants of gods like Vishnu. The rise of modern science eroded for a few centuries the religious beliefs but it accelerated the religious animosity towards the natural world. The history of the “modern world” has largely been nothing but a series of jihads or crusades against the natural world or Nature. The rise of modern knowledge about ecology has merely led to an increase in the destruction of lifeforms on this planet and an increase in hypocrisy. The collapse of the “modern” world of capitalist civilization has only accelerated the destruction of the environment. By contrast the indigenous spirituality of various tribes, adivasis, etc, is based not on the doctrine of the world as an abode of suffering or as an outright illusion such as found in Buddhism, Hinduism (Vedanta) and Christianity. Indigenous spirituality is based on a commitment to the world as an abode of Divine Bliss. So divinity is not to be found in so-called heaven, it is to be worked for and fought for here on this planet and other planets. Only in this way can one become a righteous or Dharmic or righteous person. It is only a Dharmic person who can attain true salvation by merging their mind in Pure Consciousness.
The movement to end the exploitation of the Earth and establish Earth Democracy is based on three crucial movements for economic democracy. These are Land Democracy, Seed Democracy and Water Democracy. Water democracy includes irrigation as a basic human right.
Land Democracy is the goal of all living beings. Birds, dogs, monkeys and humans all mark land as their own and all fight to control “their” land. None of these however behave with as much barbarism, with as much hypocrisy as human beings. The ideal of sharing all the land as one family is innate in every culture and was practiced to a great extent in hunter-gatherer societies. In modern times when thousands were driven from their lands by early capitalism, it was Thomas Spence who first said that the real rights of Man are not simply the political rights espoused by Thomas Paine but rather law in common ownership of the land and the provision of a basic income to all people.
The crisis of the Global Economy in 2007 has led to what has been called “The Global Land Grab”. Africa as always is one of the main victims as in order to get hold over lucrative lands, western nations fund separatist and jihadi groups to cause civil war. Once nations become subservient they hand over more than 100,000 hectares to a western corporation who indulge in such destructive activities like mining. China also is active in this looting and part of the reason for the spread of jihadi groups is to create chaos that will make nations dependant on the US military (AFRICOM) and hence drive out the Chinese. At the same time due to Global Warming and due to destructive chemicals of modern farming, desertification is rapidly expanding.
Too often revolts against this Global Land Grab are sporadic and have no clear goal as 20th century goals of a socialist economy such as in Tanzania have been shown to be a failure. PROUT offers the goal of a network of regionally independent economies uniting together to liberate themselves from outside exploiters. Unless land democracy is built up in this localised way – at the grassroots – there is no scope for regional economic equality and sovereignty (swaraj). The problems with creating a land democracy lie not only with outside exploiters but also with local elites. Prout advocates a 4 phase approach as summarized by Shrii Sarkar
“In the first phase of the plan, those owning land which is productive as an economic holding need not be persuaded to join a cooperative. But if an economic holding comprises land which is dispersed in small plots, the scattered plots should be consolidated into one holding. Alternatively, wherever small, scattered, uneconomic plots are located, they will have to be joined together under cooperative management.
In the second phase all should be encouraged to join the cooperative system.
In the third phase there should be rational distribution of land and redetermination of ownership. In this new system two factors will determine the rational distribution of land – the minimum holding of land necessary to maintain a family, and the farmer’s capacity to utilize the land.
In the fourth phase there will be no conflict over the ownership of land. A congenial environment will exist due to psychic expansion because people will learn to think for the collective welfare rather than for their petty self-interest.” (Agrarian Revolution)
Water Democracy is also something that has to be built up at the grassroots. The increasing desertification has led to increasing seizing of water resources from the local people as well as corporates taking over control of the water supply and indulging in price gouging. Large dams have had a disastrous effects on local ecologies and communities and also have shown to result in rapid silting such as seen in the Aswan Dam. In recent times we see how for example in Sikkim near every small river feeding the Teesta River is being dammed and the electricity is being sold outside the state. As the climate crisis intensifies so are these conflicts as the corporate sector becomes more desperate for quick profits and the environment ministry becomes their rubber stamp. This sets the stage for water wars between communities between states. Large-scale water wars such as between Israel and Lebanon have set the pattern for future wars. These wars play divide and rule amongst communities and mask the ultimate truth that unless there is democratic control over water resources at the grassroots level, the people will either be robbed of the blessings of these water bodies either directly or indirectly by pollution from factories and mines. Hence a coordinated movement for water democracy is crucial not just at the local and regional levels but also at national and international levels. Mobilization for river protection and for liberation for rivers from outside control is a key part of the movement for economic democracy.
PROUT as always advocates a decentralized approach based on local district and block (sub-district) control over water resources. This includes the creation of small-scale networks of local irrigation systems based on small-scale dams. In addition PROUT has an extensive programme for water conservation including riverside afforestation, creating networks of large and small ponds to store rainwater as well as detailed information regarding the plants that will help these projects. This is the constructive approach for the water democracy movement.
Seed Democracy is also crucial for Earth Democracy. It is when communities become independent of the capitalist economy by creating their own agriculture based on their own seeds that they become ripe for attack by the corporate and their media and their military. Vandana Shiva has pioneered the movement to stop corporate patenting of local seeds as their products. Dan Morgan has exposed the history of the 5 companies who control the grain of the world. William F Engdahl has exposed the conspiracy of corporations (like Monsanto) selling Genetically Modified (BT) seeds to enslave the world with their toxic products that have been shown to lead to cancer and psychological disorders.
The ultimate reality is that unless the people control their own seeds they will increasingly fall prey to the corporate BT seeds that have severe side-effects and also bankrupt farmers. Farmers are divided by race, ethnicity, caste, religion but have to unite in order to liberate their samaja or bioregion. The samaja movement as a multidimensional movement embracing culture, spirituality and ecology alone can foster a new culture of deep unity based on service to the sacred soil of one’s homeland.
2) Food Democracy
Cereals have been instruments of power since ancient times. To centralize the production of cereal crops in order to maximize profits and control over the people has been the mission of every empire. The six corporations control the world’s grains supplies are Cargill, Continental, Louis Dreyfus, Bunge and Born, Andre and Archer Daniels Midland/Topfer are the offspring of the British Empire. Furthermore the price of grains that cause food crises and famines is controlled by speculators on grain futures in stock markets.
In each nation, the national governments seize land from the indigenous peoples (adivasis) they destroy their traditions of using many different grains that are less destructive of the soil and often more healthy than the monoculture of wheat, corn and rice. The toxic pesticides that are part of growing cereals today have not only ruined the rivers and environment but have also led to increased levels of cancer.
The organic or Agro-ecological movement is not enough to stop this. As the global land grab accelerates, more and more land is being seized and destroyed each year. The famous Kannada bhakti poet Kanaka Das wrote the Ramdhanyacaritre in which Ragi (finger millet – nutritious, coarse food of the poor) and Rice (food of the rich) ask the god Rama to judge who is superior and Ragi is judged the winner. Modern science agrees with this judgement. Crops like Ragi and jowar (sorghum) are being increasingly used not just due to their high nutrition but also due to the fact that they do not destroy the soil like water-intensive crops like rice. However, the fact is that the people are increasingly being forced not just to grow only rice and wheat but to grow BT grains like golden rice that have dangerous side-effects and unproven benefits. As more and more farmers face drought and as monsoon floods result in the polluting of land with river sands, it becomes clear that communities in a samaja (bioregion) must reclaim swaraj over their cereal production. This is part of the struggle for economic democracy.
Lentils (dal), nuts and dairy are the fundamental proteins. Increasingly the production of these proteins is coming into corporate hands. However, even where there is not the case, we find local or national merchants raising prices by hoarding. When the pressure from the public becomes strong, the government launches raids on smaller merchants but lets the main hoarders escape the law. In addition there is the fact of chronic rotting of food in silos due to shoddy management as well as the illegal sales of food stocks by corrupt government officers. India as a result has severe malnutrition and stunting. The depriving of regular protein is one of the significant reasons for this. In such an emergency situation, direct action against the major hoarders is required to establish basic justice. This is part of the fight for Anna Azadi (community freedom to control its food supply).
The horror of the factory farming dairy industry in the US where cows are injected with antibiotics and hormones and subjected to high-tech torture is spreading around the world. As many know, the rapid destruction of the world’s forests by the meat industry is one crucial factor in the global ecological crisis. Even if the meat industry is shut down, the dairy industry is still highly abusive to cows. The decentralizing of the dairy industry is one step but this must be matched by strict laws and inspection to protect the health and dignity of dairy animals. Above all the primary aim of localized dairy production is to meet the needs and tastes of the local people and not to participate in corporate controlled markets. Even in wealthier countries, excess regulation and the rise of corporate farms has driven individual and cooperative farms out of business. Hence to regain control over the land and establish organic and humane dairy farming is truly a revolutionary movement
Fruits and vegetables are crucial to health. Yet in many countries not just fruits but even many vegetables have become food only the upper middle class can afford. Increasingly the right to food is becoming an international movement. However, it must be clear that people must have the right to afford fruits, milk and lentils on a daily basis. This fight for food democracy (Anna Ganatantra) is above all a fight to control the production of fruits and vegetables. Often fruits are exported leaving a small percentage for more wealthier local people. Furthermore the rampant use of pesticides banned in western nations makes the fruit toxic. The ultimate reality is that unless communities unite to seize control over the food production in their bioregion they face a grim future as climate change accelerates. Shrii Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar in the garden city of Ananda Nagar has created extensive plans for large-scale organic food production. To plan to replicate this in local areas is crucial at the same time while planning for revolution otherwise food crises may ensue. This is one way in which PROUT advocates not just a passionate physical revolution or even a spontaneous economic revolution (as seen in the Spanish Civil War) but rather a comprehensive economic revolution inspired the socio-cultural renaissance of Samaja movements.
3) Ecological Democracy
Ecological democracy means many different things. The original meaning came from environmental justice movements where local people victimized by corporate mining and industries asserted their rights to control the local ecology of their area. Later ecological democracy referred to the rights of the plants, animals and the Earth in a local area to remain free from human violence. Ecological democracy also refers to a future goal of an ecological society or a participatory society devoted to fostering the long-term ecological flourishing of all beings – both the so-called animate and inanimate. Finally there is an increasing revival of traditional (shamanism, paganism) spirituality rooted in worship of different natural entities.
Shrii Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar, the founder of NeoHumanism noted that every living being has existential value which cannot be violated irrespective of its utility value to human beings. Second He stated that among the core values of a future World Bill of Rights would be the guarantee of complete security to all the plants and animals on the planet. He also mandated that training centres should be created to develop the minds and later spirituality of animals. He created the PCAP (Prevention of Cruelty to Plants and Animals) movement to create nature preserves (PASAKA) as well as to educate the public and stop crimes against animals and plants. Since NeoHumanism is rooted in mystical love (bhakti) and was created to protect this mystical love from the onslaught of narrow sentiments like nationalism, it has a very different approach to what is called sacred ecology.
Part of bioregional (samaja) development is to create centres (Baba Pari Mandala Goshti) of mystical love energies (using the Divine Name of the Beloved Lord) so as to spiritually charge different forests, rivers, valley, hills. This is how a spiritual geography is created. Secondly ecology has an inner dimension according to Shrii Sarkar. This involves the balancing of glandular hormones, propensities (vrttis) associated with various cakras (vital-spiritual energy centres) as part of raising the kundalini (spiritual force at the base of the spine) to be merged with the Supreme Stance of Consciousness at the crown (Sahasrara) cakra. This inner physic-psycho-spiritual order also requires ecological balance and equipoise. The goal of inner ecology is the merger of all these psychic expressions in Pure Consciousness. This is not merely an individual goal but also a collective one as well. The merger of all life on this planet and then in this universe with the Supreme Stance of Consciousness is explained as follows,
“So in this phase of introversial movement, when crude physicality is being transmuted into psychic, we can expect that the day is sure to come when the whole world will move from the subtle psychic realm and cross the threshold of the still more subtle spiritual world. And that day when the entire living world – dashing through a transitory phase of psychic – will become spiritual will not be in the distant future.” (Biological Transformation Associated with Psychic Metamorphosis and Vice Versa)
This is the ultimate goal of ecological democracy of Neohumanism not merely on this tiny planet but in the entire universe.
Ecological democracy however, at the basic level comprises 1) Earth Rights 2) Plant Rights and 3) Animal Rights
Earth rights is one of the most important development in modern times. The Universal Declaration of Rights of Mother Earth is one of the major documents of this movement. This was based on an Earth Rights amendment to the constitution of Bolivia. In this regard it should be mentioned that Shrii Sarkar was never a global thinker like many Gaian ecologists, rather He was a Cosmic thinker. Globalism can in a cosmic society be as dangerous as nationalism is today. Right now because human beings are confined to this planet we talk about the rights, the beauty and the divinity of this planet. However NeoHumanism gives equal importance to other celestial bodies, large and small, such as asteroids, suns, etc. Each of them has rights as well. Earth rights gives rights not just to the Earth as a whole but to each river, frozen tundra, hill and desert. In His 5018 songs, Shrii Sarkar has celebrated the divinity of even a dust particle. To acknowledge the rights of the landforms in one’s local area means that one has accepted one’s responsibility to serve and protect them. This is an essential part of economic revolution that is based not just on the idea of Annam Brahman (Food is the Supreme Cosnciousness) but of reverence for the Kśamáḿ Bhúmiḿ Bráhmańá Vávrdhánám (the Forgiving Earth that has grown and become manifest out of Pure Consciousness or Brahman – Atharva Veda XII.1.29).
Plant rights refers to the rights of individual and groups of plants and not just to the rights of forests to exist. The right of even the most humble plant to survival and growth is one of the hallmarks of Shrii Sarkar. He devoted much of His time to collecting and distributing common as well as rare plants. In His songs, He revealed even the mystical feelings of plants. At the same time many new plant-based industries were revealed. It is the evolution of the human psyche by meditation that gives people the capacity to intuit and respond to the subtle expressions of plants. He noted that the development of this plant intuition is one reason why agriculture is part of the beauty of human culture. For this biodiversity mapping of all plant species and the spread of awareness about endangered species is crucial. While traditional education gave children a vast knowledge about different plants and teaches to reverence them, the present education system leaves one ignorant of them. The cultural movement that brings about the change in the collective psychology to develop sensitivity to the needs of plants is part of the bioregional (samaja) movements of PROUT.
Animal rights also refers to the rights of individuals, communities and species of animals and birds to survive and thrive. Jason Hribal has shown that the rise of capitalism went hand in hand with the increasing exploitation of animals. Hence animals are the ultimate victims of capitalism which has developed high tech slaughter in western countries. PROUT is committed to ending the meat industry which is destroying our planet. In addition PROUT envisions strict laws protecting the rights of animals as well as their enforcement by government officials. The fight for animal rights in a bioregion (samaja) is one of the core activities of PROUT. As many have said the present relentless murder of animals and plants is akin to a war that capitalist greed is waging on this planet. In the emergence of economic democracy there must be clear laws and advocates advancing the safety and diversity of animal species.
PROUT is an economy based on Consumption rather than on profit. What does this mean? Currently capitalists start enterprises where they believe they can make a profit. Governments bend over backwards to help them and to free them from serving the local communities (through taxes) and frees them from responsibility for any pollution. The end result is a race to the bottom as companies scour the globe searching for profits as the economy faces more and more crises. Large regions of the world are faced with stagnant or dying economies and environmental pollution. The basic fact is that this system is a form of violence – economic violence. Just as an abused woman often will not accept the basic fact that she is being abused and exploited out of fear, so also many in the global community have not accepted the obvious fact that the current economic system is not just a mafia network but simply a form of economic violence. Economics literally means the laws governing production for the welfare of the entire oikos (household community, including plants and animals). The present system of economic himsa does not function for the welfare of the global or local community and hence is the enemy of humanity.
A consumption based economy is rooted in the needs of the oikos in the form of a block (sub-district, upabhukti) and a socio-cultural ecoregion (samaja). Based on collective study of the needs of a community, economic plans are made to meet those needs. These products are meant not only to fulfill the community’s material needs and desires but also their intellectual, cultural and spiritual needs and desires. This is a new branch of economics known as psycho-economics. Freud’s nephew, Edward Bernays created a new system of propaganda designed to create a consumer society based on materialism and cultural degradation. The primary goal of this system was to create artificial demand and desires for the consumption of the latest industrial products of corporations. PROUT aims rather to change production to meet the actual needs and desires of the local people. PROUT seeks to liberate people in all ways and enrich their lives with aesthetics and mysticism and the economy is oriented towards production to foster this type of consumption also. The economy has always been designed for the welfare of elites and it has undergone various stages of centralization from the local to regional to national and global levels. PROUT seeks to reverse this and build up economic sovereignty (swaraj) and democracy at the local level. This is the Consumption Revolution of PROUT.
This Consumption Revolution is driven by movements for three forms of economic democracy: 1) Subsistence Democracy 2) Worker Democracy and 3) Industrial Democracy.
1) Subsistence Democracy
The first and foremost aim of a PROUT economy is Subsistence Democracy. This means firstly that people should no longer be slaves of government handouts or the whims of a corporation. The control over the production and consumption of various essential products must be in the hands of the local people. This means also that the control of the various natural and other resources of the local area must be in the collective hands of the local people. This will guarantee their survival with dignity and eliminate extreme poverty. So much of the suffering in this world is that people have no economic security because of the struggle for survival.
As per PROUT there is a new branch of economics that provides Subsistence Democracy to every community and bioregion (samaja) – People’s Economics. Shrii Sarkar explains it as follows,
“People’s economy deals with the essential needs of the people in general – the production, distribution, marketing, shipping, storage, pricing, sales, freight charges, pro forma costing, and all related activities of such essential needs. Most importantly, it is directly concerned with the guaranteed provision of minimum requirements such as food, clothing, housing, medical treatment, education, transportation, energy and irrigation water. Continuous improvement in and ready availability of these requirements is the key factor in people’s economy.
The minimum requirements can be assured through guaranteed purchasing capacity which should be enshrined in the constitution as a fundamental or cardinal human right. This will give the citizens of the country legal power if their minimum requirements are not met, hence the necessity of purchasing capacity will be reinforced by constitutional law. As people’s economy will deal with minimum requirements and people’s subsistence problems, it must take precedence over other parts of the economy.” (Quadri-Dimensional Economy)
This comprises 1) a Survival Revolution 2) Education Revolution and Dignity Revolution.
Survival Revolution involves providing people with enough nutritious food, water and medicine – creating an economic revolution to provide everyone these basic necessities in a decentralized way means mass industrialization (primarily of small-scale industries) of rural areas without destroying the environment. In order for this to happen control over all these products must be taken out of the hands of the capitalists and of their government netas. More and more people are being forced to realize that unless capitalism is destroyed their survival will become impossible. Thus revolution is becoming inevitable. This revolution not only involves taking over factories and throwing out local exploiters. It also involves careful planning about how to optimally utilize the local resources in an ecologically sustainable way to produce the basic goods for the people’s survival.
Dignity Revolution involves providing people with the basic amenities that enable them to live in basic comfort in their society such as clothing, shelter, transportation (vehicle), communication (phone), etc.. More advanced amenities are required also to enable people to fulfill their dreams and their artistic, technical, cultural and spiritual talents. For example in certain cultures having musical instruments is essential to their daily life. The primary requirement for this revolution is to love and know each person in the community like one’s own child and plan for their all-round development. This is a collective activity that creates genuine societies. Preparing economic plans to produce such amenities is crucial to a subsistence revolution because subsistence must always be with dignity as part of human civilization.
Education Revolution is one crucial aspect of Subsistence Revolution. PROUT is committed to the all-round enlightenment and liberation of everyone in all aspects of material, intellectual, sentimental, cultural, intuitional and spiritual life. Currently 26% of the people of the world are illiterate and an even greater percentage is semi-literate. Moreover of the illiterate people in the world, 98% are in the exploited regions of South and West Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Arab States. Providing mere literacy or simply the ability to find a job in the corporate economy is not important. As Shrii Sarkar bluntly states,
“The system of education prevailing today was formulated or evolved long ago, mainly with a view to suit the needs of the capitalist class. For the last three to four thousand years, the same type of education is being imparted. The main purpose behind this sort of educational system is to create persons with slavish mentality: this sort of education is fundamentally defective. A new educational system must evolve to produce sadvipras (spiritually-based revolutionaries): we have to thoroughly revamp the entire educational system.” (Taking the Opposite Stance in Battle)
This is part of a new education system based on mystical universalism or NeoHumanism. The focus of NeoHumanistic Education lies in gaining all-round knowledge that enables one to liberate oneself and others and the capacity for all-round service to the community. To study the scripture of NeoHumanist Education one can consult Shrii Sarkar’s book Adorning the Dawn: Discourses on NeoHumanist Education.
2) Industrial Democracy
Industrial Democracy is a crucial aspect to Economic Revolution. Countless people are forced to migrate due to a lack of industries in their local area. Furthermore as soon as capitalists find a place where the workers are more repressed and where they will be able to exploit them more, they will abandon their existing industries and move, leaving the local workers unemployed. There is a vast mafia in smuggling workers in Asia and the Americas due to international exploitation whereby local economies in poor countries are destroyed by outside capitalists thus forcing the local people to migrate in search of work to support their families.
When workers now arrive in the large cities they find that the modern system of factories has been largely dismantled and along with it benefits such as pension and basic labour system. Instead companies outsource parts of the industrial process to private dealers in the informal economy. These dealers choose different workers irregularly and hence do not give them any job security let alone any pension. In addition global slavery and bonded labour is expanding to cover more and more of the global economy.
PROUT supports a balanced economy. For a perfectly balanced economic environment, it is required that not more than thirty to forty percent of the people should depend directly on agriculture, and about twenty percent on agro-industries, twenty percent on agrico-industries (pre-harvest industries), ten percent on general trade and commerce, and ten percent on intellectual or white collar jobs. If there is too much industrialization then the region or country will be forced to import agricultural products from other lands. The shortage of agricultural goods leads to unhealthy diets for the poor as well as the breakdown of families in the baneful atmosphere of urban slums. Furthermore due to overproduction of industrial products it will be forced to try to propagandize (through the media) or force other lands to import their goods. This economic violence (himsa) and imperialism will corrupt their culture and lead to social breakdown. Thus industrial balance is crucial.
As per PROUT, the natural resources belong to the local people and thus any industries made from those resources also should be under the control of the local people. This is the root of industrial democracy. Moreover the functioning of the industries should also be under the supervision of the common people so that they are not the victim of destructive environmental practices.
There are three primary components to creating Industrial democracy – the Three-Tier Economy, Industrial Revolution and Self-reliance.
The 3 Tier Economy is one of the unique feature of the PROUT economic paradigm. The primary sector of this economy is the Cooperative sector comprising a network of different types of cooperatives involved in the production of all necessary goods for the local community. The secondary sector comprises key industries or only those large-scale industries or complex industries that it is not yet possible for cooperatives to produce such as mining. If the cooperative sector is industrially undeveloped then a key industry can be an automobile assembly industry with all parts being produced by industrial cooperatives. This sector is to be run on a “No profit, no loss” basis. Furthermore as far as possible at the block-level (sub-district) but if this is not possible then it can be run temporarily at the district or even state (bioregional, samaja) level until the block level industrial cooperatives become more sophisticated and efficient. Also when cooperatives become more industrially developed they can also run electric power cooperatives for the local region. Significant revenue from this sector can come from the confiscation of the excess wealth of capitalists, especially outside capitalists. The final sector is the private sector run by individuals. This sector only deals with luxury items or small grocery stores as all basic goods are produced and sold via cooperatives. This sector will be strictly supervised so that if employees are hired, then the store will be made into a cooperative. Many Gandhians have rejected industries and advocated only cottage industries. PROUT however favours smaller-scale sophisticated industries that can function in small towns or even villages such as is done in Germany. As Shrii Sarkar says,
“A rural economy should not depend solely on cottage industries, otherwise the economic welfare of the rural population will be jeopardized. If cottage industries are properly organized, rural women will also get ample scope to earn a decent livelihood. Cooperatives and the local administration will have to take the responsibility of supplying cottage industries with raw materials so that they do not suffer from scarcity.
The local administration will also have to arrange for the supply of sufficient power to facilitate industrial production. Every region in a socio-economic unit must strive to be self-sufficient in power generation. The local administration will have to supply locally generated power such as solar energy, thermal energy, bio-gas, hydroelectricity, nuclear energy, pneumatic energy, electromagnetic energy and tidal power, or any other power which is easily available locally. The generation of power is a key industry which should be run on a no profit, no loss basis so that the cost of production is minimized and the purchasing capacity of the people is increased.
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.” (Decentralized Economy – 1)
Industrial Revolution, as we have seen is a key aspect of PROUT’s economic revolution. In a discourse on creating economic self-sufficiency for Bengal, Shrii Sarkar mentioned firstly how in food production different parts of Bengal with unique enivironments can produced maximal amounts of the main forms of food such a rice, wheat, corn, lentils (dal). He then mentioned the different types of fabrics (cotton, types of silk, synthetic silk and plant fibres) that could be grown in different areas. He also mentioned different types of natural materials that can be used for construction of houses and automobiles. Unique materials were revealed to be useful for making paper and ink for schools.
Additionally various plant and mineral medicines of various areas were discussed. Finally various novel cash crops and non-agricultural industries were discussed. In this way the blueprint for an economic revolution was given. Not content with such plans, he gave detailed plans for a vast garden city in the poorest district of West Bengal. As part of these plans were proposed many new agricultural and non-agricultural industries. The unique features of these plans is that they involve natural materials and are small-scale and dispersed widely throughout out areas of village agriculture. This is just a brief glimpse of PROUT’s mission for industrial revolution in every community. To organize collective planning for such industrial revolutions and fight the local exploiters who are hoarding the local resources is the main task.
Self-Reliance is the ultimate goal at all levels from the agricultural to the cultural. All bioregions (samajas) have the potential to increase their plant and crop varieties by properly matching these with the soil, topography and climatic conditions etc. in their units. Reforestation can reclaim arid and semi-arid regions, and some unique plants like the Puranica or fern, which has the capacity to attract clouds, can help radically transform the rainfall and weather patterns of a region. An integrated approach to farming should include such areas as agriculture, horticulture, floriculture, sericulture, lac culture, apiculture, dairy farming, animal husbandry, irrigation, pisciculture, pest control, the proper use of fertilizers, cottage industries, energy production, research centres and water conservation. In addition in countries like India where the percentage of women directly involved in development is the smallest in Asia, empowering women to be economically independent will lead to a rapid expansion of economic development. Additionally where minorities are discriminated against there can be a system. Based on this an industrial revolution can be created. Agro- and agrico-industries based upon the productive potential of different plants can also help solve rural unemployment by creating a range of new goods and services. There are many dimensions to this revolutionary plant rationalization program, which is also a practical expression of the ideals of Neohumanism. Above all as part of samaja (socio-cultural ecoregional) development, the zeal has to be roused in the people to make their block, district and region independent not just economically but in the realm of education, culture and spirituality. This is all part of the building of self-respect of a community.
3) Worker Democracy
It is important to understand who is a worker. As per PROUT those whose mind is dominated by their environment and by material life have the mentality of a worker or shudra. Many so-called rich or educated or upper class/caste persons have in fact this shudra mentality. The word “shudra” originally meant “slaves of a black complexion” and was a term used by the invading Aryans for the indigenous people of India (Dravidians, Austrics and Orientals). Needless to say, PROUT has fought against the caste system since its inception. The fact is that Lenin openly admitted the failure of Marxism to elevate the workers even in the realm of politics and economics and as a result proposed that worker’s movements be controlled by party elites. PROUT has a clear spiritual dimension which gives people inspiration, moral courage and expands the mind enabling people to develop social consciousness. This is why PROUT is confident in arousing the social and economic consciousness of the laborers and hence does not seek to make them subservient to a party or union. Ganatantra, the Indian word for democracy has a profound meaning. The actual meaning of the word “Tantra” means to liberate from dullness through rapid psycho-spiritual expansion. The word “Gana” used at present for the common people originally refered to the disciples of Lord Shiva. As Shrii Sarkar explains,
“In olden days neglected and exploited people, who had fallen prostrate under extreme oppression, used to look upon Shiva as their supreme shelter. Shiva would crush this exploitation with His thunderbolt – He would strike the arrogance of vain and egotistic people with His trident, and reduce to ashes the mountains of injustice and tyranny. He felt great compassion for those afflicted people and, making them sit beside Him, advised them how to solve their physical, psychic and spiritual problems. Shiva used to live on a hill, and all kinds of people from far and near would flock to Him. He would call them with the call of His viśáńa, His long horn, and that is why the people of those days could not think of Him without His viśáńa – so they lovingly nicknamed Him “Viśáńaninádaka” [“One who Blows the Viśáńa”].
Perhaps those persecuted people, whose lustreless faces showed no glow of well-being, who had been reduced to skeletons by their back-breaking labour, who had no soft bed of flowers on which to rest – those persecuted people, buffeted by hunger and exhausted by injustice – were not at all beautiful. That is why the arrogant tyrants of those days contemptuously called them “ghouls” and “ghosts”. But those so-called ghouls and ghosts were in fact the companions of Shiva. These unbeautiful representatives of the hungry masses of the world of that time were actually the simple and devoted followers of Shiva, His gańas who spoiled the yajiṋa of King Daksha…
Shiva wanted His beloved devotees, His gańas who took shelter under Him, to attain the highest spiritual realization, and so He Himself used to teach them the different processes of spiritual practice to remove all spiritual and psychic afflictions; and moreover He spared no effort to help His devotees to overcome all mundane and social difficulties. Whenever Shiva noticed tears in the eyes of His devotees He felt restless. In fact, everyone was aware of the tenderness and flower-like softness of His large heart.” (Shiva in the Song of Shiva)
This is the mission of Prout’s Worker Democracy in a nutshell. Occupying and running factories as cooperatives is only just the beginning. The real mission is a revolution in the humanity of the exploited people – a revolution that socialists could not even imagine, a revolution religions worked to prevent people from trying to imagine. This revolution begins with 3 fundamental principles 1) Profit Sharing, 2) Security and 3) Purchasing Power
Profit Sharing: This is the heart of PROUT’s worker democracy. In general PROUT industrial cooperatives function like other cooperatives and the profit is shared amongst the workers depending upon the amount of labour and responsibility a person has. Furthermore all management positions are made by worker elections. PROUT stipulates that a worker’s shares cannot be passed on to family member, nor can shares be sold in the pivate stock markets. This is done to protect the cooperative from being taken over by capitalists. PROUT however wants these rights to profit sharing be extended to all workers and the economy to be taken over by cooperatives. Hence the mission for profit sharing is part of the fight for swaraj (sovereignty) over the local economy. In a country like India we see a dramatic rise in temporary labourers and the rapid decline of jobs with fixed hours and fixed income. This leaves women in particular vulnerable to extreme exploitation at low pay. Hence PROUT advocates the united struggle of all labourers not just to seize back their lost rights, nor to simply take over their workplaces but to create a new economy with new industries. This may seem like an impossible mission. However, in the current atmosphere of erosion of labour rights, rising unemployment and a second Global Economic Crisis, this kind of a freedom mission is in fact the only path to survival.
Security: The most crucial fact about labour in the 21st century is insecurity. Even higher level white collar jobs (professors, analysts) are being contractualized. This helps the capitalist avoid paying pensions and renders the worker constantly insecure and less likely to protest any form of exploitation. Such workers are called “precariats” as their future is always precarious. The ideal system advocated by PROUT is that not only would a worker be guaranteed a job that gives enough revenue to afford food, water, clothing, housing, medical and education for his or her family. In addition PROUT advocates cooperative banks that would give workers access to credit without punitive interest rates and without investing worker money in the stock market like private banks do. Finally PROUT encourages the development of insurance cooperatives to provide all basic insurance needed by workers and their families. Above all we should say the aim of PROUT is not to simply provide material prosperity but to provide economic support for the intellectual, cultural development and above all spiritual enlightenment of every worker. This alone provides security and dignity.
Purchasing Power: We have mentioned that purchasing power will be guaranteed to provide security for workers. As per PROUT, this right must be included in every constitution in clear, unequivocal languages. It is important to state that this is not the provision of a Basic Income. PROUT does not believe in workers becoming dependant on government handouts. Rather PROUT believes in workers taking over and creating their own economy. Thus purchasing power is a power given to a worker by the collective group of workers and not by a government bureaucrat. This purchasing power is part of the control that the workers collective exert over their local economy. Hence the goal is not to provide workers with a “basic” income to enable them to afford the minimum requirements for life but rather an expanding income that enables them as much as possible to thrive and enjoy the higher amenities of civilized living while at the same time having scope for intellectual and spiritual enlightenment. The very purpose of democracy is to ensure this.
The watchword of PROUT is maximum utilization and rational distribution of all physical, psychic and spiritual resources. Shrii Sarkar defines rationality as follows
“When, in judging and discriminating between proper and improper, human beings select the proper path, this is called viveka [conscience]. And the path of discrimination is called ‘rationality’. When one is moving forward, guided by conscience, these alternatives exist side by side: propriety and impropriety, dos and don’ts. There is movement involved and its speed may be increased, but not by much. One must examine both the propriety and impropriety of an issue; then when one takes a decision on the side of propriety, it is called “conscience”. When I examine first this side and then that side – analysing and then taking a step – naturally it is rather difficult to move quickly in this process. There is advancement, but the degree of speed is comparatively slow.” (Geo-Sentiment)
So the movement along the path of discrimination avoiding unnecessary curvatures – that straight path is rationality. Now the practical reality is that our mind normally does not move on a straight path. The reason for this is that the mind is associated with various propensities associated with different cakras. So unless the mind is liberated by becoming free from being dominated by these propensities, it is truly impossible to be rational. The result in the practical world is seen in communist countries like China where the communist ideology preaches the rational distribution of wealth to achieve absolute equality but in practice the communist officials hoard private wealth outside the country. This is because China has lost its spiritual culture of meditation which enables one to control and sublimate the mind. Shrii Sarkar warns of the dangers of abstract intellectuality saying
“Logic is a psychic survey. Such a survey may or may not be correct, therefore it is futile to follow logic blindly. The result of your psychic survey is called your rationality. This psychic survey, embedded in relativity, may or may not be correct. Intuitional vision is the best logic. Intuitional vision should be your guiding ideology. For example, it is an axiomatic truth that everything has come from the Cosmic Father and everything will merge in Him, but this truth is beyond the scope of intellectual logic. (Talks on PROUT)
Secondly one only develops the capacity to rationally distribute resources when one is in a state of spiritual realization. This is because people naturally tend to favour themselves and those whom they are attached to. So one can only be rational in a spiritual state where after feeling unity with the Supreme Being, one experiences oneself not just in one’s own body but pervading all entities of the universe. And in this process of moving towards this union external rationality through study, self-control, etc is of great aid. The key point thus to develop rationality is to avoid lower forms of Consciousness connected with the physical or psychic realms mired in various degrading desires and propensities – this is called psychic propriety. Lower forms of Consciousness or crude thinking arises from defective forms of breathing and this is why the yogic practice of breath control (pranayama) is crucial for developing rationality. Even in the spiritual realm capitalism based on greed is found in the selfish desire to enjoy bliss and to attain liberation or salvation. The solution everywhere lies in self-sacrificing love that comes from spiritual union
Thus when one is in a state of union with everyone and everything that exists then one is able to adjust with the rapidly changing world. Our planet is in the throes of tremendous change in all realms and to maintain one’s balance during this time is the true test of rationality. Those who have this self-sacrificing love will have the confidence not just to establish rationality in the realm of economic distribution of resources but the confidence to establish a new human civilization. Shrii Sarkar explains their psychology saying,
“‘I will do the work; I must do the work. When others have been able to do it, I will also be able to do it. I am not inferior to anyone. I have also been born into the glorious human family. I am also a blessed child of Parama Puruśa.’ One who has been born a human being will certainly remain a human being if they do glorious deeds and will ultimately become an ideal follower of the Supreme Benevolence. Their life is sure to meet with glorious success. A rational person should always think in this way.”
1) Community Democracy
Community economic democracy is the heart of PROUT. Shrii Sarkar listed principles of economic democracy and principles of a decentralized economy. From this list the Aśt́áuṋga Artha Ganatantra (8 fold Principles of Economic Democracy have been created. They are
1) The first requirement for economic democracy is that the minimum requirements of a particular age – including food, clothing, housing, education and medical treatment – must be guaranteed to all. Not only is this an individual right, it is also a collective necessity, because the easy availability of the minimum requirements will increase the all-round welfare of society.
2) The second requirement for economic democracy is that increasing purchasing capacity must be guaranteed to each and every individual. In economic democracy local people will hold economic power. Consequently, local raw materials will be used to promote the economic prosperity of the local people. That is to say, the raw materials of one socio-economic unit should not be exported to another unit. Instead, industrial centres should be built up wherever raw materials are available. This will create industries based on locally available raw materials and ensure full employment for all local people.
3) The third requirement for economic democracy is that all the resources in a socio-economic unit should be controlled by the local people. In particular, the resources which are required to produce the minimum requirements must be in local hands, and all the industries based on these resources will have to be controlled entirely by the local people. Local raw materials must be fully utilized to produce all kinds of commodities necessary for the economic development of a socio-economic unit.
Economic liberation is the birthright of every individual. To achieve it, economic power must be vested in the local people. In economic democracy the local people will have the power to make all economic decisions, to produce commodities on the basis of collective necessity, and to distribute all agricultural and industrial commodities.
Local people are those who have merged their individual socio-economic interests with the socio-economic interests of the socio-economic unit they live in. Clearly, this concept of local people has nothing to do with physical complexion, race, caste, creed, language or birth place. The fundamental issue is whether or not each person or family has identified their individual socio-economic interests with the collective interests of the concerned socio-economic unit. Those who have not done so should be branded as outsiders.
No outsider should be allowed to interfere in local economic affairs or in the system of production and distribution; otherwise a floating population will develop, causing the outflow of economic wealth from the local area. If this occurs the area will become vulnerable to outside economic exploitation and decentralized economy will be undermined.
The surplus wealth, after meeting the minimum requirements of the people in the local area, should be distributed among the meritorious people according to the degree of their merit. For example, doctors, engineers, scientists and other capable people engaged in various activities require extra amenities so that they can perform greater service to society. While a common person may require a bicycle, a doctor may require a car. But there must also be provision in the economy for reducing the gap between the minimum requirements of all and the amenities of meritorious people. To increase the standard of living of common people, they may be provided with scooters instead of bicycles. Although there is some difference between a scooter and a car, the gap that existed between a car and a bicycle has been partially reduced. The economic gap between common people and meritorious people should be reduced as much as possible and ceaseless efforts must be made in this regard, but this gap will never vanish altogether. If the gap increases, the common people will be deprived and exploitation will re-emerge in society in the guise of amenities. Decentralized economy leaves no such loophole because on the one hand the standard of the minimum requirements must be increased, and on the other hand the provision of amenities will be assessed from the viewpoint of the collective welfare.
4) The fourth requirement for Economic Democracy is that 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.
In an economic democracy, the commodities produced by a socio-economic unit will be sold in the local market itself. As a result, there will be no uncertainty in the local economy or the economic life of the local population. In addition, money will be circulated within the local market so there will be no outflow of local capital. The possibility of an economic catastrophe in the local economy will be largely eliminated. In such a system, people’s income will have an upward trend and their purchasing capacity will continuously increase. No economic system in the world has been able to continuously increase the purchasing capacity of the people, because economic power is concentrated in the hands of a few.
For the success of economic democracy, PROUT must be implemented and the economic welfare of all people must be enhanced step by step. This in turn will lead to greater opportunities for the spiritual emancipation of human beings.
5) The fifth requirement for economic democracy is that production and distribution should be organized through cooperatives. One of the principal reasons for the past failure of the cooperative movement is economic centralization. It is extremely difficult for cooperatives to succeed in an economic environment of exploitation, corruption and materialism, so people cannot accept the cooperative system wholeheartedly. Cooperatives are forced to compete with the monopoly capitalists for local markets, and the rights of the local people over their raw materials are not recognized. Such circumstances have undermined the success of the cooperative movement in many countries of the world.
On the other hand, decentralized economy is one of the principal reasons for the success of the cooperative system. The availability of local raw materials will guarantee constant supplies to cooperative enterprises, and cooperatively produced goods can be easily sold in the local market. Economic certainty will create increasing interest and involvement among the cooperative members, and as the local people will be confident of their economic security, they can wholeheartedly accept the cooperative system.
The cooperative system is a must, and it is only possible through decentralized economy. The cooperative system and economic democracy are inseparable.
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 consumer cooperatives. Adequate safeguards for cooperatives will also have to be arranged.
6) The sixth requirement for economic democracy is the local people must be employed in local economic enterprises. Unless the local people are fully employed in the local economy, unemployment can never be solved. Local people should determine the quantum of minimum requirements and the basic policies connected with their own economic well-being. If this principle is followed the problem of outside interference in the local economy will not arise at all.
Cooperatives will provide employment for local people, and also ensure that the skills and expertise of the local people are fully utilized. Educated people should also be employed in cooperatives so that they do not leave the local area in search of employment or move from the countryside to the cities.
For the development of agriculture there is a great need for specialists and technicians, so cooperatives will have to train unskilled rural people so that they can acquire the necessary skills to develop the agricultural sector. In addition, all types of agro-industries and agrico-industries will have to be developed according to the needs and resources of the local area, and these industries should be managed as cooperatives.
7) The seventh principle of economic democracy is that commodities which are not locally produced should be removed from the local markets. As decentralized economy aims to develop local industries and create employment for the local population, those commodities which are not produced within the local area should be banished from the local market as far as possible. It is essential that the local population utilize the commodities produced in their own area to ensure the prosperity of the local economy. Initially, local commodities may be inferior, more costly or less readily available than outside commodities, yet in spite of this, locally produced commodities should still be used by the local people. If local commodities do not meet the needs and aspirations of the people, immediate steps must be taken to increase the quality, reduce the price and increase the supply of local goods; otherwise illegal imports will be encouraged.
In an economic democracy, the application of this principle is very important. If it is neglected, the local industries will gradually close down, local markets will go out of the hands of the local people and unemployment will increase. Once locally produced goods are accepted in principle, not only will local industries survive, but with their further development the local economy will thrive. The outflow of capital from the local area will be checked, and because it will remain in the local area, it will be utilized to increase production and enhance the prosperity of the local people. With the increasing demand for local commodities, large-scale, medium-scale and small-scale industries will all flourish.
8) The eight principle of Economic Democracy is that Planning should function on various levels such as the block, district, state, national and global levels, but block-level planning will be the basic level of planning. Block-level planning is essential for economic decentralization, so it should be adopted in all blocks. There should be provision in the constitution for block-level planning for socio-economic development.
The amount of natural and human resources varies from block to block; hence separate economic plans will have to be made for each and every block. There should be a block-level planning board in every block for this purpose. The block-level planning body will prepare a plan for the development of the block and accordingly implement the local developmental programmes. Above the block level there will be a district-level planning board. Thus, from the block level upwards, there will be planning boards to prepare and implement the local plans and programmes. It must be remembered that planning should be of ascending order, starting at the block level, and including all the levels of a socio-economic unit.
Community democracy is comprised of three processes: 1) Political Power 2) Local Education & Culture and 3) Intra-district planning.
Political Power is essential for community democracy. The principal goal of the administration at the district (bhukti) or sub-district (upabhukti) level or village (panchayat) level is to remove all the impediments and obstacles which prevent the economic needs of the people being met. One way to ensure this is Participatory Budgeting where the local community collectively plans the allocation of the budget along with the local officials and economic and ecological experts. This is organized through the networks of cooperatives. PROUT does not mandate a particular form of administration but rather allows for various types of administration as per the local culture and the needs of the local economy, It is based on this form of governance that samaja (ecoregional) governance takes place. It is to be note that the local administration is to be carried out by spiritual revolutionaries who have been acclaimed by the public for their service and sacrifice. This administration will also prevent any injustice by any individual, cooperative, village, block against others. Hence there is a check and balance system whereby the local administration exists to aid and facilitate the demands of the local economy but at the same time ensures swift action against any injustice. Such a vision gives rise to movements not just to develop local economic independence from outside exploiters but to take the local administration out of the hands of outside exploiters and mafias. Thus Prout’s economic revolution also involves a change in the local administration and the transformation of each area from being the victim of a capitalist-mafia controlled administration into a svatantra ksetra or liberated zone where the administration exists to serve the local people and their economy.
Regarding higher levels of power, PROUT does not put emphasis on the “national” level which currently dominates political thought. Prout puts primary emphasis on the bioregional (samaja) and sub-district level in the realm of economics and at the level of the world government in the realm of politics. It is the dynamics of the creation of economic democracy and cultural renaissance in various bioregions (samajas) that leads to the merger of samajas or to a federation of samajas. The driving force behind this lies in the cultivation of mystical humanism (NeoHumanism) in each culture which enables each culture to flourish without any form of imperialism. This is why the diversity of cultures in a bioregion or in a national federation will only enhance their unity as one family. In this regard Shrii Sarkar has said that the entire South Asia and Southeast Asia would merge in future.
Local Education & Culture is an important issue in PROUT. One important principle of samaja (socio-cultural bioregional) movements is that the medium of instruction from primary to tertiary level should be in the local language. As part of this also this education system should be decentralized as far as possible (to the district level at least) so that the local dialect and culture is made part of the curriculum. This is also important in case there are small languages which are spoken only in a few areas. As we have seen that psycho-economics exists to provide for the cultural and spiritual development of the local people. This is as far as possible to be managed at the district or even sub-district level. Sociological studies have shown that mysticism thrives in a decentralized environment. Hence PROUT (as a form of economics that fosters mysticism) strives for the local education and culture to be as decentralized as possible. This is the soul of community democracy.
Intra-district (block, Upabhukti) planning is the foundation of PROUT. It itself is based on participatory planning at the village level but with currently, it is only at this sub-district level that it is possible to plan for maximum economic self-sufficiency and independence. This may not be completely possible since for example medicinal plants cannot be grown everywhere but missing items can be obtained by barter trade with other blocks of the bioregion (samaja) or if necessary another bioregion.
This planning should include the following factors – the cost of production, productivity, purchasing capacity and collective necessity. Collective necessity refers to the basic physical needs of the people in the sub-district as well as the basic higher needs (educational and spiritual needs) of the people. As far as possible, planning is required to expand the variety of material goods and of different forms of culture and knowledge available to the local people. By learning how to plan for the higher needs of their community, the local people will develop great wisdom and motivation to themselves develop culturally, intellectually and spiritually.
As is obvious the current demarcations of sub-districts (blocks) needs to be re-demarcated based on such factors as the physical features of the area (including river valleys, varying climatic conditions, topography, the nature of the soil, the type of flora and fauna, etc.), the socio-economic requirements and problems of the people, and their cultural aspirations.
With regard to economic planning there are four types of economic planning. The first is People’s Economic planning which involves planning for the rural and urban industries to meet the basic needs of the local people such as food, clothing, housing, medical care, electricity, transportation and education. Consultation with economists are required to deal with such issues as the production, distribution, marketing, shipping, storage, pricing, sales, freight charges, pro forma costing, and all related activities of the essential needs of the community – this is part of the commercial economy. Finally comprehensive planning of industries and sub-industries (providing) part also needs to be done by the local people in consultation with economists – this is part of the general economic planning. The fourth form of planning is Psycho-economic planning which we have already seen involves planning for the cultural, educational and spiritual development of the local people. Psycho economics also involves economic planning to support mass education about different forms of exploitation that the community faces, in particular about the cultural degradation and cultural imperialism of corporate pseudo-culture.
2) Eco-Cultural Democracy
Eco-Cultural Democracy is the heart of the samaja movement. Today it is not merely economic crises that confront humanity. The primary crisis is the degradation of the values and culture of communities. Due to the spread of a bastardized, vulagarized version of different cultures such as Bollywood in India, the moral and social foundations of communities across the country face debasement and destruction. As Shrii Sarkar warned,
“As you know, the mind has a natural tendency to degrade itself; it flows more easily downwards than upwards. So if some people, by virtue of their wealth, impose vulgar cinemas and dramas on others, this will break the latters’ spines and they will become paralysed. And those paralysed, spineless people will thenceforth never be able to stand unitedly against cultural or any other kind of exploitation. They will never be able to do so, because mentally they will be completely dead – their capacity to raise their heads in protest will have been crushed forever. How can they raise their heads again?
“This exploitation in the cultural sphere is accomplished by the propagation of pseudo-culture. Every honest, virtuous, rational person must fight against this pseudo-culture, and inspire others to do the same. If this is not done, the future of humanity will be sealed. It is proper for human beings to struggle for political freedom, for social emancipation; but if their cultural backbone is broken, then all their struggles will end in nothing – like offering ghee into a fire that has died out.
If one’s spine is shattered, it is impossible to hold one’s head erect. Can those whose necks and backs are crushed under the weight of pseudo-culture, be expected to hold their heads high in any sphere of life? Hence it is the bounden duty of every rational person to save innocent people from pseudo-culture.” (Exploitation and Pseudo-culture)
Local Languages must not simply survive but must thrive. This is the mission of PROUT. Shrii Sarkar was not just a spiritual and socio-economic preceptor but was also a pioneer in the realm of philology and linguistics. In addition he carried out a cultural revolution in the Bengali language and worked to develop the marginalized languages of Bihar and other parts of India. This will ensure not just cultural independence but also economic independence. Shrii Sarkar explains the importance of language for economic freedom beautifully saying,
“What does mother tongue mean? That language in which we can freely, smoothly and spontaneously express our ideas in an unobstructed environment, just as we feel loving closeness with our own mother while in conversation, is our mother tongue. For example, a man in Purnia will talk to some of his close friends only in Angika language, not in any other language.
Now, let us observe if there is a close relationship between language and socioeconomic progress and cultural development. I have already said that language is the vehicle of inner thoughts and ideas. Naturally it is inseparably linked with the Práná Dharma or fundamental characteristics of human beings. The way people can express their thoughts and ideas in their own mother tongue cannot be done in any other language. People feel uneasy when they speak in a language other than their mother tongue. If they constantly feel such uneasiness, their Práńa Shakta or vital energy will be disturbed. Consequently their vital force will be weakened. In such circumstance a sort of psychological crisis will occur in the collective mental body as well as in the individual mind. This will result in the emergence of inferiority complexes which will cause debility in the human mind. Those people whose language is suppressed lose their moral courage, initiative and power to protest. Ultimately a defeatist psychology develops in them, and as a group such people face the pros pect of total annihilation.” (The Language Issue)
There is plenty of controversy regarding dialects and theories. As the pioneering philologist of the 20th century, Shrii Sarkar has recommended that literature in all dialects should be collected. While as per standard practice, the most easily understood dialect can be made the standard dialect this dialect should take vocabulary from all dialects as well as local adivasi (indigenous) languages aside from adopting words from major languages like Sanskrit. Shrii Sarkar also have the eight signs of a truly independent language are 1) own vocabulary, 2) pronouns, 3) verb-endings, 4) case-endings, 5) oral or written literature, 6) style of intonation, 7) psycho-acoustic and inferential acoustic notes (phonosemantics), and 8) syntax.
Local Media Control To be able to study, read newspapers, listen of the radio in one’s local language are fundamental cultural rights guaranteed in PROUT. This brings us to another important principle of samaja movements and that is that the local language should be the medium of communication in governmental, and non-governmental institutions and offices. This refers not just to the regional (samaja) language but to smaller languages as well. For example in a tribal or indigenous area, all members of the local administration would have to pass an exam in the tribal language. Furthermore official government notices should be in this language as well as the wider language of the samaja (socio-cultural bioregion). In order for the this to happen media democracy is essential. Local radio, TV, internet, mobile must as far as possible be in the hands of the local people of the region. This will ensure the voicing of local issues in the media. Right now the news of rural areas and in general of regions outside the wealthier and politically powerful areas simply is unreported. While there are many 24 hour news channels they all spew forth the same propaganda and do not report the crises that the local people are facing. This also leads to monoculture – or the imposition of corporate culture and fashions on an entire country.
Cultural Renaissance refers to renaissance in all intellectual and cultural fields in the local languages. The first effort is to resist the onslaught of pseudo culture. Shrii Sarkar has laid forth this mission for the survival of civilization as follows:
“There is also cultural life. Tendencies are of either a degenerating or an exalting nature, that is, they are either of a depraving or an elevating nature. We should encourage the elevating tendencies and discourage the depraving ones. In certain parts of this world, depraving tendencies such as pornography exist. Simply protesting will not stop these things: we will have to do something positive to check it. Such positive action will create a new stir in the human mind. Pornography and other depraving tendencies will be completely discouraged and checked. That will be our course of action. We have to create new literature, new books, new music, new songs… We have to chalk out a programme and act accordingly.” (The Rule of Rationality)
This renaissance does not just include books but also includes the development of local dance and music into forms of classical music through the introduction of mudras and ragas. This includes the development of local arts and crafts into fine arts. In addition various forms of folk drama should be developed and modern forms of drama should be introduced. In literature cultural renaissance includes the development of all forms of literature such as moral, yogic, mystical, nature as well as the various standard literary genres. This renaissance is driven by the mission of Ananda Parivara or the vision of all beings of the universe as part of one family. This leads to a relentless struggle against all forms of inequality and discrimination. Secondly it leads to the blossoming of all traditional art forms of the local civilization. Finally it leads to the acceptance of noble ideas from around the globe. Shrii Sarkar has not just given the manifesto of this mission in the treatise “Literature and the Practice of Art” but has also composed over 5000 songs. He has further laid the foundations for the renovation of all languages based on Sanskrit as the foundation for a cultural renaissance. This mission for a renaissance in the local language is a vast mission of several generations. We have very briefly mentioned a few points of this expansive mission above.
3) Socio-economic Democracy
The fundamental fact about humanity on this planet today is that we have created so many social institutions but have not created a genuine society. Shrii Sarkar reveals this crisis in stark terms saying,
“So states and scriptures, societies and religions, acquire significance only insofar as they develop humanity to the maximum through learning, culture, physical health and economic [prosperity]. It is for the sake of developing humanity that civilization has so many institutions of different kinds, that states take their various forms, that theories proliferate, and that the scriptures abound in ordinances and regulations. What in the world does the state stand for, what is the use of all these regulations, and what are the marvels of civilization for, if people are prevented from manifesting themselves, if they do not get the opportunity to build good physiques, to invigorate their intelligence with knowledge, or to broaden their hearts with love and compassion? If, instead of tending to lead human beings to the goal of life, the state stands in the way, it cannot command loyalty, because humanity is superior to the state.” (Social Values and Human Cardinal Principles)
Shrii Sarkar has noted that the so-called primitive indigenous (adivasi) peoples are so often more civilized than the so-called “developed” communities because they have greater social unity, social brotherhood and they solve their differences without serious conflicts. At a time when global governance is another word for global corporate control via a global police state, Shrii Sarkar’s vision of economically sovereign bioregions (samajas) united by the bonds of mystical humanism (NeoHumanism) offers another path of the establishment of a global and cosmic family (Ananda Parivara). Unity comes only when there is a definite goal of ending all social and economic exploitation, creating a cultural renaissance in every language, ushering a revolution of mystical love – all based on a revolution in moral courage and moral responsibility. It is when humanity together decides to move towards that a society is born. As Shrii Sarkar says, “All human beings must attach themselves to others by the common bond of love, and march forward hand in hand, then only will I proclaim it a society.” (The Spirit of Society)
This movement towards socio-economic democracy is driven by three movements: 1) Ending All Discrimination 2) Establishing Social Equality and 3) Proto-Spiritual Psychology.
Ending Discrimination is the very purpose of developing a society by an economic revolution. This is the basic difference between PROUT and liberal ideologies. PROUT aims to annihilate all forms of discrimination whereas liberal ideologies seek to reform and remove the harsh aspects of a society based on countless forms of discrimination. Liberal ideologies are fundamentally based on economic injustice and even economic counter-revolution and hence discrimination is bound to thrive – either openly or indirectly.
In the physical realm there are five forms of disparities and discrimination in 1) Science 2) Social Progress (race, caste, patriarchy, speciesism) 3) Political 4) Economic 5) Culture (Including education). Science is a tool not just for exploitation but for enforcing discrimination. There are countless people who suffer from easily preventable diseases or even who live in poor conditions due lack of adequate technology at the local level. The very nature of science in the form of copyright is a form of criminality, because it rewards the exploitation of corporate science with absolute control not just over inventions but over Nature itself such as for example medicinal plants. The way in which the pharmaceutical companies deliberately raise the price on drugs for AIDS are essentially not just forms of enforcing discrimination but types of economic homicide. The essential part of any economic revolution is to take science out of the hands of the corporations and put under the control of autonomous institutions. Without this the lack of sharing of scientific knowledge will lead to continued exploitation and suffering.
In the social realm we must make the commitment to wipe out once and for all such social discrimination based on race. We are seeing a global resurgence of racism and it must be fought in every country – especially those countries built upon racial exploitation and violence like the countries of Americas. Regarding caste Dr. Ambedkar remarked that, “Mahatmas come and go but untouchability remains the same. Caste is the very basis of economic exploitation in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and thus one cannot launch an economic revolution in these countries without fighting caste at the grassroots level and establishing a new economy based on intercaste marriage (between savarnas and dalits/adivasis) and social equality. Patriarchy is a disease that has become truly a global crisis after the Global Economic Crisis of 2007. Not only did violence against women rise dramatically, even in countries like the United State the culture turned hostile to women. The ultimate fact about all forms of social discrimination is that women are first and foremost the victims of these forms of venomous prejudice. Shrii Sarkar has warned that one reason for the increasing violence as our society becomes more and more technologically advanced is that our increasing violence against animals will lead to violence against humanity beings. As is well known, we are amidst the Sixth Greatest Extinction of innocent plants, animals and bird species on this planet. This is all due to the omnicidal or pervasive forms of slaughter of capitalist society today. While going to another planet may escape the problem temporarily we cannot afford to colonise and destroy planets the way in which the Aryans have colonized and destroyed North and South America. Stopping violence is the first stage of ending discrimination. The final stage however lies in the depths of the human mind.
In the realm of politics we see that the exercise of power at various levels of administration is always a tool not just of exploitation but of discrimination. This is why tribes such as in Kenya will violently fight for an election – because democracy is not a form of governance but a form of exploitation by the ethnic group that wins the election. And the crux of all forms of political persecution lies in seizing the wealth of minority ethnic groups and in economically enslaving them. This is why an economic revolution is the key not just to economic freedom but to political freedom as well. Why is this so? One reason as Anthony Marx has shown is that Western nationalism was originally based on religious and ethnic cleansing. This is why as Michael Mann has shown, ethnic cleansing remains the dark side of western democracy. It is no surprise then that the export of western nationalism has led to the use of politics to perpetuate countless forms of exploitation and violence on various minority communities. This is why PROUT mandates the the local ethnic groups (such as tribes for example) must be guaranteed economic sovereignty as well as cultural rights in the local government administration. Furthermore PROUT is committed as we have seen to a cultural renaissance and cultural blending of all social groups on the basis of mystical love (loving the Supreme Beloved experienced in meditation in all beings).
In the psychic realm the primary source of countless forms of discrimination, hatred, enimity is various forms of dogmas. Dogmas are primarily found in religions and this is why religions are the primary enemy of human unity. After the demise of communism, we have seen the rise of religious extremism as people have no alternative to global capitalist exploitation. Religions are based on (1) psycho-sentiment based on such weapons as: i) The propagation of stories, myths and parables to create superiority complexes; ii) The propagation of stories, myths and parables to create inferiority complexes and iii) The propagation of fear complex and inferiority complex amongst the people, especially the oppressed lower classes (such as lower castes). (2) physico-ritualistic observances which create a primitive collective force through collective rituals and (3) various traditions which become part of social life despite their irrationality.
We must however clearly note that rigid doctrines such as the market fundamentalism of capitalism, the dogmas of communism, the dogmas of materialism in science and so on. Shrii Sarkar spent more time combating dogmas than capitalism because it is the dogmatic mind that readily becomes a victim of capitalism and participates in the victimization of other countries by imperialist capitalist exploitation. Shrii Sarkar noted that unless the intellectual utilizes his or her psychic energies for psychic and spiritual expansion, they will tend to use their psychic energies to suppress others.
Establishing Social Equality is something that no economic or political system has taken seriously. The primary aim is either to remove serious disparities or as in the case of Pol Pot to establish equality barbarically by murderous slave labour camps. Social equality can only arise as a result of a social movement. This movement involves propagating the ideal of sama-samaja (society based on social equality) using the latest media and technology Secondly it is essential to propagate Tantra yoga which will people fight their crude states of Consciousness which give rise to a non-integral outlook that results in various prejudices developing in the mind. Third it is essential of propagate bhakti or mystical love in the local culture as it will enable people to realize their Supreme Beloved in the so-called inferior peoples despised by the local society. Fourth it is essential to arrange for the education (especially education in their rights as human beings and as communities), economic self-reliance of the persecuted sections of society and fight to increase their social status in society. Fifth these movements must culminate in the creation of strict laws to punish all forms of prejudice and to guarantee the rights and progress of persecuted committees. Finally people’s movements must strictly watch to make sure these laws are properly implement to give speedy justice to former victims of persecution.
Proto-Spiritual Psychology is thus crucial for establishing socio-economic democracy. As we have seen the mission of PROUT’s psycho-economy is to provide an economic base for the spiritual development of the local community. Now the question arises, how does spirituality arise? According to Shrii Sarkar, when a person wholeheartedly embrace the principle of social equality (Sama-Samaja Tattva), then their spirituality spontaneously starts to develop. Shrii Sarkar’s explains how this nascent spirituality aids in the fight for social and economic justice saying,
This new-born spirituality is like a flickering candle flame and hence is called proto-spirituality. This starts with the awakening of the higher levels of the mind.
“What happens through this proto-psycho-spirituality? When a person is guided by it to think in a particular way, and sees that one’s own benevolent mode of thinking is not reflected in other people’s activities, then that person can easily realize their true nature. So those who practise this proto-psycho-spirituality can easily recognize those demons in human framework. Then, after recognizing them, it is their duty to expose them to others also, to make people understand that they are repeatedly harming human society. It is not enough for one to personally unmask them; one must open the eyes of others also. Only in this way can the well-being of the world be promoted. Thus it will not be sufficient to lie peacefully in wait, like goody-goodies in isolated ivory towers. One will have to spread one’s wings and soar high into the blue firmament.” (An Ideology for a New Generation)
Simply detecting those who are manipulating people by narrow sentiments is not enough. Shrii Sarkar explains how exploitation starts. When a person does not focus their psychic urges in the physical realm, that psychic energy naturally tend to run after material objects. Scientists has shown how the accumulation of wealth (violating the moral principle of Aparigraha) leads to a decline not just in moral behaviour but in moral values of a person. When this greed becomes systematized such as in a capitalist society, then rampant exploitation starts to take place. Shrii Sarkar further explains how this psycho-physical movement of the mind leads to countless forms of injustice saying,
A mind, driven by many psychic pabula is the prisoner of innumerable predicaments. In such a condition the human mind becomes extroversial, multi-directional, weak and static. It is propelled by the principle of selfish pleasure, which leads it down the path of counter-evolution. It always adopts an analytical approach to life, never a synthetic one. As people have to satisfy their unrestrained psychic pabula with limited objects of wealth, they often create interpersonal and inter-group conflicts. The collective psychology arising from many objectified human minds gives rise to social inequality, economic exploitation, political repression, religious bigotry, cultural perversion and the all-round degradation of the individual and society. Crude psychic pabula cause the degeneration of individual and collective mind, and thus bring about the downfall of the society. (The Transformation of Psychic Pabula into Psycho-spiritual Pabulum)
Thus it is crucial for the society to develop a culture of channelization of psychic energy towards the spiritual realm so that the collective mind develops a proto-spiritual psychology. In the way the collective mind wil always adopt a synthetic approach to life, never an analytical one. Such a magnanimous and devotional collective mind will rise above petty quarrels and interpersonal and inter-group conflicts. Now the question is how is this possible? Firstly the collective sadhana of communities need to be strengthened. This will lead to the evolution of the higher levels of the collective mind. This is of crucial importance because it is the lack of development of the collective mind of various communities that renders them ripe for psychic and economic exploitation. Secondly to aid this collective sadhana, groups of spiritually minded individuals (Baba Pari Mandala Goshtis) need to create powerful spiritual vibrations in the collective mind. This is known as NeoHumanism as Essence. Shrii Sarkar has explained how this will dramatically transform society saying,
“Those imbibed with spiritual idealism are dedicated to the all-round elevation of humanity, free from the slavery of capitalism and the repression of communism, and established in the glory of Neohumanism. With the smooth, natural and progressive channelisation of the psychic urges of the individual and collective mind towards the Supreme Entity, psychic pabula will be converted into psychospiritual pabulum. Then each person will be a Sadvipra (spiritual revolutionary), and the whole society will be a Sadvipra Samáj – an Ánanda Parivára (Blissful Cosmic Family). So the transformation of psychic pabula into psycho-spiritual pabulum is the only panacea.” (Ibid.)
In this way we can realize how the evolution of socio-economic democracy or the generation of economic resources to end all forms of social equality based on such pernicious prejudices such caste, religion, etc. can truly establish an economic revolution. The genuine crisis facing every cooperative is the lack of morality and brotherhood/sisterhood amongst the members. This crisis can only be solved by this proto-spiritual approach to socio-economic democracy. As Shrii Sarkar once said, PROUT can only be implemented by those who are practically realizing the one Supreme Consciousness within all created beings. This is the start and the heart of PROUT’s economic revolution.
In the beautiful city of Kingston, Jamaica on September 23rd, 1979, the Preceptor of social, economic, moral, cultural, political and spiritual revolution, Shrii Shrii Ánandamúrti concluded a Dharma Mahácakra discourse. Cakra refers to a cycle or matrix of energy, Mahán means tremendous grandeur and Dharma means righteousness attained by relentless fight against all evils in the mind and in the society. So Dharma Mahácakra means the tremendous grandeur of a matrix of energies of righteousness. This matrix of energies is created by a special spiritual blessing or Mudra. This word comes from the word “mud” means “joy, intoxication, delight, union” and the word “rá” means “to give, to bestow, to surrender”.
On this evening in Kingston, Shrii Shrii Ánandamúrti recited the Sanskrit shloka,
Sarvetra sukhinah bhavantu sarve santu nirámayáh;
Sarve bhadráńi pashyantu má kashcid duhkhamápnuyát.
He then began to recite the translation in English. He recited the first three lines with His standard translation saying
Let everybody be happy;
Let everybody be free from all ailments;
Let everybody see the bright side of everything;
However, He translated the last line in a new way, enshrining the mission of the cadres of Proutist Universal as follows,
“See that no one has to suffer.”
To take the determination to see to it that not one single man, woman, child, plant, animal or the Earth itself will suffer the brutality of exploitation, discrimination and violence is in the blood of every Proutist. As we have seen, the very mission of economics is to liberate all beings from suffering. Hence to work, sacrifice and fight a revolution to materialize this mission is the real economic development and progress. Any person who has devoted their lives to this mission is unknowingly or knowingly a Proutist. The powerful dynamo of spiritual energies vibrating in these words empowered by the blessing of Lord Anandamurti will liberate not just this planet but this universe itself. Jamaica the land of the most heinous exploitation of the slave economy and the land of the revolutionary maroons led by Queen Nanny who fought guerilla warfare and defeated the British slave capitalism was the most perfect place on earth for the revelation of this blessing.
Má kashcid duhkhamápnuyát.
“See that no one has to suffer.”
This blessing and mission was given a year after Lord Anandamurti emerged after a fast of 1950 days in Jail. He was protesting His poisoning on February 12, 1973 and demanding a Judicial Enquiry. He fasted on two cups of yoghurt water daily so as to avoid being force-fed by the government. He was told by the Indian government intelligence (CBI) officials that if the propagation of PROUT ended, a luxurious ashram in the Himalayas would be provided for teaching yoga to wealthy elites. Facing betrayal and abandonment by disciples and family as well as imminent attempts at assassination, Lord Anandamurti boldly declared to the CBI that the Prout movement would emerge 16 times stronger.
So the above words of blessing are the fruits of His austerities of a nearly five and a half year ordeal in jail under charges that were eventually dismissed by the High Court. In view of these austerities and tireless endeavours to create spiritual revolutionaries (sadvipras), to reveal new dimensions of economics and develop new forms of agriculture to empower community economic revolutionary struggle, we are bound to say with His own self-effacing gratitude to this Param-arthaván (Supreme Economic Liberator),
PRÁŃER SHOŃITE CEYECHO BHARITE,
AVAHELITER HRITA MÁNA (Song 539)
With the very surging of Your blood,
You have poured forth
Your own life, Your own heart
Fulfilling, bringing to life
The neglected, the rejected
And the dishonoured
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