The Center for the Study of Dharma and Civilization is the very first think tank of the Sanatana Dharma tradition ever created in American history. Established by Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya in May of 2002, the CSDC brings together several of the most prominent Hindu scholars in America with the singular purpose of academically affirming the preeminence of the philosophy, practice and culture of Sanatana Dharma in the intellectual realm. Our goal is to reveal to the world the unique Vedic perspective on all the most important philosophical, social, religious, political and cultural issues of the day. We will offer comparative analyses of the Dharma world-view versus every other world-view of prominence in the 21st century, thus establishing Sanatana Dharma as the philosophical system par excellence designed to solve the many crises and confusions that our world is facing today.
Dharma Revolution: An interview with Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya (Part One)
The Dharma Manifesto by Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya is a “blueprint” for creating a new type of society based on the ancient spiritual principles. At its core is to restore the sacred to the ordinary and dignity to the individual so that each person might fulfill their full potential. Below is the first of a two-part interview exploring Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya’s life, work, the principles and purpose of The Dharma Manifesto, and his vision for a new, very different, and Dharmic politics and nation state.
About Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya:
Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya has been a follower of Sanatana Dharma (“Hinduism”) for four decades, and has been a recognized teacher in the tradition since 1988. He holds a doctorate in Religious Studies from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and is the founder, head, and guide of the global Dharma Nation movement. He also lectures and writes on the Dharma. His other books include The Shakti Principle: Encountering the Feminine Power of God and Sanatana Dharma: The Eternal Natural Way.
The Dharma Manifesto: An interview with Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya (Part Two)
The global rise of Dharma, the future Dharmic nation state, and the thousand-year war against Hinduism. These are just a few of the subjects Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya (an ordained orthodox Vedic brahmana, and author of The Dharma Manifesto) discusses in this, the second part of a two-part interview with People of Shambhala. We hope you enjoy.
About Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya:
Author David Frawley has said of Sri Acharyaji, that he “represents the Sankalpa [the will] of the Hindu people and the cause of Sanatana Dharma.” He has been a follower of Sanatana Dharma (“Hinduism”) for four decades, and has been a recognized teacher in the tradition since 1988. Sri Acharyaji holds a doctorate in Religious Studies from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and is the founder, head, and guide of the global Dharma Nation movement. He also lectures and writes on the Dharma. His other books include The Shakti Principle: Encountering the Feminine Power of God and Sanatana Dharma: The Eternal Natural Way.
A Vedic Critique of Marxism
A Vedic Critique of Marxism
By Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya
The following article is from chapter 3 of the groundbreaking new book “The Dharma Manifesto“, by Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya. This paper represents the first seriously philosophical, Vedic critique of Marxism ever written in history. The book can be purchased at:
“If you can cut the people off from their history, then they can be easily persuaded.”
– Karl Marx (1818-1883)
Marxism is arguably the most monstrously destructive and morally reprehensible worldview the world has ever known. The perpetual violence that has been instigated by Marxist movements, totalitarian Communist dictatorships, bloody guerrilla wars, and terrorist bloodshed has been responsible for more deaths and suffering during the twentieth century than any other rival ideology of that era, including National Socialism. Marxism has led to the destruction of cultures, the dehumanization and misery of large segments of the global population, and the degeneration of the human spirit. Marxism is an atheistic and materialistic philosophy that views human beings as purely mechanistic, characterless and utilitarian automatons. For Marxists, human persons are to be reduced, both philosophically and in practice, to nothing more than soulless and bland laborers, whose existence only has meaning in direct proportion to their degree of utility by, and enslavement to, the state.
Karl Marx (1818-1883) was a German citizen of Jewish descent who in his youth had been interested in the views of the German idealist philosopher and theologian Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831). Though Hegel’s philosophical system was theistic, and most of his followers at that time were themselves primarily religious individuals, Marx’s introduction to Hegel’s thought was via the Young Hegelians, a group dedicated to misusing Hegel’s philosophical methods to undermine and eradicate religious thought itself, rather than uphold it. The two main leaders of the Young Hegelians were Ludwig Feuerbach (1804-1872) and Bruno Bauer (1809-1882).
Karl Marx had initially (pre-1844) subscribed to the Feuerbachian program of the critique of religion. While he continued to employ the notion of a philosophical anthropology – the attempt to discern the human meaning behind every experience – he went further than LudwigFeuerbach with his attempt to perform a critique of political economy. In the following section, we will briefly examine what led Marx to attempt such a critique, and talk about the ways in which political economy is thoroughly resistant to such a Marxist critique.
Fueurbach and the Young Hegelians felt that the very apex of both the philosophical and the theological enterprises had been achieved by Hegelianism and German Lutheranism, respectively. Thus, in their monumentally insular view, the end of the philosophic enterprise had suddenly commenced in their lifetime. Now, the only project left was the creation of a philosophical anthropology – an attempt to show that all philosophical ideas were dependent upon what is essentially human in the purely biologically behavioral sense. Once a general account of humanity would be attained, so their belief went, then such an account could be applied to all things. The primary tool of this project was the use of the process of criticism, which would purportedly reveal the conditions for the very possibility of any object under observation.
The Young Hegelians, including Feuerbach and Marx, had applied this process of critique to the nature of the theology of the so-called Right Hegelians, who were primarily Lutheran theologians loyal to Hegel’s theistic philosophical underpinnings. Feuerbach, specifically, felt that religion was merely an unreal projection of essential, alienated humanity. Furthermore, for Feuerbach, God was no more than the construction of human beings, and actually represented the conceptual personification of what were in actuality very human traits. By critiquing God and religion, Feuerbach thought, a greater knowledge of human beings could be attained. Marx would later fervently agree with this general premise.
While Feuerbach felt that there was at least a trans-historical human essence, however, Marx felt that such an idea was too much of a concession to the “metaphysical”, and that man’s essence was only ever revealed under real world, materialist conditions. Human beings, for Marx, are in essence, primordially, producers and makers. Work, for Marx, was both the raison d’être and essential attributive nature of the human person. Therefore, on Marx’s account, self-actualization consisted in nothing more than having the freedom to perform meaningful work. Production, for Marx, was labor that is transformative towards creating a certain outcome, a praxis. Political economy was a body of theories formulated by the classical economists (such as Adam Smith) that sees human beings as essentially productive animals. Therefore, political economy – the realm of production and exchange – now became the central object of any Marxist critique.
The French Revolution supposedly succeeded in creating political emancipation, so Marx insisted, but state equality displaced inequality into the social sphere. In the social sphere, human beings were subject to an overwhelming sense of alienation. The proletariat (the working class) was separated from what they essentially are – biologically-determined producers unleashed to create, as an expression of their own essence. Political economy was thus seen as nothing more than the projection of our collective human praxis. Instead of political economy serving human purposes, however, Marx felt that humanity was presently serving the needs of political economy. But the present political economy is nothing more than our own creation. Now a human revolution was needed. In order to begin this purportedly emancipatory process, Marx felt that the economic system of his time needed to be translated into a philosophical anthropology.
Marx’s attempt to translate the critical program to political economy proved immediately problematic for three reasons. 1) While God is immaterial, economies are very material; 2) It was impossible at Marx’s juncture in history to imagine a world without alienated labor; 3) Marx used Adam Smith as his primary economic theorist, though many of Smith’s ideas no longer applied.
Thus, while Marx made the attempt to translate Fueurbach’s failed critique of religion into a critique of political economy, such an application was itself a complete failure, to say the least.
The Failures of Marxism
“We are ruthless and ask no quarter from you. When our turn comes we shall not disguise our terrorism.” – Karl Marx
The failures of Marxism are legion and have been well documented for many decades by a wide variety of scholars, researchers, thinkers, economists and political scientists. Marxism eliminates all incentive for people to engage in any form of labor, whether intellectual, artistic or physical. By eliminating wages directly reflective of the value of individual instances of labor, people living under Marxist regimes are forced to work for a rationed amount of food and basic resources. Without a fair wage to work for, people naturally lose the motivation to work at all, thus leading to economic stagnation and a sense of hopelessness. We have seen such instances of economic failure in every Communist nation in history, and we are now beginning to see such economic breakdown occur in Europe and America as a direct result of the incremental introduction of crypto-Marxist economic policies.
A nation under the bondage of Marxism is destined to failure because such a state provides its people with no reason to strive for anything higher than being a personless atom in the social mass. With no distinctions, diversity, hierarchy, or classes to order the varying social strata of society in a sane and reasonable manner, a doctor will be paid the same wage as garbage collector, and a factory laborer has no hopes of ever earning a better life even if he acquired a Ph.D. All people are paid equally for work that requires unequal levels of skill, talent, education and personal natural propensity, so the person who aspires to be a doctor has no motivation to go to school for so many years of hard work only to be paid the same amount as someone who has not gone to school at all.
Marxism is predicated upon the idea of radical egalitarianism. Consequently, Marxists strive to utterly eliminate any sense of ethnic and national diversity, pride or celebration. The policy of eliminating a people’s natural and inherent sense of distinct cultural identity is designed to deprive people of any identity-sourced empowerment to dissent against the totalitarian, atheistic government. It is precisely for this reason that we must hold on to our ethnic and cultural identity at all costs, expressing a healthy pride in who we are, and in the ethnic heritage that made us who we are. Marxists, both those who have already gained power and those who seek to force their way to power in non-Marxist societies, promote and force ethnic amalgamation at the direct expense of ethnic diversity, often in the very name of ethnic diversity. We must never allow any government to eliminate the rich and beautiful diversity of the many cultures, languages, ethnicities, races and unique peoples that make our world the fascinating and meaningful place it is.
Marxism enforces its own beliefs and forcefully prevents all free speech that departs from their own belief system. Marxism is based upon fanaticism, hatred, doctrinaire closed-mindedness, dogmatic slogans, and blind faith in unsound historical, social and economic theories. Those found dissenting against the Marxist system are taken from their families and put into re-education centers or Gulags for merciless and systematic brainwashing. Those who continue to dissent are often summarily executed, with the family expected to pay for the bullets. The nightmarish Marxist model of the state represents the very opposite model that is presented by Dharma.
Comparison of Marxism with Sanatana Dharma
(Please compare both lists side by side)
External environment creates human essence.
Nurture trumps Nature.
Class, gender, race and social conflict.
Eradication of gender differences.
Destruction of Tradition.
Culture reflects the lowest common denominator.
“Socialist realist” art.
Destruction of the family structure.
Exploitation of Nature, and degradation of the environment.
Relativist ethics (the ends justify the means).
Lack of civil freedoms.
Personhood subsumed in the amorphous masses.
Abortion on demand.
All means of production controlled by the state.
DHARMA (NATURAL LAW):
Human beings create their external environment, which in turn can have an effect
upon the natural development of the person.
Will trumps both Nature and Nurture.
Class, gender, and social harmony and cooperation.
Celebration of gender distinctions.
Culture reflects the highest ideals.
Aesthetics inspired by ideal forms, transcendent insight, eternal archetypes,
and inspiration from Nature.
Upholding the traditional family.
Preservation and reverence for Nature.
Firm non-relativist ethics.
Human values based upon transcendent truth.
Inherent freedom of the human person.
Human personality never subsumed in the amorphous masses.
Respect for innocent life.
All means of production controlled by free and creative human persons and
Marxist philosophy, and the Communist movement in general, is without doubt the most destructive ideology humanity has ever been subjected to. Marxism represents the exact antithesis of Natural Law, of religion, of positive culture, of any form of national ideal, and of healthy tradition. Marxism is the polar opposite of life itself. It is the embodiment of the final, quintessential stage of the 4000-year-old failed Abrahamic experiment.
Communism has been responsible for the death, murder, torture and pain of more human beings than any ideology in world history (with, arguably, the possible exception of Islam). In China, the former USSR, and the former Communist nations of Eastern Europe, it has led to environmental degradation that is unprecedented. Marxism is a culture-destroyer. Far from being “progressive” and leading societies toward greater advancement, Marxism has led the nations under its rule back to the dark ages. In each and every significant way, Marxism is the very exact opposite of everything that Dharma and Natural Law has ever stood for. This explains why for the last 150 years of history, communists have been one of Vedic civilization’s very greatest enemies, and have tried to destroy us every chance they get. Marxism is the natural enemy of Dharma. Every follower of Sanatana Dharma must oppose Marxist materialism with every breath we have.
This article is the most in-depth critical analysis of Marxism from a Vedic perspective ever written. It is taken from chapter 3 of the groundbreaking new book “The Dharma Manifesto“, by Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya. The book can be purchased at:
The Dharma Manifesto serves as the first ever, systematic revolutionary blueprint for the nascent global Vedic movement that will, in the very near future, arise to change the course of world history for the betterment of all living beings. The Dharma Manifesto signals the beginning of a wholly new era in humanity’s eternal yearning for meaningful freedom and happiness.
About the Author
Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya has been acknowledged by many Hindu leaders throughout the world to be one of the most revolutionary and visionary Vedic spiritual masters on the Earth today.
With a forty year history of intensely practicing the spiritual disciplines of Yoga, and with a Ph.D. in Religious Studies, Sri Acharyaji is one of the most eminently qualified authorities on Vedic philosophy, culture and spirituality.
He is the Director of the Center for the Study of Dharma and Civilization – the very first Hindu think tank in American history.
His most historically groundbreaking politico-philosophical work, “The Dharma Manifesto”, is now offered to the world at a time when its people are most desperately crying out for fundamental change. Available here:
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 Which was, on the face of it, merely another ego-driven manifestation of what I have termed the psychological defect of temporal-centrism – or, believing that the historical era in which one is presently living represents the apex of all human achievement.
 Neue Rheinische Zeitung (May 18, 1849) ”Marx-Engels Gesamt-Ausgabe, Vol. VI, p. 503.
Paths are Many, the Rishis Call It by Many Names
By Yogi Baba Prem Yogacharya, Veda Visharada
One of the most common quotes I hear from Hindus is that we are all one, all the religious teach the same thing, and there is no difference between Hinduism and other religions. Ironically, we do not hear this view from Christians, Muslims or other groups. The Christian and Muslim are not likely to embrace Krishna when He said, “All paths, Arjuna, lead to Me.” (Bhagavad Gita, 4.11) Likewise, the Christian view that Jesus is the only path is not embraced by Hinduism, nor does the Muslim believe that Allah or Mohammad is Krishna. Though this view has been embraced frequently by the “New-age” movement in the United States, and has spread globally with the new-age movement. There is now a term to describe what Hindus are doing. Hindus are frequent to embrace what Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya coined as “Radical Universalism”, or the belief that all religions and teachings are essentially the same. In modern sociology this is commonly referred to as “Eclecticism”, referring to piecing together a belief system based on fragments of different religions. While practitioners of the new-age movement really have no basis to support this view aside from opinion, the Hindu will likely look to the Vedas to support such a statement; and the most commonly quoted verse from the Vedas is from the Rig Veda 1.164.46: ekam sad viprãh bahudhã vadanti, agnim yamam mãtarišvãnam ãhuh. This verse is commonly misquoted as:
“Truth is one, paths are many.”
“Truth is one, the Rishi’s know it by many names.”
This translation ignores several important words and the entire rest of the verse. The entire verse roughly translates as:
“The seers called one by many names as they speak of Agni, Yama and Matarishvan.”
There is considerable difference between the two verses. The problem is that only a small portion of sloka is quoted, namely: “the seers called one by many names” – ekam sad viprãh bahudhã vadanti. But, as stated earlier, the remainder of the mantra is completely ignored. The context of the suktam is ignored as well. Upon examination, one will see that the mantra is not intended as justification that all religions are the same, but rather is talking about Vaidika, Bharatha Varsha, Sanatana Dharma or what later become known as Hinduism.
Examining the entire suktam, one quickly discovers that the first 42 stanzas are devoted to the Vishvadevas commonly translated as the All-gods, but in reality is a special grouping of deities together within a rik. Other deities mentioned in this suktam are Vak, Surya, Kala, which is a hidden reference to Kali, and Sarasvati; as well as Mitra, Varuna and others. It becomes clear that the subject is not regarding the similarity of religions, but rather that the Supreme Vedic deity is known by many names. This supreme deity is identified within the Upanishads as Brahman, as Brahman is the “one” that the rik is referring to. In other words, all the Vedic deities are one with Brahman.
This is not to say that world religions do not share some common ground, as certainly there are universal values such as love, compassion and other important qualities, but the fact that the world’s religions share a handful of similarities does not mean they are teaching the same thing, or that they have the same goals.
Separation of the World’s Religions
One may ask, “What separates the world’s religions?” The answer to this question first and foremost would be destination. For example, the Christian and Muslim follower have a destination of heaven. Within Hinduism this philosophy appears, but is a lower destination, as this is implied when one goes to the loka of the deity. The loka is NOT the final destination within Hinduism. The final destination within Hinduism is self-realization or enlightenment; a realization of oneness with Brahman, as compared with what Hindu’s would perceive as a loka for the Christian and Muslim.
Reincarnation is a key and important distinction between Hinduism and many of the world’s major religions. Hinduism has always embraced the concept of reincarnation. Often critics argue that reincarnation does not appear within the Vedas; but the term ‘samsara’ appears frequently within the Upanishads, with the earliest references associated the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. Likewise, we see in the Rig Veda (10.4.57.4): Om AA ta etu mana punah kratve dakshaaya jiivase, Jyok ca suuryam drishe
“May your spirit return again,
to perform pure acts for exercising strength,
and to live long to see the sun.”
Clearly this is a reference to reincarnation, though the word reincarnation does not literally appear, rather the spirit or intention of the mantra is such.
Several of the world’s religions teach salvation, as opposed to Hinduism’s liberation. Karma is another important distinction between Hinduism and many of the world’s other religions. Occasionally there are attempts to say that karma is like the Christian “Golden Rule”, which is the ‘treat others as you would like to be treated.’ But in reality karma is a divine law that recognizes the need for realization, learning and resolution of conflict within the field of the mind. Hinduism embraces Atma-jnana or knowledge of the self. Hinduism has the most extensive teachings on meditation and the art of mantra.
What Does the Rest of the Suktam Say?
While it is accepted, at times, to quote only one rik from the Vedas for a point or teaching, as we have seen, this is not the case in 1.164.46 where only a portion of a line is used to make a point. This is generally not accepted within the Vedic lineages or teachings. It is also important to consider the deities associated with the suktam, as well as the subject matter of the entire suktam for clarity on a sloka.
The entire suktam (1.164) continues onward to discuss the astral body and even the solar calendar referring to the “twelve-spoked wheel” which is a reference to the solar year. There are references to seven horses that are “yoked” to the one wheeled car; this is a reference to 7 known planets in the Vedic astrological system which are connected or “yoked” with the Sun which is the one wheeled car. It was understood by the Vedic rishi’s that many of the Gods could be called “Sun Gods” as they are born of Aditya, which is a reference to the Vedic zodiac. These riks connect the Vedic deities with the Vedic zodiac and their relationship with Aditya. But there is more to this suktam than just astrological information.
The appearance of seven is significant within this suktam, as it does reference the chakra system. The seven Vedic Rishi’s are commonly referred to as the saptarishis and are equated with the stars of the big dipper. Additionally the saptarishis are associated with the seven chakras. When examining the chakra connection, these Rishi’s are given a dualistic quality except for the seventh, which has transcended duality (the crown chakra located at the top of the head). This teaching is found within this suktam, as verse 15 states that “…the seventh is single born, but the six are twins…” indicating the masculine and feminine qualities of each chakra.
But this suktam has much more to teach. The Vedic worlds are identified, as the suktam says “the heavens are my parent…the navel is my relative…the spacious earth is my mother.” There are deep mystical teachings in this suktam and it is very long, but of all the various subjects and secret teachings contained within it—radical universalism, or the idea that all religions are basically one, is not one of them.
Ancient View of Other Religions
While it is most likely that Hinduism, or Sanatana Dharma, has influenced the world’s religions to a greater degree than is currently accepted by scholarly circles, what was the ancient view towards other religions? The Vedas do shed some light on these issues, but it addresses these issues within Sanatana Dharma to the greatest degree; recognizing two groups of people: 1) Dharmic and Adharmic, those who are for and practice dharma and those who are against dharma (adharma). This is also addressed in the Vedas as battles between the Devas and the Asuras, and is also illustrated in conflicts between the Angirasas and the Bhrigus; and finally as battles between the Vedic people’s that embraced dharma and those that had allowed dharma to slip to lower levels, such as with the Panis and Dashyus during the Vedic age. So the Vedic traditional view would examine other religions to see if they were truly practicing dharma and not automatically agree that they are all basically saying the same thing. The Vedic teachings would say to stand against adharma if you are a follower of dharma.
About the Author: Yogi Baba Prem has written several books that are published in India. His latest book is “From Earth to Heaven: Secrets of Goddess, Yoga and Spirituality“, published by Universal Yoga. Additionally he has been published in several magazines. He is a recognized Acharya within the traditional systems of India. To read more on his work, visit www.vedicpath.com.
Clash of Civlizations: A Hindu Response
Clash of Civlizations: A Hindu Response
By Dr Ramesh N. Rao
In his controversial 1993 essay in Foreign Affairs, Samuel Huntington wrote that the fundamental source of conflict in the modern world would not be driven by economic factors but by ideological factors and that the “Dominating source of conflict will be cultural”. He asserted that nation states would remain “The most powerful actors in world affairs”, but that “The principal conflicts of global politics will occur between nations and groups of different civilizations”.
He argued that civilization identity would be shaped by the interactions among seven or eight major civilizations – Western, Confucian, Japanese, Islamic, Hindu, Slavic-Orthodox, Latin American and African. The causes for the conflict, he said would be because, “Differences among Civilizations” are both real and basic and that “Civilizations are differentiated from each other by history, language, culture, tradition and most important, religion”. He argued that the differences will not disappear soon and that while all differences don’t necessarily lead to violent conflict, “Over the centuries, however, differences among civilizations have generated the most prolonged and the most violent conflicts”. The most violent conflicts in the present, he said would be between the West/Christian and Chinese and the West/Christian and Islamic nations.
This is the gist of his thesis which was elaborated later in a book titled “The Clash of Civilizations: Remaking of World Order”, published in 1996.
The response to this thesis has been wide, varied and furious. Most of it has come from Muslim scholars, humanists, Marxists and internationalists of various hues. Very little has been said by scholars representing the Hindu viewpoints. We know that part of the clash of civilizations has to do with the emergence of nation states after de-colonization, the fall of the Soviet Union and the resulting “Imbalance” in the political dynamics of the world. Democracy and free market capitalism seemingly won the battle over Communism and state-controlled markets, but we now know that the challenges to democratic governance are many.
After the events of September 11, 2001 and America’s invasion of Afghanistan to rid it of its Taliban regime and then of Iraq to dethrone Saddam Hussein, debate now rages in many policy circles about the nature of our modern world. Huntington has added more fuel to the controversy recently with an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal (June 16, 2004) in which he argues that the United States is primarily a Christian nation, that its liberalism is grounded in Christianity and that non-Christians will remain “Strangers” in the US.
Appropriating liberalism in the cause of Christianity, Huntington concludes his essay by saying, “Americans tend to have a certain catholicity toward religion: All deserve respect. Given this general tolerance of religious diversity, non-Christian faiths have little alternative but to recognize and accept America as a Christian Society”.
The clash of civilizations that Huntington predicts was foreseen by Bipin Chandra Pal more than a hundred years ago in the book “Nationality and Empire”. Pal predicted that Hindu civilization will side with the Judeo-Christian West in its war against Islamic and Chinese civilizations. Pal proposed his theories despite the fact that he considered the West as the greatest danger to humanity. He was a great admirer of Islam’s spiritual values. Pal thought that Islam was going to be influential through its power of propaganda and not through war, but he was scared of Islam’s political manipulation. He foresaw the dangers of political Islam, which he considered an aberration. Pal is not on Huntington’s reading list, or if he has read him, he is not telling us.
The survival of pluralism is linked to a complete understanding of the subversive influence of religious traditions and political ideologies exclusively appropriating claims to God or to a good life. Certain sections of the Muslim society at present win easy acceptance among gullible believers around the world for their monopolistic claims to represent God. Christians are more sophisticated and have a more powerful colonial tradition to carry on their proselytization businesses, without the shrill cries ofjihadthat accompany many Muslim initiatives to make the world Muslim. Next, the monopolistic claim to usher in “Equality” as dreamed by Marx has come unhinged everywhere in the world except, it seems, in parcels of the academic landscape.
In India, religious conflict has become more and more fierce, more so after the partition of the country. Despite India’s openness there is also native to the Indian tradition a powerful culture of inquiry and resistance to the marketing of spurious ideas and claims. That Jesus is the only son of God and Mohammed the last prophet are claims that Hindus look at skeptically. Islam and Christianity dismiss if not abhor the idea of incarnation of Gods and of imagery and image worship. Without image, there is no worship. Hindus worship their Gods – they bathe them, dress them, kiss them, adorn them and adore them. For Christians and Muslims, God is a distant being/idea. However, they demand that the rest of the world accept their God or be doomed as “Sinners” or as “Kafirs”.
The practitioners of many pluralist religions are not driven by religious intolerance as the practitioners of the two “Great” monotheistic faiths. So, how should one deal with these aggressive and intolerant religions? Confronted with the paradox of religious freedom and the intolerance espoused by certain religions, the “Objection to conversion from any indigenous religious leadership is an urgently necessary and long-overdue assertion, not a violation, of human rights”, argues Swami Dayananda Saraswati.
David Frawley argues (“Hinduism and the Clash of Civilizations”, 2001) that India is a sacred land whose kings and people did not seek to conquer others’ lands. He proposes the idea of India as the “World’s Mother” – the source of evolutionary transformations. While bemoaning the fact that over time many customs calcified and became dominated by authority and rituals, he believes that India is ready to re-emerge as the world’s spiritual guide to help people transcend time and space to a universal consciousness.
Rajiv Malhotra has argued that the West, China and Islam all represent top-down monocultures. These civilizations adopt a “Chauvinistic Grand Meta-Narrative of History” and their trajectory is “Global Dominance”. He sees threats to Indic civilization from all three global competitors – the West, Islam and China. The West seeks to undermine India through its control over Indian churches, through the activities of non-governmental organizations, through propaganda in English language media and with the help of “Academic Mercenaries”. The threat that Islam poses is the propagation of Arabism through madrassa education. And China seeks to subvert India through the activities of Maoists and Naxalites and by flooding India with cheap goods.
Huntington’s thesis is a neo-Christian/Western program which should be seen for what it is: A continuation of the colonial program which sought to lift the rest of the world out of misery because it was the “White Man’s Burden”. Collaborations that he proposes between the West and some specific others, including India, to fight global Islamism and the Chinese putsch, are based on the old supremacist ideology of Western/Christian domination.
Within the framework of the nation-state system, India will have to collaborate selectively with neighbors and distant partners. The great civilizational divide is between the aggressive monotheistic (and mono-atheistic) traditions and the world’s pluralistic traditions. As such, the fight between the West and Islam is a fight between ideological partners for the world’s collective soul, whereas the fight between the West and China is for territorial and economic gain. Marxism is on the wane in most parts of the world but not in India, where Marxists collaborate with Islamists and Christian fundamentalists to subvert Hindu pluralist traditions.
Indian governments and leaders have been naïve, short-sighted, over eager, or plainly idealistic in many of their attempts to build relationships with individual nations, regional associations and civilizational groups. Thus, we had Nehru accept the “Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence” (Panchsheel) proposed by Zhou Enlai in 1954 and end up a disappointed if not a defeated man when the Chinese invaded India in 1962. Fifty years after the panchsheelwas accepted, we have former President K. R. Narayanan proposing (India Abroad, June 25, 2004) a new Indo-Chinese cooperation phase and explicitly ignoring Chinese expansionist plans, its occupation of Tibet, its aggressive nationalism and its brazen militarism. Naïveté, inexperience, eagerness and other weaknesses displayed by Indian policy makers and leaders sap India of material strength and moral sagacity. Similarly, the BJP leaders’ eager attempts to offer support to the Americans immediately after the events of September 11, 2001 fell almost flat on their face because they overlooked the fundamental relationships that shape the modern world dynamic.
So, in conclusion, it is important to be aware of the designs of the world’s two most aggressive religions – Christianity and Islam – and the world’s most aggressive mono-atheism – Marxism. They are still the important markers in the civilizational divides and the aggressive nationalism of the Chinese is a close second. However, what might, hopefully, come to the aid of pluralists all over the world as well as to Indic traditions is science, which one hopes will reaffirm and support the findings of Indian sages about beginningless time, of cyclical time, of individual liberation, of perennial access to the transcendent, of progress not yoked to history, of multiple ways to attain transcendence, of reincarnation and so on. If that happens, then the individual and collective quest for temporal power may recede and the opportunistic and specious speculations of historians and political scientists will cease. Science as a handmaiden of Western imperialism, though, could still be used to undermine pluralist traditions. In the short run though, while all the criticisms of the Hungtington thesis is valid, there is also quite a lot of “Reality” embedded in his thesis.
A Vedic Examination of Abrahamism
The following article is from chapter 3 of the groundbreaking new work “The Dharma Manifesto“, by Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya.
A Vedic Examination of Abrahamism
By Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya
The Abrahamic worldview is today represented by five closely aligned ideological tendencies: 1) Judaism, 2) Pauline Christianity, 3) Islam, 4) Marxism, and to a less significant extent 5) the Baha’i movement. Of these Abrahamic tendencies, Marxism is the only self-stated atheistic one, the others being religious in nature. The greatest real-world challenge and exact philosophical juxtaposition to the entire Dharmic worldview has historically been, and continues to this day to be, the Abrahamic mentality and worldview.
While some very important theological and ritual distinctions can be seen between them all, nonetheless the specifically religious-oriented aspects of Abrahamism – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – share a common worldview, psychological make-up, and guiding ethos. Judaism, Christianity and Islam are historically referred to as the “Abrahamic” religions because all three religions trace their origins to the prophet Abraham, and can thus be seen to be quite similar in many aspects of their respective outlooks. The following are only a few of the similarities that they all share.
1. All three religions have a shared acceptance of the teachings of the Old Testament prophets (Christianity, in addition to the accepting the Old Testament prophets, also accepts Jesus. Islam, in addition to the Old Testament prophets and Jesus, also accepts Muhammad).
2. Anthropomorphic monotheism. The supreme god of Abrahamism is seen in very human terms, including in his exhibition of such very human emotions as anger, jealousy, prejudice and vengeance.
3. A profound sense of religious exclusivity, creating two strictly delineated camps of “believers” in opposition to everyone else.
4. The belief that there is only the sole true faith, and that any other form of religious expression external to the “one true faith” is necessarily wrong.
5. The acceptance of terrorism, violence, mob action, looting and aggressive missionary tactics to spread their religion.
6. A common sense of being at a war to the death with the Dharmic (“Pagan”) world that preceded Abrahamic ascendency.
7. The centrality of unidirectional prayer to commune with their god, with systematic meditation practice playing either little or no part in the practice of their respective religions.
8. A belief in the existence of angels, the devil, demonic spirits, etc.
9. All three teach the bodily resurrection, the Final Judgment, the creation of the soul at the time of conception or birth (as opposed to the soul’s pre-existence, which all Dharmic spiritual traditions teach), the binding effects of sin, etc.
10. The importance of a specific holy day of the week set aside for prayer and rest: For Jews – Saturday. For most Christians – Sunday. For Muslims – Friday.
These are only a few of the elements of the Abrahamic worldview, of which mainstream Christianity is an integral part.
Up until 2000 years ago, the Dharmic worldview was by far the predominant worldview for most of humanity – from Ireland in the West to the Philippines in the East. Though there were thousands of diverse individual cultures, languages, foods, customs and traditions among the ancient Indo-European peoples, most of these ethnically varied cultures were united in their deep respect for, and attempted adherence to, the Natural Way (Dharma).
This ancient uniformity in adherence to Dharma was the case for tens of thousands of years until the radically anti-human and anti-nature Abrahamic ideology suddenly burst upon the world scene 4000 years ago with an evangelical fury, religiously-inspired violence, and zealous civilization-destroying vengeance the likes of which the civilized world had never seen previously. Never before had the multiple ancient and noble pre-Christian cultures of the world ever experienced such massive destruction, death, persecution, forced conversion, and cultural annihilation performed in the name of an artificially expansive religion as it witnessed at the hands of the new Abrahamic ideology that had arrived, seemingly out of nowhere, onto the world stage. It was in the wake of this never before experienced juggernaut of Biblically inspired destruction that the light of Dharma began to swiftly wane, and that Reality as it was known up till then was turned literally on its head.
Religiously inspired imperialism began with the more localized expansion of the Israelites in the Levant region two thousand years before the birth of Christianity. However, it was soon after the appropriation of the original teachings and spiritual movement of Jesus, and the massive expanse of this later, corrupt form of post-Constantine Christianity, that the expansion of the Abrahamic ideology began to take on truly global proportions. As the French thinker Alain de Benoist explains this catastrophe in the context of European history,
“. . . the conversion of Europe to Christianity and the more or less complete integration of the European mind into the Christian mentality, was one of the most catastrophic events in world history – a catastrophe in the proper sense of the word…”
With the ascent of the Abrahamic onslaught came the counter-proportional descent of the Indo-European world’s traditional Dharmic civilizations.
Christianity, in retrospect, was but one of several artificially constructed, new movements that all fall under the general term “Abrahamic”, named after the infamous founder of fanatical religious exclusivity, Abraham (1812 BC – 1637 BC). These four anti-nature ideologies are 1) Judaism, 2) Christianity, 3) Islam, and 4) Marxism. Whether we speak of Judeo-Christian “holy wars” and Inquisitions, or the bloody and unending Islamic jihads against “infidels”, or the genocide of over 100 million people in the name of Marxist revolution, all four of these Abrahamic movements have been responsible for more destruction, loss of life, and social mayhem than all other ideas, religions, and ideologies in world history combined.
The Abrahamic onslaught has been an unparalleled juggernaut of death. More, while all four ideologies have remained seemingly divided by dogmatic, sectarian concerns, all Abrahamic movements have been fanatically united in both their common origin, and in their shared aim of annihilating their perceived enemy of Dharma from the earth, and seeking sole domination of world power for themselves alone. While Judaism, Christianity and Islam have been at war with each other for millennia, they are all united in their insistence that Dharma is their principal hated enemy. The essential driving principle of Abrahamism is to bring about the immediate death of Dharma.
Dharma and Abrahamism are exact opposites in every way. Dharma and Abrahamism stand for two radically opposed visions for humanity’s future. Dharma stands for nature, peace, diversity, and reason. Abrahamism stands for artificiality, war, uniformity, and fanaticism. They are the only two real ideological poles of any true significance in the last two-thousand years. There has been an ongoing Two-Thousand Year War between these two opposing worldviews that has shaped the course of much of human history since this conflict’s start. Every philosophical construct, religious denomination, political ideology and general worldview of the past two millennia falls squarely into one camp or the other. Every human being living today falls squarely into one camp or the other. Dharma and Abrahamism are the only two meaningful ideological choices for humanity today. And for all too much of the duration of this Two-Thousand Year War, Dharma has been on the losing end as Abrahamism has continuously succeeded in its unrivalled ascendancy.
The destructive ascendancy of Abrahamism is, however, about to come to an end. We are now about to witness a period of Dharmodaya – of Dharma ascending – in this very generation. As is explained in thorough detail in the two books “The Dharma Manifesto” and “Sanatana Dharma: The Eternal Natural Way”, we are about to experience the rebirth of Dharmic and Vedic civilization throughout the totality of our world.
The Dharma world-view represents a positive moral and philosophical alternative to the many ills and cultural distortions of Abrahamic modernity. Vedic culture is human culture, because Vedic culture is the model of spiritual civilization. Our world is not without meaning. Our future is not without hope. Though the darkness of the Kali Yuga (our current “Age of Conflict”) and a civilizational crisis has now descended upon us, the Sun of Dharma will soon be seen again. No cloud can obscure our vision of the Sun forever. We will live to see Dharma triumphant again, and to see a Golden Age of compassion, true culture, and the Natural Way be firmly established.
 One of the prime example of such Abrahamist expansion was the conquest of Canaan (circa 1400-1350 BC), described in the Book of Joshua and the first chapter of Judges.
 Alain de Benoist, On Being a Pagan, ed. Greg Johnson, trans. Jon Graham (Atlanta: Ultra, 2004), p. 5.
This article is from chapter 3 of the groundbreaking new political work “The Dharma Manifesto“, by Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya. It can be found in full at the website of the Center for the Study of Dharma and Civilization, America’s first and foremost Hindu think tank.
The Dharma Manifesto serves as the first ever systematic revolutionary blueprint for the nascent global Vedic movement that will, in the very near future, arise to change the course of world history for the betterment of all living beings. The Dharma Manifesto signals the beginning of a wholly new era in humanity’s eternal yearning for meaningful freedom and happiness.
About the Author
Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya has been acknowledged by many Hindu leaders throughout the world to be one of the most revolutionary and visionary Vedic spiritual masters on the Earth today.
With a forty year history of intensely practicing the spiritual disciplines of Yoga, and with a Ph.D. in Religious Studies, Sri Acharyaji is one of the most eminently qualified authorities on Vedic philosophy, culture and spirituality. He is the Director of the Center for the Study of Dharma and Civilization.
His most historically groundbreaking politico-philosophical work, “The Dharma Manifesto“, is now offered to the world at a time when its people are most desperately crying out for fundamental change.
Towards a Framework for a Hindu Economic Model
Towards a Framework for a Hindu Economic Model
By Lall B. Ramrattan, Ph.D., UC Berkeley Extension
This paper delineates the assumptions and basic laws of a Hindus economics system. The intention is to compare the Hindus and Capitalists systems with a view to validate their comprehensiveness. We found that the Hindu system is more encompassing by including grace and liberating efforts that can be modeled. A diagram illustrates the Hindu framework for a rudimentary system is constructed. The paper is sufficient as a foundation for a research program on the Hindu economic discipline.
When Adam Smith formulated the western economic model he leaned on moral philosophy. The sociologist Max Weber who has likened Smith moral philosophy to protestant ethics seems wanting to extend that principle to Hinduism when he wrote that “To a Christian, the official recognition of the Vedas might appear to be a “formal principle” of Hinduism in the manner of the Protestant recognition of the Bible—always with the reservation that it is the least not absolutely indispensable.” (Weber 1958, p. 27) James Mills held a contrary view, namely that “Hinduism was less favorable to human happiness than Christianity.” (Plassart 2008, p. 534) We know also, that Karl Marx, being all out materialistic, stooped so low as to deprecate the Hindu gods in his Colonial Writings. This paper presents a Hindu Economic Model that is counterfactual to the negative view such as proposed by Mills and Marx, and argue for equal vision if not a superior one to Smith’s model of capitalism.
The essence of the model is that Hindus “…belief in the intimate relationship of philosophy and life.” (Radhakrishnan and Moore, 1957, p. xxiii) The vision of such a study is to make people free. It is a paradigm that seeks the truth to solve the problems of life. The truth is to be lived, and not just known. (Ibid, p. xxiv). In the field of truth, however, conflict and war over economic phenomenon are not excluded, for even the great war of India, Mahābhārata, was set in the field of Kurukṣetre, the field of righteousness.
The model posits a strong relationship between contemplation and action. It is in their equilibrium state that we should look for the vision of the Hindus in general and Indian in particular. “In the totality of things, equilibrium is made the sum of all disequilibria, and all partial disorders, no matter what, combine in the total order.” (Guenon, 1983, 7) Guenon locates this harmony even in the Svadharma, the true law of cast (Ibid, p. 9) A person’s vision in term of Dharma and Karma were circumscribed around this concept of the original sacrifice. (Dasgupta 1969, p. 2) The greatest sacrifice was the act of the one (Mahā -puruṣha) creating the world (prakriti) out of sacrifices. In the beginning was darkness, and the supreme was alone. “He reflected, I am one, I will become many.” (Wilson V.2, 1976, p. 88)
The model evolved in phases: the formative period (2500-800 B.C.), the speculative period (800-400 B.C.), the epic and classical periods (400 B.C. to A.D. 600), the medieval period (A. D. 600-1800), and the modern period (1800 to present) (Kinsley 1982, 10 – 23). The Vedas, of which the Ṛgveda Veda stands out, lay the defining words of Hinduism. The Vedas expound a caste system—priest (brāhmin), warrior (kṣatriya), merchant (vaiśya), and laborer (śudra), a stage of life system—students (brahmacārin), householder (gṛhastha), forest-dweller (vānaprastha), and monks (sannyāsin), and goals of life—duties (dharma), wealth (artha), pleasure (kāma), and liberation (mokṣa).
The Hindu model has been stalled in its development by significant interruptions. The formative period was confronted by waves of Aryan invasions and natural disasters. Archeological evidence at the Mohenjo-daro and Harapppa mounds suggests that the pre-Vedic civilization had a developed urban culture around 1500 B. C. Apparently, the two cultures have merged their skills, the Aryans offered knowledge of horse-power, iron and the Sanskrit language, and the original inhabitants offered oxen-force, copper, and local knowledge. The meeting of the two cultures during the Vedic period laid out the moral philosophy for the development of Hindu economics. “The earth, according to the Vedas, is upheld not by the Will of God, but by truth (Satya) of which God is the supreme exponent. Similarly the Veda says that God reveals Himself through Ṛita (Eternal Order).” (Bose 1970, 28) Vedic ethics, therefore, sits on two pillars, Satya and Ṛita. More completely, “There are two basic terms in the Vedas indicating their ethical value—Satya (truth) and Ṛita (eternal order, discipline or eternal law, goodness). It may be said that there can be no God or Goddess in the Vedas who does not represent the conceptions of Satya (truth) and Ṛita (order).” (Bose 1970, p. 27)
A firm foundation of economics of the Hindus started in the Epic Period that set the stage for the development of “…the orthodox system of Hinduism and the unorthodox system of Cārvāka, Buddhism, and Jainism—were perforce brought into clearer perspective by the construction of systematic treatises.” (Radhakrishnan and Moore 1957, p. xix). In that period, two socio-economic treatises were codifies–the Dharmaśāstras, a treatise containing moral codes, social structure, obligations, and religion practices, and the Artha-śāstra dealing with the role of the individual regarding decision making and utility. (Ibid, 1957, p. 193)
Assumption of the Hindu Model.
A full economics model should clearly spell out assumptions, laws and predictions of economic phenomena. The following discussions are on those assumptions that are necessary to delineate an economic system. Since many views of Hinduism have developed over the years, we can only present broad outlines, steering clear of any one particular school and providing only essential discussion.
From nature, prakṛti, we get substances, qualities, activities, inherent relations such as hand to body, universal and particulars. (Raju, 1982, p. 80) The Veda says that “Heaven and Earth bestow riches and various wealth and treasure…prosperity on all, sustainers of the region, Holy Ones and wise.” (Ṛgveda, I. 159.5; 159.1) Nature is the source of all things. (Gītā, 9.10)
As mentioned above, the objective world, prakṛti, originated from the greatest sacrifice of the great one, puruṣa. Three types of nature are discussed in the Gītā– cosmic matter, the source of all being, and māyā. (Dasgupta, 1969, p. 58) Māyā refers to mirage, dreams, Illusion, the power of Brahman, without substance, source of modification, nonbeing but dependent on being, spontaneousness, (Ibid, pp. 90,101, 161, 170, 179, 180, 193 Māyā can take three interpretations—real for the man in the street, undeterminable by logicians, and non-existent by the followers of the scripture. (Staal, 1975, p. 94) Guṇas are qualities derived from substances. (Ibid, 1975, p. 157) The qualities are of the nature of goodness (Satva), passion (rajas), and dullness or inertia (tamas). (Radhakrishnan and Moore, 1957, p. 109) They are the modes through which work is done. (Gītā , III.27).
Nature is conceived by Sage Kapila, the author of the Sāṁkhya system of philosophy as the source of pain and pleasure. (Vidyabhusana 1971, p. 10) This might be taken as foreshadowing of the pain and pleasure calculus of Jeremy Bentham. It is said that James Mill took a more Christian than utilitarian interpretation of the Hindus. (see Plassart, 2008) The logical view of “The illustrative (prakṛti) is the mentioning of a course of action, the obstruction of which by some particular person led to bad consequences”. (Vidyabhusana 1971, p. 108). There is lingering dispute as to whether prakṛti is eternal. Some say it is eternal because it evolved into the universe. The Naiyāyikas, Indian logicians, claim only the soul and God are eternal. (Ibid, 1971, p. 363)
The natural assumption infuses order into the Hindu economic system through the orderly state of nature (Ṛta). In the Veda, natural order is maintained by Karma through sacrifices to the Gods. (Smet 1977, p. 53) Here we have concordance with classical economics and Vedic thought on the orderly nature of the universe. This is accordance Alfred Marshall idea that economics is Natura non facit saltum loosely translated to mean nature does not leap. The physicists however, have still not settled whether the nature of the universe is orderly or chaotic. The Buddhists have argued that “…in reality everything is in a flux and nothing stays the same.” (Puhakka 1975, p. 13) As part of Hinduism, Buddhism can be seen as having a more meandering schema for the attainment of Release.
The natural assumptions subsume a big-bang theory of nature within the domain of the Hindus doctrine of Kalpa, a theory of cyclical movements of creation and dissolution. Briefly, a Kalpa has 14 Manvantara of 64,800 years each, or 1000 Mahayugas of 12,000 years each according to Vedic astrologers. During that time, the universe goes through many phases parallel to the Golden, Silver, Bronze, and Iron ages of the West, which are called Satya or Krita-Yuga, Treta- Yuga, Dvarpara- Yuga, and Kali-Yuga, respectively. Now, we are in into the seventh Manvantara of Kali-Yuga, which will cycle back to Krita-Yuga when it dissolves. (Gītā, IX. 7).
The natural assumption also provides for economies of scale considerations in Hindu economics. The economic assumption of puruṣa can be both limitless and limited. “A Thousand heads hath Puruṣa, a thousand eyes, a thousand feet…All Creatures are one-fourth of him, three fourths eternal life in heaven…With three-fourths Puruṣa went up: one fourth of him again was here. “(Ṛgveda, 10. 90. 1, 3-4). The “thousand” is variously interpreted as innumerable, and the one-fourth is a proportional limit of the power of creatures. One can read into this that the power of labor is limited, a condition for diminishing returns. Increasing returns to scale, however, can be attributed to Hindu economics as a result of the socialized feature of technological advancement, which is referred to in ancient Hindu text, and is an advent of the modern informational revolution.
There is dispute over the purpose of nature in Hindu economics. In the Brahma Sūtras, the world is said to be created as a Līlā, meaning sport or play. (Brahma Sūtras, II. 1.33) The great Hindu books the Rāmāyaṇa and the Bhādgavata-purāṇa describe Rama Līlā and Kṛṣṇa Līlā, respectively, where the avatāras, Rama and Kṛṣṇa simply engage in amorous pastimes. The image that is painted from those pastimes is that the purpose of the world is mere sport just as a child having built a sand castle would take it down. In addition to the teaching of renunciations, this sportive idea may explain the Marshallian view as to why the Hindu doctrine does not support capital accumulation as the western doctrine. Another explanation may be that even when accumulation takes place, it is spent for God purpose. Anandagiri says that we should not raise the question as to the purpose of creation, (comment on Gītā IX,10) which allows the argument that creation might be just spontaneous and so too, economic activities.
Arguing from an identity and not say structural viewpoint, one can say that a purpose is implicit from the mere expansion of God’s energy. Earth, water fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence, ego combine to form the class of inferior energy. One can build a determinist argument on the identity premise. The superior energy is living entity, Jīva-bhūtām, which utilizes or exploits the inferior energy. (Gītā VII, 4; 5) The inferior energy is veiled by the creative power yogamāyā, the confluence of the three guṇas. (Gītā VII, 25) But one can find also stochastic or ergodic viewpoints to complement determinism. The Śrīmad-Bhāgvatam speaks of a random process, like a log floating down a stream by chance come to rest, for the creatures coming out of the clutches of matter. (Bhāgvatam 10. 38. 5). Identity elements such as Atman is Brahma reflect national income identity concept in macro economics. The stochastic elements also have mirrors as when one can say that You = self + error. “The Vedanta recognizes no sin, it only recognizes error.” (Vivekananda, 1976, p. 295).
Those part of the Vedic literature that postulate a soul, argue that individuals have the propensity to better their conditions. The psychological desire to better ones material conditions comes out clearly in this partial verse: “Like Sun and Moon may we pursue in full prosperity our path.” (Ṛgveda.V. 51.15) Again we read that “A man should think on wealth and strive to win it by adoration on the path of Order, Counsel himself with his own mental insight, and grasp still nobler vigor with his spirit.” (Ṛgveda, X. 31. 2)
Beside desire for wealth and food, people have different mental disposition in their seeking as is evident from the path of bhakti–devotion, jñāna–Knowledge, karma—action. A person’s vision in term of Dharma and Karma were circumscribed around this concept of the original sacrifice. (Dasgupta 1969, p. 2) These mental dispositions are circumscribed by three forces of the guṇas, namely sattva—potential consciousness, rajas—source of activity, and tamas—source that resist activity. (Radhakrishnan and Moore, 1957, p. 424)
Another psychological drive is our tendency to imitate. What the leaders do, the generality of men tend follows. (Gītā III, 21) This concept is most enlightened for economic analysis in the areas of advertising, research and development, franchising, and dealership competition. Needless to mention that orthodox economic theory breaks down in its leader-follower models where the marginal curves fail to predict outcomes.
We now ponder the institutional Assumptions.
1. Personal Freedom
The Psyciocrats advance that notion that “…for the production of wealth free competition is the best general rule, subject to exceptions only when they can be justified. (Walras 1954, p. 397) “The natural effort of every individual to better his own condition, when suffered to exert itself with freedom and security, is so powerful a principle, that it is alone, and without any assistance, not only capable of carrying on the society to wealth and prosperity, but of surmounting a hundred impertinent obstructions with which the folly of human laws too often encumbers its operations”. (Smith, 1776, WN, Modern Library, p. 508) Alfred Marshall spoke more broadly of Economic Freedom encompassing “…self-reliant habits, more forethought, more deliberate and free choice.” (Marshall, 1972, p. 8) Today, we think of personal freedom in terms of the economic agent being free to choose an action.
The Gītā has conditioned action on the guṇas so precisely that one is tempted to write the conditioned expectation E(Action|guṇas). In view of what is said about creative energies, we have to add also that E(Action| guṇas| Jīva-bhūtām). Or is it that E(Jīva-bhūtām | guṇas )The guṇas are the doer of action (Gītā III. 27; V. 14), and nothing is free from the guṇas, which are derived from material nature. (Gītā XVIII. 40). In keeping with modern economic thought, the guṇas may be thought of loosely as the information set that determined the action of the individual. The information set does not have the same partitioning for every individual. Each individual partitioning will be determined by the individual inborn nature, svabhāva. Each individual will conduct his/her own work, svadharma. The three guṇas—potential consciousness (sattva), source of activity (rajas), and source that resist activity (tamas) creates no action (equilibrium) when they are equipoise and creates disequilibrium (evolution) when they are disturbed. (Radhakrishnan and Moore, 1957, p. 424)
Freedom is attained when one does their appointed work “for action is better than inaction.” (Gītā, III. 8). “Even the man of knowledge acts in accordance with his own nature. Beings follow their nature. What can repression accomplish?” (Gītā, III. 33). “…no one can remain even for a moment without doing work” (Gītā, III. 5). “Thou shouldst do works also with a view to the maintenance of the world.” (Gītā, 111. 20) The two verses: “Better is one’s own law through imperfectly carried out than the law of another carried out perfectly. (Gītā, III. 35)
Actions comes under the influences of the gunas. One mudhra has it that the gunas—, tamasic, sattwic, and rajastic are like the little, ring, and index finger, respectively. The ring finger can be bent toward the index one signifying phlontrophic activities like a Bill Gate, Warren Buffet, or Ted Turn giving away lots of their money for the good of people. It can be bent toward the little finger, signifiying all attachment to the fruits of ones work. The middle finger can stand equipoised with only self reflection, then no work will be done. Swamin Vivekananada of the Ramakrishna order advocate keeping some ego in order to continue the work of the world. One thing is clear, though, Karma becomes a path to liberation only if it is done as karma yoga.
2. Contractural Relations
Man has an implicit contract to work. Even God abides by this contract: “If I shold cease to work, these worlds would fall in ruin” (Gītā III, 24). In worship, the hindus make a contract with God by stating the purpose of the worship (Sankalp) upfront. But there is somewhat of an explicit contract (Gītā IV,13) which speaks of the four orders (cāturvarṇaṁ) created by the Lord. Most interpreters say that this social order system is driven by the modes of material nature and action, and not birth. The proof of this is inherent in the argument that the the trancendence of the guṇas leads each of the four order back to their true self.
Contractual relations also speaks to the distribution of wealth. The Veda states in effect one receives more in wealth and kind that one give. (Rig 10.107.8). Mankind must acquire wealth with 100 hands, but distrubte it with 1,000 hands. (Arth Veda 5.24.5). But the rulers of the state is charged with monitoring the equitable distribution. The rulers distribute land, wealth, necessities of life, equitably, seeing that no one is below the poverty line, or those properties get accumulated in the hands of misers. (Rig 1.22.7; 1.81.6, and 2.3.2)
3. Private Property
Even in western economic fundamental text, we read that “Property consists in fair and rational apppropriation, or rightful appropriation.” (Walras, 1969, p. 78) “Coveting the property of others, thinking in one’s heart of what is undesirable, and adherence to false (doctrines), are the three kinds of (sinful) mental action.” (Radhakrishnan and Moore, 1957, p. 173).
Prosperity = f(Peace, Industry) (Artha Sastra: Ibid., 207).
4. Inequal Distribution
In the Hindu model, distribution is basically unequal, but made equal through the desire for attracting more wealth. The Veda recognized natural inequality: “The hands are both alike: their labour differs. The yeild of siser milch-kine is unequaly. Twin even differ in their strength and vigour: two, even kinsmen, differ in ther bounty.” (Riveda, X. 117. 9) It, however, counts on the rich giving to the poor: “Let the rich satisify the poor implorer, and bend his eye upon a longer pathway. Riches come now to one, now to another, and like the wheels of cars are ever rolling.” (Ṛgveda, X. 117. 5)
Natural inequality is made whole through not only the benevolence of the giver, but from the giver’s own regards for a better life. A person that does not give will “…find not one to comfort him.” (Ṛgveda, X. 117. 2). When one gives, “He makes a friend of him in future troubles.” (Ibid, X. 117. 3), and “All guilt is he who eats with not partaker. “ (Ibid, X. 117. 6). Similarly, the Gītā urge us to “…even-minded in all conditions, rejoicing in the welfare of all creatures”. (Gītā, XII, 4) But the Lord responds to people the way people approach him.” (Gītā, IV, 11)
From the “brodest and most comprehensive point of view,” distribution is discussed either collectively, or through the individual. (Walras, 1969, p. 79-9) “Let the rich satisify the poor implorer, and bend his eye upon a longer pathway. Riches come now to one, now to another, and like the wheels of cars are ever rolling.” (Ṛgveda, X. 117. 5) This latter verse underscore the view that inequality is a result of some superior force. In capatilism, this force is associted with the market, the invisible hand, or the spectatior principle. Adam Smith who father those concepts scarcely equate them with the Deity. But the Vedas repeatly demonstrate that God is the one who hold the inventory of riches, and who gives through his grace.
5. Division of Labor
Productivity is advanced by skillfulness in work, which come from division of labor. This partly achieved through imitation: “Whatsoever a great man does, the same is done by other as well. Whatever standard he sets, the world follows.” (Gītā, III. 21) It is the method of dexterity: “Thy spirit comes to thee again for wisdom, energy, and life.” (Ṛgveda, X. 57. 4) This verse has been interpreted to the effect that “O Man, you have been given the mind for obtaining dexterity all-round for leading an active life and for contemplation of God.” (Khosla 1993, p. 46)
Division of labor is driven by the desire to control the wavering mind, and unleash it on one’s appointed tasks. For this much repetition of a task is required, which can be attained, according to the The Bhagavadgītā, by “constant practice”. (Gītā, 6. 36) It is the division of labor that seems to drive the social division of caste.
6. Free Trade
Part of a Vedic verse say “…and meet with one who give again, who knows us well and slay us not.” (Ṛgveda, V. 57. 15) Another translation is that “…we move in full cooperation in mutual give and take, without causing injury to each other and in the mutual right understanding.” (Sarasvati 1984, p. 27) Yet another translation is that “…we will associate with the liberal, the kind, the knowing. (Bose 1970, p. 245) We recall that “…the object of relations between persons and persons is the mutual co-ordination of human destinies.” (Walras, 1969, p. 63)
There are implications in the Veda for modern trade theory. “The Atharva Veda says God is as much of the foreign (Videśya) as our own land…The Veda wants Saṁjñāna, concord (loving union), to be established not only with one’s own people, but also with foreign people—a step that, it says, will put an end to wars. (Bose 1970, p. 35) It has foreshadowed modern integrated trade theory, which presumes a world without any boundary, one that demonstrates factor price equality.
7. Factor Mobility
A world without boundary would seem to be ideal for factor mobility. The Vedas recognized that the mobility of factors must be allowed for soldiers who are beyond the seas. (Rig 1.167.2) In the Rāmāyaṇa, we read of allies between Lord Rama and other rulers—Vibhishana and Nisada that allow trade between their kingdoms, perhaps an ideal foreshadowing of the modern Free Trade Areas in the global economies.
The Veda says that “Not without toil are Gods inclined to friendship.” (Ṛig IV. 33. 11). This idea was interpreted to mean that “Gods befriend none but him who has toiled”. (Bose 1970, p. 242)
Man as an embodied spirit, Puruṣa, can be considered as a might person, whose limbs represent the social order of society. The Veda says: “The Brāhman was his mouth, of both his arms was the Rājanya (Kṣatriya) made. His thighs became the Vaiśya, from his feet the Śūdra was produced.” (Ṛig X. 90. 12). These are today recognized as the four castes: priest, ruler or warriors, husbandman, and laborers, respectively, people specialized in occupation driven by their modes of nature.
There is no drawback to specialization in the Hindu economics system such as the monotony of doing one task over-and-over. One can see that if one is born into an occupation that monotony may likely result. But this is not so in Hinduism. Western notion of specialization is associated with increase productivity, as is demonstrated by Adam Smith’s pin factory example, but is dragged by monotony. Hindu specialization is somewhat ratcheted up by the thought that one is doing one’s appointed duty for liberation. The western specialization is motivated by limited gains, the Hindu specialization is motivated by unlimited gains.
Laws of Hindu Doctrine
A. Law of Sacrifice
We mention above that it is god who made the original sacrifice: Mahā -puruṣha becoming the cosmos (prakriti). Sāṁkhya, the oldest philosophy, explains that although the Puruṣa vitalizes Prakṛti with creative forces, Prakṛti is allowed independent action. The relationship is not casual—material or efficient. (Gupta 1982, p.2) Another view is that it an unconnected relationship which can be looked at ontologically, if we wish to draw out only essential relationships. (Deutsch 1979, p. 6) This sacrifice then, is not subject to the western economic law that you cannot get something for nothing. One is reminded of the logic of the very first verse of the Isvasys Upanishad: “That is Whole; this is Whole, from the Whole the whole becomes manifest. From the Whole when the whole is negated what remains is again the Whole. (IsavasYopanishad, p. 67)
At the level of the cosmos, this law became work without the expectation for a reward.
If western economics can be defined by one word, it would be “incentive”. If Hindus economics can be defined by one world, it would be “work.” It is tempting to write an equation of their difference, namely, (I)incentive – ( R)enouncing the fruits of ones action = (K)arma yoga. Now, it becomes subtle to interpret permutations of the terms in the equation. I – K = R can be read as benefits wiped out as karma is renunciation; K + R = I can be read as the results of what is renounced through karma yoga is what you would get from work in western economics. Does the Gītā sanction this interpretation? The message of the Gītā according to Sri Ramakrishna is known by repeating the syllables of the word Gītā rapidly, then it becomes “Tagi Tagi”, give up, give up. To be clear, one has to add that Sri Ramakrishna would define “incentive” in our equation as referring lust and goal (kamini Kanchan).
B. Law of Production.
Underlying this law is the notion of Karma. From the Vedas through the Upanishads, the law moved from pure Prayer-Karma to Prayer-Karma-Jnana. (Vidyabhusana, 1971, p.2).
In the west, production is defined as the transformation of factors of production into output. Such production presupposes a mixture of capital and labor. More capital and with same labor; same capital with more labor would be sufficient to call the law of diminishing returns into play.
In the Hindu view of economics, one cannot leave out the input of sacrifice as a factor of production. The model posits output condition on a social division of labor and sacrifices.
The Gītā address the nature of sacrifice in Hindu economics. (Verses III.10-13) The Lord has created men and the necessaries for sacrifices. No good can come without some reciprocal relations between gods and man fostering each other. One will be steeling if one does not enter into that reciprocal relationship. When one honors that cosmic law of reciprocity, then one gets their desired enjoyment.
C. Law of Accumulation
“That Pūṣan (the Diety) may promote the increase of our wealth, our keeper and our guard infallible for our good.” (Rig I. 89. 5)“A man should think on wealth and strive to win it by adoration on the path of Order, Counsel himself with his own mental insight, and grasp still nobler vigor with his spirit.” (Ṛig X. 31. 2).
The law of accumulation under Hindu economics forbids activities that are not conducive to it. “Play not with dice: no, cultivate thy corn-land. Enjoy the gain, and deem that wealth sufficient.” (Rig, X. 34. 13) In early western economic models of Adam Smith and David Ricardo, corn was recognized as the basic input that regulated all activities, and as late as 1960 a somewhat post-Keynesian revolution was staged on the corn-model by Pierro Sraffa. The fundamental teaching of that Rig verse cannot be underestimated.
But Hindu economics had other latent forces behind accumulation “…As virtue is the basis of wealth and as enjoyment is the end of wealth, success in achieving that kind of wealth which promotes virtue, wealth and enjoyment is termed success in all. Thus, varieties of success.” (Radhakrishnan and Moore, 1957, p. 222) This virtue is somewhat in the western system where greed is made the foundation of accumulation. “Greed, activity, the undertaking of actions, unrest and craving—these spring up…when rajas increases.” On the other hand, “Unillumination, inactivity, negligence and mere delusion—these arise…when dullness increases.” (Gītā, 14. 12-13)
Accumulation varies with the dominance of each of the guṇas. “The fruit of good action is said to be of the nature of “goodness” and pure; while the fruit of passion is pain, the fruit of dullness is ignorance.” (Gītā, 14. 16) “Those who are established in goodness rise upwards; the passionate remain in the middle (regions); the dull steeped in the lower occurrences of the modes sink downwards.” (Gītā, 14.18) “The faith of ever individual…is in accordance with his nature. Man is of the nature of his faith: what his faith is, that, verily, he is.” (Gītā, 17. 3)
To attempt a unification of the assumptions with the laws detailed above will bring some closure to the comparison of western and the Hindu economic model. The sketch we provide is only a first step, and would perhaps require many stumbles before it can stand on its own. But I still believe that the economic model of Hinduism is a complete thought, only it was not written down. Figure I below illustrates a glimpse of the operational mechanism of the model. The fourth quadrant represents production, deciles income distribution, consumption, and utility maximization.
A static picture of Hindus consumption pattern was expressed by Alfred Marshall as follows: “…we find people who do indeed abstain from immediate enjoyment and save up considerable sums with great self-sacrifice, but spend all their savings in lavish festivities at funerals and marriages. They make intermittent provision for the near future, but scarcely any permanent provision for the distant future: the great engineering works by which their productive resources have been so much increased, have been made chiefly with the capital of the much less self-denying race of Englishmen.” (Marshall, 1982, 187).
Quadrant III indicates pattern of consumption. Absolute and relative income hypotheses can be captured by the long run, line through the origin, and short run consumption function. Because of the nature of consumption assessed by Marshall above, the short-run function would be moving frequently to reconcile with the long-run curve, as the accumulation or de-accumulation of wealth in each interval occurs. Before the marginal revolution had happened, the Hindus spoke about changes by months, season, and days. (Rig, VI. 24. 7).
Marshall seems to be saying that the Hindus consume all their income. In this case the Marginal Propensity to consume (MPC) line should approximately coincide with the Average propensity to consume (APC) line. To generalize Marshall’s idea then, any external technological shock to the system such as the Aryan Invasion if it happened, the Mogul Invasion, to name the two famous ones, will cause the MPC line to drift upwards, reconciling the MPC with the APC.
2. Utility (Bliss) Maximization.
Consumption is done moderately. Overeating is not allowed from the point of view of Yoga. One can almost claim that eating is done to reproduce the body and certainly not as a tamasic activity as identified above. This is the ideal goal, but one finds the desire for abundant food and wealth throughout the scripture. Most Vedic sacrifices have food and wealth as the aim. Following the Law of Sacrifice for food and wealth, we can then infer that some sort of maximization of utility is implied.
A utility maximization model should fit the eternal law of Dharma (Sanatan Dharma). One implication of this is that it must have a long run perspective. The most general form for such a specification is a Ramsey type model that does not consider “…differences between different kinds of goods and different kinds of labor, and suppose them to be expressed in term of fixed standards, so that we can speak simple of quantities of capital, consumption and labor without discussing particular forms.” (Ramsey 1928, p. 644) Such a model however, had been known to generate dynamic frontiers, which is indicated in the IV quadrant of Fig 1.
Production in the light of Marshall’s thought would be starving for want of capital. Its most likely form with fixed (varying) capital and varying (fixed) occupational division of labor is a diminishing return curve in the I quadrant. What is demonstrated is production with only one sector.
Production is also dependent on governance. As is recently demonstrated, good governance that liberated the Indian economy has allowed culture to survive with technology side-by-side. It has even given prominence to the idea of third world Multi-National Enterprise. India for instance had outflow of FDI in the late 1980s to N. America in engineering, consulting, software services.
Figure 1 show two representations of production functions in the first quadrant. The curved one indicates production with diminishing returns, and the straight line indicates output if proportional to capital, Y = ak, which when augmented with other inputs will display increasing returns. With Marshall’s view that people save only to spend lavishly on customs, we cannot be sure that the saving rate is constant, and therefore, that saving is a drive of capital and output growth. (Dornbusch, et. al., 2004, p. 79).
The production function can drift upward with the advent of new Technology, and as we have said grace in Hindu economics. There have been waves of technological progress in from the early and mythical stage of Hinduism, through merchant capitalism, industrial capitalism, managerial capitalism, Fordism, Toyotaism that represent different productive efficiency. Since there is not measure for grace, it is comingled with the technology the culture has allowed. Modern western economics do not recognize grace, limiting their analysis mainly to technology and human capital as the major cause of drifts in the function.
4. Deciles Distribution
Quadrant II indicates that the income generated from output can be put into a distribution interval–quartiles, deciles etc. The curve represents unequal distribution in each interval, as prescribed by the unequal distribution assumption. Its slope would be flattened to a straight line as heads of states polices redistributes wealth to achieve better equality. It is explicitly stated in the Brahma Sūtras that God acts a creator and dispenser regarding the merit and demerit of the individual soul. (Brahma Sūtras II, 1.35)
The distribution curve also indicates a group concept. Member of all the cast can be found in a particular interval. In this sense, no hierarchical order over the castes is postulated. Each individual has mental disposition: Bhakti Yoga—love and devotion, Jñāna Yoga—knowledge of reality, Raja—path of mysticism, Vibhuti Yoga—path of splendor, and Karma yoga—action. (Bose 1970, Ch. I-V) The individuals can adopt a mixture of the yogic paths.
One is hard put to find a beginning to enter into Figure I. Karma is Anādi or beginning less. (Brahma Sūtras II, 1.36) So, an entry point is arbitrary. Quadrant IV shows a possible link for the consumption-input plane. People use their resources to attain bliss, ānanda. Many relationships can be posited for this plane, of which only a Swan-shape possibility is represented in quadrant IV. Thinking in terms of momentary changes, a balance must be struck between what a person devotes to savings and therefore capital formation, and the tradeoff drawdown from current consumption. A model of saving of this form was first developed by Ramsey (Ramsey, 1928). The prescription is to sacrifice more consumption if one is below the bliss point, and vice versa.
How time is regarded in Quadrant IV might be controversial. “What we mean by a ‘period’ in this case is not the time interval (t, t + 1) but, (t, t + dt). U(C(t))dt is then the utility associated with an instantaneous rate of consumption at t.” (Chakravarty1962, p. 340) Yet our consumption axis measure intervals with a mixture of people of various castes. Similarly, we are inferring consumption vs. interest frontier, while the positive x-axis measure inputs. We can if we like, assume that consumption and inputs are relabeled, not shown in the diagram, to allow the discussion of a consumption-interest rate frontier. The Swan-shape is interpreted with this understanding.
The model we presented combs the literature for the basic elements Hindu economics, making comparisons with the capitalist system. We gave natural, psychological, and eight institutional assumptions which are essential pillars to build an economic system such as Adam Smith system, showing that the Hindu system has differentiated aspects in each assumption. Mostly, the difference is that the western system does not account for grace and liberation efforts toward work.
The rudimentary model we provided shows how grace along with technology lead to growth. Room for more equitable distribution that is absent in western economics is explicitly included in the Hindu model. Consumption is govern by yogic practices, and in addition to the traditional MPC and APC schedule, characterized by a Swan like feature in quadrant IV. The mode has no pretences of completeness, but makes no apologies either for the author things that the Hindus have a complete system to be written down.
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Dr. Ramrattan has been teaching economics at the University of Berkeley, Extension since the mid 1990s. He has a PhD in that subject from the New School University in New York. Besides economics, he was brought up as an Indian priest. Now he writes on Hinduism and Economics. He has published a paper on Hinduism and the Current Economics Crises in the American Economists (Vol. 53, No. 1, Spring 2009, pp 34-37). He has published over 75 refereed articles in professional journals. He co-authored 8 book, 6 of which were forwarded by Nobel laureates in economics. Two books are published by Cambridge Press, One by Oxford Press, and one by Plagrave, MacMillian.
He is now a collaborating editor for Handbooks on Economics for Oxford Press. So far 10 were published, and 60 are in planning stages.
Reaction, Revolution and Dharma Renaissance: The Case of “Hindu” Nationalism
Reaction, Revolution and Dharma Renaissance: The Case of “Hindu” Nationalism
By Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya
The following article is from chapter 2 of the groundbreaking new political work “The Dharma Manifesto”, by Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya.
“Every major question in history is a religious question. It has more effect in molding life than nationalism or a common language.”
– Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953)
The following paper will examine the Indian social movement known variously as “Hindu” Nationalism, or “Hindutva”.
The overtly political aspects of the ongoing Hindu renaissance that has been haphazardly developing for the last approximately 135 years, along with its repeated failure to secure its self-stated aim of instantiating Rama-rajya (Dharmic rule) on the political scene, are crucial topics that very few Hindu intellectuals have addressed in an ideologically cogent and politically mature manner. Some of the few intellectual leaders who have, in fact, addressed this issue in a truly systematic and well-formulated ideological way include Dr. David Frawley (Sri Vedacharya Vamadeva Shastri), Sitaram Goel, Ram Swarup and Dr. Koenraad Elst. I have also written about this topic very extensively, but have only begun releasing a limited number of my writings on this matter to the general public starting in early 2011, The Dharma Manifesto being the ideological dénouement of these writings. The following are a few thoughts on the current state of contemporary Dharma politics on the South Asian subcontinent, with an emphasis on the specific case of what is often termed “Hindu” Nationalism.
As we will see, the primary stumbling block that has relegated the greater Hindutva movement to near irrelevancy in the dual realms of both ideological development and engaged political action has been:
1) Its preponderance of reactionary thinking and action, rather than proactive cultivation of a more revolutionary outlook and practical strategy to both a.)gain political power and to b.) consequently govern the Indian nation-state along purely Dharmic principles.
2) The lack of the divinely-bestowed spiritual empowerment that is necessary for any self-described religious-based movement to secure meaningful success.
By the time the British and other European powers began the incremental process of colonial domination in India and the rest of South Asia in 1757, much of the Hindu community in north India specifically had already experienced hundreds of years of genocidal religious cleansing at the hands of the Mughals and other Islamic invaders before them. Without doubt, the establishment of European rule over India directly saved Hinduism (and, arguably, much of Vedic spiritual culture that served as the ancient basis of the later phenomenon of “Hinduism”) from inexorable extinction at the hands of Islam. If the British had not assumed the administration of India when they did, Hinduism would most likely not exist today, and all of present day India would be an Islamic state. All followers of Dharma must be eternally grateful to the British for this inadvertent rescue of the non-Islamic elements of Indian culture.
During the more liberal atmosphere of the British Raj period (1857-1947), history witnessed the beginning stages of a budding, if often very confused, and ultimately self-abnegating, Hindu renaissance with the emergence of such neo-Hindu movements as the Arya Samaj, Ramakrishna Mission and Hindu Mahasabha, as well as such Hindu leaders as Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902), Bhaktivinode Thakura (1838-1914), Bal Gangadhar Tilak (1856-1920), Arumuga Navalar (1822-1879), Gedong Bagus Oka (1921-2002), Sister Nivedita (1867-1911), Annie Besant (1847-1933), and many others. As a result of the rediscovery of their Vedic heritage on the part of many 19th century and early 20th century Hindu intellectual leaders, a new sense of political activism in the name of a rediscovered “Hinduism” cautiously developed with the nascent political theories of such people as Vinayak Damodar Savarkar (1883-1966) and Keshav Baliram Hedgewar (1889-1940).
The culmination of this new movement, which was decidedly devoted to a Hindu identity politics, has resulted in the overwhelmingly dominant role of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (founded in 1925) and its greater Sangh Pariwar family of front organizations over the realm of Hindu politics in India for the last 85 years. The overtly political manifestation of the Sangh Pariwar movement was eventually manifest in the later Jana Sangh political party. The party operated under this name from 1951-1980. It was founded by Dr. Shyama Prasad Mookerjee (1901-1953), who was subsequently murdered by the Congress Party regime in 1953. Since 1980, the party has been known by the name Bharatiya Janata Party.
There has been a clear, multi-stage trajectory in which pro-Hindu political ideology and activism have progressed in the last 135 or so years. Before I discuss the nature of that trajectory in any significant depth, first I need to lay out the three general morphologies that most political formulations have historically taken. There are three general forms of political activity observable in the modern political realm: 1) Utopian, 2) Reactionary, 3) Revolutionary.
Utopian designates a primarily futuristic-oriented politics that tends to be very unrealistic and fantasy-fueled. In many cases utopian-based ideologies tend to be eschatologically-driven and millennial in outlook, with the never-achieved (or achievable) promise of a perfect paradise on earth that can only be delivered by the particular political movement making the given promise. Such disastrously failed movements as Marxism, Leninism, Maoism, Anarchism and the political Left in general are Utopian in nature.
Reactionary, on the contrary, is primarily past-oriented and looks toward a “better, more ordered time”, that is historically usually no more than several generations previous to the present era, as the archetypal hallmark and model for present-day cultural renewal. As Nicolás Gómez Dávila explains the mindset of the reactionary: “The reactionary is, nevertheless, the fool who takes up the vanity of condemning history and the immorality of resigning himself to it.” American reactionaries, for example, tend to see the 1950s as the apex of American civilization. As is clear from the term itself, reactionaries are capable only of reacting to assaults on tradition that they detect around them, and are usually incapable of proffering pro-active and positive ideas for how to foundationally transform society for the better in the face of modernity’s degenerate encroachment upon traditional values and culture. Reactionaries are especially known for timidity, intellectual incuriosity, lack of vision, as well as narrow parochialism and immaturely expressed xenophobia. Republicans, Tories, and the conservative Right in general fall under this general heading. Utopian and Reactionary represent the two furthest opposing extremes of the political spectrum.
Revolutionary, on the other hand, describes a political stance that is proactive and constructive in nature, rather than merely utopian or reactionary. Rather than supporting either unrealistic utopian goals, or merely reacting in an ineffectively knee-jerk fashion to the incessant attacks of its opponents, the revolutionary perspective proffers positive systemic change designed to transform the basic characteristics of a presently-given social reality in a wholly original and fundamental way. Revolutionaries seek to alter society, not merely peripherally and incrementally, but foundationally and swiftly.
In the very specifically Hindu/Vedic context, the revolutionary perspective looks at the ancient past (and not merely two or three generations back, but millennia back) as the source from which to derive eternal principles that are designed to be used in the present day to create a radically better future. The Dharmic revolutionary subscribes to an archeofuturism, to use Guillaume Faye’s instructive terminology. Rather than merely dreaming about an unobtainable future based upon blind faith and wishful thinking, or conversely, merely reacting in a frustrated manner to the negative occurrences happening around them, revolutionaries seek systemic (and not merely cosmetic) change in the here and now.
The term “Revolutionary” tends to carry with it the stereotyped, and wholly inaccurate, notion of political violence, which is not at all the technical denotation of this word in political science terminology. Rather, by “Revolutionary” is meant a concept, ideology or movement whose aim is to affect fundamental systemic changes (i.e., a change of the prevailing system itself), rather than merely cosmetic or surface change alone (i.e., minutial changes and readjustments within the confines of the system). With this proper understanding of the terminology, the term “Revolutionary” does not in any way denote violence.
In brief, a Revolutionary movement must have the following features:
A) It is predicated upon a grand, but rationally achievable, vision.
B) It is led by a professional vanguard of elite leaders dedicated to achieving the vision, (b.i) who are capable of intellectually formulating that vision into ideological form, (b.ii) who know how to organize the masses in both the largest and most effective ways necessary to achieve the vision, and (b.iii) who themselves wholly personify the vision of the movement in their own personal character and lifestyle; i.e., the leader is the movement.
C) It has a clearly and systematically formulated ideology that encompasses the totality of political concern, including a comprehensive and defensible internal ideological structure, the minutia of economics, a philosophy of governance, social relations, geopolitical formulations, etc.
D) It has the ability to both formulate constructive alliances with like-motivated movements/organizations, and has a keen understanding of all aspects of the opposing forces.
E) Most importantly of all: a revolutionary has the resolute will to win.
As we look at the last 135 or so years of modern Hinduism, we see that Hindu forms of political expression have progressed roughly and sequentially, though certainly with significant overlaps, through the above three stages of Utopian, Reactionary, and Revolutionary.
“We Are One” – Utopian Stage (1875-1925)
Beginning in the Colonial era, and continuing down to today, such historical trends as the 19th century neo-Hindu movements and Radical Universalism, as well as such historic figures as Swami Vivekananda, Gandhi, and many of the earlier gurus who came to the West, clearly represented an early Utopian stage of Hindu political expression. The concerns of such Hindu Utopians included such unrealistic liberal Western notions as radical egalitarianism, universalism, evolutionary and historico-progressive world-views, temporal-centrism, and such emotionally-driven eschatological visions as the future establishment of a pan-ecumenical world political order – what today would be more accurately termed the New World Order. Such intellectually puerile sentiments, however, did not (and could not) lead to the type of strong Vedic restoration movement necessary to revive Dharma globally.
Such a Vedic restoration is necessarily radically traditionalist in nature, and is thoroughly opposed to all the key corrosive elements that have rendered modernity non-viable. The German intellectual Edgar Julius Jung (1894-1934) presciently describes a similar vision of such a restoration in the following way.
“Restoration of all those elementary laws and values without which man loses his ties with nature and God and without which he is incapable of building up a true order. In the place of equality there will be inherent standards, in the place of social consciousness a just integration into the hierarchical society, in the place of mechanical election an organic elite, in the place of bureaucratic leveling the inner responsibility of genuine self-government, in the place of mass prosperity the rights of a proud people.”
For Sanatana Dharma to both survive and thrive in the coming decades and centuries, a thorough Vedic Restoration along the lines of Jung’s words above must be brought about – a reaffirmation of Sanatana Dharma’s most ancient and orthodox cultural and spiritual expression in direct contradistinction to the values of both Western materialist modernity and shortsighted Indian nationalism (i.e., “Hindu” Nationalism).
Most of the formulators and present-day thinkers of the “Hindu Nationalist” movement represent, to one degree or another, a rather sharp historical and conceptual disconnect from the traditional Sanatana Dharma that had been taught by the Vedic Acharyas and that had been practiced by the common Hindu people for thousands of years. After 1000 years of genocidal battering on the part of Islamic invaders, modern Hinduism was definitely not at the height of its intellectual, cultural, spiritual and political/military glory by the time the British arrived on the scene. By the time the British had saved Vedic culture from extinction, a radically traditional Sanatana Dharma, in its unapologetic, pristine, and consciously Vedic-centric form, needed desperately to be reconstructed by her intellectuals and spiritual leaders. Unfortunately, a serious process of tradition-oriented reconstruction was not seriously attempted at that time.
Instead of seeing the dire problems with Hinduism that were present by the 18th and 19th centuries as something that needed to be addressed and cured from within the confines of Sanatana Dharma, the neo-Hindus instead turned to external, non-Vedic, sources for their guiding inspiration. As a result, rather than attempting a true reconstruction of authentic Sanatana Dharma, which would have made Sanatana Dharma strong and pure once again, they instead attempted an unnecessary “reform” of Sanatana Dharma along the lines of Christian norms and ideals.
Thus we saw the Christian-inspired, neo-Hindu obsessions with eliminating “caste”, eliminating sati, eliminating murti worship, Christian style monotheism, “social reform” at the expense of intellectual/spiritual development, Hegelian historicism, and Radical Universalism. Attendant upon these superfluous “reforms”, we now witness the sad legacy of a Hindu world confused about what it believes, about what even constitutes a “Hindu”, about its future, as well as Hindu children who are not interested in Hinduism, and a Hindu community of almost one billion people many of whom suffer from inferiority complexes and the psychological scars of a people disconnected from their true spiritual heritage. What Sanatana Dharma really needed was never “reform” along these neo-Hindu lines, but rather a positive tradition-based reconstruction of its eternal ideals. “Hinduism” needed to re-embrace its true essence as Sanatana Dharma – the Eternal Natural Way.
What Sanatana Dharma needed – and still needs! – were two interdependent developments.
A) A reclamation of Vedic-based, traditional Sanatana Dharma, with a highly orthodox, Vedic-centric understanding of the unitive and integral Vedic culture that had sustained Sanatana Dharma for 5000 years. It needed a purely Vedic understanding of pramana (valid means of knowledge and derivation of authority), of the nature of Dharma (in the strictest of philosophical senses, not just the popular sense), of what constitutes Vaidika (Vedic) vs. Avaidika (non-Vedic), etc.
B) Once the pure Tradition of Sanatana Dharma was reconstructed, the next organic development needed to be a strictly Vedic-based strategy for both juxtaposing, but also actively interfacing, traditional Sanatana Dharma with the modern world.
The latter project of fostering dialogue between Sanatana Dharma and modernity needed to be done, not by falsely denying the differences between the two (as almost all of the 19th century proto-Hindutva figures attempted via Radical Universalism), but in the same manner that every other ancient culture had met the challenge of modernity: recognition of most modern religions/ideologies as purva-pakshas – opposing ideological constructs; friendly and open debate with these purva-pakshas; unapologetic assurance in the exceptional status of Sanatana Dharma, and a concomitant refusal to concede to the forced imposition of an inferior status.
Unfortunately, because the unneeded distraction of “Hindu reform” became the more easily accomplished dominant paradigm of the hour, to this very day the real project of Vedic reconstruction outlined above has barely gotten off the ground. It is now time to begin the process.
Many of the “Hindu reformers” were well-motivated and sincere persons who truly felt that they were acting in the interests of Sanatana Dharma. Many of Ramakrishna’s words are very inspiring and wise. Swami Vivekananda was a truly courageous and talented leader who the Hindu people can and should take immense pride in. More, many of these personalities did accomplish some good in providing at least some modicum of a vehicle for interfacing Sanatana Dharma and modernity, however self-destructive this particular vehicle has ending up being in the long-run. In formulating a Christian-inspired paradigm for Vedic survival with only short-term successes in mind, however, they did not have the long-term implications of their syncretism in mind.
“We Are Different” – Reactionary Stage (1925-1945)
Beginning roughly in the Interwar period (the 1920s and 1930s), we then see the formulation of a strictly Reactionary form of Hindu politics with the emergence of Savarkar, Savitri Devi (the European Pagan writer Maximiani Portas, 1905-1982), the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, etc. The uniformed paramilitary formations, martial aesthetic, stress on character development, egalitarian ethos combined with a rigid hierarchical structure, and much of the generic patriotic rhetoric of the RSS was directly appropriated from the newly immerging, parallel nationalist movements that were sweeping the European continent during the 1920s.
Unlike their much more successful European counterparts, however, this new reactionary Hindu movement had very few innovative ideas, did not know how to successfully engage in politics either electorally (not till the 1980s at the earliest) or in terms of mass mobilization (other than borrowing heavily from the paramilitary structure earlier developed by their much more successful counterparts in the various nationalist organizations of contemporary Europe), were wholly disconnected from the traditionalist and orthodox Vedic understanding and practice of the Yoga tradition, had no clear understanding of Dharmic political theory, and most importantly, did not know how to construct an elite political vanguard capable of leading the people by their own spiritual example.
The RSS and Sangh Pariwar defined itself, both historically and to this very day, exclusively in negative juxtaposition to what they were not: they were not Muslims; they were not Christians; they were not Marxists; thus, if only by necessary default, they were “Hindus”. However, to this very day, the RSS has found itself incapable of defining in positive identitarian terms what it actually means to be a Hindu in the spiritual sense of this term. Savarkar’s blind imitation of then-fashionable European racialist theory in the formulation of his interpretation of “Hindutva”, or “Hinduness”, as designating a specifically racial group was doomed to failure from the outset. For Savarkar and all those who followed in his footsteps, being Hindu meant being Indian; being Indian meant being Hindu. Thus, Hinduism for the Hindu Nationalists was merely another term for the Indian race! Being a politician, and not a Vedic philosopher, Savarkar did not understand that Sanatana Dharma does not equate to the Indian race. Sanatana Dharma is a world-view and spiritual tradition. It is the sacred heritage, not merely of those people who happen to possess an Indian passport, but of the entirety of the Indo-European peoples.
To this day, rather than facilitating the radical, systemic change necessary to bring about a new Dharma civilization (which is clearly not at all the aim of these Hindutva movements, and never has been), the Reactionary tendency in pro-Hindu politics has shown itself to be an un-visionary, anti-intellectual, philosophically impotent and currently irrelevant political force. It finds itself dedicated more to a rather light version of Indian Nationalist conservatism than Vedic nation building.
The deepest extent of their political program essentially consists of a return to an era more within the comfort zone of the octogenarian men who lead this reactionary movement – possibly a return to India circa 1855 for Savarkar and Hedgewar, or an India circa 1955 for an Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Lal Krishna Advani. A Dharma Nation will never be achieved by the feckless Reactionaries, if only because such a goal is not even within the scope of their actual aims or intellectual understanding.
Sadly, the vast bulk of so-called “Hindu activism” that takes place today still falls under the category of Reactionary, and is more a reflection of amorphous Indian Nationalism, and general pride of place and ethnicity than any serious attempt to reorder society (either Indian, American, or global) in such a manner as to reflect Dharmic principles instantiated in concrete political form.
Many of the attempts at polemical and ideological writing that we have seen arising from “Hindu Nationalists” make it all too apparent that they are not yet politically mature enough to either vie for power or to govern a working nation-state. When, and only when, it comes to the point that self-described “Hindu Nationalists” develop the philosophical maturity to engage in the nuanced ideological struggle necessary to win power, and only when they learn how to develop temporary and practical alliances with others while also keeping the greater goal of political power in mind, will they be ready to govern the current nation-state of India. Only then will “India” become Vedic Bharat once again! Contemporary “Hindu Nationalism” needs to move away from the fantasy-rhetoric level that they have wallowed in for so many decades, and begin the hard work of engaging in real politics in the real world.
“We are Vedic!” – Transforming the RSS into a Revolutionary Movement
Without doubt, the current attempt at Vedic restoration is seen as almost being synonymous with the vision, leadership, organizational structures and ideological pronouncements of the RSS movement. With approximately six million dedicated activists, the RSS is officially the largest volunteer organization on the Earth today. Unfortunately, the RSS has served as a sadly flawed and ideologically challenged vehicle for Vedic restoration. The RSS will need to address the following problems if it is going to transform itself from a Reactionary movement to a Revolutionary one:
A) Distinguishing between Indian Nationalism versus Vedic Restorationism. Many difficulties arise when these two separate concerns become indistinguishable, as they very clearly have in the minds of almost all “Hindu Nationalists”. Indian Nationalism is an ethnicity/national/racial movement. Vedic Restoration, on the other hand, is a religious/cultural/philosophical one. The RSS has, in my opinion, been more of an Indian Nationalist movement than a Vedic Restorationist movement. More, this is the primary reason why the BJP so badly lost the Indian national election of 2004 – because they tried to appeal to Muslims, Christians, pseudo-secularists, and other non-Hindu Indians merely as patriotic Indians, rather than appealing exclusively to the majority community as follower of Sanatana Dharma. The RSS’s main concern has become Indian Nationalism rather than Sanatana Dharma…and this has only set the movement back.
B) Within the current day Vedic Restorationist movement, we must clarify the difference between Hindu Revival (a political/social/cultural phenomenon), which the RSS is predominantly engaged in, versus Vedic Reconstruction, (an intellectual/academic/philosophical/spiritual matrix of projects), which is precisely what such individuals as David Frawley, Swami Dayananda Sarasvati, Shrikant Talageri, Subhash Kak and myself, as well as other, more traditionalist, Vedic thinkers are engaged in. Both are projects of seemingly rival significance, and the different natures, goals and methods of these two separate projects need to be understood.
C) Within the parallel projects of Hindu Revival and Vedic Reconstruction, we need to distinguish between a Neo-Hindu versus a Traditionalist world-view, which has been addressed to a much greater extent in the book Radical Universalism: Are All Religions the Same?, by Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya.
The RSS is currently a neo-Hindu, revivalist, Indian Nationalist movement. What it needs to become is a Traditionalist Vedic Reconstructionist movement. Like some of the 19th century neo-Hindus of the past, the RSS has done much good for the Indian nation-state historically. The RSS has been on the front-lines of defending Hindu India from foreign aggression, both military and missionary. The sacrifices of countless individual RSS members are too numerous to mention. Today, however, both India and Sanatana Dharma need radically more. The RSS needs to change quite radically if it is going to maintain itself as an effective organization in the future.
The following is a ten point program that Hindu Nationalists should implement if they truly wish to transform their nation of India for the better.
1) Annihilate the immediate existential threat from the Communist terrorists, Islamic Jihadists and Christian missionaries who have enslaved your country.
2) Stop graduating countless engineers, “IT professionals” and medical personnel, and instead begin to once again encourage your children to become philosophers, sadhus (sages), artists, thinkers, warriors and leaders.
3) Revive the Kshatriya warrior spirit of your ancestors and no longer revel in weakness in the name of ahimsa.
4) Re-Aryanize, re-Vedicize and re-spiritualize the entirety of your present-day culture.
5) Eliminate the Dalit problem once and for all by allowing those many individuals who are eligible among this community to enter the varna system in accordance with their inherent individual psycho-physical nature. If a Dalit behaves like a brahmana, then he is a brahmana. Period!
6) Learn to interact with modernity in a successful manner. That means, without excuses, rededicating yourselves to excellence and perfection in everything you do and communicate.
7) Build your own economy instead of depending upon the West for economic success via immigration and outsourcing of jobs. To do this, you will need to completely exorcise your economy of even the slightest taint of socialism and collectivism. Once and for all – Socialism simply does not work!
8) Start to carry yourselves with courage and pride in your Vedic heritage, rather than viewing this heritage as an embarrassing burden from the past. If you do not reclaim your immense Vedic heritage, someone else will reclaim it from you.
9) Make spoken Sanskrit the sole recognized language of your nation.
10) To successfully achieve all of the above, stop reaching for any and all excuses for why you have not yet been able to achieve these goals. Victory belongs only to those who reject excuses. Then, and only then, will Bharat regain the respect of the world.
Dharma Nationalism: A New Revolutionary Approach
The new stage that Hindu activism needs to take is undoubtedly the Revolutionary approach. It is clear that Indian Hindus now need to enter the Post-RSS phase of Hindu activism. As a starting point, 21st century Hindu activism needs to make a sharp break from its more paranoid and pessimistic past, and begin to start thinking in much more realistic, concrete, strategic and winning terms.
The enemies of Dharma have had the gift of being able to think and strategize on a long-term basis. Their end goal has always been the end of Dharmic civilization and the creation of their own dystopic vision of reality ranging centuries into the future! Contemporary Hindu activism, on the other hand, has only seemed able to operate reactively, only thinking about some immediate injustices that have just occurred in the news today – and even then only rarely reacting effectively, if at all. The contemporary Indian Hindu activist movement needs to stop looking for excuses, and beat the enemy at their own game.
A truly Revolutionary Dharma activist movement has not existed on the world scene until 2012. The seeds of its birth have now come to fruition in the form of the Dharma Nationalist movement.
Indeed, the Indian nationalist fueled “Hindu” activism of the past will now quickly take a back seat to the spiritually fueled Dharma Nationalist activism of the future. Unlike parochial “Hindu Nationalism”, Dharma Nationalist activism is, indeed, comprehensively total in its application. It is based primarily upon spiritual/philosophical concern, and only secondarily on ethnic/national concern. It is motivated by the spiritual insight and compassion gifted to us by the eternal Truth of Sanatana Dharma, and not merely on an empty pride residing in the relative and temporal, ever-changing geographical boundaries of the nation-state of India. It fosters a true selfless action akin with that of the rishis, and not merely a series of political calculations based upon the personal need for power and aggrandizement.
More crucial than any other juxtaposing comparison to the failed Hindu activist endeavors of the past: Dharma Nationalism presents a clear, realistic, and achievable strategic diagram revealing exactly how society should be best structured in order to ensure the maximal amount of happiness and prosperity, to the fullest degree of qualitative and spiritual depth, for the greatest number of living beings. This fact will be abundantly evident upon an attentive reading of The Dharma Manifesto.
 Tentatively translated as “Hinduness”.
 Born as Margaret Elizabeth Noble, an Irish social worker who abandoned Christianity and became a follower of Sanatana Dharma.
 The second leader of the Theosophical Society after Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831-1891).
 “Indian People’s Party”.
 Reactionaries do not look to ancient or Classical antecedents for guidance for the present, but tend to only look back a few generations at most.
 See Guillaume Faye’s Archeofuturism: European Visions of the Post-Catastrophic Age for more on this innovative concept.
 My term for the deceivingly comforting psychological phenomenon exhibited by any given generation that convinces them that the particular era in which they find themselves represents the most important and advanced era in history. A much more healthy approach in reconciling one’s subjective perception with the particular times in which one finds oneself was nicely stated by the German philosopher Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805) in the following manner: “Live with your century, but do not be its creature.” (On the Aesthetic Education of Man)
 Edgar J. Jung, Deutsche uber Deutschland (Munich, 1932), p. 380.
 Savitri Devi and Savarkar were in agreement on several basic issues of Hindu Nationalism. Babarao G.D. Savarkar, brother of V.D. Savarkar, even wrote the Forward to Savitri Devi’s book “A Warning to the Hindus“.
 “India is dear to us because it has been and is the home of our Hindu Race, the land which has been the cradle of our prophets, and heroes and Gods and godmen …. The real meaning of Swarajya then, is not merely the geographical independence of the bit of earth called India. To the Hindus independence of Hindusthan can only be worth having if that ensures their Hindutva – their religious, racial and cultural identity.” (Vinayak Damodar Savarkar Hindu Rashtra Darshan, vol. 4, pp. 218-9)
 Approximately 83% of the Indian population are followers of Sanatana Dharma – a clear majority.
 Balraj Madhok, the president of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh party in the late 1960s, is a living example of the patriotic fervour of Hindu Nationalism. He wrote the following in 1970: “Western countries also have been exerting to exploit India’s illiteracy and poverty by using their economic aid measures, their cheap and provocative literature, and, above all, their missionaries as instruments for a campaign of mass conversion. We want to warn these foreign powers not to indulge in activities that violate India’s sovereignty and independence and demand that the Government of India take stern measures to curb them.” (Indianisation? What, Why and How. New Delhi: S. Chand, 1970, p. 103)
This article is from chapter 2 of the groundbreaking new political work “The Dharma Manifesto”, by Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya.
The Dharma Manifesto serves as the first ever systematic revolutionary blueprint for the nascent global Vedic movement that will, in the very near future, arise to change the course of world history for the betterment of all living beings. The Dharma Manifesto signals the beginning of a wholly new era in humanity’s eternal yearning for meaningful freedom and happiness.
About the Author
The Need for a New Indic School of Thought
The Need for a New Indic School of Thought
By Dr. David Frawley
During the Eurocolonial period, Indian history and civilization were distorted to fit European perceptions. A new school of thought is needed that will see Asian history and tradition with Asian eyes and thought, beginning with India.
The “clash of civilizations”
A clash of civilizations is occurring throughout in the world today, a war of cultures at various levels in both our personal and public lives. This clash is partly because of rising historical and cultural awareness on the part of newly-independent countries, beginning with India . The Western-European/North American culture is currently predominant and is strongly, if not rudely, trying to eliminate or subordinate the rest. Yet Western civilization is spreading itself not so much by force, as in the colonial era, but by subtle new forms of social manipulation. These include control of the media and news information networks, control of the entertainment industry, domination of commercial markets, continued missionary aggressiveness by Western religions, and – as important but sometimes overlooked – control of educational institutions and curricula worldwide.
This control of education has resulted in a Western-European/North-American view of history and culture in textbooks and information sources in most countries, including India . Naturally, people educated according to Western values will function as part of Western culture, whatever may be the actual country of their birth. They will experience an alienation from their native culture in which they have not really been raised. They easily become a fifth column for the Westernisation of their culture, which also means its denigration or, at best, its commercialisation. An authentic Indian or Indic perspective, a worldview coming out of the culture of India and its particular values and perceptions, is hardly to be found, even in India . The Western school of thought is taught in India , not any Indic or Indian school of thought.
The Indic school of thought
What is the Indic school of thought, one might ask? It is not at all something new or unknown. It is the great spiritual, philosophical, scientific, artistic and cultural traditions of the subcontinent that are among the largest and oldest in the world. It is the emphasis on dharma, on karma, on pluralism and synthesis, on yoga sadhana and moksha. It is not only the tradition of ancient sages from the Vedas and Upanishads to Buddhist and Yoga traditions but also modern teachers like Sri Aurobindo and Swami Vivekananda. It is not only the vast literature of Sanskrit but also that of the regional languages and dialects of the subcontinent, most of which have older literary traditions than the languages of Europe such as English.
All major cultural debates are now framed according to Western values and perceptions, and so they will naturally serve to uphold them. The important issues of Indic civilization today are framed according to the principles or biases of the Western school of thought. These include what Indian civilization is, when India as a nation first arose, what the real history of India is, how to reform Indian society, and how India should develop in order to have its rightful place in the future world. As the debate is defined according to the approach and values of Western civilization, India does not always fare well, and India as its own independent source of civilization is seldom acknowledged. India is judged as if it should be like another USA , UK or Germany , which it can never be, nor should be. This only makes Indians feel inferior or wrong.
The Western school of thought has denigrated or overlooked the Indic school, particularly in the Indian context. For example, the Indic school has its own history sources through the Vedas, Puranas and various historical texts (Itihasas) that are quite massive and detailed and have much internal consistency. However, in writing the history of India , the Western school does not give these any place. They are dismissed as, at best, mythology and, at worst, fraud. Instead, it defines the history of India according to outside influences, as a series of invasions and borrowings mainly from the west, from cultures the West knows better and has more affinity with, which makes India seem dependent upon the West in order to advance its civilization again today.
The Western school of thought negates the relevance of the traditions of India . This is not simply because the Indic tradition is wrong, unsophisticated or irrelevant. It is because Western civilization is hegemonic, if not predatory in nature, and such ideas help promote its spread. Its information about India contains a built-in poison. It is meant to undermine the culture of the region and subordinate it to the West, however objective, scientific or modern its approach may appear to be.
When India as a nation arose is defined by the Western school as 1947, the year of independence. It founders were Nehru and Gandhi, who inherited a united region from the British, before which India was just a confused mass of local kingdoms with no national consistency. On the other hand, according to the Indic school, India or Bharat as a country arose in the Vedic era as the type of dharmic/yogic culture that has been the main characteristic of Indian civilization through history. This spiritual or yogic orientation can be found in the cultures of all the regions of India from Tamil Nadu to the Himalayas , pervading even in the folk art and folk songs of all regions, as well as “high” culture.
Western distortions and the Indian response
In the Western school of thought, an Aryan invasion or migration is used to describe the way in which ancient Vedic civilization took root in India , as if it were an alien force of intruding barbarians. In the Indic school of thought, the whole idea of an Aryan invasion/migration is a sign of ignorance. The Indic tradition arose from the rishi tradition of spiritual endeavour, characteristic of the Vedic-Sarasvati culture and related cultures, reflected in the continuity of Vedic literature from the Vedas to the Mahabharata, Buddhist and Jain literature and the Puranas, which all reflect the same principles, peoples and dynasties of kings.
In these current cultural debates, therefore, an overriding greater debate is ignored – that which takes place between the Western and the Indic schools of thought. The Western-style media and academia tries to see what is authentic in Indian civilization and finds it to be wanting, reducing it to little more than caste or superstition. This is not surprising as the Indic tradition has a different focus and values than does the Western tradition. Similarly, from the standpoint of the Indic tradition, we must question Western civilization itself. Is the Western school of thought enlightened? Is it appropriate for India? Can it understand the unique civilization of the subcontinent?
The Indic school itself is often highly critical of the Western school. For example, when asked what he thought about Western civilization, Mahatma Gandhi replied: “It would be a good idea.” What he meant was that, from the standpoint of the spiritual traditions of India , Western civilization with its materialism, aggression and dogmatism was not highly evolved. Sri Aurobindo wrote on the limitations of Western civilization, while appreciating it in certain areas.
The West similarly tries to control any debate on cultural ethics, using slogans of democracy and human rights, which are only used to intimidate weak nations and conveniently ignored relative to stronger or wealthier nations like China or Saudi Arabia . Organizations operating under the cover of human rights are among the most aggressively alienating influences today. They function like “secular missionaries”, ignoring victims of terrorism like the Hindus, while defending the “rights” of terrorist organizations against security forces that are compelled to take action against them. Meanwhile, it is the West that is selling the weapons and profiting by terrorism and civil strife throughout the world. The West originally trained many terrorist groups, such as the Taliban fighters in Afghanistan .
Such groups highlight social inequalities in India , but ignore a colonial history marked by attacks on indigenous Indic culture. The same charges of cultural backwardness have been used throughout the colonial era to undermine the native traditions of Africa , Asia and the USA , and to justify forced religious conversion and political domination, which is their real aim. Sometimes native intellectuals are taken in by these Western approaches to social issues, not realizing that they are just promoting the colonial agenda of world domination in a more covert form.
New rules of debate
Therefore, it is not enough simply to debate issues of culture, politics, or history in the existing forums in order to promote a more Indian or Hindu view. We must question the very process itself, its basis and the perspective or values behind the school of thought in which the debate occurs. What India needs is the creation of a new Indic school of thought that is dynamic and assertive in the modern global context – one that can challenge Western civilization not merely in regard to the details of history or culture, but also relative to fundamental principles of life, humanity and consciousness. This requires a revival or renaissance in the Indic tradition and its great spiritual systems of Yoga, Vedanta, Buddhism, and Jainism, and also in its political, artistic and scientific traditions. Modern science and technology can arguably be more humanely employed according to Indic or Dharmic values than according to Western religious exclusivity and commercial greed.
The world today needs a critique of “modern civilization” from an Indic or Dharmic perspective, an interpretation of capitalism, socialism, communism, Christianity and Islam from a tradition that is much older, deeper and closer to the spirit in both man and nature. These Western ideologies are failing to address the spiritual needs of humanity and are incapable of creating a world order that transcends dogmatism or exclusivism.
Those of us who are part of the Indic school of thought should emphasize such a greater debate and not get caught in the details of issues already formulated according to the biases of Western civilization. This debate should examine the right structure for society and the real forward direction for history and evolution. We must raise fundamental questions. Is the current Western materialistic view of history valid at all, or are there spiritual forces at work in the world that go beyond all these? Can we understand our history through outer approaches like archaeology, linguistics or genetics, or is a higher consciousness or more intuitive view required as well? Are the records of our ancient sages to be rejected so lightly, whenever we think they do not agree with our views?
The real issue of the Vedas, India’s oldest tradition, is not how these texts might fit into the current model of history as promoted by the Western school of thought, tracing the development of civilization through outward material advances. It is how the existence of such an ancient tradition of rishis, knowers of cosmic consciousness, shows a higher spiritual humanity from which we have arisen and whose legacy we can reclaim.
Towards a new school of thought
India needs a different type of scholarship, an Indic school of thought that has its own values, traditions and methods of reaching conclusions. Those of us who follow the Indian civilization should develop this Indic school in its own right and not merely try to justify our views in terms of the Western or European school of thought, which is hostile and radically opposed to Indic cultural tradition.
I recently raised a call for an intellectual Kshatriya in India – a new class of warrior intellectuals to defend India and its great pluralistic traditions from the onslaught of Western exclusivist approaches, whether religious, economic or political. This call fundamentally requires the creation of such a new Indic school of thought. Such a new Indic school of thought concerns not only philosophies of liberation or yoga, but Indic, Hindu and Dharmic approaches to ecology, the global marketplace, health, science, the status of women, religious freedom, in short to all the main issues in society today – and it should also look beyond these issues, which are often the issues of the Western school, to yet broader concerns. How can we integrate humanity and nature, with its underlying cosmic intelligence? How can we reclaim our spiritual heritage, as a species, that the great yogis have pointed out for us?
Such a new Indic school of thought requires new institutions to promote and embody it, or new Vedic schools. This will arise not through Indology departments in Western-style universities but through a new type of institution with its own funding and curriculum, free from manipulation by the vested interested and ideologies of the Western school and its religious, commercial and political bias.
An intellectual renaissance
The problem is that the Western school created Indian academic institutions that reflect Western values. To try to gain credibility for Indic thought in the context of European institutions, as some well-meaning Hindus are attempting, may be a helpful strategy but misses this main point. Western universities have their own agendas that they will not readily give up. They will not change simply because a few well-intentioned people and groups give them money and sponsor positions to project a more “sympathetic” picture of India and her civilization. Like a sea that salts every river that flows into it, existing trends and interests will force the people coming into them to conform to the dominant Eurocentric values that pervade these institutions. Otherwise, they cannot survive academically.
It is not on single issues that we need to make headway but on promoting the Indic tradition as a complete school of thought in itself, rather than merely as a side subject of Indological study in Western-defined academia. We must look back to such Indic models as Naimisha, Takshashila, Nalanda or Mithila, not only to their institutions, but also to the Gurukula approach and its more intimate and spiritual form of learning.
I urge the young people and the scholars of India to take up this cause. Do not try to define India in the context of civilization as defined by the West. Instead look to the great traditions of India that have their own deeper roots and use it to critique Western civilization and discover its limitations. Rather than seeking to define and control India according to Western perspectives, the West should look to India for guidance on the deeper issues of culture and spirituality. Indians, in turn, should assert their own greater traditions and not simply imitate the West or seek to justify Indian civilization from a Western perspective. True scholars of the Indic tradition need not go to Harvard or Oxford to seek credibility, rather these institutions should come to them.
About Dr. David Frawley
Dr. Frawley has a thirty-year background in natural healing, including the systems of Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine, Western Herbalism and Vedic Astrology. He has a doctor’s degree in oriental medicine (O.M.D.) from the International Institute of Chinese Medicine, Santa Fe, NM, where he taught herbal medicine for several years. He is associated with the Ashtanga Ayurveda College in Pune, India and other Ayurvedic schools in India, where he has lectured on a number of occasions. Currently he is director of the American Institute of Vedic Studies in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Dr. Frawley studied Ayurveda back in the 1980’s with world-renowned author and Ayurvedic Physician, Dr. Vasant Lad, B.A.M.S., M.A.Sc. Dr. Frawley is the author of numerous books and articles on Ayurveda and other Vedic topics. He has presented seminars at the Ayurvedic Institute for many years.
Please visit his website, The American Institute of Vedic Studies, at http://www.vedanet.com
The Assault on Tradition
The Assault on Tradition
by Professor Subhash Kak
Modernity is associated with the idea of industrialization, a strong nation-state system and identity, progress, rationality, reason and objectivity that emerged in the mid-eighteenth century Western Europe. All this sounds great, but there is a price to pay. Mechanistic logic in human affairs results in oppression and regimentation, objectification of life, and alienation and loss of freedom. From it arise self-hate and destructive behaviour.
The end of the Cold War led some to announce the end of history; in reality, it only intensified the struggle in different societies between modernity and tradition. In the US, the right has exploited the deep unhappiness with the oppressive aspects of modernity by promoting its economic and social agenda as a palliative, when, in reality, its policies promote further ‘industrialization’ of human affairs. The right’s prescriptions may be false; but it is winning because the left has not come up with a consistent argument to counter it.
Meanwhile, the ‘industrialization’ of human affairs marches on, facilitated by new technologies. This globalization is not only in the spread of American pop-culture or control of increasing public space by the multinational corporations, it is also in the practice of law, which in traditional society was quite decentralized. Modernity in the legal sense is the notion that only the state or the sovereign can lay down the body of rules for citizens to follow. Here it draws from the tradition of the Christian Church with its claim to be the sole interpreter of law.
The resistance of Muslims to westernizing modernization is natural, given that it sees itself as a revelation that supersedes Christianity. But the agents of westernization have been surprised by the claims of other non-Western societies for validity of their culture and attachment to their own social and legal arrangements. This explains the puzzlement of the westernized elite at the continuing affirmation of many for the Hindu tradition.
The Matter of Law
The modernist is puzzled because he does not understand the Hindu tradition, a situation getting worse due to the declining knowledge of the classical foundations of this tradition. According to Werner Menski in his path-breaking ‘Hindu Law: Beyond Tradition and Modernity’ (Oxford University Press, 2003), “Hindu law today must be seen as a postmodern phenomenon, displaying its internal dynamism and perennial capacity for flexibility and realignment.” Menski argues that the modernist reading of the tradition is a caricature, perpetuated because “studying Hindu law is often seen as regressive activity.” Menski adds:
“Anything ‘Hindu’ is quickly denigrated in many ways, not only by many followers of the monotheistic religions, but also those who imagine and assert that a modern world, by which is often meant a Western-inspired world, can do without so-called primitive religion and cultural traditions. Lawyers (as well as more recently whole cohorts of diasporic Indian scholars)… have had specific reasons to argue for modernity. Colonialism added its own ideologies and arguments to subjugate not only Hindus, but also Hindu law, all in the name of universalistic legal constructs.”
In the complex process of scholarly manipulation, many scholars have engaged (often unwittingly) in misleading and sometimes simply wrong representation of Hindu ‘tradition’. Prominent amongst these misrepresentations is the assumption that ancient Hindu texts prescribed’ certain rules, which even infects the most intricate subaltern writing.
In recent years, arguments such as Menski’s (or those of Triloki Nath Madan and Ashis Nandy before him) have been criticized by the modernists as being dangerous because they provide support to the political right. But that is a false argument because the political right in India has not analyzed civilizational dynamics in terms of the push and pull between modernity and tradition. Indeed, the right’s insistence on a common civil law for all Indians is inspired by the modernist ideology, as are its many policies that promote centralization. The right has mostly been reactive, fighting at best for symbolic gains, hoping — erroneously, as it found to its grief — that these would suffice to ensure victory at the next election.
The stakes are very high since they have implications for the manner in which India will be able to respond to the pressures of globalization. Menski reminds us:
“Arguments about the inherent political incorrectness and modern irrelevance of Hindu law have conveniently forgotten that the so-called modern traditions have their own roots in specific Western cultural and religious traditions. So how could Indian be called upon to ‘modernize’, if that simply meant, at one level, shedding the social and cultural concepts that make up the fabric of the various hybrid Indian identities? How can hundreds of millions of Hindus be expected, let alone forced, to abandon Hindu law?”
Modernity, calling on all ‘others’ to assimilate to the supposedly higher, apparently secular and ‘modern’ value system represented by the West, amounted to thinly veiled pressure to abandon various indigenous traditions and convert to the supposedly universal notions of modernity. In other words, modernity expected and demanded unidirectional assimilation to alien lego-cultural norms and models, and a stepping outside of one’s own inherited traditions. It demanded de-Hinduization, abandoning of Hindu customs, habits, and traditions. While modernity was, at one level, not concerned about religion, it expected the modern world citizen to be of a secular disposition, thus seeking to prescribe one particular religious perspective as appropriate for modernity.
Since the modern university is a vehicle for westernization, with hardly a representation for those who are schooled in the Indian classics, there hasn’t been a proper debate on identifying the proper tension between modernity and tradition in the Indian context. This is one reason the state has been paralyzed in making legal reforms, and has ceded decision making in many spheres to the judiciary.
Modernity and Temple Administration
It is in the relationship between the state and religion that the lack of clear thinking becomes most apparent. Observers of recent Indian history express incredulity at how the Indian state (whether ruled by the left or the BJP), which professes to be secular, has taken over the management of most Hindu temples. This has proceeded in the face of corruption, and diverting of the temple income for non-religious purposes, or even for the maintenance of religious institutions of rival religions.
Typically, the government creates trusts to run these temples, with active management entrusted to officers of the Indian Administrative Service, with the government’s representatives sitting on the board taking decisions regarding where the income is to be banked (gaining kickbacks from the banks in the process) and how it is to be invested, and even the sale of temple properties. Naturally, these bureaucrats have no interest in any larger vision associated with the temple.
In spite of its numerous shortcomings, the medieval temple included all jatis as stakeholders in a complex system of obligations under the yajamani system. But that is not the case with the government controlled modern temple, where the bureaucrat is the supreme authority. Operating in a system without appropriate checks and balances, it is easy for him to succumb to greed. For such an officer, who is on a temporary assignment as a temple chief, there is no incentive to look at the larger role of the temple in the community, and he, at best, is an instrument of the status quo. Such temples are not the harbingers of social change that they should be.
A few months ago, I heard from one of the government trustees of the Vaishno Devi temple in Jammu, who was visiting the United States. He wanted some advice on how to go about recruiting faculty for the newly established Mata Vaishno Devi Temple University, of whose existence I was not aware until that moment. He explained that the government had decided to create this university with the income of the Vaishno Devi Temple; this university, it had been decided, would focus on information technology and biotechnology.
I asked him why the university, which is being run on the donations of the pilgrims, did not include Hindu religious studies on its curriculum. He said since the university operated within the parameters of a secular state, it could not teach any subject related to Hinduism. The bottom line: the donations of the pilgrims support activities that have nothing to do with the pilgrimage.
The control of the Hindu temples by the government, when the mosques or the churches have not similarly been taken over, is defended on the ground that the modern Indian state is the successor also to the earlier pre-British Indian states where much of the great temple ritual was around the person of the king. The chief ministers, being the democratically elected successors to the kings, are within their rights to continue with this tradition irrespective of what the Constitution says.
Meanwhile, many Hindu groups have begun agitating for the Hindu temples to be restored to the Hindu communities. If there is need for a better legal and administrative framework for the running of temples, they demand that all Hindu communities are made stakeholders with complete separation between the government and the management boards, with the judiciary to act as referee in case of dispute.
Globalization and Body and Soul
The seizing of the temples by the Indian bureaucracy is only a small part of the larger war for individual freedom. Friedrich Hayek in his classic The Road to Serfdom (1944) warned that government control over production led to totalitarianism. Now the danger is much greater.
Technology makes it easy for the state and multinational corporations or even guilds to assume unprecedented power over not only production but also distribution. This power is likely to be exercised in neocolonial control of national economies and natural wealth; meanwhile, it is being increasingly applied to the last frontiers before man, the human body and the mind.
Western medicine has become a handmaiden to pharmaceutical firms, resulting in the vast majority of Westerners becoming dependent on some sort of medication, as documented in John Abramson’s Overdosed America: The Broken Promise of American Medicine (HarperCollins, 2003). The philosopher Ivan Illich once said: “Modern medicine is a negation of health. It isn’t organized to serve human health, but only itself, as an institution. It makes more people sick than it heals.”
The other force of globalization is the use of media and marketing theory to sell organized religion and to separate individuals from their traditions and cultural history.
But our age of confusion is also an age of enormous promise. One hopes that out of the current conflict will arise better understanding and compassion and more freedom for people everywhere. But this will be, at best, a rocky road.
About Dr. Subhash Kak
Subhash Kak is an Indian American computer scientist, most notable for his controversial Indological publications on history, the philosophy of science, ancient astronomy, and the history of mathematics.