by Acarya Gunamuktananda Avadhuta
“Human society is one and indivisible. Don’t try to divide it.
Each and every individual should be looked upon as the
manifestation of the Cosmic Entity.”
Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar
As human beings we’ve come a long way on our planet. We’ve made progress in many areas – science, technology, the arts, etc. – but we still haven’t created a world that treats all people as part of the same family. There are divisions that just don’t have to be there because in reality we are all part of the one family. And that means everyone – all people from all corners of the world. All should have the opportunity to express themselves and to develop their potential within our one universal family. If we did live in such a world, where everyone was respected and given the scope they needed for their individual and collective progress – regardless of race, gender, nationality, religion or cultural background – then that would really be worthy of the term “human society.”
How can we make it a reality? How can we build a world that gives us all as many opportunities as possible to live the life we really want to live? How do we create a society worthy of the name? How do we make a civilization that is actually civilized?
Obviously we have some work to do. But it’s not impossible. We are becoming increasingly more aware of the nature of our problems every day. Our collective consciousness is changing – continually evolving. We have moved into an era where not just a small number of people, but a very large and significant number, have the injustices of society on their conscience. We now know what we should do, even if we don’t know exactly how we should do it. We have enough resources on our planet for everyone to enjoy a reasonable standard of living, but we need to integrate all our personal, social, economic and environmental systems into a total plan for everyone. We need to move into a phase of honour, dignity and justice for all people. We need to replace hypocrisy with truth; deceit with trust; false promises with real promises; and false values with real values.
We have a leadership crisis. We need leaders that care about us, not exploit us. We have an education crisis. We need our education system to teach proper values, not propaganda. We have an economic crisis. We need an economy based on people, not money. We need compassionate globalization, not globalization based on victimization.
Solution: Balance individual and collective life – integrate the physical realities of life with the common human condition; the desire for peace and happiness that everyone feels. A truly progressive human society must promote the welfare of all. It must facilitate the development and expansion of all people and all beings. It must lead to the progress of individuals as well as the collective as a whole, in every sphere of existence. It must be a society characterized by the ideals of unity, security and peace for all.
“The more human beings live in unity, shoulder to shoulder, the greater the welfare of the human race will be.”
Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar
Unity in name alone is nothing more than hypocrisy. In the real sense of the term it must be based on love: the natural bond of love that exists among all people as members of the same family. If there is love among the members of a family there will be peace within that family. Only when we feel that love will we attain true peace. Only when we realize the unity of all existence – that the diversities of this world are nothing but the variegated expressions of the one Cosmic Entity, including all living beings and all things – will we attain true unity.
“The cosmic ideal alone can unify humanity.”
Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar
Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar introduced a concept called Neohumanism. It means the practice of love for all created beings of the universe, animate and inanimate. Humanism means proper regard and compassion for people – for human beings. But it doesn’t include other beings – animals, plants and the various aspects of nature. Neo-humanism is the spirit of humanism extended to all: the elevation of humanism to universalism. It is an all-encompassing concept – embracing the whole world as our home and family; an interconnected and harmonious web of unity. It means the expansion of one’s inner love for humanity in every direction to include all people and all creatures of the universe.
“When some people started advancing, they thought more about themselves and less about others; nor did they think about the animals and plants. But if we analyse with a cool brain, it becomes quite clear that just as my life is important to me, others’ lives are equally important to them; and if we do not give proper value to the lives of all creatures, then the development of the entire humanity becomes impossible. If people think more about themselves as individuals or about their small families, castes, clans or tribes, and do not think at all about the collectivity, this is decidedly detrimental. Similarly, if people neglect the entire living world the plant world, the animal world is this not indeed harmful? That is why I say that there is a great need to explain humanity and humanism in a new light, and this newly-explained humanism will be a precious treasure for the world.
“What is Neohumanism? Neohumanism is humanism of the past, humanism of the present and humanism newly explained of the future. Explaining humanity and humanism in a new light will widen the path of human progress, will make it easier to tread. Neohumanism will give new inspiration and provide a new interpretation for the very concept of human existence. It will help people understand that human beings, as the most thoughtful and intelligent beings in this created universe, will have to accept the great responsibility of taking care of the entire universe will have to accept that the responsibility for the entire universe rests on them.”
Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar
Social security is the result of justice and discipline. Socio-economic justice includes the rational distribution of resources to all people according to their needs. Discipline implies the proper balance of expression in individual and collective life.
A tree has the freedom to grow and produce fruit, but it also has the responsibility to give shade. Likewise a proper social system needs to be a happy blending of individual liberty and collective responsibility. Individual good lies in collective good and vice-versa.
People naturally want to expand their sense of existence. This is often expressed as material expansion. But the world’s physical resources are limited. The universe is the collective property of all, because we are all members of the one universal family. The human desire for acquisition must be catered for, but at the same time it is unrealistic for any one person or group to accumulate physical wealth without limitation. That would go against the collective interest. So the resources of the world should be appropriately utilized and rationally distributed, just as a healthy human body utilizes and distributes all its resources in a balanced way.
Human capacity and potentialities, both individual and collective, need to be developed for the benefit of the world as a whole. This implies that the leaders of society, responsible for controlling resources and making policy decisions, should have strong moral integrity and selfless dedication to society, thus avoiding the diversion of resources away from the public interest. Authority should not be centered in the hands of individuals, but should be expressed through collective leadership. In any electoral process the electorate as well as the candidates would need to possess three qualities in order to validate the election: morality, education, and socio-political consciousness.
The basic necessities of life are food, clothing, shelter, education and medical care. Everyone should have access to these necessities through adequate purchasing capacity from either meaningful employment or social security for those unable to work. Purchasing capacity is the true reflection of the standard of living. It should increase with increase in the collective wealth. In addition, appropriate incentives for special merit and skills beneficial to society should be provided to encourage the dynamism and evolution of human endeavor and achievement. The spirit of the workforce should be one of coordinated cooperation, leading to a steady increase in the collective wealth of the society and all-round social progress.
The most effective system of governance would be the centralization of supervision and legislation (ultimately to the stage of having a world government), combined with the decentralization of economic planning and control of local resources. While political power must be in the hands of moralists, economic power and decision-making should be under local control, because it is the local leaders and planners who understand the problems of the area and are able to implement policies quickly and effectively. The freedom of the local people to make all their economic decisions is called economic democracy. The application is regional, but the outlook is universal.
All expressions of life beneficial to the collective good should be encouraged. Fundamental human rights such as spiritual practice, cultural legacy, education and local linguistic expression must be accommodated. Education should be free for everyone up to the highest level. Art, music and literature – as with science – should always be in the spirit of welfare. Science and technology needs to be under moralist control. The media – along with the arts and education – should be completely free from political interference, either direct or indirect. Ecologically sound policies must cater for the integration of human culture within the ecosystem, thus extending the concept of security to animals, plants and the whole planet.
The essence of a proper socio-economic system, therefore, is the progressive utilization of all resources for the welfare and happiness of all.
“Peace and tranquility depend upon a well-knit socio-economic structure.”
Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar
Only when the physical requirements of life are met is it possible to experience true peace. But that peace can only be fully attained internally – on a personal basis. Because of the diversities of the world there will always be conflict in collective life. It is in the nature of things.
We want to experience peace and happiness endlessly – without limitation. Only then may we feel real fulfilment. We have an inherent thirst for limitlessness and we are continually trying to quench that thirst. The search for infinite peace and happiness within oneself is called spirituality, and it is linked to the realization of the unity of all diversity – the common bond of cosmic love that attracts all, and the feeling that we are all part of the same whole; the one universal family.
“When human beings bring the entire universe within the range of their minds through spiritual practice, the result will be one universe, one universal society – only then will the human society become one and indivisible. Only then will it be worthy of being called a ‘human society’.”
Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar
As human beings we are on an evolutionary journey to realizing that. True progress is movement toward that realization. Material or intellectual gains do not count as progress unless they contribute to that deeper experience. So progress in the real sense only occurs in the spiritual sphere. There is a saying that if you achieve something physical, it’s like writing in water; if you achieve something mental, like writing in sand; and if you attain spirituality it’s carved in stone.
“If one wants to attain peace, what is one to do? One is to convert one’s small objectivity into the infinite objectivity. There is no alternative. Simply teaching the gospels of peace won’t give you any peace. You have to convert yourself from small into big. Spiritual practice is the practice of increasing one’s own psychic radius.”
Shrii Shrii Anandamurti
The techniques of spiritual practice include, among other things, meditation. Meditation is the search within for the essence of one’s existence. The realization of one’s deepest existence coincides with the experience of perfect peace and is the supreme fulfilment in human life. It cannot be translated into anything other than social benevolence, because the sense of connectedness with all creation humans, animals, plants and the whole universe – is inherent in it. The welfare of the society depends on the personal welfare and development of each and every individual within that society – our One Human Society.
“The newly awakened humanity of today is anxious to herald the advent of one universal society under the vast blue sky. The noble and righteous persons of all countries, bound by fraternal ties, are eager to assert in one voice, with one mind, and in the same tune that human society is one and indivisible. In this voice of total unity and magnanimity lies the value and message of eternal humanism.”
Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar