The Text of Integral Humanism

Chapter 2, Part 3

Similarly there is an intellectual happiness which too must be considered. Even after a person gets comforts for the body, and importance, affection. etc. Which please the mind. if he is involved in some intellectual confusion he is reduced to a state almost similar to madness. And what is madness itself? A lunatic may have all physical comforts, he may be perfectly healthy and properly cared for by his relatives; but he does not posses intellectual happiness. Intellectual peace is also essential and important. We will have to take all these things into consideration.

The Political Aspirations of Man

Body, mind, intelligence and the soul.-these four make up an individual. But these are integrated. We cannot think of each part separately. The confusion that has arisen in the West is due to the fact that they have treated each of the above aspects of human being separately and without any relation to the rest. When there was movement for democratic structure, they proclaimed "man is a political animal" and therefore his political aspirations must be attended to. Why only one person should be the king and others his subjects'? Let everyone rule! In Order to satisfy this political man they gave him the right to vote. Now he did get the right to a vote, but at the same time other rights diminished. Then the questions arose. "The voting right is nice but what about food? What if there is nothing to eat ?"

They wondered, "Now that you have voting right, you are the king. Why need you worry?" But man replied, "What shall I do with the state if I do not get any food? I have no use of this voting right. I want bread first. Then came Karl Marx and said, " Yes, bread is the most important thing. The state belongs to the 'haves'. So let us fight for bread. He saw man as primarily made up of body, wanting bread. But hose who followed the path shown by Karl Marx came to realize that they had neither bread not voting-right.

At the opposite end there is USA. There is both bread as well as voting right. Even so there is lack of peace and happiness. USA has highest list in number of suicides, number of mental patients and number of persons using tranquilizers to get sleep. People are puzzled as to the cause of this new situation. Man obtained bread, he got his voting right, still three is no peace, no happiness. Now they want back their peaceful sleep. Sound and undisturbed sleep is a scarce commodity in the present day America. Those who think realize that there is a basic mistake some where, whereby even after acquiring all good things of life, they are not happy.

The reason is that they have not thought of the integrated human being. In our country we have thoroughly considered this matter. That is why we have stated that progress of man means progress of the body, mind, intellect and soul of man, all together. Often it has been propagated that Bharatiya culture thinks only salvation of the soul. It does not bother about the rest. This is wrong. We do not think of the soul but it is not true that we do not consider body, mind and intellect of much importance. Other gave importance of body alone. Therefore our attention to the soul is unique. With time this created and impression that we are concerned only with the soul and not with other aspects of human being. A young unmarried boy cares for his mother, but after marriage he cares both for his wife as well as his mother, and discharges his responsibilities towards both of them. Now if anyone says that this man has no loves for his mother, it would be untrue. A wife also loves only her husband at first, but after the birth of child, she loves both her husband and child. Sometimes an unthoughtful husband feels that his wife neglects him, after the birth of their child. But this is generally not correct. If that is true then the wife has certainly slipped in her duty.

Similarly, while we recognize the need to pay attention to the soul, we do not neglect the body. Upanishads declare in unambiguous words i.e. weakling cannot realize the self. Again Body is truly the primary instrument to discharge the responsibilities that dharma in joins. The fundamental difference between our position and that of the west is that. whereas they have regarded body and satisfaction of its desires as the aim, we regard the body as an instrument for achieving our aims. We have recognized the importance of the body only in this light. The satisfaction of our bodily needs is necessary, but we don't consider this to be the sole aim of all our efforts. Here in Bharat, we have placed before ourselves the ideal of the four fold responsibilities, of catering for the needs of body, mind, intellect and soul with a view of achieve the integrated progress of man. Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha are the four kinds of human effort. Purushartha means efforts which befit a man. The longings for Dharma, Artha Kama and Moksha, are inborn in man, and satisfaction. Of these four efforts too, we have thought in an integrated way. Even though Moksha has been considered the highest of these purusharthas, efforts for Moksha alone are not considered to give benefit to the soul. On the other hand, a person who engages in action, while remaining unattached to its fruits, is said to achieve Moksha inevitably and earlier.

Artha includes what is known as political and economic policies. According to the ancients, it used to include the justice and punishment also. Kama relates to the satisfaction of various natural desires. "Dharma" defines a set of rules to regulate the social activity. Artha and Kama, so as to progress in an integral and harmonious way, and attain not only Kama and Artha but also Moksha eventually.

Thus even though Dharma regulates Artha and Kama. all the three are interrelated and mutually complementary. Dharma helps achieve Artha. Even in business, one requires honesty, restraint, truthfulness etc. which are the attributes of Dharma. Without these qualities one cannot earn money. It must be admitted that Dharma is instrumental in attaining Artha and Kama. Americans proclaimed, "Honesty is the best business policy". In Europe they said, "Honesty is the best policy". We go one step forward and assert "Honesty is not a policy but a principle" i.e. we believe in dharma not just because it is instrumental in acquiring Artha but because it is a fundamental principle of civilized life. Kama too can be attained only through Dharma. Having produced the material things such as nice food. when, where, how and in what measure it will be used can be determined only by Dharma. If a sick person eats food meant for a healthy one and vice-versa, both of them will be at a disadvantage. Dharma helps in restraining the natural tendencies of man, whereby he is able to determine what is beneficial to him apart from what is pleasurable. Hence Dharma is given the foremost place in our culture.

Dharma is of primary importance, but we should not forget that it is not possible to practice Dharma in the absence of Artha. There is a saying "What sin will not be committed by one who is starving? Those who have lost everything become ruthless." Even a rishi like Vishwamitra driven by hunger broke into the home of a hunter and ate the flesh of a dog. Therefore we are enjoined to see that there is enough wealth created continuously, since wealth. also strengthen Dharma. Similarly the government has maintain law and order and prevent chaos, which definitely destroys Dharma. At the time of Chaos, law of the jungle prevails where the strong feed upon the weak. Therefore stability in the state is also essential for the prevalence of Dharma.

In order to do this, education, character building, spread of idealism, and suitable economic structures are all necessary. Governments also fall inside the realm of Artha. Excessive power of state is also harmful of Dharma. It was said that a king should be neither too harsh nor too soft with his people. Heavy reliance on harsh measures produces a feeling of revolt in people. When state usurps the rightful position of Dharma, then there is this evil of preponderance of power of the state. Dharma suffers thereby. This is the reason of the decline of Dharma in ruthless states.

When the state-acquires all powers, both political and economic, the result is a decline of Dharma. In this way if the state has unlimited powers, the whole society looks towards the state, for everything. Officers of the government neglect their duties and acquire vested interests. These are all signs of the preponderance of the powers of state. Dharma staffers a setback. Hence Artha should no be allowed to acquire hod in either of these two ways.

Karma too has been considered on the same lines. I the physical needs are neglected, and desires entirely suppressed, Dharma does not grow. Dharma cannot be observed if one has no food to eat. If the fine arts which satisfy the mind, are altogether stopped, then the civilizing influence on people will not be present. Mind will become perverse and Dharma neglected. On the other hand, if greediness of the gluttons of Rome or sensuousness of Yayati prevails, then the duties will be forgotten. Hence Kama too must be pursued consistent with Dharma. We have thus considered the life of an individual in a through and integrated manner. We have set the aim of developing body, mind intellect as well as soul in a balance way. We have tried to satisfy the manifold aspirations man taking care that efforts to satisfy two different aspirations are not mutually conflicting. This is the integrated picture of all the fourfold aspirations of and individual. This concept of a complete human being, integrate individual, is both our goal as well as our path. What should be the relation of this integrated human being with the society and how the interests of the society should be enhanced will be discussed tomorrow.

Read Chapter 3

Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4

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