Concept of an Ideal Society
SPIRITUALITY, 27 Jun 2016
The earliest concept of an ideal society is found in Ramayana, the epic where lord Rama establishes Ram Rajya. Ram Rajya implies absolute control by its citizens, state administrators and also rulers over the five sense organs, five motor organs, mind, subconscious mind, intellect and ego .^1
Bhagwad Gita envisages a welfare, prosperous, optimistic, and successful society governed by principles of firm justice. It does not support view that a spiritual enlightened society should turn a blind eye to material development.^2, 3
“Wherever there is Krisna consciousness the divine energy, and wherever there is Arjuna the supreme Archer, a doer for the society or one who works to achieve some good life goals), there will also certainly be opulence, victory, success, and morality.”
The above picture depicts Krisna the driver of chariot and Arjuna the warrior. Both together fight for justice with their enemies to win Mahabharta war. In above picture Arjuna depicts an Ideal man of an Ideal society. The passenger in the chariot is the real Ideal man in its soul form, while the Chariot is his physical body. The chariot is run by Krisna (the blessed intelligence of the Ideal man) thru his mind (reins of horses). The five sense organs are horses which carry the Ideal man to ideal society. The arrow and bow used by Arjuna represents the tools, resource inputs and technology used in forming ideal society.
With divine bliss and actions a spiritual and enlightened materialistic society can be developed. Man should act as humble instrument, shed his egoism, greed and work for the society. Success is assured as nothing can come if actions are honest, selfless and with divine bliss.
II The following Verse 3.11 in Bhagwad Gita talks about concept of harmony and interdependence in society:
“The demigods are nature elements like earth, water, air, fire, ether. If we worship (conserve / respect) nature, environment and please demigods, then demigods will bless us with abundance nature gift and beauty, and thus, by cooperation between men and nature (demigods), prosperity will reign for all”.
Here is some couplets from Vedas. ^4
Upwards is the sky, the earth is beneath;
On these we depend, they are life giving indeed.
The sky is father of world, earth is the mother;
know these as gods, pollute them never.
The gods prevail in the universe, Keep them in purest state;
they bestow life when pure, otherwise they devastate
Nature is kaamdhenu cow the wish fulfilling cow. Milk the nature within limits not to destroy the kaamdhenu cow through excessive use.
Sustainable development – Cooperation between community members is essential, between nature and man and between humans and devas (gods). A person, who does not do any productive work or contributes nothing to society, has no right to expect the society to feed him.
III The following Verse BG 3-25 in Bhagwad Gita explains that an Ideal worker is one who performs his duty honestly, without expecting results and remains detached, non egoist, and unaffected by success or failure.
“As the ignorant perform their duties with attachment to results, learned may similarly act, but without attachment, for the sake of leading people on the right path.”
Thus an ideal government officer will work for his assigned duty and not for pay or allowances which will always be secondary issue to him.
The attachment to actions brings in evils such as greed, selfishness, ego, graft, favourism etc.
IV The following verse 3-13 in Bhagwad Gita suggests that produce is for use of all .
“The devotees of the Lord are released from all kinds of sins because they eat food which is offered first for sacrifice. Others, who prepare food for personal sense enjoyment etc verily eat sin.”
This also means How can I eat when millions are hungry. How can I be happy when millions are unhappy. Wealth produced by nation is to be placed at service of society.
V The following verse 17-22 in Bhagwad Gita specifies that Charity should be done to needy people and through honest means.
“Charity performed at an impure place, at an improper time, to unworthy persons, or without proper attention and respect is said to be in the mode of ignorance. “
Charity done for the purpose of self gratification and fame is not charity and Vedas do not approve it. State has to mock up resources for social security through taxation. The benefits must go to needy and deserving. Consumption must be self limiting. Donations to organizations spreading hatred, violence etc is not charity but sin by donor.
VI The following verse BG 18-46 in Gita believes in Karmic actions that are pure, honest and good for the welfare of society.
“Work is worship. A man can attain perfection in his own profession and by dedicating all actions to god the source of all beings and who is all pervading“.
Whatever be the fruits of our actions failure or pass, we should dedicate to supreme power. If actions are good we may feel proud and this translates into ego which is self destructive. If results are bad we feel sad and this retards progress. But if we devote results good or bad to supreme power and remain stable / undisturbed, then we can face odd situations better as we are more calm and at peace. Man therefore feels more content by offering work to god and crediting to God for success and failure. This attitude improves quality of work and outcome and attains peace of mind and happiness and bliss.
VII Three Type of Actions defined in Gita ^5
Satva (Goodness /selfless actions), Rajsa (Actions to fulfill self Desires/ seek pleasure) and Tamsa (actions to harm others / Ignorance) are the three types of actions, qualities defined in Bhagwad Gita chapter 14.
Satva is enlightening, pure, truth and flawless, selfless actions , done for welfare of society. Satva when dominates, the whole body shines, Wisdom evolves in mind and goodness reigns.
Rajasa (Desires) is the root of desire, kin to passion. It binds soul by attachment to materialistic world. When Rajasa rises up, finds it hard to rest in peace such is rajasik nature.
Tamasa begets ignorance, pushes one to error and darkness, and leads one to commit sins.
In ideal society all must work for actions that yield Goodness (Satva).
One can aim for fulfilling high achievable goals for his self career, but after achieving personal goals he must return to society thru Satva actions (Goodness) .
VIII Vedantic Socialism
In the capitalist system where cut throat competition exits, where might is considered right leading to survival of fittest, the society envisaged by Gita is one of cooperation, mutually nourishing and hence devoid of tension. In capital order unlimited wealth is in hands of few. In Gita Model Automatic distribution of wealth ensures equitable society.
Yoga Kshemam Swadharam – Society is responsible for ensuring all requirements of its people, no honest man is jobless or underpaid. Gita advocates such a foolproof mutual support system.
This is contrary to western thinking i.e. might is right and fittest will survive.
Society based on consumerism is witness to innumerable natural calamities such as earthquakes, jungle fire, storms, suicide etc as we can see excessive consumerism brought by Industrial civilization in form of garnering maximum profits.
IX Essence of Vedas – Be More human
The Vedic philosophy of living in harmony with the environment is clear from following statements:
- vasudhaiv kutumbakam —–The whole world is one family.
- lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu ——May all worlds live in peace.
- Om Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah, Sarve Santu Nir-Aamayaah | Sarve Bhadraanni Pashyantu Maa Kashcid-Duhkha-Bhaag-Bhavet |————May all living being be happy, free from pain and suffering, and may all see good in others and find peace.
Gita Model is Ethical Society; law of sustainable existence a society; needs both wealth and comfort for a happy living. Earn with ethical values.
Artha (To Earn) and Kama (desires / lust) are permitted within this limit of common ethics. This is vedantic socialism.
X What an Ideal Man should do in this materialistic world to build an Ideal Society.
The following Verse 12-12 in Gita spells out that,
“If one cannot take to devotion to supreme, then engage yourself in the cultivation of knowledge. Better than knowledge, however is practice of Yoga and Meditation. Meditation brings enlightenment.”
Go on performing duties as assigned but without expecting fruits of action, for by such renunciation one can attain satisfaction, happiness and peace of mind and ultimately leads to self realization the ultimate absolute truth. Such an action doer is called Karma Yogi. A Karma Yogi must cultivate following qualities in his character. These are
Humility means that one should not crave for being honored by others. One should not hanker for this material deception.
Egoless necessary to live in harmony and listen and understand all.
Nonviolence non violence means not to put others into distress, pain etc
Tolerance means that one should practice tolerance to bear insult, dishonor, and criticism from others.
Simplicity one should have a simple lifestyle, simple dress, no showmanship, simple parties, celebrations and weddings.
Cleanliness one should be cleaned from inside and also external body. Internal body cleanliness means purity of mind, actions and cleaning of virtues like anger, jealousy etc. Some yogic process also recommended for cleaning of respiratory and digestive systems for better physical and mental health. Practice of Yoga has been found to be mind changer from violence to non violence.
Steadiness and self-control, renunciation of the objects of sense gratification. Steadiness means that one should be very determined to make progress in spiritual life. One should have control over his senses which are always running after materialistic pleasure.
False ego (I am body and not soul), Ego also means identify. So remove false ego if any.
The perception of the evil of birth, death, old age and disease; take it as part and parcel of life. So remain same state in good and bad times. The bad time today may be due to our past life bad actions, so face them.
Nonattachment to children, wife, home and the rest, These are natural objects of attachment .But if these become obstacle on path of spirituality then one should not be attached to them . However continue to guide children as per need but without being attached.
Accepting the importance of self-realization, realize the relationship between soul and supreme soul. Mediate and do philosophical search for the Absolute.
Beginning from practicing humility to self realization and knowing the absolute truth is like a staircase beginning from ground floor and going up to top floor which is self realization.
To sum up an enlightened Karma Yogi is one who
- Remains isolated, detached from mundane actions and jealousy.
- One who practices pranayam (breathing control), Yoga Postures, yoga cleaning and meditates.
- One who eats less and can control his senses thru meditation.
- Lives detached, ego less, lust less, calm and fearless.
- Gets connected to supreme soul with no qualms and wishes.
- His soul gets pious and treats all equally.
- One who adopts above qualities gets close to supreme god and his actions produce results for welfare of self and society.
- “Gita’s Vision of an Ideal society” by Sh P Prameswaran, President Vivekananda Rock Memorial and Vivekananda Kendra by VK Prakashan trust Chennai, India
- “Bhavad gita As It Is” by AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada ISKCON.
- Rigveda 1.185.4 from “The Ved Sandesh “ by Sadguru Chaman Lalji Kapur
- “Srimad Bhagwat Gita The Divine Yogic Scripture” by Prof Chaman Lal Kapur Yog Sadhan Ashram Chicago. Translation by Rajendar Chauhan.
Mr Ramesh Kumar is a social think tank and Ex Defense Scientist .He is entrepreneur and also Director Yog Sadhan Ashram in Gurgaon India. He is CEO and Vice President of Global Harmony Association from India. He is author to several books on social reforms. He recently wrote a Novel, The War of Middle Class, which is story of Good governance practiced by a Yogic Leader in India. https://www.scribd.com/doc/290620641/War-of-Middle-Class. He believes in Global Peace thru Harmony, Humanity and Science. Webpage: http://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=658
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 27 Jun 2016.
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