Integral Man : Bharatiya Concept

एकात्म मानव : भारतीय चिंतन

For obvious reasons, it has become necessary for us to reflect once again on Indian life values at this juncture. So long as we were subjugated nation, the dominant thought in Indian minds was about our country, our nation, our identity. It was generally believed that attainment of our nation a’s freedom, and its reconstruction, called for the services of virtuous people – people who were free from blemishes, selfless, full of sacrifice and devotion. In those days, workers of political parties used to live a life of simplicity and sacrifice. None ever dreamt of any departure from this tradition. When the leadership of the nation rested in the hands of such eminent men of high character, integrity, and selfless nature, our nation could manifest its sacred and glorious tradition and would reach the height of prosperity, it was believed. But unbridled power brings in its wake many a vice. It is said that of the many intoxicants, the toxic effect of power is the most harmful. It can be said that in today’s public life qualities like simplicity, selflessness and sacrifice have become conspicuous by their absence. Corruption is rampant. Without quoting specific instances, it can generally be stated that of the people in public life today, there are many whose public activities are strikingly at variance with the well-recognized standards.

Since a few years back, it is being said that is a “Crisis of Character” in our country. But nobody takes seriously to the task of character-building. We expect ordinary men to be of good character, full of virtues and of a selfless nature. That is why, probably, even acts of misfeasance were made punishable under our Penal Code. But nobody seems to be concerned about the many major scandals involving persons in high positions. This is indeed a paradox!

In order that the day-to-day activities of the common man may be carried on and his family and the society may be properly sustained, it is necessary that their primary needs are guaranteed. Arrangements for meeting the requirements of material prosperity should commence from those who are at the bottom. Only after satisfying the elementary wants of the people at the lower strata of society, should we turn our attention to those in the higher strata. In order to achieve this, even if it becomes necessary for those at the top to reduce some of their luxuries and even necessaries, it should be done ungrudgingly. They should willingly accept this kind of self-imposed control on their consumption, for the sake of the general good. But in the matter of character-building, the order is reversed. There is need for is to have people at the top who are the very models in self-control, simplicity and virtuous conduct so that these essential qualities percolate down to the foundation and saturate the various strata below. But it is seen today that whilst the higher classes are indulging in all kinds of luxuries, they expect ordinary men, near the base to be fill of character, and self-control. This is quite opposite of what it ought to be. This way it is not possible to have real progress and proper sustenance of society.

It is also seen that, so long as we were under subjugation, on account of our national self-respect, endeavours were made to mould our lives according to our tradition. At that time, the compulsions of the situation inevitably brought us into contact with foreigners, and the impact it produced on our minds, was one of antagonism to foreign rule. But as soon as foreign rule came to an end, the great inspiration that kept the foreign influences under check, also gave way. Our entire life pattern was transformed. Whilst it is understandable that contacts with different people of the world call for some kind of ‘give and take’ which is so necessary in this business, it was a one-way traffic in our case. We were at the receiving end, and we have been receiving things indiscriminately; even unworthy things we did not reject. If we had emulated an Englishman’s patriotism, his other special characteristics such as devotion to duty, duty consciousness, his unbounded energy, etc. there was nothing wrong. But we only copied undesirable aspects, like their outward life-style, their mode of living, etc, with the result that we started condemning everything that is our own, that reflected our ‘self’. This indiscriminate copying is vitiating the whole social life today at very fast rate. This transformation is harmful for our life-style, character building and a sense of duty. In such a situation, it has become essential for us to be reminded of on identity.

But this re-awakening of self-consciousness is not very easy. There are many a difficulties in the way, one being occasioned by the system of education of the past years. The crafty Englishman who introduced this system of education for us had said, “We shall have black Englishmen, here, in India”. Most of us today answer more or less to this description. They despise everything India. If anybody were to say that we in India have great principles of life which are beneficial to the whole of humanity, the educated amongst us, whose only concern is with his self-advancement, is not even prepared to believe it. We should be grateful to God that on some occasions at least our leaders refer to our national life as centuries old. But this is merely confined to talk. Mere words these. Behind these words, there is no sincerity, or determination to place these luminous thoughts before the people or effort to manifest them in their own lives. Therefore, they are mere hollow words, a veil, or a mask.

On account of the influence of the West, it has become fashionable to say, “I do not believe in God, or Dharma”. It is needless to have faith in these things.” It has become fashionable to negate the very fundamentals of our life-structure. There is, need, therefore, for us to ponder whether these people –English Men – who have made these kinds of impressions on our minds, have any higher philosophy, or any philosophy at all to offer.

From the philosophical standpoint, Communism is much talked of today. Let us see what it really means to us. It has propounded certain doctrines. It talks of certain ideas for a social order, and propagate these ideas with great fanfare. They speak about the need of creating a system for distributing happiness equitably. Non-communist countries of the west do not have any such philosophy except perhaps the much-talked of French Revolution declarations like Democracy, Equality, Fraternity, etc., and their wish to model their political, economic and social systems on these principles. But the statement that all men are equal, its one that is contrary to our experience. As we see it, no two individuals are identical; even twins are no alike. True, there can be identity in their physical needs. But to talk of equality in intellect and physical and mental qualities would be contrary to reality of experience. That is why there is a certain fallacy in their philosophy.

Taking their cue from this philosophy – this declaration of equality – the Communists also endeavour to being in an order where equality would prevail. It may be relevant to ask in this context whether human life is confined to this world alone. Is it that man wants only food, shelter and things pleasing to the mind? Is production and distribution of these is only goal in life? The so called democracies and Communist countries of the west differ only in terminologies and nothing else; both declare that life is confined to matter of this world. It means that it is wealth-oriented. Today the main thrust of life is on wealth (artha) and pleasure (kama) artistic and cultural life. After acquiring wealth, it is necessary to protect and enrich it, because desires are never satiated.

As is well-known, life today is full of wealth-producing activity. Preservation and accumulation of wealth is necessary because nobody feels happy merely by entertaining a desire only once. Therefore, it is said, “न जातु कामः कामानां उपभोगेन शाम्यति” – na jatuh kamah kamaanam upbhogena shamyati.” When wood is thrown into the fire, the fire flares up. Similarly our desires also rebound with great force when satisfied. It is our everyday experience that in spite of physical incapacity to enjoy various pleasures, the thirst for them continues to persist. That is why it has been said, “What shall we do Sir, whilst we have grown old, our desires remain young,”तृष्णा न जीर्णा वयमेव जीर्णाः – trushna na jirna vayamev jirnah.” No passion is completely is satiated. It is therefore, that, to satiate these desires, more and more means are acquired and hoarded, and even the property of other is encroached on, when one’s own is not enough. The form of imperialism that we see in the contemporary world is the culmination of man’s unrestrained lust. This tendency gives birth to the desire to occupy other countries by force. As such, there is no hope for peace in the world. It is inevitable that restlessness in man’s mind should manifest itself in his outward activities. Unfulfilled desires lead to a restless mind. That is one of the causes for conflicts in the world. That is one of the causes for conflicts in the world. It has never been seen that by man’s satisfying all kinds of desires, peace will be attained, or the thirst for enjoyment will be over.

In the 16th chapter of the Gita, there is a description of two types of men, the “divine” type and the “demoniac” type. We see in the world today, men in their greed for their wealth pouncing upon each other; nations pouncing upon each other to grab wealth and establish (their) sovereignty over others. This is demoniac tendency – “I have killed X today, I will kill Y tomorrow. Now I have snatched X’s wealth, tomorrow I will deprive Z of his belongings. I am great. I am philanthropist. I sacrifice. There is nobody equal to me.” Even today, on account of a preponderance of “artha” and “kama”, people egoistically proclaim their being Socialists, Communists, Democrats, etc.

We see the living picture of the 16th Chapter of the Gita depicting the divine and demoniac tendencies in human nature. We do not see any divine power or divine qualities in the west. We shall now have to chalk out our way through this kind of a world. Various people have tried to find out various ways. People wanted to mould their lives according to the doctrine of their religious ideal but that did not satisfy them because those religions did not have any fundamental principles or basic philosophy. “There is only one God and he has a Messenger. Have faith in the Messenger and pray to God devotedly and ask for deliverance from all sins”, they say. But why should a person, who is fully engrossed in the pursuit of “artha” and “kama” and does not believe in God, ask forgiveness? In spite of this, he is asked to have faith. Ordinarily, an intelligent man is unable to have such a faith. First his intellect has to be satisfied; then talk to him about faith. “All your intellectual exercises have reached their end. Intellect cannot go any further”. This has to be the way of approach. He believes only what is intellectually supported. If in the beginning they are told to have faith intelligent men would find it unacceptable. Faith can come only when their intellect is satisfied and when they find it can take them no further.

We see various persons from the west engaged in proselytizing activities here in India. In their own countries, Churches are empty and very few people visit them. People have lost faith in them. They arouse no emotions in their inmost beings. They do not feel inspired. We shall have to offer them a formula that will enable them to restrain their demoniac way of life based on wealth and passion (artha and kama).

Let us see if our national and social traditions can show the way. To me, there is no doubt that they can. Our seers and sages of yore have comprehensively deliberated on these problems and have proclaimed that life based exclusively on artha and kama is the life of an animal, is demoniac and therefore to be abandoned. But they also know that it is not possible for one to free oneself completely from artha and kama. The desire for these will continue to occupy men’s minds to some extent. But it is necessary to find out ways and means to see that man may not become demoniac by allowing unrestrained play to artha and kama. That is why we have been told that desires are not satiated by indulging in them. And secondly, man’s expectation of getting happiness by the acquisition of things is illusory as they by themselves are incapable of giving them happiness. Happiness lies within oneself. It is not external. It is on account of our ignorance that we attribute happiness to some external objects, whereas in reality we only use the external object as a medium to taste happiness from the infinite ocean of bliss which is within us.

It is human destiny to experience this state of delight which is within. This is the fundamental principle which our sages have propounded. The one who rids himself of all wordly ties, one who remains unaffected by the attractions of outside objects, he alone can reach this state of eternal happiness. He is a liberated soul. This is ultimate goal of man. But until he reaches that goal, he will have to exert to some extent in this world, in order to satisfy his worldly desires. We shall, however have to ensure, by having proper checks and balances, that this exercise does not transgress the bounds of decency.

To achieve this goal, we have been told to follow the path of Dharma. Of all the definitions of Dharma, the one widely held and accepted, has the following to say: Just as it is necessary for a man to have mental peace and concentration of mind to experience happiness, so also for an individual to live a safe and secure life, a well-ordered social set up is necessary. If the society is well-organised, is united and which, while allowing different types of people freedom to engage themselves in the pursuit of their respective occupations, motivates them to work for their prosperity, security and a high and noble life for the entire society in a spirit of mutual cooperation – that is Dharma. Creating conditions for the sustenance of society is one of the functions of Dharma. The second function is to prompt men to act according to Dharma. Our scriptures tell us that: “To follow the Vedas, to act according to the fundamental principles of our scriptures, to entertain truthful and pious thoughts and thus to develop the virtues in us is Dharma”. To act according to whatever is necessary and conducive to the realization of the eternal truth, the Soul within us is also Dharma.

To achieve it, we have been asked to cultivate various virtues, to endeavour to manifest them in our daily lives. Now these virtues have been explained at length in our scriptures. We have been advised to cultivate the ten divine qualities of righteous conduct. The BhagavadGita, the most popularly acknowledged scripture, also clearly mentions at various places the different virtues that we should strive to attain. We should read these, think and meditate on them. Let us introspect and find out whether we have them in the requisite measure and if there is any deficiency in us, let us try to make it good. Let us turn our back on all evils. Let us discipline our intellect. This is how each one has been told to lead s full and orderly life.

To bring about a healthy and well-balances mental condition properly restraining our emotions and evil tendencies is also the meaning and function of “DHARMA”. Considering this “DHARMA” as the VERY FOUNDATION of life, and ordering “artha” and “kama’, in accordance with it and fully manifesting in out lives all the virtuous qualities and regularly pursuing the Ultimate Goal, to strive for “Moksha”, the last and final “Purushartha” – this is the while picture of life. This, in short, is the concept of an Integrated Man. This is a task which requires consistency. A person who is solely concerned with “artha” and “kama” is a dissipated man. The one who thinks about the sustenance of the society, one who possesses qualities essential for the integrity of the social order, one who earns wealth and enjoys pleasures without upsetting the balance of society, and one who with restrained and concentrated mind purses any path of worship suited to his aptitude, and by adoring any one of the forms of God, strives to attain the final good of life, is a total or Integrated Man.

In the strife-torn world of today, the spirit to brotherhood is totally lacking. For putting an end to this sorry state of affairs and to bring about a condition of world-peace we will have to take recourse to this fourfold “Purushartha”. There is no other alternative. For this, we should ourselves become worthy of telling the whole world that eternal truth lies in the fourfold “Purushartha”. It is our responsibility to see that by our example and conduct, we educate the whole humanity in the subject of the eternal truth.

This is absolutely necessary. We shall never make any headway in this by indiscriminately aping the west or by the pursuit of unrestrained “Earth Kama”. We shall have to devise ways and means to keep under check this tendency so that a well-ordered society based on the fourfold system, where we shall have opportunities for bringing out the best in us emerges. This alone will do good for the world as a whole.

The Communist today boast that they alone have world philosophy on the strength of which their call for ‘unit of the Proletariat of the World’ is based. Indian philosophy does not discriminate between the working and non-working classes. It calls upon every individual to develop himself into an integral man by following the fourfold “Purushartha”. That is why we say that our traditional life-values and culture have the inherent power of addressing the whole humanity without any discrimination. To acquire this capacity within ourselves, to equip each one of us for this noble task, for the welfare of the world – so that we become better instruments to carry out the Divine Purpose of establishing a well-ordered, well-knit and integrated society, where men will be truthful and self-confident and worthy followers of the fourfold “Purushartha”, is the prime need of the hour.

The world will not follow our ideas, however great, by our merely proclaiming them. It will be of no avail to explain our noble principles to a world which has become totally indifferent to the gentle qualities of humanity, because of its being power-drunk and overwhelmed by affluence and pleasure-seeking; we may have to use the sanctions of force also in our endeavour to persuade them to follow the truth, so that the animal instincts in them could be curbed. Today we see the preponderance of animal instincts in men. Man is no more than a domesticated animal. Only one who has the inward and outward capacity, one who has realized himself, had acquired mastery over his senses, is virtuous, can influence others, can attract them on account of his inner Soul-power and guide them. We must create individuals endowed with such qualities; this ultimate objective in our view, we should organize the society and make it strong and powerful in such a way that it will be happy but not pleasure-seeking, will be prosperous but not directionless.

Prompted by the this kind of high ideology, let us discourage people pursuing demoniac ways in their eagerness to ape the west, inspiring them at the same time to develop their divine nature. Only then they will be competent to show the path of wisdom to our country, society and the humanity. He, who makes it a life mission to devote to this task according to his ability and capacity, is a servant of humanity, a great benefactor of his country. It will be an ideal thing if we engage ourselves in such an endeavour. This propounder of the concept of Integral Humanism Pt. Deendayal Upadhyaya was a great thinker and philosopher. He clearly showed us what an Integral Man is. Creation of such an Integral Man was his mission.

(Based on a speech of Sri Guruji at the Deendayal Upadhaya Sanatana Dharma Vidyalaya, Kanpur on 22nd Dec., 1972).

Courtesy: Deendayal Upadhyaya’s Integral Humanism: documents, interpretations, comparisons, New  Delhi: Deendayal Research Institute, 1992, M.S.Golwalkar “Integral Man: Bharatiya Concept, pg:63-69, Edited by Sri Devendra Swarup.

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