-Pt. Deendayal Upadhyaya
Western culture is individual-centric. Ours goes beyond the society-centric to the God-centric. An economist who happened to meet me said: “If the people of India stop feeding ants and monkeys, the number of people who die of hunger will be reduced by half”…
The West has viewed selflessness too in terms of self-interest. Their political science, social science and economic’ are also based on the principle of self-interest. Even coming together of people in the West is guided by the imperative of self-interest. Hundred people would come together there because ten won’t suffice to douse a fire, but the motivation is not service. They join hands essentially to parry an attack. And when not attacked themselves, they incline to attack. But our selflessness is guided by a sense of service and good of others. We will serve in happy times anyway, but we serve even in times of personal distress. In the West, farmers are urged to produce more to raise their standard of living. The farmer produces there so that he may earn more for his material well-being, our farmer produces grains with a sense of duty-to feed ants, birds and human beings, as if he were performing a sacred Yajna.
We Are God-Minded
Western culture is individual-centric. Ours goes beyond the society-centric to the God-centric. An economist who happened to meet me said: “If the people of India stop feeding ants and monkeys, the number of people who die of hunger will be reduced by half.” I said: “If you people fast four days a week, how many will get food? How much will be the savings if the sick stop taking medicines?”
“We look at the whole world as a conscious entity and God as immanent. For us everything is soul-animated, they view things as inert. For us society and nation are also manifestations of Godhead, their conception of these are mechanical”
The fact is we are a God-centric people. That which is not visible is the centre of our gaze. We move towards the centre, the western people move outwards, away from it. Moving towards it, we get ever closer to the centre. In the West each individual is a centre, they move away from the centre, thus getting farther and further away from it. Call it God, soul, Brahma-that’s what is our Centre. That’s why we believe that soul resides in all. In the West everything is treated as machine, a mechanism, including the society. In our view society state and nation are all infused with (God-consciousness. We look at the whole world as a conscious entity and God as immanent. For us everything is soul-animated, they view things as inert. For us society and nation are also manifestations of Godhead, their conception of these are mechanical.
Not Mere Equality but Sense of Kinship
The western discourse revolves around the notion of equality. We, on the other hand, talk of unity. Equality doesn’t obtain even among brothers-this world is characterized by difference. Unity can be brought about in the world, but equality eludes it. The West gave universal franchise to achieve equality, but could it ensure mental equality among all? They averred that everyone would be given equal opportunity to progress. But this remained only a slogan. How could the climate and conditions of the north be provided to the residents of the south? Those living on the banks of a river have the opportunity to swim in it, how can others have it? In the family the child is fed with milk, the grown-up-ups with bread. Would it be right if the .grown-ups were to insist that the child be fed bread too, or if the child were to insist on marriage along with the grown-ups? The ant and the elephant have been endowed differently by God. The elephant doesn’t get again for food as the ant does. Today the ant also, lays claim to what the elephant gets. If the elephant were to demand that the ant carry the load that he does, how would that be? It is stating the obvious that the basis of life is not equality, but a feeling of kinship. Struggle and selfishness don’t sustain life. We believe that even a thief has the godly element in him; therefore even a thief can serve.
The Savage age Adam and the Compassionate Manu
The Biblical tale of Adam and Eve narrates that Adam ate the forbidden fruit and was consequently expelled from Paradise and thrown down on earth. The West thus associates defiance and stealth with man. We have the ideal of Manu before us who saved fish during the deluge, provided shelter and protection to the human species. The ideal of Manu is one of Compassion, as against that the West views the original man as an offender, a sinner.
This is a very fundamental difference in the two conceptions of man. A comprehension of this difference will acquaint us with what our true culture is, what integral humanism is.
(Excerpts from the book – “Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya A Profile” edited by Sudhakar Raje.)