“Integral Humanism”

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-PT. DEENDAYAL UPADHYAYA

‘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 to 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 to 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 the 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 not be allowed to acquire hold in either of these two ways.

Karma too has been considered on the same lines. If 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 thorough 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 aspiration 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 also be discussed.

We considered man as an individual. There are different aspects of an individual personality, different levels of needs of an individual. In order to develop complete personality, to satisfy the needs progressively but simultaneously at all levels, certain specific kinds of efforts are needed. These, too, were considered. But man does not exist merely as an individual. The individual comprising of body, mind, intellect and soul as not limited to singular “I” but is also inseparably related to the plural “We”. Therefore we must also think of the group or the society. It is a simple truth to treat society is a group of men. But how did society come into being? Many views have been put forward by philosophers. Those propounded in the West and on which the western socio-political structure is based can be broadly summarized as “society is a group of individuals brought into being by the individuals by an agreement among themselves.” This view is known as “Social Contract Theory”. Individual is given greater importance in this view. If there are any differences in different western views, these pertain only to the questions, namely, “If the individual produced a society. then in whom the residual power remains vested, in the society or in the individual? Does the individual have the right to change the society? Can the society impose a variety of regulations on the individual and claim a right to the allegiance of the individual to itself? Or the individual is free as regards these questions?”

Individual Versus society

There is a controversy in the West on this question. Some have opted for the society as supreme and from this a conflict has arisen. The truth is that the view that individuals have brought society into being, is fundamentally incorrect. It is true that the society is composed of a number of individuals. Yet it is not made by people, nor does it come into being by mere coming together of a number of individuals.

To be continued…
(Excerpts of the Speech delivered on “Integral Humanism” in Bombay on April 22nd – 25th, 1965 by Pt. Deendayal Upadhyaya in the form of four lectures.)