“Integral Humanism”

Published on:

-Pt. Deendayal Upadhyaya

In our view society is self-born. Like an individual, society comes into existence in an organic way. People do not produce society. It is not a sort of club, or some joint stock company, or a registered co-operative society. In reality, society is an entity with its own “SELF”, its own life; it is a sovereign being like an individual; it is an organic entity. We have not accepted the view that society is some arbitrary association. It has its own life. Society too has its body, mind, intellect and soul. Some western psychologists are beginning to accept this truth. McDougal has produced a new branch of psychology called group mind. He has accepted that the group has its own mind, its own psychology, its own methods of thinking and action.

Group has its feelings too. These are not exactly similar to the individual’s feelings. Group feelings cannot be considered a mere arithmetic addition of individual feelings. Group strength too is not a mere sum of individual’s strength. The intellect, emotions and energies, strength of a group, are fundamentally different from those of an individual. Therefore, at times it is experienced that even weakling, despite his individual weak physique turns out to be a heroic member of the society. Sometimes an individual may be ready to put up with an affront to his person, but is unwilling to tolerate an ult to his society. A person may be ready to forgive and forget a personal abuse to him, but the same man loses his temper if you abuse his society. It is possible that a person who is of a high character in his personal life, is unscrupulous as a member of the society. Similarly an individual can be good in society but not so in his individual life. This is a very important point.

Let me give you an illustration. Once during a conversation between Shri Vinobaji and the Sar Sanghachalak of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Shri Guruji, a question arose as to where the modes of thinking of Hindus and Muslims differ. Guruji said to Vinobaji that there are good and bad people in every society. There can be found honest and good people in Hindus as well as in Muslims. Similarly rascals can be seen in both the societies. No particular society has a monopoly of goodness. However, it is observed that Hindus even if they are rascals in individual life, when they come together in a group, they always think differently. On the other hand when two Muslims come together, they propose and approve of things which they themselves in their individual capacity would not even think of. They start thinking in an altogether different way. This is an everyday experience. Vinobaji admitted that there was truth in this observation but had no reasons to explain it.

If we analyze this situation. we shall discover that the modes of thinking of an individual and of a society are always different. These two do not bear an arithmetic relation. If a thousand good men gather together it cannot be said for certain that they will think similarly of good things.

An average Indian student at present, is a mild and meek young man. Compared to an average student of twenty years ago, he is weaker and milder in every way. But when a score of such students get together, the situation becomes difficult. Then they indulge in all sorts of irresponsible actions. Thus a single student appears disciplined but a group of students become undisciplined. We shall have to consider why this change comes about. This is known as mob-mentality as distinct from individual mentality. This mob-mentality is a small aspect of mind. When a group of persons collect for a short time, the collective mentality obtained in that group is known as mob-mentality. But society and social mentality evolves over a much longer period. There is a thesis that when a group of people live together for a long time, by historical tradition and association, by continued intercourse. they begin to think similarly and have similar customs. It is true that some uniformity is brought about by staying together. Friendship arises between two persons of similar inclination. However a nation or a society does not spring up from mere co-habitation.
Why Mighty Nations Of Antiquity Perished ?

It is known that some ancient nations disappeared. The ancient Greek nation came to end. Egyptian civilization similarly disappeared. Babylonian and Syrian civilizations are a matter of history. Cynthia’s perished. Was there ever a time when the citizens of those nations stopped living together? It was only the fact that there were wide differences among people that let to the downfall of these nations. The Greece in the past produced Alexander and Heredotes, Ulysis and Aristotle, Socrates and Plato and the present day Greece is inhabited by people of the same hereditary stock. There was no interruption in their heredity, because there never was a time when the whole of Greece was devoid of human population and when a new race inhabited that country. Such a thing never happened. Father and son tradition of old Greece was never interrupted. It is possible to trace the ancestry of present day Greeks to the old Greeks, some 250 to 500 generation back. Despite all the old Greek Nation is non-existent. So also the old Egyptian Nation Is no longer there. New nations have arisen in those places. How did this happen? This simple fact is indisputable, that nations do not come into existence by a mere co habitation. There was never a time in the lives of the citizens of these decadent nations, when they stopped living in a group. On the other hand Israeli Jews lived for centuries with other peoples scattered far and wide, yet they did not get annihilated in the societies in which they lived because of cohabitation. It is clear therefore that the source of national feeling is not in staying on a particular piece of land, but is in something etc.
What Is A Nation?

That source is in the goal which is put before the people. When a group of persons lives with a goal, ideal, and a mission and looks upon a particular place of land as motherland, this group constitutes a nation. If either of the two-an ideal and a motherland-is not there, then there is no nation. There is a “Self” in the body, the essence of the individual; upon the severance of its relation with the body, a person is said to die. Similarly there is this idea, ideal, or fundamental principle of a nation, its soul. Although it is believed that man take birth again and again, yet the reborn person is a different individual. They are treated as two separate beings. The same soul leaves one body and enters another, but the previous and the latter are two different individuals. The end of a person is nothing but the departure of his soul from his body. The other components of the body also undergo change. From childhood to old age, there is a drastic change! The biologists tell us that in course of a few years, every cell of our body is replaced by a new one. A variety of changes takes place. Because the soul resides in the body without interruption, the body continues its existence, such a relation is known as “the law of identity” in logic. It is due to this identity that we admit the continued existence of any entity. In this connection a nice illustration of a barber’s razor is sometimes advanced.

Once while shaving a customer, a barber, prided in his razor being 60 years old. His father too had worked with the same razor. The customer was surprised especially because the handle was quite shiny and new In appearance. “Why the handle is quite shiny? How have your preserved the brightness for sixty years?” He asked. Barber too was amused with this. Is it possible to preserve the handle in a brand new appearance for sixty years? It has been replaced only six months ago”.
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.)