New Man : New World: [21] New Man - New World

Published: 30.12.2008
Updated: 02.07.2015

The drop and the ocean have been related since ancient times. Likewise, the body and the universe have been deemed to be related in Philosophy. In simple language we can use the terms man and the world. The latter is a totality comprising not only man but also other beings and material objects.

Internal Relations

Every man is related to the world. In order to understand a single individual the whole world will have to be understood and vice versa. They are so internally related and interactive that one cannot be interpreted without the other. Even if an atom is to be understood, the whole world will have to be understood. Mahavira said, “He who knows one, knows all and he who knows all, knows every one.” No one can be known without knowing all. Externally, all appear separate, but internally all are interrelated. I have a piece of cloth in my hand. Even though very small, it is related to the whole world. Space is associated with it, which is related to another part and that to the third and so on. It is a whole series. A quiver in this piece of cloth creates vibrations in the whole world.

Proper Explanation

Two doctrines were prevalent in the whole world of philosophy, dualism and monism. The former posited two elements, the animate and inanimate. Both are independent. The latter posited only one element, viz. the animate. The other does not exist. In reality, the two doctrines cannot be separated. Anekantvad, the doctrine of non-absolutism or manifold aspects, has viewed them together and that is why it has properly explained both man and the world. If we interpret man for our own convenience, for making right individuals and the right world, for making conduct and behaviour right, it implies the development of individual consciousness. If we interpret the world, it will imply the development of group or collective consciousness.

Two Dimensions of Consciousness

Every man's consciousness needs two dimensions. Anuvrat is the principle of the development of individual consciousness. Fraud and deceit prevail and many problems arise where group consciousness is sought to be developed without first developing individual consciousness.

Political ideologues tried to develop socialism and communism. The motive was not bad; in fact it was sublime and compassionate. But one thing was forgotten. They tried to develop collective or group consciousness and forgot to look after individual consciousness. As a result, the noble aim sought was defeated, purity was lost, fraudulence and deceit went on flourishing and the rot spread to the whole society.

Anuvrat's Code of Conduct

Development of individual consciousness is vitally important. Anuvrat's code of conduct is a code to develop individual consciousness. It is said that anuvrat does not address itself to the development of group or social consciousness. Particularly people in western countries keep telling that while they are working for the good of society, we are doing it for the good of individuals. They wonder how the entire world can improve in a finite period of time if attention is directed to individuals. According to them, individuals would reform in one stroke once social consciousness is developed. It is a nice thought but impossible to translate into reality. Social consciousness will not awaken without being based on the purity of individual consciousness.

The Result of social Consciousness

Let us recall the well-known story of a ruler who ordered that each individual subject had to drop a jug full of milk in the town's empty pond that night so that the pond could be full of milk by next morning. The ruler visited the site in the morning and found the pond full of water. The reason was that each man had thought that after all his one jug of water would make no visible difference to the filling of the pond by milk. The result was that the pond got filled with water instead of milk.

The lesson to be drawn is that the level of thinking depends upon the level of individual consciousness.

Emperor Subhoga was going over the sea in his aerial chariot, which was being carried by 16,000 gods. One of the gods thought that when there were so many others carrying the chariot, nothing would happen if he opted out. Then one by one other gods also thought the same and as a result of that collective thinking all the 16,000 gods withdrew their support to the aerial chariot and it fell in to the sea.

Anuvrat, the basic Support

The making of a good man and of a good world cannot be conceived until collective consciousness gets the basic support of individual consciousness. The basic principle of anuvrat has been to make individual consciousness so pure that the edifice of social consciousness may be erected on its basis. For any mansion to be big and strong there has to be a strong foundation. Anuvrat is the basic support on which a pure social consciousness can be developed.

The Basis of Collectivity

No society can function that does not have a tradition of nonviolence. If we glance at social history we find that society was formed only on the basis of nonviolence. Primitive man who lived in the jungle was uncultured. He lived in isolation. But once man came out of the jungle and began forming groups in villages or small towns, he had to enter into a social contract. It was based on reciprocity. No one shall trouble anyone else. All shall live together, cooperate with one another and shall not harm one another. Society was formed on the basis of the above contract.

The Basis of individual Consciousness

The basis of collective consciousness is reciprocity and that of individual consciousness is self-restraint. We should concentrate our attention on these two elements. There is no alternative to self-restraint if we want to purify individual consciousness, and self-restraint means restraint on desires, natural dispositions, the mind, the senses, the body and the food. This restraint shows individual purity. If collective consciousness is built on the basis of restraint, it will develop reciprocity. Society breaks down if reciprocity is sought to be built in the absence of restraint. Fratricidal crimes and bureaucratic corruption breed precisely because of lack of restraint. All scams can be traced to it. It is obvious that without developing purity and individual consciousness, a society cannot remain healthy.

The second Way

How does one purify and develop consciousness? How does one acquire self-restraint? Desires have a strong urge, so how does one curb them? The first way is self-restraint and the second is practice. The former cannot be cultivated without the latter. The mind and its fickleness weaken the restraint. We should practise in such a manner that unsteadiness of the mind is reduced and instinctual urges are curbed. The practice of Preksha Dhyan  helps us achieve it. The mind is cleansed and self-restraint follows as a natural corollary.

Wheat and Bread

Strengthening restraint is like turning wheat into bread. Anuvrat can be regarded as wheat; it cannot be eaten without turning it into bread. The raw material has to be changed into finished goods. Anuvrat is the main basis of self-restraint. The process of maturing it, of changing wheat into bread is Preksha Dhyan. The benefits of the practice should reach out to wide sections of the population. This could be ensured by involving schools for carrying out the practice. That is why Jeevan Vigyan was introduced in the schools.

Elements of individual Consciousness

A strong foundation enables a secure edifice. Likewise by cleansing individual consciousness, collective consciousness can be developed.

Anuvrat, Preksha Dhyan  and Jeevan Vigyan first act as principles of individual consciousness, but later they become principles of collective consciousness. The three together awaken sensitivity and compassion and strengthen the principle of reciprocity. As a result, our behaviour towards one another becomes honest, sweet and courteous. People with humility have collective consciousness awakened in them. Neither socialism nor communism can be successful without collective consciousness.

An Example of Polite Behaviour

The western thinker Tripling was an accomplished person. One newspaper published the news of his death. He read it and wrote to the newspaper's editor, “You are an authentic person and your newspaper is a prestigious publication. It publishes news only after a thorough investigation. You have published the news of Tripling's death only on the basis of correct information. Please strike off my name from the list of your subscribers, since I am no longer alive.” The editor felt ashamed to read the letter. He admired the politeness of the writer of the letter, who completely abstained from hurling words of abuse, displaying anger and holding out the threat of a lawsuit.

Man of the World (the cosmopolitan Man)

The above polite behaviour is the outcome of a pure individual consciousness. Such an individual is bound to affect collective consciousness. Behaviour implies collectivity. It would not be possible if there were only a single individual. It is our behaviour with another person that relates us to the world. Talking about an individual gives us the theme of man and the world, while talking about collective consciousness changes the terms of reasoning as also the nature of language and as a result, what emerges is the cosmopolitan man. The world precedes man. The cosmopolitan man is the outcome of collective consciousness. No man will first see himself as cosmopolitan. He will first see the world and then see himself. It is obvious that collective consciousness can develop reciprocity, organization, a social or political system, but not purity.

Another Mistake

A system based on cosmopolitan man will be pure only when it is based on the purity of individual consciousness. History bears witness to it. All collective endeavour has led to distortions in the absence of individual consciousness. Even communist states had to yield to the demand of individual proprietorship. Howsoever grudgingly and partially, communists and socialists had to concede the truth that no talk of collectivity can be successful without granting the right to individual proprietorship. The capitalist nations marched ahead of the communist states in the economic field. They realized their mistake. Collectivity was given the sole recognition and individuality was totally denied. Now a second mistake is going to be made. Sheer consumerism is being stressed at the cost of the purity of the individual. Capitalism also is therefore tottering and is in its present shape equally dangerous. You might wonder about the choice left if both individuality and collectivity pose danger to mankind. The solution to the dilemma lies in anekant.

The third Option

The philosophy of anekant can be called the third option, neither nityavad (eternalism) nor anityavad (non-eternalism) but Nityanityavad (eternalism and non-enternalism). Neither Vaiya-ktikta (individuality) nor Samudayikta (collectivity) but a combination of both, Vaiyaktiktayukta Samudayikta and Samudayiktayukta Vaiyaktikta. If we think of building a new society on the above basis, I believe we shall be quite close to the truth.

The true Nature of Anekant

The student who says that the cow has three legs is closer to the truth than the one who says that it has only two legs. We have to first approximate the truth before we actually attain it. This truth will belong to Anekant, neither communism nor capitalism, neither collectivity nor individuality, but a combination of both. By combining the good points of both, a third form will evolve. Neither existence nor non-existence, but a combination of both is the third hypothesis. Today, the whole world is in search of a new hypothesis. Let us not take any one-sided or unilateral view, but integrate all views through anekant and thus conceive the new man and the new world. Only the new man and the new world can be the solution of the present problem.

Sources
Edition 2005
ISBN No. 81-7196-019-7

© Adarsh Sahitya Sangh
210 Deendayal Upadhyay Marg,
New Delhi-110 002

Edited by:
Muni Dhananjay Kumar

Translated by:
Prof. R.P. Bhatnagar

Published by:
Kamlesh Chaturvedi
Adarsh Sahitya Sangh,
210 Deendayal Upadhyay Marg
New Delhi

Printed at:

R-Tech Offset Printer Delhi-110032

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Anekant
  2. Anekantvad
  3. Anger
  4. Anuvrat
  5. Body
  6. Consciousness
  7. Consumerism
  8. Deceit
  9. Dhyan
  10. Jeevan Vigyan
  11. Mahavira
  12. Monism
  13. Non-absolutism
  14. Nonviolence
  15. Preksha
  16. Preksha Dhyan
  17. Space
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