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Conference 'Economics of Non-violence...' - Report [3.07] - Swamini Parmananda Saraswati (2)

Published: 27.05.2006
Updated: 02.07.2015
Third Plenary Session:
Spiritual Foundation for Developing a New Model of Economic System

Ahimsa, she advocated is not an absolute term. It has to be examined in a situational context. For instance, a doctor committed to saving a patient's life may have to amputate his leg in order to save his life. If non-injury is absolute than this act of the doctor well befits being called as an injury. It is not an absolute dharma, a universal dharma where a part is sacrificed for a bigger cause and this is how we look at ahimsa. A member of the family may have to be sacrificed for saving the entire family. Similarly, a family may have to be sacrificed for saving a village. A village may be sacrificed at the altar of the nation. If there is ahimsa it has to be understood as to why it is there.

One can give up, the entire resources of the earth, one can relinquish everything if spirituality is ones aim. If Bhagwan, Lord is yours one can renounce everything. She suggested that there is a mechanism, a method and a cosmic order involved in it. Unless we understand the bigger dimensions of this, no human being has a right to injure. This is the conventional model.

There is yet another model and almost 90 percent of humanity falls under its fold. It is something called as the post-conventional model, which our President Dr. Kalam referred to as the conversion of religion to spirituality. This model is something unique where we don't talk of ahimsa in terms of our own human dimension- I don't hurt others because I don't want to be reciprocated in the same coin. Well, this is one way of looking at things, but there is a still bigger frame of reference, a still bigger dimension in the Vedas saying, - Aey, whom are you trying to injure? Do you know that all that is here is nothing but a manifestation of the Lord. The Vedic model looks upon shrishti as iswara. Ishwaram Idam Sarvam -all that is here is Bhagwan, the Lord, the manifestation of divinity. As somebody said, God is omnipresent but it lives in India and certainly it does. How do we conclude this, because these Indians treat God as if He is their neighbour. Any auspicious occasion and God is invoked first. Even when a scientifically trained engineer builds a house, he first invites the God there. There is no house warming, there is only Grahpravesham and the whole idea is centred on invoking the blessings of God. He is, in effect, a member of our day to day life. These are ways of actualizing God. The only conversation with Lord is through Dharma because in our model of Ishwara, God is omnipresent. The very manifestation of creation is his manifestation. When you hurt, you hurt divinity; you hurt Prana (life force). When you see your hands that will help you to earn a decent livelihood, you only see the shakti in your hands. Life of a Hindu, life of a Bhartiya is sacred for us because living is living with divinity, there is an actualization of God in our day to day life. That is why, seeking money is seeking Goddess Lakshmi, and seeking Vidhya is synonymous to seeking Saraswati. There is nothing, which is secular. All that exists here is sacred for us and thus it's important that we look upon the cosmos as form of the God. Bhagwat Geeta campaigns this very idea, unfolding the vision of Bhagwan. Bringing divinity into the human life is the vision of ahimsa and thus by injuring you are going to injure divinity is the thought that leaps into the mind at the very thought of violence. Prana I have no right to touch. Ahimsa is Parmo dharma that is why even as we grow; as we expand our technology we really ought to look at what is it that we really want from nature. All living beings-plants, animals and human beings are gifted with adequate intelligence to survive and sustain.

There is one attitude that the Vedic culture has always nurtured and that is the attitude of gratitude. Vedic culture always championed the conversion of people into contributors, but today it is no exaggeration to state that the society is ruthlessly converting people into consumers, perpetually in greed of material satiety possessing a laptop, cell phone, sports car and the list is infinite. You become a consumer when what you have is not enough. You become a contributor primarily when you have something more to give than to receive. One can think of giving to society only when one does not have much need for oneself. That's true. A child is a receiver and an adult is a giver. A child receives because he needs to grow up and an adult gives because he is grown up and does not need to grow any more. It is time that we learn to contribute than to consume, learn to give than to take, relinquish lobha and contribute magnanimously. Greed can be countered by self restraint (daman), Danam (charity) and compassion (Daya) An eloquent anecdote highlighting the above is described in the Bhradarnik Upnishad. But, unfortunately we do not know what our scriptures say. We are too busy and we figure it out independent of the shastras, the wisdom of our ancestors.

The root of all problems is the rampage to convert all the luxuries into needs and consumerism is instigating us towards this evil. The whole drive of advancement and ambition is all about converting luxuries into necessities. We need to use materials as tools without having emotional, intellectual dependence on them. When one becomes a contributor more than a consumer, one has escalated to such scales of spirituality, evolved as a human being, that tripti is inevitable to follow. Tripti implies saying yes, that I have more than what I need. There is an attitude of gratitude that you enjoy and in that you discover eternal happiness. Bhagwat Geeta says that an emotionally excellent person is that human being who can be happy for himself, by himself, who needs very little external inputs, who can contribute more to the external, who is more of a giver than a receiver and the one who has struck a balance in life, who is tript. Well, this is possible only through the post-conventional model of spirituality, which is nothing but understanding this simple fact of life.

If we have to really help the globe, nations must comprehend the technology and growth in such a manner that we are driven by our necessities and not by our luxuries. If we could come together on common platforms for such dialogues and discussions and arrive at certain understanding that would really mark a day of global spirituality. With mass communication possible, everything is possible, provided there are right thinkers and the right mindset.

Ashok Bapna, Director, JIILM Jaipur, Honorary Visiting Professor, CTI, CMS, HCM RIPA, Jaipur & SID Country Coordinator - India, Mobile: +91-93145-09414


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                Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
                1. Ahimsa
                2. Ashok Bapna
                3. Consumerism
                4. DANAM
                5. Daman
                6. Dharma
                7. Geeta
                8. Greed
                9. Jaipur
                10. Lakshmi
                11. Lobha
                12. Prana
                13. Saraswati
                14. Shastras
                15. Vedas
                16. Vedic
                17. Vidhya
                18. Violence
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