RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri K.S. Sudarshan has exhorted the Hindus to prepare for future challenges in the era of conflicts created by actions of people motivated by individualistic aspirations. He was delivering the first Lakshmanrao Bhide Memorial Lecture in Mumbai recently. He said the theory of capitalism suggests that the only way to run an economy efficiently is to let everyone pursue mainly, if not exclusively, his/her own advantage. ?The theory of communism is that the economy works best when everybody acts according to ?plans? for the common public good. In capitalistic system there is a tendency to accumulate the profits produced out of the collective efforts of millions of workers. This, ultimately, creates sad maladjustment in all the spheres of human activity. We have seen national and even international peace being threatened, as evident in revolutions in Russia or current events in Iraq and Afghanistan,? he said.
He further said the capitalism and communism have not succeeded in reducing the grave inequalities. They have created more confrontations in the society. ?In both types of societies, differences in the lifestyles of people at the top and the bottom have widened in spite of attempts to narrow them down. One of the reasons for this is that no two men are equal and there is a conflict between people belonging to different strata of the same community. Furthermore, the intellectual, cultural, and physical differences play their part and fuel greed,? he said.
Shri Sudarshan stated that in the materialist West, it is believed that matter is basic and the mind is only a superstructure on it. Materialism increases the feeling that increased consumption increases his or her satisfaction with life. Not all material desires are bad; acquisition is natural and a healthy part of one'slife. Only, too much emphasis on acquisition-related happiness creates some imbalance in an individual'smental health.
He said many markets have an interest in perpetuating materialism. Materialism is associated with a greater drive to acquire the goods that markets provide for consumers. If consumers move away from their focus on material acquisitions and towards non-material quality of life, then they would consume less from the economic system, which would result in fewer demands for their goods. ?The relentless pursuit of economist approaches has some adverse effects on people. The economist approach, in the long run, tends to result in the emergence of one dimensional societies wherein every aspect of human life is transactionalised,? he added.
He said materialism has a great effect on individuals, their families, economic systems and the environment. Materialism may increase a society'seconomic wealth and material possessions but it also creates the never-ending quest for more material possession that is harming the environment. Besides the feeling of alienation, this approach also creates several other negative consequences for the psychological health of people. In modern societies, a greater number of people suffer from diseases of the soul than of the body.
?Hindu approach believes that socio-cultural factors also play an important role in economic growth. When people do not cherish and uphold spiritual and universal values, they become incapable of possessing national character, integrity, self-discipline and sense of duty and indulge in unethical behaviour. This approach in India bases its premise on the concept of four purusharthas, i.e., four-fold achievements of human life. These four purusharthas are: dharma (virtue/ethical merit), artha (wealth), kaam (pleasure) and moksha (salvation).
Shri Sudarshan said acquisition of wealth by itself is not a sin. But, wealth is not meant only for acquisition'ssake. Wealth is needed in this world for enjoyment and also for ethical activity like charities. Enjoyment should not be chaotic and unprincipled. The principles of enjoyment should be within the given ethical laws of the society and religion. The principles of enjoyment should follow the laws of duty. The West considers economics the separate discipline and human being an economic being. Such a thought is contrary to the Hindu way of thinking.
He said the Hindu approach believes that a human being is capable of revolutionising the inner-self of an individual by convincing him/her that the material and the non-material are the two faces of the same coin and the lopsided emphasis on the material aspect would create imbalance in the individual as well as social life. ?The highest aim is the common good, which can be achieved through Hindu way of life. The supreme goal of humanity is the welfare, progress, and happiness of the entire human race, irrespective of nation, race, sex, or economic status. This of course implies the complete abolition of nationalist and racial prejudice. Hinduism has a compassionate concern for all fellow human beings,? he said.
Presiding over the lecture, eminent Urologist Dr Ajit Phadke enlisted various achievements of the Hindu society worldwide especially in the last decade. He reminded that the achievements would get recognition only if the society disciplined and united. He recalled the yeoman service of the late Lakshmanrao Bhide in uniting the Hindu society overseas by his tireless visits. He appealed that many more selfless personalities like Lakshmanrao Bhide are needed to fill the dire needs of today.
Dr Satish Modh, president of Vishwa Adhyayan Kendra, Mumbai, that organised the lectuer, welcomed the gathering. Dr Shankarrao Tatvawadi delved into the work of the late Lakshmanrao Bhide and applauded his pioneering effort of organising people of Indian origin across the world since 1958 beginning from Kenya and spreading into other parts of the world. A Hindi version of Mouna Tapasvi, a compilation of articles and anecdotes on the life of Bhideji was released on the occasion. (FOC)