The economy of a society is to be kept free from both—
lack of wealth and infatuation of wealth.
According to Bharateeya philosophy, human being is born not only to meet material needs but a goal in life which is to get wisdom (jnanam). This is the crux of Bharateeya culture. So we have to view all issues in the frame of all perception of human life. As far as the economy is concerned, Deendayalji asked two important questions 1) for whom is the economic development? 2) Shall we ever prefer the bondage of dependence? To him “Unless the goal of life is fully cognised and the place of material wealth in life is defined, we would never be able to judge the size of resources necessary for economic development”. The measure of the goal of economy has to be judged by the all-round progress of human beings. To westerners, economic progress meant the increase in wealth alone, but our
perspective in economic system is to be aimed at the promotion of over-all
development of human being without which a truly welfare economy can not be accomplished. So our economic policy and our economic system should aim at all-sided development of human beings.
In the opinion of Deendayalji, if individual is the focal point of economics, the rationalisation of means and ends is easily perceived. This means that the progress of man is not merely the economic progress but an all-round progress which includes the mind, intellect and soul. The discoveries of science and technology have contributed much prosperity to several nations but it brought about the downfall of individual in his environment. The craze for metropolitan life caused the alienation of human life from nature. Satisfying material needs and wants is primary one as far as individual is concerned. So he/she is much involved in earning money, property and wealth.
Deendayalji continues, for a happy life wealth is necessary but should be acquired only through Dharma. The economic system promotes the progress of the individual and society and helps the evolution of material and spiritual life which is cognisised with Dharma in Bharateeta culture. But Dharma is not sustained without wealth. It is rightly cognised in the law of nature that governs the economy, which has man and natural resources as its constituents. Generally a large sum in the society are depending upon specific few for earning their family income. This will lead the rich people to follow immoral activities. When people feel frustrated in this association with immoral economy, they become restless. Instead an economic society which is free from such immoral dependence is desirable from the stand-point of spiritual harmony of man in the economy.
Deendayalji disclosed the impacts of wealth in the following words “When individuals get infatuated with the idea of wealth or are under the spell of the commodities and its level of consumption, it is the situation of ‘prabhav’ (dominance) of wealth. The person under this fetishism loses its relevance to his individuality, nation, Dharma, and the spiritual happiness. The fetishism of wealth results in loss of wisdom and reason of a man and causes destruction of his society. The wealth no more remains a means to an end, but becomes an end in itself. The other effect is discerned in an individual when instead of using wealth consistently with the philosophy of dharma he becomes the victim of being crazy for money. The infatuation of living a rich life has no limit and therefore the consumption becomes excessive. Such individuals and such societies finally get destabilised and also destroyed”. So the concentration of wealth by few and consumption of wealth by few (both individuals in society and nations in the world) is totally against the spirit of Dharma.
The economy of a society is to be kept free from both –lack of wealth and infatuation of wealth. This equilibrium is connoted in the concept of Arthayam in Bharateeya Culture. The economic equilibrium engenders the price factor and income factor in a society. Punditji put forward an analogy that as pranayam is useful for healthy regulation of body, similarly Arthayam is necessary for the regulation of economy of society. To him in order to maintain equilibrium in production, distribution and consumption the society has to promote various institutions and different forms of management systems. It is needed to introduce self-regulatory discipline in the economy to reach the goals of satisfaction of basic needs of the people.
Dr Umadevi S (The writer is Associate Professor in Political Science, Sanatana Dharma College, Alappuzha)