16 October 2012

Materialism, Spirituality and Idealism in India

What is the purpose of life? All human goals can be classified into 4 groups:
1. Kama (desire, pleasure)
2. Artha (wealth, power)
3. Dharma (morality, duty)
4. Moksha (salvation)

Accordingly we have the 3 philosophies of life:
A. Materialism – The pursuit of Kama and Artha
B. Idealism – The pursuit of Dharma
C. Spirituality – The pursuit of Moksha

Materialism does not give us happiness. Worse, it breeds selfishness, dishonesty and corruption – leading to the downfall of the society/nation. Example: Roman Empire.

Spirituality is offered as an alternative to materialism. But spirituality is an other-worldly philosophy. It rejects life in this world. By neglecting society, it also leads to the downfall of a nation. Example: India around 1000 AD.

So what is the solution? Lost between the two extremes of materialism and spirituality is the true answer: idealism – the pursuit of Dharma. If people live by certain simple rules (ie, morality) and do their duty sincerely, it brings both individual happiness and social well-being.

For 4000 years India gave primacy to Dharma – and was the world's richest and most powerful civilisation. Then, for some reason, we started giving primacy to Moksha. The result was we were conquered and ruled by foreigners (Turks, Mughals, British) for 1000 years.

In 1947 AD (Kali Yuga 5049) we finally became free. It was a golden opportunity to restore Dharma as the foundation of our nation. Instead, we confused Dharma with religion and threw it into the dustbin (because we are "secular"). The vacuum was filled by materialism. The results are there for all to see today.

The time has come to rescue India from both materialism and spirituality, and restore idealism (Dharma) as our national philosophy.



Divyanand said...

Few doubts:
1) Before the British integrated the sub-continent, there was no concept of India. So how did India as a 'state' follow Dharma before 1000AD?

2) Coming to your assertion that sub-continent region was richest & most powerful for 4000 years, Chinese can contest this.

kculon said...

The "purpose of life" has been reduced to the "purpose of a human being" ... unless it was an Armstrongian omission.

How would you classify Hitler's Germany -- certainly not spiritual or materialistic. I would say power was a byproduct. It was when idealism morphed into ideology. Why wouldn't this be true of any idealistic pursuit?

Indian said...

1. British did not "integrate the sub-continent". They directly ruled only half of India. India is a 5000-year-old civilisation.
2. True.

Materialism, spirituality, idealism - I have not used these words in the Western sense. I have defined them.

By my definition, Nazi Germany was materialistic - obsessed with power (Artha). Nazism was an ideology of hate, and hatred is Adharma.

Anonymous said...

1947 to 2012 = 65 yrs - pales in comparison to the 4000 or 5000 yr run. To me, it looks like you are taking a microscopic view of history. Things will average out in the long run. I am not advocating materialistic way of life or saying what's happening currently is THE correct way.

Things go in cycles - that's nature. Hopefully, when this cycle of pursuit of materialism wanes, we (Indians) can learn something from the history since we would have seen all three possibilities played out already.

Am i advocating apathy? Surely not. There is a need for reform for sure. There always has been a need for reform - not just in this century but forever. My point is - you have to play with the cards that's dealt to you and try to improve things from that base. There is no point in finding THE right way or what's the WRONG way to avoid. Actions that yield incremental goodness with the right attitude to better the society in the long run is all we can realistically or practically. And no action of anyone that's done in the best interest of humankind ever goes to waste in the big picture.

My 2 cents.

I have immense respect for you and what you are doing. Rock on.

Anonymous said...

RSS is supporting Gadkari ,what is ur take?

kculon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
shivakumar said...

Interesting take.

I see [A] and [B] as a necessity to go hand in hand for progress.

A society is in a constant pursuit of Artha & Kama (wealth, power, desire, pleasure).

This is OK as long as done within the confines of "Dharma". The purpose of legislature+executive+judiciary to help sustain this so that citizens can pursue their options in a responsible manner.

This is the purpose of a "civil" society.

All of us as members of it need to do our bit to withhold "Dharma".

Spiritualism is something personal to each individual and is pursuit to come to terms with the discontent within.

Artha & Kama (Materialism) is a fact of the society (we must recognize that it does & will exist).
Dharma(Idealism) is a need of the society.
Spiritualism is meaningless at the level of society. It is personal.