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I used the last post to weave many seemingly disjointed ideas—modalities, inseparability, qualities, how the illusion of motion is created without a motion by revelation and hiding of modes, how this leads to alternative ideas of space and time, an alternative conception of laws of motion, and why the idea of a separated reality modeled by mathematics is always false even if sometimes useful. We could call this a personalist foundation for natural and logical sciences. I will use this post to weave a similar foundation for social sciences—sociology, economics, politics, jurisprudence, and history—and demonstrate how by viewing society as a person all social sciences change drastically.

The post discusses topics drawn from three books—The Science of God, The Yellow Pill, and The Balanced Organization. The first is about the modalities of personhood and the dualities that create inner conflict in a person. The second is about the fundamental principles of sociology, economics, and political theory by which the problem of dualities is resolved through four principles of organization in the Varṇāśrama system. The third is about the body and mind of a society, how the social body emerges out of a social mind and how the social body and mind are integrated in the same way as the mind and body of humans. We will briefly discuss how these principles apply even to the study of the universe as an organism, and what we mean by the body and mind in the case of a universe. Biology, sociology, cosmology, and theology, we shall see, are founded on the same principles being applied to different subjects.

There is a discussion about how impersonalism in India has been the cause of its problems in the last thousand years. I never wrote a book on a theory of history but that is something I plan to do in the future (although I have written posts on this topic in the last few years—see here, here, and here). History is an important part of social sciences but historical changes are presently attributed to material factors. We don’t get the lessons of history if we focus on material factors. To get those lessons, we can look at the same history with a spiritual lens and trace historical change as a lawful and natural response to true and false ideologies. That helps us understand history as well as all its lessons.

The conclusion is that there is only one subject—the study of a person. We could call it personology. It doesn’t exist today. Every other subject is a greater or lesser emphasis on some aspect of a person. A subject is separated from other subjects if we exclude different aspects of personhood from different subjects. Thereby, we also don’t understand the subject fully and create contradictions between subjects. Every subject is incomplete and various subjects are inconsistent. By personalism, we complete each subject, unify all subjects, and advance all subjects. Progress in one area means progress in all areas. Those principles that can be applied consistently, completely, and universally are the universal truth. This post shows how such unity is possible in social sciences.

The Philosophy of Personalism

Overview of Modal Thinking

Object thinking assumes that we can completely know an object through a single perspective. Modal thinking says that we must know an object through six different perspectives alternately. Each of the aspects is a partial truth, and yet, one of those aspects is also the whole truth. They can be compared to a forest and trees. Knowing the forest is not knowing each tree. But the trees cannot be separated from the forest. Hence, the forest is the whole, and each tree is an aspect of the forest. And yet, perceiving the forest is knowing the forest partially since there are so many trees still to be perceived.

There is hence a distinction between perception and knowledge. The knowledge of the forest includes perceiving the whole forest and each of the individual trees. But the forest and the individual trees cannot be perceived simultaneously because they are different aspects or modalities. If we alternately perceive each of the trees and the complete forest, then we can combine them into the knowledge of the forest, which includes the trees, although the perception of the forest does not include trees.

The knowledge of the complete reality requires knowing both the whole and its parts, and yet when that whole truth is perceived it is seen as one part of the whole (like a forest) that excludes the other parts (like trees). We can understand this by imagining a world of ideas in which forest and tree are two ideas. The set of ideas—which constitutes knowledge—includes forest and trees. In that set, the forest is logically prior to the trees. The trees are parts of the forest. And yet, the forest is one of the ideas; the tree is the other idea.

Modal Thinking and Personhood

Under object thinking, knowing the trees is enough to know the forest. This is called reductionism, namely, that if we know all the trees, then we don’t need to know the forest. We can just aggregate them, and that collection would be called a forest. This claim is contravened through the allegory of the elephant and the five blind men. The five blind men do not see the elephant, and hence, they describe its legs as a cylinder, its stomach as a sphere, its tail as a line, and its ears as a plane. The blind men do not see legs, stomach, tail, and ears; they see cylinders, spheres, lines, and planes. Their blindness makes all their claims false (although for many practical purposes those claims would work).

One has to know the whole before knowing the parts in order to describe the parts correctly. If we start with the parts and try to “construct” the whole—as reductionism tries—all our claims would be false. Hence, the whole contains all the parts, and yet, the whole doesn’t reduce to the parts. The whole is a separate entity that can be known individually, without knowing its parts, and yet, it aids in knowing the parts correctly. Complete knowledge includes all of them.

Object thinking differs from modal thinking due to the latter’s anti-reductionist stance in which the whole and the part are distinct and yet inseparable. This is called Bhedābheda. Bheda means distinct and Abheda means inseparable. Bhedābheda rejects object thinking and replaces it with person thinking. Under this view, the forest and the elephant are both persons, and their parts are their bodies. If we focus on the whole, then we see the complete person. If we focus on the parts, then we see a body. Person and body are not identical, but they are not separable. Personhood is seeing the unity and body is seeing the diversity. There is diversity in the unity, and unity in the diversity.

The Theology of Personhood

Once we accept modal thinking, then we reject object thinking and embrace personalism. Everything is now a person. However, there is one complete person and many incomplete persons. The incomplete persons are parts of the whole, but the whole does not reduce to the parts. The complete person can be known individually apart from knowing the incomplete persons individually. The incomplete persons need and want the complete person because they can never be complete without the complete person. They feel incompleteness, insufficiency, inadequacy, and deficiency without the complete person.

Personhood is now described in terms of six aspects, namely, self-awareness or the whole person, and his five aspects, namely, emotion, intention, cognition, conation, and relation. A partial person is also a person. His feeling of incompleteness, insufficiency, inadequacy, and deficiency is his basic emotion. This emotion gives rise to an intention—i.e., to become complete. Completeness is obtained when the partial person develops a relationship with the complete person, cognizes the complete person, and transforms all its conations (i.e., activities) into the service of the complete person. The process of feeling the inner hollowness, and developing an intention to overcome it, through the cognition of the whole, relation to the whole, and the service in that relation, is called the process of yoga or “union”. It is the union between the whole and the part after the part has identified itself as an incomplete person.

That partial person is separated from the whole by another feeling of hollowness in the complete person, namely, that the complete person is the forest but the individual trees are not yet perceived. Or, that the complete person is the elephant, but the legs, stomach, trunk, tail, and ears are not perceived. This hollowness in the whole of not perceiving the parts is the complete person’s basic emotion. From this emotion arises the intention to completely know Himself. From that intention manifest the separate parts, the relation between the whole and the part, and the activity between the whole and the part by which the inner hollowness in both the complete and the partial persons are mutually filled. This is a complete theory of creation.

The Six Aspects of Cognition

Once we understand the basic principle of personhood and its division into six aspects, then we can understand how it is extended limitlessly by dividing each aspect into six further aspects. One such division is that of cognition into knowledge—the whole—and its five aspects, namely, beauty, renunciation, power, wealth, and fame. These aspects have the property of being adjectives of the noun termed “knowledge”. For instance, knowledge is beautiful, it is powerful, it is wealthy, it is famous, and it is renounced. The same six aspects can also become the verbs of conations, namely, work is powerful, work is famous, work is beautiful, work is wealthy, and work is renounced. Thus, a person is divided into six aspects, and each of the aspects is then divided into six further aspects. This process of separation and combination is unlimited. Alternately, it can be limited by our emotions and intentions.

Brahma Samhita describes these six-fold divisions as ānandā chinmayā śad-ujjvala-vigrahasya. The term śad-ujjvala-vigrahasya means the “form of six effulgences”. The meaning of effulgence is that each of these six aspects can further expand, like a light source emanating numerous light rays. Those light rays are eternally within the source (chinmayā) and they are manifest by the light source based on its emotion and intention (ānanda). The process of emanating them from the source is conation, the connection between the light and the source is a relation, and once the light is related to its source, the source cognizes the nature of that light. Thus, the source, by a process of emoting, intending, acting, and relating, cognizes its nature in detail.

Viṣṇu Purana 6.5.47 describes the six effulgences of the complete person as follows. They are called bhaga and their source is called Bhagavān.

aiśvaryasya samagrasya
vīryasya yaśasaḥ śriyaḥ
jñāna-vairāgyayoś caiva
ṣaṇṇāṁ bhagam itīṅganā

We need to analyze some Sanskrit subtleties to fully understand all the nuanced and hidden meanings in this verse. The term asya means “of”, the term sama means “concept” or “universal”, and the term agra means “supreme” or “prior”. Thus, samagrasya means “the supreme concept of” or “the prior universal of”. When sama and agra are combined into samagra, the meaning is also “everything”, which we can call the “complete” or “whole”. Therefore, the term samagrasya can also be translated as “the whole of” or “the complete of”.

All these meanings are important, relevant, and necessary because the person from whom everything emanates (and we shall shortly discuss those emanations) is the supreme cause of everything, prior cause of everything, and the complete cause of everything. We have to see each word in its various modalities to understand the full meaning. Complete means that there is nothing more than Him. Prior means that there is nothing before Him. Supreme means that He has no other controller. These three negations, which can also be called assertions, are the three modes of samagrasya.

In the above verse, three words—aiśvaryasya, vīryasya, and yaśasaḥ—use “of”, but the other three—śriyaḥ, jñāna, vairāgyayoh—do not. The terms mean—aiśvaryasya (wealth of), vīryasya (power of), yaśasaḥ (fame of), śriyaḥ (beauty), jñāna (knowledge), vairāgyayoh (renunciation). Wealth, power, and fame are prefixed with of but no prefix is used with beauty, knowledge, and renunciation.

We can restate this as follows: God has wealth, power, and fame, but He is beauty, renunciation, and knowledge. And yet, He is the supreme, complete, and autonomous cause of all six. There is a sense in which knowledge, beauty, and renunciation are the primary nature of God, while the wealth, power, and fame are His attributes, somewhat secondary to His primary nature. When God’s power, fame, and wealth are emphasized, the description is secondary to His beauty, knowledge, and renunciation. Even among the three primary attributes, knowledge is the most important. Hence, He is called jñānam advayam or “non-dual knowledge” (SB 1.2.11) and satyam-param or “the supreme truth” (SB 1.1.1). Everything else is an attribute of knowledge.

Dividing the Six into Triads

The distinction between what God is and what He has is that between Him and His Śakti. Śakti is the three aspects of power, wealth, and fame. By His power, God expands the world from Himself, which becomes His wealth. But the cause is immanent in the effects; hence, He is present in everything, everywhere, everywhen, and everyone. Hence, He is most famous. If we study the world, we can rely on God’s fame to say that He is immanent in everything. What we call “material wealth” was caused by God’s power, is owned by Him, and is controlled by Him from within just as natural order exists in everything.

We can also say that the Śakti is the cause (power), the effect (wealth), and the “law” connecting the cause to effect (fame). The “law” exists in each effect and controls it from within, and it is inseparable from the cause. The cause is called vīrya. It is translated as power but it also means heroism. God’s heroism is His Śakti. He may not display His heroism, power, or omnipotence. He becomes weak and transfers control to His Śakti and is then dominated by Her. She decides how to please Him. She manifests a world of wealth for His satisfaction. But even if that heroism is manifest, it is not equated to God, because heroism is His Śakti. The cause, effect, and the “law” are three modes of Śakti.

The “law” is called yaśa or fame because it controls things from within. We need personhood to understand this nomenclature. If we respect someone, then we voluntarily do whatever they want. If we don’t respect them, then they have to compel us to do what they want through force. God’s Śakti respects God. So, He doesn’t need to force Her to do anything. She voluntarily does whatever He wants. If personalism is embraced, then the idea of force as the cause of change disappears. All change is now caused by will and respect for that will. That respect is in each thing and hence it follows the will. Modern science thinks that particles will not move unless they are pushed by an external force. In their conception of reality, there is no respect for the creator in the creation.

God’s Śakti is a part of Him, although She is not Him because God is three attributes and God has three attributes. These six attributes cannot be separated, and they cannot be equated. If we study these six attributes, then God and His Śakti have been studied. If we study them as two distinct triads, then there is a distinction between God and His Śakti. When people say “God is power”, then they are referring to the feminine Śakti. When they say “God is powerful” they are referring to the masculine Supreme Person.

Power is a noun, powerful is an adjective, power serving the powerful is a verb, the relation between power and powerful is marital or extramarital, the intention in the power to satisfy the powerful is willpower, and the fulfillment obtained by the power satisfying the powerful is emotional completeness. The noun is the person, the adjective is the power cognizing the powerful, the verb of service performed in relation to the powerful is conation, the intention to serve is the power’s willpower, and the fulfillment obtained by the power through the service based on Her willpower is happiness.

We cannot separate the power and the powerful, and we cannot equate them. We cannot separate happiness from willpower, from the relationship of intimacy, the cognition of each other, the resulting activities, and the happiness produced from the relationship, cognition, and activity. And we cannot equate them to each other. The distinctness with inseparability is not inconceivable. It is just not object, numeric, and binary logic thinking. When we adopt personal thinking then the philosophy of Bhedābheda becomes clear.

Understanding Vedic Sociology

Six Qualities of a Society

Everything that expands from the divine masculine and feminine contains all their qualities, although in diminished forms, which is why these are called “parts” of the “whole”. The elephant is not its trunk, but the trunk has the property of elephantness in it. Similarly, a society is expanded from the divine masculine and feminine. It also has masculine and feminine aspects (in the divine sense). These qualities are distinct from each other; however, they are non-separable. This means that if we try to create beauty without knowing the truth, by separating beauty from truth, our beauty will become ugly.

We can see this inseparability in all six attributes of cognition, and all other aspects of personhood. For instance, the military power of a society contributes to its wealth. The knowledge of a society contributes to its wealth. Art, music, poetry, dance, and literature—as embodiments of beauty—contribute to its wealth. The respect—or soft power—that a society enjoys in the world contributes to its wealth. And society’s renunciation, exhibited as charity and kindness to others, also contributes to its wealth. We cannot separate wealth from the other five attributes, and we cannot equate the six attributes.

A society is known as an individual entity (e.g., Indian society vs. European society) and this individual is then described in terms of its knowledge, renunciation, power, fame, and wealth. Of course, those are not the only aspects; a society is also happy or sad (emotion), it is purposeful or purposeless (intention), it is united or fragmented (relation), it is energetic or lethargic (conation), and it is educated or ignorant (cognition). A society is educated when it understands the six aspects of cognition. This means that there is awareness of the complete truth (knowledge), there is a culture of art, music, poetry, and dance (beauty), there is charity and volunteering (renunciation), there is respect for a society among the league of societies and there is respect for individuals within that society (fame), each individual is empowered according to their ability (power), and everyone is moderately prosperous (wealth).

If there are significant wealth gaps between the rich and the poor, if people are incompetent, if they do not have respect for each other, if there is little to no charity and volunteering, the cultural activities are either absent or ugly, and the complete truth is not taught in schools, then the society is ignorant.

If a society is depressed, purposeless, lazy, disunited, and ignorant, then it is no longer a person. It is rather a collection of individuals who see themselves as separated objects governed by impersonal laws with each individual under the threat of survival, drifting aimlessly toward an unknown destination, in constant conflict inside and outside, devoid of a beautiful culture, getting poorer day by day, struggling harder every day, lacking the power to change their own lives, distrusted and exploited by others, intolerant or unable to show kindness to others, and incapable of seeing the big picture. Therefore, a society is the well-knitted body of a person if godly qualities are present in it. It is a loosely aggregated set of objects if godly qualities are absent from it.

A godly society is described holistically as a singular body in which the Brahmanas are the head, the Kshatriyas are the arms, the Vaiśyas are the stomach, and the Sūdras are the legs. The head doesn’t cut off the legs, unless they are irretrievably diseased. But the legs do not equal to the head. There is cooperation without equality. That is because the society is modeled holistically as an organism rather than a set of independent objects.

When godly qualities are absent, then society is described reductionistically as a collection of objects or things. There are natural resources and human resources. There is capital. There are assets and liabilities. But how these things—including people with different abilities—must integrate holistically into an organism is absent. Every part of the organism is at war with every other part. The head wants to cut off the legs, and the legs want to chop off the head. They don’t realize it, but when one part successfully mutilates the other parts, it sows the seeds of its own destruction. They think that a society in which the head and the legs are trying to cut off each other is the best social model.

This type of society is worse than animals because animals have some cooperation, empathy, values, and unity among the members of the same species. When humans encourage reductionist thinking, they transform society into a collection of “free particles”, much worse than animal society.

Principles of Social Organization

The book The Yellow Pill discusses his organismic model of society in detail, and illustrates how the four classes of a society embody four distinct principles—completeness (Brahmanas), cooperation (Kshatriyas), competition (Vaiśyas), and consistency (Sūdras). We can call this the 4C model.

What is completeness? It is the understanding of personhood, how it comprises six modalities, which are then further subdivided into six modalities, and the process can continue indefinitely. In a person, these modalities are consistent, they cooperate with each other, but sometimes one modality is given more importance over another, which is when we can say that they are competing for priority, but the competition never dissolves one modality in favor of another. Rather, each modality gains priority for a short period of time, only to strengthen, affirm, reinforce, and empower the other modalities.

For example, emphasizing long-term purpose is not contrary to happiness, although it is contrary to short-term happiness. If the long-term purpose is emphasized over short-term happiness, then happiness grows in the long run. We don’t seek purpose for the sake of it. We seek purpose to become happy. Therefore, the sacrifice of short-term happiness due to purpose is to enhance long-term happiness. But this reprioritization for happiness involves a competition between the intention and emotion modes of a person.

Likewise, power is not contrary to beauty. Power is required for creating a functional thing. But it may not be pleasing to use or easy to use. When beauty is emphasized over knowledge, then we focus on how to create beautiful functional things. The emphasis on beauty is to make them more pleasing rather than compromising their functionality. However, we can conceive an emphasis on the beauty that diminishes or dilutes its functionality.

Hence, there is a beauty that enhances functionality, and there is a beauty that compromises functionality. There is a purpose that compromises happiness and there is a purpose that enhances happiness. These two are called non-duality and duality, respectively. When earning money requires deceit, subjugation of others, or long-term unhappiness, then a person is fragmented into conflicting priorities that he is unable to reconcile within himself. This inner conflict is called duality. However, if the process of earning money enhances the truth, uplifts others rather than subjugating them, the work is done joyfully, and brings long-term happiness, then the process is non-duality.

The Brahmana is a person who teaches the science of non-duality or how to reconcile many modalities into a complete whole without compromising. If at all a compromise has to be made, it would be the least amount of loss for the greatest amount of gain. The Brahmana represents the principle of completeness because his scientific understanding of modalities produces a unified society that is simultaneously advancing along all the dimensions of personhood. At the least, none of the dimensions of personhood are compromised for long, even if one dimension is emphasized for a short while.

Once the method of attaining completeness is known, then the Kshatriyas embody the principle of cooperation. The Kshatriya is the ruler even for Brahmanas, and yet, the Brahmanas teach the ruler how to organize society. This means that the Kshatriya will ask the Brahmana to tell him how to produce a society that simultaneously progresses on all the dimensions of personhood and by so telling, the Brahmana serves the Kshatriya. But since the Kshatriya obeys the principles given by the Brahmana, therefore, the Kshatriya is subordinate to the Brahmana and does not do anything whimsically.

The Vaiśyas compete with each other in running various businesses. But a Vaiśya also gives his wealth to support Brahmanas, is kind toward the workers by paying them their legitimate earnings based on their work, and pays taxes to the Kshatriyas without tax evasion. The Vaiśya is not competing with Kshatriyas (businesses vs. governments), not competing with Sūdras (businesses vs. worker unions), and not competing with Brahmanas (money used to undermine the truth, hiding the truth for profit, or hiring truthful people in order to rationalize lies through academia). The Vaiśya also does not compete with other Vaiśyas doing other types of businesses. For example, there is no hoarding of grains to compel a milkman to sell him milk for cheaper. There are no hostile takeovers of businesses. There is no anti-competitive action based on price wars—e.g., artificially lowering the prices (because one has deeper pockets) to price the competition out of a market and then use the financial misery of a desperate or struggling business to acquire it at a cheaper price.

The real competition is wanting to be a better person by doing better work, without creating impediments for others to be better people by doing better work. In one sense, the real competition is with oneself. A competitive person can therefore also cooperate—help and be helped by others to get better. When one competes with oneself, then competition and cooperation are no longer contradictory. They can co-exist without any confusion.

Even if there is competition with others, it is to benefit everyone. For example, if a businessman produces a better crop, then he is competing with the businessman who is presently producing a worse crop. However, if he doesn’t stop the other businessman from producing the better crop, then both are benefitted, and the society as a whole is benefitted, although there may be some short-term loss for a businessman. If competition is used for betterment, without preventing others to improve, then it is Vaiśya dharma.

The Sūdras embody the principle of consistency in a logical and mathematical sense. You can press a button on a machine and get a predictable output because each machine is also a mathematical function that accepts some input and produces some output. However, if we look across the spectrum of possible functions, all the functions are not useful for all times, places, situations, or persons. Engineering thus tries to merge many functions as the modes of one thing. When one mode is active, then the other mode is hidden. But it can be revealed again when we use the same thing in the other mode.

The different modes of a machine are at once distinct and inseparable. For instance, consider the calling and browsing functions of a smartphone. Both rely on the same components (CPU, wireless receiver, memory, display, etc.) and hence they cannot be separated. But they use the components in different ways so they cannot be equated. Each app on the phone is a unique mode of the phone. With the ability to load more apps, the same thing can be a phone, a computer, a music player, a TV, a watch, and a torchlight. It is usable in more places, more times, more situations, by more people, and in more ways.

As we merge different functions into the same thing, we often get contradictions between them. For instance, adding a function to a machine may increase its size drastically making it unusable in some cases. This is why consistency is the pursuit of those engineering designs that resolve the contradictions between the modalities to make one thing useful in more places, more times, more situations, by more people, and in more ways.

When we converge many functions into the same thing, then we stop building many things. For instance, people who were previously building rotary or push-button phones, TVs, music players, watches, computers, and torchlights are no longer required. This creates contradictions between better and more. If we make a better thing, then we need less of everything collectively. Better is about quality and more is about quantity. Going from greater quantity to better quality is technological progress. It is about achieving the same with less.

The 4C system synthesizes completeness, cooperation, competition, and consistency such that you cannot say that the Brahmana is not cooperating, competing, or consistent. The Brahmana will cooperate with other Brahmana in producing a holistic theory of reality rather than fragmenting knowledge into competitive departments. He will compete with other Brahmana in producing a better holistic theory of reality and openly debate the superiority of his viewpoint with others. The aim is not to assert one’s superiority over others; it is to produce that understanding of reality that can be used by anyone and extended rationally without blind faith in the Brahmana’s honesty.

The same principles apply to the other four classes too. Even as they focus on one of the 4 Cs, we cannot say that they are not following the other 3 Cs. Instead, we must say that focusing on each C enhances the adoption of each of the 4 Cs. Thereby, everyone’s work enriches and strengthens everyone else’s work, quite like the work of the legs enriches and strengthens the head, arms, and stomach. And yet, completeness is the highest principle, cooperation follows it, competition is below that, and consistency is the lowest—as far as the general organization of the society is concerned—because we have to convert society into an embodiment of the godly qualities to advance it.

Problems of Industrialization

Technology is Sudra’s work. This is not a bad thing. This work is also required. However, it becomes bad if Sudra’s technology produces more rather than better. In the initial stages of the industrial revolution, for instance, looms could produce more cloth but it was not better cloth. Unique patterns died. The cloth was not softer. It was harder to clean it. It was less durable. People would not have bought this cloth because it was worse than handwoven cloth. To sell it, the hands of weavers were cut off, their handlooms were broken, supplies were cut, and high taxes were levied on handwoven cloth to increase its price relative to the cloth produced by the loom. This is technological regress.

All technology transitions are not equal; some are progressive (better and less) and some are regressive (more and worse). The food we eat today is not more nutritious. The water we drink is not safer. The air we breathe is not cleaner. The places we live in are not happier. The education we get is not uplifting. Art, music, literature, and drama are not more purifying. This is not to say that nothing is better. We can use smartphones to talk to people. We can travel from place to place faster. Technology has improved communication and connectivity. But the cost of that benefit is very high for most people, most places, most times, most situations, in most ways (there are some exceptions).

Apart from the costs we can see in our lives, there are hidden costs that were borne by the people who were killed, whose wealth was stolen, and who were enslaved to create profits for others who were killing, stealing, and enslaving. What we call progress came with the regress for so many. When costs and benefits are separated, those who get the benefits call it progress as they did not have to bear the costs. But we can have the same person take both costs and benefits to check if they will call it progress. For instance, who wants their hands cut off, home stolen, family murdered, or lifelong enslavement, for the opportunity to talk on the phone? Nobody. The technology that everybody wants today, nobody would want if they had to bear the true cost. The cost-benefit analysis is against such technology. But we can hide the costs and extoll the benefits of technology if the losers in this process are dead.

If we had applied the principle that technology will only progress and never regress, then we would not have smartphones and airplanes, but the lives of most people, most of the time, in most places, in most situations, and in most ways, would be better. It would also be rational economic activity because no rational person would accept the benefit of technology if they had to pay the true costs. In short, if we acted rationally, we would not have smartphones and airplanes and we would still be happy because (a) all the other things we have lost indirectly due to technology will be intact, and (b) we did not have to pay for the meager benefits of technology with our limbs, lives, and liberties.

The job of a Sudra is to create technological progress without technological regress. His progress must not involve murder, theft, and slavery. He should not make food, cloth, housing, air, water, education, and entertainment worse. He can make progress but he cannot pass the costs and burdens of that progress onto others. This is because even as the Sudra follows the principle of consistency, he is not permitted to break the principles of completeness and cooperation. His competition to produce greater consistency with other Sūdras cannot come at the destruction of completeness and cooperation.

The fact is that industrialization is not interested in better. It is only interested in more, even if that means converting the better into worse. Better or worse are qualities. More or less is quantity. When we oppose this industrial technology, we are talking about better quality and lesser quantity. If you eat better food, then you have to eat less food. If you get better sleep, you will sleep less. We don’t have to reduce the quantity artificially. It reduces automatically by making the quality better. Conversely, if we reduce the quality, then the quantity has to be increased. If you eat bad food, you have to eat a lot of it. If you don’t get good sleep, you have to sleep a lot. We don’t have to increase the quantity artificially. It will automatically increase when the quality declines. Therefore, we have a fundamental opposition to the current definition of progress. For us, progress means higher quality and lesser quantity. It does not mean greater quantity and lower quality. How hard could it be to grasp this?

The fact is that when you improve quality, everything is more valuable. Therefore, even as the quantity reduces, the total value does not. On the other hand, we can keep improving quality indefinitely but we cannot increase quantity indefinitely. There are natural limits to economic growth when that growth is defined as an increase in quantity. There are no such limits when the growth is quality improvement. The improvement in quality and the reduction in quantity preserves value in the near term, increases value in the longer term, removes all limits from economic growth, and naturally becomes sustainable.

Modalities and the 4C Principles

To keep the book small, The Yellow Pill does not discuss modalities enough. This is something we can do now, albeit briefly, based on the simple idea that a society is also a person, that person has many modalities, and those modalities must be complete, cooperative, competitive, and consistent.

The modalities must be complete means that people of different talents and abilities have a place in society because without that talent society is incomplete in some way or another. However, every talent is not equal; some talents are more important than others. The absence of some talent is more incompleteness than the absence of others. The talents must cooperate with each other, by doing complementary things and giving the more important talents a higher priority without eliminating any talent. Everyone is free to compete with others in developing greater, better, and newer talents, subject to the above condition of cooperation, namely, using the enhanced or newer talent in the most appropriate times, places, and situations. Finally, each talent must be consistent, which means that they produce something durable, reusable, extensible, and learnable by interested people in a rational manner such that even as time passes and people die, the talents are preserved and enhanced.

It is hard to understand the 4C principles unless we understand how personhood is many modes. Each person aspires for more completeness—e.g., to acquire more kinds of talents. They don’t wish to cut off one aspect of their life completely to enhance another aspect of their life. And yet, they sometimes give higher priority to one thing, just to enhance that aspect of their life so as to enrich all the other aspects over time. Finally, as time passes, they would like to consistently integrate all the aspects of their lives such that there is no inner contradiction or conflict between the different aspects of their life.

This simple philosophy of life, which everyone knows and tries to practice, can be applied to everything if we understand that everything is a person. Their life has many aspects, which cannot be seen at once. The existence of aspects doesn’t deny the existence of a single person. And yet, this whole person with aspects needs to use the 4C principles to enhance their personhood.

This sophisticated theory of society—or what we might call “sociology”—is presented simply as the system of four Varṇa in Vedic texts, which some people (who don’t know enough about it) equate to “the caste system” at present because the conceptual underpinnings of this system are not presented in Vedic texts. That is something The Yellow Pill does by describing the 4C principles. The contradictions between 4Cs are well-known and debated at present, but how those dichotomies are resolved in the Varṇa system is not well-known.

When the scientific principles of personhood, modalities, and the inner dynamics of modalities die (due to the destruction of the Brahmanas and their knowledge), then the Varṇa system is automatically reduced to a caste system. Then people imagine that a society where the head equals the legs, or where the head and leg are trying to cut off each other, are better social models. But these ideas do not produce a holistic society. They rather produce a fragmented, depressed, aimless, ignorant, lazy, confused, and conflicted society.

The problems of modern “free societies” can be understood by comparing them to a chamber of “gas particles”, constantly colliding to transfer energy and momentum to each other. Like the entropy of a gas chamber (which denotes the total amount of disorder and chaos) grows over time if it expands or contracts, similarly, the entropy in the society constantly grows with time. To fix the entropy, the gas chamber must be cut off from its environment. It should neither contract nor expand, nor should it exchange anything with anything else outside the gas chamber. That is the classic definition of a “closed” and “authoritarian” society. It is the natural defense against increasing entropy.

When chaos in a society increases, then order is restored by authoritarian regimes. When the society is stagnated by authoritarian rule then it aspires for openness again. This is a ping-pong game. Open vs. shut. Free vs. authoritarian. Increase in conflicts vs. increase in stagnation. Depending on where a society is in the development or progression of “free” vs. “authoritarian”, it can consider one system better than the others. But we can predict the future in both cases if a society is a gas chamber of individual particles. We just need some physics (statistical mechanics) to know the outcomes and we can then easily extend the conclusions of such a physical theory to the two social models.

The answer is not these dichotomies. The answer is personhood, modalities, and the 4C principles. A society that follows these principles can be eternal. The reason that the Vedic civilization has lived for so long when other civilizations have died is this social science. Therefore, we can study the theory of 4C principles, and see the practical evidence. We can also study alternative theories of open vs. shut and see the practical evidence of their outcomes. Both theory and data are available. Both point in the same direction, namely, that the best society is based on personhood, modalities, and the 4C principles.

Reconciling Conflicting Priorities

The fact is that even if the perfect knowledge of society exists in the ideology of personhood, most people do not accept it because they are ruled by impersonalism and materialism, which sees the world as free particles governed by laws of motion. This is the ideology of dualism or dualities. Mind vs. body, business vs. government, individual vs. society, freedom vs. laws, religion vs. science, man vs. nature, rational vs. emotional, theory vs. observation, open vs. closed, and there is no limit to these.

When duality takes over our thinking, then we reduce the person to an object. That object must be described in terms of one idea, all its properties must be known simultaneously, and all change must be the motion of objects, rather than the revelation and hiding of various modalities one after another.

The book The Science of God discusses this problem in the context of knowledge. Ideally, knowledge must be consistent, complete, simple, parsimonious, necessary, sufficient, empirical, rational, operational, instrumental, stable, and novel. But under the influence of duality, we cannot get everything. Duality simply means loss and gain; when something is gained, then something is lost.

If you try for more completeness, then knowledge fragments into many departments and contradictory theories and thereby loses consistency. If you try for more consistency, then your knowledge shrinks into one theory which is also an incomplete description of that one domain that it tries to describe. If you try to establish a sufficient cause for an occurrence, you will find that it is not necessary; many other causes can explain the same event equally well. If you try to find a necessary cause (i.e., one that precludes other causes) then it will not be sufficient even to explain that one effect (i.e., there will be aspects of that effect that are insufficiently explained by a necessary cause).

The entire book is about such dichotomies and how they have plagued the pursuit of knowledge when that knowledge is equated to the theory of objects instead of persons. Powerful theories are ugly, beautiful theories are useless, useful theories are confined to one domain, and the assumptions of one domain theory contradict the assumptions of other domain theories, the pursuit for novelty destroys all stability and the pursuit of stability destroys all novelties.

In this way, we can never get perfect knowledge. We can keep compromising one thing for another, moving the bubble under the carpet, but we can never puncture the bubble unless we replace these impersonalist and materialist ideas of knowledge about “objects” with knowledge of a “person”.

The complete knowledge is that which is non-dual. It pertains to the knowledge of the Supreme Person because only He is complete, original, and supreme. The science of God simply pertains to one word—perfection. We can understand this science through the perfection of knowledge, although that science is not limited to knowledge; we can apply the same principles to the perfection of beauty, power, wealth, fame, or renunciation. We can also apply the same principles to the perfection of intention, emotion, cognition, conation, and relation. Hundreds of books can be written while discussing the meaning of just one word—perfection—in the context of the perfection of different things.

What is God? He is perfection. He is the perfection of cognition, conation, intention, emotion, and relation. He is the perfection of knowledge, beauty, power, wealth, fame, and renunciation. He is the perfection of friendship, romance, childhood, parenthood, and so on. This perfection has many levels. According to Sri Chaitanya Caritamrita, we can know God at many levels of increasing perfection, which are called perfect, more perfect, and most perfect. These are the many forms of God. In the most perfect form, all the qualities are present as all the above nouns, and each noun is qualified by the same qualities as adjectives and verbs. In the less than most perfect forms, all the nouns are present but all those nouns do not qualify the nouns as adjectives and verbs.

For instance, there can be a book on complete knowledge, although it may not be presented most beautifully. That is perfect and yet not the most perfect. It is perfect because it is the complete truth. However, it is not the most perfect, if it has not been articulated in the most artistic, poetic, rhythmic, dialectic, musical, and dramatic manner. If the same truth is presented with the above qualities of beauty, then it is more perfect. If this beautiful truth is given to everyone so that they can know the truth by reading it, then the activity of spreading the beautiful truth is even more perfect because that beautiful truth is no longer confined to one place; He has spread to many corners of the world.

Atheists like to complain that the idea of God is irrational. But we can make it rational very easily by studying the word “perfect”. There are millions of ways to study perfection. You can study the perfection of vehicles and houses and arrive at the same conclusion. Then you can apply this study to understand the nature of the perfect house and the perfect vehicle—the perfect house is that in which the whole world can live, and the perfect vehicle is that which takes everyone to the perfect house. The ability to know God through the perfection of houses and vehicles is God’s fame—He can be known through anything and everything, rationally and empirically, if we want to know Him. If we can see how a house or a car is imperfect, and the many ways of perfecting it, then in seeing the imperfection in a car or a house, we can at once see the portrait of perfection.

The only criterion is that we are not cynical. A cynical person says—Perfection is impossible, trying for perfection is an endeavor in futility, everybody’s idea of perfection is equally perfect, etc. Unfortunately, most people at present are cynical. Their cynicism is rooted in laziness, dumbness, and arrogance. They are too lazy to seek perfection. They are too dumb to understand perfection rationally. And they are too arrogant to accept that their arbitrary, concocted, and relativized ideas of perfection are imperfect. There is no rational cure for laziness, dumbness, arrogance, or cynicism. The cure is suffering. When a person suffers, then he is jolted out of laziness, dumbness, and arrogance. This is why suffering is the beginning of knowledge, not reason or observation.

Understanding Vedic Economics

Wealth is an Objective Property

Once we understand the differences between perfect and imperfect, non-duality and duality, which depends on personhood and its modalities, then we can say that wealth is one of the many modalities of a thing. If a person is defined by six modes, and wealth is one of the six divisions of one of those six modes called cognition, then wealth is one of the 36 modalities of a person.

I’m not a fan of quantities, but when qualities are enumerated, then we can use numbers. The verse from Viṣṇu Purana above uses the term itīṅganā or “counted in this way” referring to the six qualities. Counting refers to how these qualities are distinct but not how they are inseparable. If we applied inseparability to these qualities, then we could not count them. Hence, counting is based on Bheda but not Abheda. Since both principles apply in all cases, therefore, counting can be useful but it is never the full truth.

Most of us have a hard time believing that wealth is an objective property because things are valued more or less by different people. This is why we have to distinguish between wealth and value. Wealth can be defined simply as “the greatest benefit with the least losses” given by something. However, everyone may not want that benefit and they may not be prepared to bear the losses for that benefit even if they are low. The demand for the benefit and the readiness to bear the losses for the benefit constitutes the value. It is subjective. However, the loss and benefit themselves are objective. Hence, wealth is objective.

We can define benefits as the capacity to solve the biggest problems for more times, places, situations, and persons. We can define losses as the biggest problems created for all the times, places, situations, and persons by using such a solution. The capacity to maximize the benefits and minimize the losses is wealth. It is an objective property if we assess the benefits and losses.

The definition of “biggest” is also contentious. You might say—what is big for me is not big for you. But even this has an objective definition if we think of reality as an inverted tree with the root expanding into trunks, branches, twigs, and leaves. The root is the biggest and the leaf is the smallest. If we solve the root problem, then we will solve all the leaf problems. The solution of the root problem may seem to have a higher cost than the solution of the leaf problem only if we disregard the problems created by neglecting the root problem and solving the leaf problem in isolation. The long-term losses incurred by solving the leaf problem (when there remains unsolved a root problem) are greater and the benefits of such solutions are lesser. The assessment of benefit and loss is also objective, but it will be considered subjective if someone doesn’t see the big picture. There is hence no subjective-objective contradiction.

Flaws in Demand-Supply Models

The objective wealth is not valued for many reasons—(a) we may not have the problem, (b) we may not want to solve the problem, (c) the solution may not be accessible to us, (d) we may not like the costs of solving a problem, (e) we may have alternative solutions, (f) we may want to use those solutions, (g) the solution may be accessible to us, and (h) we may like the costs of solving a problem. An oversimplified demand-supply theory of wealth is thus created which is quite different from the understanding of objective wealth.

The idea that demand and supply determine the price is contradicted by the fact that price determines the demand and supply. Nobody wants to solve a problem if the cost of solving it is bigger than the benefits of solving it. And yet, every book on economics teaches that the price is determined by demand and supply.

This contradiction is resolved by suppliers creating a widespread problem, reducing access to low-cost solutions to the problem, because if the problem is widespread and the supply is constrained, then prices rise. The focus of economic growth is on creating new problems. The profit motive is fulfilled only if widespread problems exist and access to low-cost solutions does not.

A good example is cars. When cars were initially designed, nobody wanted to buy them because their homes, shops, and workplaces were nearby. The demand for cars was created when car manufacturers influenced city planners to separate homes, shops, and workplaces. The oil industry, car manufacturers, construction contractors, and governments worked in lockstep to build new highrise buildings to concentrate workplaces, separate suburban homes far from workplaces, highways to connect workplaces to suburban homes, huge shopping centers to get daily needs, and a huge amount of oil was extracted to run cars, transport goods, and force people to commute. Working in highrise buildings, living in suburban homes, shopping in big malls, and owning fuel-guzzling cars were marketed as progress. This aspirational lifestyle pushed people to take on debt, which boosted the banks. Excessive pressures of work, commute, shopping, and debt, caused families to break down and people got sicker. But sickness is a great boost for the pharmaceutical industry.

Every crisis creates a new solution which then creates a new crisis until you hit a crisis that you cannot solve. That unsolvable crisis rolls back all the previous progress. For example, one of the many crises today is debt (public and private), which in most advanced economies is in excess of 3x their GDP. Let’s suppose we want to repay this debt in 30 years, with a 10% austerity every year. At the end of the first year, the GDP will reduce by 10% and austerity for the second year will increase to 11.25% of the reduced GDP. Every year, GDP will fall and austerity will rise. In the end, all the progress is unrolled to be debt-free.

We can repay the debt through voluntary austerity, through communism (all resources are nationalized and everyone works for the government for 30 years getting poorer), or through inflation (prices rise, people buy less, salaries fall, and people get poorer). We can choose the poison we are ready to drink, but we have to drink the poison. Debt is a problem that can unroll all the progress.

Equilibrium or Cycles?

All the discussions about market “equilibrium” are thereby undermined because (a) people create new widespread problems, (b) minimize access to low-cost solutions, (c) ensure that the solution to one problem creates new problems whose solutions are accessible through limited sources, and (d) exploit the situation created by widespread problems and constrained or limited access solutions for profit. The problems accumulate in a system and are suppressed by imagined cures until we get an incurable problem.

The economic system can never reach equilibrium if our desire for economic growth is fulfilled by creating new widespread problems and constraining access to low-cost solutions. Equilibrium is easily created if we focus on finding the most beneficial solutions that lead to the minimum losses. However, that is not always economic growth because if we use the most beneficial solutions, then people will have fewer problems to solve. As the total number of problems keeps reducing, the economic system will tend toward equilibrium. But the societal elites do not want that. They are terrified of equilibrium. They want chaos because that is the only way they know how to profit.

For example, we see economists talking about how green cars will drive the next wave of economic growth. The problem they are trying to solve is created by the previous flawed solutions. And yet, they are still not thinking about the problems that their new purported solutions will create, namely, a massive increase in electrical charging points, massive upgrades to electricity generation and distribution grids, along with the massive destruction of wealth when the previous oil-based “assets” are depreciated in value and ultimately dismantled. Meanwhile, if a hurricane takes out the electrical grid, people will die without food and medicine because they cannot commute without electricity. This is the poverty of imagination to foresee problems. Economists call this “creative destruction”, which means—(a) creating problems, (b) solving them with bad solutions, and (c) creating new problems. In which conceivable universe is this equilibrium? It is always a cycle of rising and falling.

Economists say that we rise higher through every iteration of this cycle of rise and fall. There are short-term busts but they are followed by an even bigger boom. This is because they cannot see the bigger cycle! It is discovered (surprise!) when we hit the incurable problem accumulating due to the previous cycles. It unwinds all previous progress to send us back to the start.

Economic theory talks about equilibrium and economic practice is creative destruction. The preachers do not practice what they preach. The whole system is based on the hypocrisy of saying one thing and doing something else. The result is cyclical booms and busts. The theory says that the economic system automatically attains equilibrium. And observations refute all such theories. That is because the theory is not practiced. Economic practice is the ideology of creating a building, then selling it to a customer, then demolishing that building using a bomb, so that the customer will ask for another building. It should not be called creative destruction. It should be called destructive creativity.

The military-industrial complex is two overtly opposed faces of destructive creativity. The industry makes a building and the military demolishes it. Then the industry makes a bigger building and the military demolishes it with a bigger bomb. Meanwhile, children go to school to learn about economic equilibrium. They don’t realize that their life is futile because they are only contributing to the enrichment of elites who run different parts of the military-industrial complex. For some children, constructing a bigger and stronger building is “progress” and for other children making a bigger bomb is “progress”. Their separated ideas of progress are combined to cancel all progress, and reduce the world to rubble, only to build it again.

Economics has acquired the tag of a “dismal science” because its predictions do not match observations. But why would you keep a dismal science alive? The answer is—It serves the purpose of keeping the people deluded, working harder and harder for the elites. You can have one person construct a building and another person demolish the building. This keeps them busy and deluded into thinking that their life means something while the elites enrich themselves. Various types of delusions like “economic freedom”, “free market”, “freedom of choice”, etc. are sold through media, education, and the social-political-economic discourse. None of it is true. It is only a delusion.

The Nature of Real Wealth

Real wealth leads to benefits greater than losses. The wealthier thing solves current problems without creating new problems. The wealthiest thing solves all problems permanently without creating any new problems. As we solve current problems without creating new problems, the economic system stabilizes. People don’t have a problem, so why do they need economic growth? They rather focus on acquiring the wealthiest thing that will solve all their problems permanently. That leads to growth because when a person is forbidden from destroying order then he is forced to innovate in a way that will produce more order. Those who want it can do it. Others may not. If they do it, their work generates a higher quality product or service which reduces the total quantity of production and consumption. That is welcome. That is competition. That is economic growth because you get more benefits with lesser losses.

Vedic knowledge is the wealthiest thing in this world because by it we can solve all problems without creating new problems. It is the path of stability and progress because it ends the cycle of creation and destruction. In Vedic philosophy, material nature is described in five modes—creation, destruction, maintenance, revelation, and hiding. When we end the cyclical process of creation and destruction, then we get stability, which is called maintenance. Then over time, more modalities are progressively revealed without hiding anything which is called progress. That progressive revelation is like looking at a cube from six different perspectives. It requires stability. If the cube blows up before we can look at all the faces and is quickly replaced by a pyramid, then we can never find the full truth. Stability is essential for progress.

This is why the theory of Varṇāśrama is an integral part of Vedic philosophy. It creates societal stability so that people can stop destroying what others have created, reduce all their problems, and then focus on analyzing the cube from various perspectives to find even more things that they were previously missing. Those who teach, protect, and encourage the Varṇāśrama system have a net positive contribution to society even if they are not themselves advanced philosophers or scientists because they are aiding others in the pursuit of truthful progress. When these philosophers and scientists teach others about that truth in simple and easy language, then everybody benefits. They get stability and they get knowledge of the full truth. This is why we say that Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaiśyas, and Sudra are parts of a body. One is not working against the other, although the job of one is different from the jobs of the others.

Of course, if we don’t study Vedic knowledge, it doesn’t lose its wealth. That wealth is unmanifest or hidden from the vision while we run through the hamster wheels of creation and destruction. We don’t get stability, we don’t get additional revelation, and we don’t get progress. It remains a cycle. The wealth modality, like all other modalities, can be hidden or revealed. When we don’t perceive the wealth modality, wealth does not disappear. When we perceive the wealth modality, the wealth is not due to us. If we mistakenly attribute more wealth to something, its wealth does not increase; rather, our attribution of more wealth is a misperception like seeing a snake in a rope.

Our value assessments can be subjective, but they do not contradict the objectivity of wealth. Truth is more valuable to someone who is seeking the truth. Even an ugly truth is more valuable to a person relative to a beautiful lie if they are prioritizing truth over beauty. The person disinterested in the truth but more interested in beauty will not value the ugly truth because he will prioritize the beautiful lie. Similarly, something can be more or less valuable in some contexts (time, place, and situation). The change in value based on individual needs or contextual necessities also does not change the objective wealth, because wealth is one of the modalities of the thing under inquiry which is simply hidden, not perceived, or disregarded by some individuals and in some contexts (time, place, and situation). Hence, we must distinguish wealth from value. Wealth is objective, but value can be subjective and/or contextual.

For instance, even as we distribute truthful books about God, nobody may want to read them. The wealth in these books does not decrease by such disregard. However, that wealth is not valued and it remains unmanifest or invisible from the vision of disinterested people. Meanwhile, the author of such books keeps getting wealthier because even more knowledge is revealed to him. By increasing wealth, he can produce even more books, which are objectively wealth although they may not be valued by others. Their disregard is not a loss to the author, because his wealth is constantly growing with his increasing knowledge and by that growing wealth the author can solve all problems of his life without creating new ones. He can help others solve their problems too. But if they don’t want the problems solved, the author has no problem.

This is the nature of real wealth—it doesn’t depend on anyone’s valuation. However, if we value that wealth, then it grows automatically. The costs of valuation keep diminishing and the benefits obtained by that valuation keep increasing. But if we don’t value it, then it remains hidden from our perception. Hence, there are objective measures of true wealth, namely, it grows if we value it, it doesn’t diminish if we don’t value it, it solves all problems without creating new problems, and it produces benefits without any loss. Therefore, all the following claims are true: (a) there is objective wealth, (b) we may not perceive the true wealth in something, (c) we may attribute greater value to something based on our tastes and contexts, (d) the wealth is not decreased or increased by the individual or contextual changes in valuation, and (e) the wealth is often hidden or revealed to different people in different contexts to varying extents.

Wealth vs. Value vs. Price vs. Cost

The perceived value (different from its true wealth) is sometimes measured against the perceived value in other things. For instance, someone with a ton of gold who is very eager for knowledge may part with more gold in exchange for knowledge than someone else who values gold over knowledge. This is because these two people are assigning different values to gold and to knowledge, regardless of the actual wealth in these two things. The value of one of these things—e.g., gold—can be pegged against some currency, which is when the currency becomes the quantitative measure of price and cost.

It costs little to make a bottle of cola. But because people value it highly, a bottle of cola is sold at a price at least ten times the cost. People can perceive value in (a) that which doesn’t have wealth, and (b) for which the cost of production is low. They pay a high price for it both in terms of the money and in terms of the side effects of drinking sugared water laced with dangerous chemicals.

Based on the above, we can make the following claims: (a) wealth is objectively present, (b) the cost of production is objective although it could be reduced or increased by a different process of production, at a different place, time, and situation and by different people, (c) the perceived value is contextual and individual, and (d) the prices can be highly contextualized and individualized.

The central goal of economics must be to reduce the disparities between wealth, value, cost, and price. We must value real wealth more than others. Since bringing that wealth/value to the people requires some effort and cost (in the material world), hence we compensate those who bring real wealth/value before others who bring false wealth that we value highly. We must try to compensate the cost of real wealth/value (called its price) more than false wealth/value. All these principles arise from the idea that wealth is objective, real wealth should be valued, the costs incurred in creating real value must be repaid, and they should be paid more than other things to encourage everyone to move toward real wealth, value, and cost can be summarized as follows:

  • Produce things with the greatest wealth in them
  • Educate people about why they must value real wealth
  • Sell wealth to those who value it the most
  • Reduce the cost and increase the wealth of things
  • Minimize selling prices to the lowest possible cost

Obviously, we cannot reduce the prices to a level lower than the costs. However, we can equal the prices to the costs, with costs taking into account material, labor, expertise, and so forth. Things that have low wealth should not be produced. People should be educated about what is true wealth and why it should be valued. Things without wealth should not be hyped by propaganda to increase the perceived value greater than objective wealth. All these fundamental principles of economics are seen to be violated at present:

  • Things devoid of objective wealth are produced abundantly
  • The perceived value of non-wealthy things is hyped by propaganda
  • The costs of production are minimized by exploitation and theft
  • Little of the profits go into improving the wealth in things
  • Those who can pay a higher price get unwealthy things to be wasted

Some people are eating too much while others are starving because those eating too much can pay inflated prices while those starving cannot do so. The costs of food are minimized by exploitation, theft, and coercion while the prices are maximized by manipulating perceptions about the real value. Too many things with little wealth are produced while too few things with great wealth are produced. People remain ignorant about the harmful effects of what they are consuming and the beneficial effects of what they are rejecting and devaluing by their choices, as a result of false propaganda. Modern economics is marked by (a) reduction in objective wealth, (b) reduction in prices by coercion and theft, (c) elevation of perceived value by propaganda, (d) elevation of prices to maximize profits, (e) hunger and starvation for those who need things but cannot afford the artificially inflated prices, and (f) excesses and wastage by those who don’t need such things but are able to afford the high prices.

This so-called economics reeks of ignorance both in terms of what is wealth and how to maximize wealth, value, and prosperity in society. It has no other result than the destruction of wealth, value, and prosperity for most people while a few people gather imaginary wealth that they can use to subjugate others but it cannot lead to growth because wealth grows only if it circulates for everyone to add wealth to it. Wealth circulates smoothly only if there is stability.

Therefore, objective wealth is the highest measure and must be assigned the highest priority in deciding value, cost, and price. This means that we should not produce things that do not have objective wealth. Value must be prioritized after wealth, which means we must give wealth to those who value it the most, and we must educate them to value what is objectively wealth and devalue what is objectively not wealth. Costs must be prioritized after value, which means that we endeavor to reduce the cost of production for those things that have objective wealth and would be valued by the largest section of society. By reducing the costs of production, most people can get true wealth that they value at the lowest cost. The prices must be prioritized after the costs, ideally minimizing the prices to the cost, so that most people get the wealthiest things, that they value the most, at the lowest possible price, without any loss to the producers. Through this process, everyone will get the maximum wealth, which they will preserve earnestly because they value it, at the lowest possible prices because the lowest cost methods of production are used. When wealth is distributed properly, then it grows due to the circulation of wealth.

A healthy, creative, and happy society will naturally produce more wealth and value, which will also be appreciated and bought by others who are also healthy, creative, and happy. It will also be preserved, which means that whatever new wealth is created, simply increases their prosperity. If stability is attained first, then every new activity produces genuine wealth, and prosperity grows.

By following a priority order from wealth to value to cost to price, all the evils of modern economics can be easily avoided—(a) true wealth is produced, non-wealth is not, (b) non-wealth is devalued and true wealth is valued due to education about the nature of true wealth, (c) the wealth is given to those who value it and hence it is preserved and not wasted, (d) innovation to reduce cost allows the poor people to acquire valuable wealth, (e) innovation comes through the revelation of hidden facets and leads to the production of new wealth, (f) the rich get richer by giving the products of their revelations rather than theft, and (g) society grows more prosperous with passing time.

Education lies at the root of everything. Through education, we change economic theories. Through education, we train people to value real wealth and devalue non-wealth. Through education, we tell people how to create more wealth while reducing its costs. Through education, people see through false propaganda putting an end to perception manipulation. Through education, we train people how to see previously hidden facets and create innovative things.

Wealth can also be measured by the principle of inseparability between modalities. That which increases knowledge, beauty, charity, respect, and ability in society as a whole is wealth. That which increases happiness, purpose, truth, duty, and unity is wealth. Everything else is poverty. We should not count wealth as total GDP while the society is getting depressed, purposeless, lazy, disunited, ignorant, uncultured, uncharitable, losing its respect, and becoming powerless to solve the problems in people’s life because they are always struggling with basic issues of survival. Real wealth cannot be “measured” on a single dimension of money. It must rather be measured by societal health.

Evil automatically dies when the truth rises. We don’t have to separately kill evil. It dies automatically. Just raise the truth, spread the truth, and make the truth accessible. The evil will shudder, shiver, and die. This is an ancient Vedic formula under which violence is shunned and education is prioritized for spreading the truth and destroying evil. Violence is an extremely rare occurrence and it is used only against very powerful enemies who would not listen to reason even as they hinder education of the truth. If education is not hindered, then there should be no coercion, violence, or pressure.

Understanding Spiritual Politics

The Role of the Political Class

The Kshatriyas regulate a society, but under modern economics, this regulation is called a hindrance to economic growth. It just means that while GDP is growing, the society as a whole is declining. Such a society will not last. It can burn brightly for some time but it extinguishes after burning itself out. The Kshatriyas can ensure that the society lives long simply by encouraging and supporting real Brahmanas. When Brahmanas are allowed to educate society, the evil within that society automatically shudders, shivers, and dies. The Kshatriya then has very little to do; he is required only to defend the society from external aggressors who would not listen to reason and who would destroy the education on truth. Therefore, the Kshatriyas have two primary duties—empower, encourage, and support real Brahmanas to purify the society from within and defend and destroy external aggressors to protect the truth.

It is not the job of the government to provide social security, healthcare, environmental protection, minority rights, etc. A large government is a sign of an immoral population. Its departments will disappear with real education. When people are educated, then they will do the right thing. Some minor police work may be needed to protect society from within in the initial stages. Over the longer run, the Kshatriyas sit back and monitor if everything is working fine. They have no business in conquering other lands just to assert their power and boost their ego. However, they can send their empowered messengers to spread the truth to other parts of the world. When a land is conquered with the sole intention to spread the truth, with the least amount of violence and destruction, and the benefits of war far exceed their costs, then war is not an immoral act.

A degraded system of unipolar, bipolar, and multipolar “geopolitics” has emerged in the last three centuries due to colonizers trying to kill people, grab their land and resources, enslave and exploit the remaining people to enrich themselves, and justify their evil actions in the name of religious, racial, and ideological superiority when the real fact is that these religions, races, and ideologies are factually inferior. When they foist themselves on others, the result is net degradation. The long-term results of such actions are also very harmful because what a nation does to other nations it eventually does it to its own people. Citizens who support their leaders in such exploitation later realize that the tools that they were sharpening and perfecting on others can be very easily deployed on them. They are horrified by such deployment.

Degradation of Modern Politics

Politics is far more theatre than substance today. Politicians are the most distrusted profession in the world at present. This is because obscene amounts of money flow into political parties but the sources of that money are untraceable. Quite often, political party accounts are non-auditable. At other times electoral bonds—which are merely paper for high denomination cash—are used. Many donations flow through untraceable subsidiaries of rich magnates. And if you have room to store, you could even stash piles of cash.

This money inflowing into political establishments is not charity. There is always a quid pro quo involved. We can only imagine what a donor who contributes millions in political donations would be benefitting from the quid pro quo he gets in return for the donation. The problem is that what the donor and the receiver gain is never earned by them. It is actually taken from the public, in addition to what the public already pays for the politicians via salaries, perks, allowances, and pensions. Very few comprehend this problem.

Suppose a politician’s official salary, perks, allowances, and pensions are X. The politician needs money Y to fight an election, which he gets from a donor. After winning the election, the politician has to do a quid pro quo for the donor worth some Z. The total money spent by the public is X + Z. But what you legally see on the government expenditure against the politician will be just X. The scam is that when you see a politician bringing out a TV or news ad, traveling in jets or helicopters, living and eating in expensive hotels, or organizing large public speaking events, you think that he is doing all this out of his pocket. Some people, who know more about political donations, might say that it goes out of the donor’s pocket. You don’t know that everything is going out of your pocket. You don’t realize it because the money goes from you to the treasury as taxes, it goes from the donor to the politician as political contributions, and then, due to the quid pro quo, an amount much larger than the political contribution goes from the treasury to the donor. If you add all these up, you will find that you are paying for the politician’s salaries, his election campaigns, his luxurious lifestyle, and then all his cronies. The people think that the politician works for them. The fact is that he works for himself and his cronies.

In India, political parties often “buy” MPs and MLAs from other parties by bribing them with huge sums of money to get their support to form the government after an election. The voter thinks: We voted for this party and the people are now bribing people from other parties. But the reality is: (a) the voter paid for every single party’s election campaign, (b) the voter paid extra for the bribery, and (c) the voter will pay even more for financiers that financed the election campaigns and then financed the bribery. Every single penny spent by the politician for himself and his cronies comes out of the public’s pocket.

The financiers of elections hedge their bets across political parties. If 5 political parties participate in an election, then the financier will give some money to each party. However, only one of these parties is likely to form a government after the electoral process and only that party can do the quid pro quo after the election. But the winning party must do a quid pro quo not just for the contributions it got, but for the contributions everybody got. That is the only way for the political financier of many political parties to break even. Of course, the financier expects to make profits out of this financing, not merely breaking even, which means that even more money is siphoned out of the public’s pocket. Then there are costs of polling booths, security staff, transportation of votes cast, expenses of counting votes, and so on. The more boisterous the election, the more ads, TV debates, debate locations, campaign teams, and public rallies, the more is the public paying to watch political theater, and the less it will get in return once it finally ends. The actors, directors, producers, and staff that organize this theatre benefit at the expense of the public.

This degraded system of political theatre is called democracy. How many people know what democracy truly is? Only the actors, directors, producers, and staff who benefit from the theatre. Everyone else thinks that they cast their votes every 4-5 years and the government gets elected. They don’t know that every few years they pay massive amounts of money to actors, directors, producers, and staff to organize theatre, whether or not they want to watch it, whether or not they like what is on display, and whether or not it benefits them. The show must go on, and the public must pay for it, by working even harder for it.

The Nature of Selfish Politics

If we divide a society into upper, middle, and lower classes, then we find that—(a) the upper class is a net beneficiary of a country’s politics, (b) the lower class gets dole outs by the elected governments to buy their votes so they too are also net beneficiaries of the country’s politics, and (c) when there are two net beneficiaries of the country’s politics, then the losses must accrue on the middle class. Politics in a country with a middle class is the process of moving money from the middle to the upper and lower classes. Hence, the middle class keeps shrinking and a society is reduced to an upper and a lower class.

The way around this problem is that there be a low upper limit to political contributions and the government must not indulge in any social programs other than supporting teachers on a permanent basis and food, healthcare, and housing in an emergency situation. This will ensure that—(a) the upper class is never a beneficiary of politics, (b) the upper class cannot manipulate education to tamper with the society, and (c) the lower class is supported in an emergency situation but not otherwise. This process will push both upper and lower classes toward the middle classes and wealth disparities will go away. Then, the burden of running a country would be evenly distributed across the population.

This solution is not palatable to politicians because it makes them answerable to the people and diminishes their power. They gain power when the rich-poor divide widens because then they get more votes by giving less to the desperately poor, they get more donations by giving more to the rich, and by shifting money from the poor to the rich their power and wealth increase. The conspiracy of politics is in the open and visible every day if we have the eyes to see it. It operates on a simple principle: Reduce the middle class, and increase the rich-poor divide, because it benefits the politician. This formula is never discussed in any textbook, and yet, it is known and practiced everywhere.

The people who read textbooks on economic, political science, and social theories talk about their dream of bringing an entire nation into the middle class. They worry that a reducing middle class and growing rich-poor divide puts a country in serious jeopardy because it will make the poor beholden to and enslaved by the upper class. They fear an increased potential for protests, civil disobedience, and crimes as a result of the increasing rich-poor divide.

They don’t know what the politician has in mind for the textbook problems—tanks rolling on the street to shoot protestors, police rolling into civilian areas to shoot criminals, starvation and sickness for those participating in any kind of disobedience. These are not strange things. They were done in colonized nations for centuries. They are done in currently occupied nations. The military is trained for it. The police can be trained for it. Things done a thousand times before can be repeated again. We just have to know one thing—what a nation does to other nations, it eventually does to its own people.

People who know Indian colonial history know that Indian-body policemen were shooting Indian-body protestors. Indian-body bureaucrats were organizing the shipment of grains to other nations to cause the starvation of millions of Indian-body dissenters. Indian-body rulers authorized the subjugation of Indian-body peasants, the chopping off of the arms of weavers, the breaking of their looms. How does it happen? The process is rather simple. The politicians vote in a parliament to create a new “law”. The supreme leader of the nation signs a new “order”. The government machinery executes it. They are following the law to the letter. They are doing their jobs. They are simply obeying orders. Unless there is a revolt in the military, the police, or the bureaucracy (which happened in India in 1857 when a lot of Britishers were massacred) there is simply no danger to the politicians. To catch a revolt before it occurs and to give an adequate forewarning if it is about to happen, there is invasive surveillance.

Politicians are not worried about the textbook problems that people discuss on TV, in newspapers, on talk shows, on podcasts, and on forums because they have other textbooks for dealing with such problems. Those may not be widely accessible to the public. But they are easily accessible to politicians. The public is a fool for thinking that what their elite did to other nations earlier would not be done to them. They are duped into thinking that those who have all the power will not use it for defending their self-interests and power.

Complete Failure of Leadership

MIT did a study in 1972 to predict that society will collapse by 2040 using a “limits to growth” technique. Economic growth is predicated on four things—resources, productivity, innovation, and population. The economy grows if the population and productivity grow, innovation doesn’t stagnate or increases, and there are enough resources to support this growth. The economy declines if innovation stagnates, productivity decreases, the population is either reducing or aging, and we run out of resources. These are called the “limits to growth”.

The gist for the present is that three out of the four factors responsible for the economic decline are actively in play right now. Innovation has stagnated. Productivity is reducing. The population is aging. The pandemic may have accelerated the problem—productivity declined and innovation stagnated faster. Large technology companies have been talking about low productivity and innovation from their employees. You can imagine if some of the highest paid people are demotivated, then what are the rest of the people feeling?

CEOs are threatening to fire employees. They don’t see the problem—people just don’t want to work so much anymore. They are not old. But they have decided to scale back their life expectations. If they are fired, then they will scale it back further, leading to even lower productivity and innovation. People are not enthusiastic or optimistic about their life. They don’t want what their parents wanted 20 years ago. Achievements don’t excite them. They have realized that they cannot change their life outcomes by working harder. Why not lead a scaled-back life and watch the clock do its tick-tock? There is a big movement called “lying flat” underway. It means doing the bare minimum to get by, and striving for nothing more than what is absolutely essential for one’s survival.

In most parts of the world, the population is aging normally, although a war could dent the total size quickly. Many people are currently talking about food shortages based on war, droughts, and floods. The trends are not clear, so it may not be wise to read too much into them. However, if climate changes drastically to cause floods and droughts, then this could magnify rapidly. Even if it doesn’t, the decline in productivity, stagnating innovation, and declining or aging population are enough to force an economic decline even if we have abundant resources. The human angle is far more important because the resources have been around on the planet for millions of years without economic growth.

When everyone is getting richer, they like to hang out together. But if one society is going up while the other is going up, then the society going up doesn’t want to be dragged down by the society going down. This means that societies will disentangle. Those going up will make new friends and ditch the old friends. We can see this change occurring right now. Countries at present are moving toward a “new world order”, an overused euphemism for the beginning of new alliances and the end of old ones. Globalization is over. It lasted 50 years while most societies grew. Now that some societies will decline, the situation will revert to the colonial era with the roles of exploiters and exploited reversed.

In short, we are on track, if not racing, toward the prediction. Studies in 2020 based on “limits to growth” reconfirmed this impending outcome, even without taking into account increasing wealth disparities, a decline in societal cohesion, use of authoritarian control such as military-grade surveillance even on ordinary citizens, active deglobalization, inflation, pandemic, war, droughts, floods, and economic slowdowns, which are all happening now.

I can summarize this in one sentence—The failure of leadership. People have lost faith in business and political leaders. They have realized that politicians and businesses line their pockets at the expense of the common people. There is no point in voting in elections. There is no point in working hard for others. If leaders are untrustworthy and if society loses its unity to fight and replace the business and political leaders, then it will withdraw socially, economically, and politically. It will not revolt, because a revolution requires unity. It needs belief in the leadership of a revolutionary. If they find that honesty, integrity, and leadership are absent, they will withdraw as far as they can.

This has graver implications than a revolution. A revolution gives people a new start, a new hope, a new ray of light. But revolutions require visionary leadership. If that is absent, then a revolution will not occur. There may be riots, violence, protests, and skirmishes. But that is not a revolution. It is not well-organized, it does not have a vision, it doesn’t know what to do next, it does not gain momentum, and the ray of hope and light never arrives. Despair is a slow process of accepting reality and withdrawing from urban centers into forests and mountains to a hunter-gatherer stage. That is where people get freedom from the control exercised by the business and political leaders.

People today classify primitive societies into the stone age, iron age, bronze age, etc. But from Vedic texts, we understand that humanity has lived for close to 150 trillion years in the present iteration of the universe. Advanced societies and civilizations have come and gone. The people who survived the decline became hunter-gatherers. The Śrīmad Bhagavatam states that with the advancement of kali-yuga, people will retreat into forests and mountains. Over time, they will forget that they were ever civilized. They will rely on forest and mountain spirits to protect them. And then, they will be conquered by invaders, and potentially killed. A new civilization and society will then start all over again.

The Method for Uplifting Society

The failure of leadership is a moral and spiritual failure. The decline in trust in leaders is a moral and spiritual decline. The poverty of ideas on how to solve the current problems is moral and spiritual poverty. The inability to bring positive change is a moral and spiritual weakness. The root cause of all problems is spiritual. The essential solution for all problems is also spiritual.

As we have discussed, emotion, intention, cognition, conation, and relation are aspects of spirit. Knowledge, beauty, wealth, power, fame, and renunciation are aspects of cognition. Everything is a modality or aspect of spirit. If a modality is hidden or gone, then it is a spiritual problem. To manifest and reveal that modality again, we have to undergo a spiritual revival. The preservation of this spiritual strength in a society was the prerogative of Brahmanas. If the spiritual understanding is strong, then all modalities of spirit are strong. If the spiritual understanding dies, then all modalities die. There will be no happiness, purposefulness, unity, knowledge, beauty, charity, wealth, power, or respect.

Hence, there is no disconnect between “matter” and “spirit”. There is no science of matter without a science of spirit, or even separate from a science of spirit. Anyone who wants to uplift society must begin with a spiritual revival. There is no invisible mystery, secret formula, unique tradecraft, or unknown truth. It is all plain and simple. Just revive the spiritual understanding and everything else will be automatically revived. If something is not being revived, don’t try to revive it individually, because that will only trade one issue for another. Focus more on spiritual revival. Diagnose and fix the underlying spiritual problem and all material problems will be automatically solved. In fact, they will be solved without creating new problems and they will be solved permanently.

When we focus on spiritual revival, then we create a stable and eternal society. A spiritually strong society will never die unless it weakens spiritually. If it has weakened, then there is no need for thinking about political, economic, sociological, technological, and dozens of other types of revival. Just spiritual revival is sufficient. There are no economic, gender-related, sociological, or political problems. Anyone who thinks like that is spiritually primitive. Every problem is a spiritual problem. Unfortunately, everyone thinks that they are spiritually advanced but they have temporal problems. Under ignorance of the spirit, they do not water the root from which the entire tree has bloomed. They try to water the individual leaves, which means that while watering one leaf, some other leaf is drying up. They even divide the problem into dozens of different departments, hypothesize contradictory theories and methods, waste their lives in futile and fruitless pursuits, and ensure their self-destruction.

This tendency to separate spirit and matter and then divide matter into dozens of departments is a failed Western approach to reality. This was never the model in the Vedic civilization. But under the influence of Westernization, this model is actively pursued in India at present. The rulers believe that they will solve economic, sociological, political, military, judicial, business, and industrialization problems and once all these problems are solved then the Vedic tradition will be revived automatically. This is predicated on the Western separation of spirit and matter followed by the separation of matter into dozens of different departments. It is the opposite of the Vedic system. As we try to revive one area, it will starve another area, and because we do not feed the spirit, the influence of materialism in all the other areas will weaken the spirit and thereby all areas. We should not water a leaf and poison the root.

India can ape the West in how it teaches theology academically. Every major university in the West has a seminary where students are taught about religion, awarded professional degrees, and encouraged to go out in the world to teach. India has no such college. There are colleges for engineering, medicine, management, and law. But nothing for studying Vedic philosophy, extracting the knowledge for the whole world, and contextualizing or contrasting it to the ideas coming from the West. Western universities do not lose their progressive or secular credentials if they teach theology. Hence, there is no reason to say that teaching theology in Indian colleges is regressive and unsecular.

Vedic philosophy gives us an alternative system of logic, understanding of space and time, grasp of matter and its laws, the nature of the mind, intellect, and ego, a perfect system of morality, a system of perfect cosmology, a perfect science of healthy living, meditative practices, and natural medicine, along with the ideas of economics, sociology, and politics. What is not there in the Vedic system can be easily developed by understanding what is already present. But today all this knowledge is neglected and a materialistic system of logic, mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, cosmology, psychology, sociology, economics, and politics are taught as universal truth. We cannot slap the Vedic culture on materialism. These two are incompatible.

When politicians neglect spiritual education and try to revive society materially, they are unaware of the law of karma according to which we cannot improve the material lives of people beyond what is destined for them by nature. Nature does not depend on the government to deliver the results of a person’s previous actions. A government cannot give more or less than what nature has already mandated for the people. A government can only ensure that what people are getting (due to their past actions) is obtained morally. For instance, money can come to a person via honest work or theft. A government can ensure that the money comes through honest work instead of theft. This will upgrade the population toward honest work but will not make them richer than they would be via theft. However, it will make them qualified for a better life (including riches) in the future, which they can reap in the same or different country.

When people are trained spiritually, then nature arranges for better souls to be born as their children. These souls then advance society further based on spiritual knowledge. Nature then arranges for even better souls to be born as their children who then advance society even further. This is the spiritual and natural process of reviving a society. The government does its part in improving the spiritual understanding of the people, and nature does the rest by rewarding society with capable, deserving, and morally advanced people.

The process begins with moral education, progresses into the acquisition of better people, and then advances into material prosperity. This is the triad of dharma, artha, and kāma. First, improve dharma, then artha (wealth, power, fame) will automatically improve by nature’s arrangement, and then kāma or fulfillment of desires will automatically occur by nature’s arrangement. This is a contrast to the materialistic process of advancement where people strive for more artha and kāma and postpone dharma to later. That postponed dharma never comes because once people have wealth, power, and fame, and they are enjoying the fulfillment of kāma, they do not care about dharma.

A proficient CEO of a company hires talented people to improve the company. Those recruits then improve the company. Similarly, a proficient leader of a nation employs spiritual education to recruit better souls to be born in a nation. Those newly recruited souls then improve the nation. A society cannot be uplifted unless better souls are attracted to that society and the current souls are uplifted through spiritual education. That is just like a company cannot be elevated unless qualified people are recruited to work for the company and the current employees are improved by training. The process of upgrading a society is not a mystery, at least not if we want a long-term stable society.

A society is purged of bad people automatically when advanced souls arrive, just like lazy people leave a company when hardworking people arrive. Nature brings a soul to a certain country and society based on its past actions. Nature arranges its birth in a certain gender, family, religion, and community. But if society changes as a result of spiritual education and practice, then nature will ensure that undeserving people with bad attitudes are no longer born in that society. Nature will arrange their births in other suitable places.

Jurisprudence—Morality vs. Legality

Social Morality vs. Social Ethics

The essential job of politics is to establish morality. Morality entails justice. If some wrongs have to be done, then they have to be punished. If something is right, then it should be rewarded. The problem is that justice requires a clear definition of right and wrong. The problem is also that these definitions are not universal. What is righteous for one person is not for others. Likewise, what is righteous in one time, place, and situation, is not righteous in others. Justice is currently predicated on universal laws, quite different from morality. The system of laws currently used to judge people is called ethics; it is confined to a society under a government. That is not morality. To explicate the difference between the two, we will discuss the distinction between morality and ethics.

The distinction between morality and ethics can be discerned by contrasting the moral teachings of Jesus with the systems of ethics that have been employed by Abrahamic faiths. Morality means truthfulness, kindness, charity, sacrifice, cleanliness, brotherhood, simplicity, and so on. This is how Jesus presented his teachings to the Jews. In contrast, ethics is the obedience to rules and regulations, laws and commandments. It is the kinds of do’s and don’ts that emperors (or governments) expect from the people under their control.

The distinction between morals and ethics is important because Abrahamic religions discarded morals (e.g., kindness) when they formulated their societal ethics (i.e., laws). An ethical system is limited to a sect, society, or nation, unlike a universal moral system. Therefore, within the ethical system of a society, it is possible to frame laws such as—(a) This is our land and nobody else can live here, (b) we are the chosen ones with the right of dominion over the whole world, and (c) the apostates must be killed and their land transferred to us. All these are immoral. However, Abrahamic religions close the conversation on morality by calling them God-given laws. Now, they become ethics.

Since ethics applies only to a specific group of people as a set of social norms, therefore, the commandment “thou shall not kill” applies only to the members of that social-religious group. It is not a universal commandment to be applied to all humans. It only means “thou shall not kill people from our sect”. It was usually complemented by another law according to which killing people from other sects was an ethical responsibility of a sect. Questions of morality do not arise because God-given laws are not subject to any moral principles. This idea has had an immense influence on all countries governed by Abrahamic faiths. They believe in the rule of law but not in morals. Following the laws is ethical behavior. It need not be moral because morality is irrelevant, secondary, or unnecessary. Following the law is both necessary and sufficient. Hence, most religions have always been closed to any kind of questioning, investigation, and examination. Everything has to be accepted on faith and not because it is moral or immoral. Calling God’s laws immoral will quickly get you killed.

Rule-making in Abrahamic religions has been the handmaiden of emperors. They framed their laws and inserted them into religious scriptures. Words were stuffed into the mouths of messiahs to have them conform to the emperor’s will. The emperor had to maintain strict control over religious scriptures because he had to change the laws whenever it suited him. This system continues to this day. Some powerful countries create an international “rules-based order” but violate it when it suits them. The modern “rules-based order” is no different than Abrahamic scriptures, its manipulation by emperors, and subsequent rationalizations as God’s will on earth. There is no discussion on morality because morality has never existed as a foundation for any Abrahamic religion. It was always God-given laws, commands, rules, and regulations that were forced down the throat of people. Those who did not comply were massacred.

Jesus was teaching morality and implicitly rejecting the ethical system of the Jews. This would be required if Jewish ethics was immorality. Of course, Jews were unhappy about it. They complained about this to Roman rulers. They did not truthfully say: “Jesus is a threat to us”. Instead, they lied to Roman rulers: “Jesus is a threat to you”. Hence, Jesus was crucified by the Romans.

Centuries later, Roman rulers faced a serious problem—there were many pagan gods and everybody claimed that their laws were God-given laws. A Roman ruler could not frame his laws and call them God-given laws if there were other gods and their laws. So, he needed a prophet-messiah for monotheism. If you get one God, then you can frame your laws and call them God-given laws. Everybody has to follow those laws or be killed. Those murders could be called God’s commandments against apostates and not the emperor’s choice.

Hence, Romans co-opted Jesus as a messiah, and accepted monotheism, but destroyed the essence of what Jesus was teaching—a preference for morality over ethics. Their Christianity was not morality. It was yet another ethics. Christianity was an expedient political formula because the laws of Roman rulers had to be followed as God-given laws. It closed the conversation on why some laws have to be followed, if these laws are better than others, and if these laws were violating moral principles. The emperor reigned supreme.

Principles of Dharmic Morality

In Vedic philosophy, morality is presented simply as four universal principles—truthfulness, kindness, sacrifice, and cleanliness. But given the fact that these principles cannot be upheld completely and perfectly in all situations (sometimes you have to tell a truth even if it is unkind and sometimes you have to tell a lie to show kindness), we need a meta-principle by which to decide which of these principles to sacrifice while upholding the other principle. The four principles can be juggled in infinite ways based on time, place, situation, and person. But to say that one choice is better, we have to say that one choice leads to the greatest perfection. To define the word “perfection” we have to delve into extensive philosophy of modalities, the distinction between duality and non-duality, and then the 4C principles to attain maximum non-duality.

Just to define morality, we need the 4C Varṇāśrama system and the person of God. We can call these the 4C system dharma. But it cannot be separated from the understanding of God. Therefore, any secular system of laws always violates dharma and sanātana-dharma. When these systems are legalized, then morality collapses. This is because the principles of morality can no longer be juggled correctly for every time, place, situation, and person. If the process of juggling principles based on the greatest perfection is totally discarded, then we get ethics. In short, when there is an understanding of God, then there is dharma and sanātana-dharma. If God disappears, then both dharma and sanātana-dharma die. Then we are left with an ethical system of rules and regulations.

There is no dearth of atheists, secularists, and materialists in the West who believe that we can get a moral society without religion. But religion in the West has never been about morality. Only the teachings of Jesus were about morality. Christianity, Islam, and Judaism have always been about ethics, which means laws created by emperors who escaped the problem of having to justify those laws by calling them God-given commandments. The claims of atheists, secularists, and materialists are hollow. They are yet to produce a moral philosophy based on which we can form a constitution or a system of laws. The problem begins with personhood. A person owns, a person borrows, and a person repays. Try to get a definition of a person from an atheist, secularist, or materialist. You cannot get a definition because the person remains unchanged when the body changes (e.g., from childhood to youth to old age).

The fact is that God does not give laws to humanity. He teaches the basic principles of dharma. The Bhagavad-Gita doesn’t have a single sociological law. And yet, its conclusions are the highest understanding of dharma. If we concoct an alternative notion of morality without God, then it will also be immoral. Nobody can come up with a system of morality without God. In fact, no religion or philosophy has ever been able to formulate a theory of morality. Religions other than the Vedic tradition have always used ethical laws, rather than moral philosophy. Mīmāṃsā is the only philosophy in the Vedic tradition that discusses morality. And that philosophy always relies on personalism.

The System of Roles vs. Actors

The principles of dharma can be studied scientifically by distinguishing roles from actors. We have often used the distinction between time, place, and situation, which comes from the Sanskrit terms deśhkāla, and pātra. The term pātra means a “container”. In a drama, it means a “character”. The container is different from what is contained within it. The character is different from the actor. The water stored in a container takes on the shape of a container. The actor in a character takes on the properties of the character. This is dharma.

Water on its own may have the property of fluidity. But water in a container does not flow. Water on its own does not have the shape of the container. But water in a container automatically acquires its shape. The actor on his own may not have the property of strength. But the actor in a heroic character must exhibit strength. The heroic actor on his own may have criminal desires. But the actor in a heroic character must not exhibit those desires. The actor and water must conform to the demands of the container they are in, by exhibiting properties contrary to their nature and suppressing the properties innate to their nature. This is a process of purification of the soul because by suppressing the immoral nature and exhibiting moral behavior contrary to one’s nature, a person develops the habits, liking, and abilities required for morality.

Likewise, space and time are hierarchical. The lower space is contained in the higher space. The lower time is contained in the higher time. If the nature of the higher space and time is different, then the traits of the lower space and time are also different. Hence, what is moral behavior in one place and time is not moral behavior in another place and time. For example, the moral expectations of people born in kali-yuga are lower than those born in satya-yuga. During satya-yuga, sinful actions invite a greater punishment, and pious actions invite lesser reward. This is why people have to perform austerities for thousands of years to even go to heavenly planets. Similarly, the moral expectations of people living and/or born in India are higher compared to those of people living and/or born in the West. If people born in India ape the West, then their punishment is higher than the Westerners. If people born in the West ape the Vedic tradition, then their reward is greater than the Indians.

We can collectively call these the context; it is not one thing; it is deśhkāla, and pātra; they are three kinds of containers. They further constrain three aspects of a person, namely, their ability, opportunity, and desire. If a person conforms to the expectations of a role, then their ability and opportunity expand. If a person does not conform to the expectation of a role, then their ability and opportunity contract. That expanded or contracted ability and opportunity may be delivered by moving the soul to a different deśhkāla, and pātra. The expansion and contraction are called the consequences of a choice or karma. Dharma and karma are natural laws because everything is a person.

For instance, the sun rises in the morning not due to a mathematical law of gravitation as postulated in modern physics. Rather, the sun rises in the morning because there is a person who can do such a thing, he is tasked to do such a thing as a matter of duty, and he does it willingly. This person, called Surya, has ascended to a powerful position due to his previous performance of duties. He has exhibited responsible behavior in the past and nature has moved him to an appropriate deśhkāla, and pātra where such responsible behavior is expected. This has expanded Surya’s ability and opportunity. Surya could break his duty expectations because following the duty is not necessary. But it is extremely unlikely that he will do so given his past adherence to duties. Hence, the mathematical law of gravitation will almost always work. And yet, there is no mathematical law because there is no necessity that the sun will rise tomorrow. However, the sun will rise tomorrow because the sun god is dutiful.

Western philosophers have separated moral laws from natural laws in various ways. There are deontologists who claim that natural law is based on some ontology but moral law is not. And yet, moral law is a “Categorial Imperative” (translation: Do only that which, if done by everyone, at all places, times, and situations would not be problematic or dislikable to you). In short, either everyone is a policeman or nobody is a policeman. There are teleologists who claim that natural law is based on past to present causality but teleology is based on future to present causality (translation: The ends justify the means). In short, if killing others benefits me, then it must be a moral activity.

Buddhism accepts that the moral law is also a natural law and it is symbolized through a chakra, the wheel of time. But they impersonalize the law and time. Thereby, the sun rises in the morning, not because of a sun god who ascended to a higher position due to his responsible action. Rather, time is moving everything automatically. Even our bodies are moving automatically due to time. If we stop thinking that we are the doers, and just passively “watch” what is being done, then we will become peaceful and keep going with the “flow of time”. Thereby, Buddhism reduces the levels of anxiety and anger in a person but doesn’t bring them to the path of morality and duty, because whatever a person does can be called going with the “flow of time”. Their goal is not to change and improve their behavior but only to observe it passively. You also cannot go with the “flow of time” if someone attacks you. Thus, when a society adopts this passive observation psyche, then they become immoral and cannot defend themselves. Even non-violence becomes a useless ideology.

If we study Indian history since the dawn of kali-yuga, then we see how it has been a progressive decline of dharma. It started with Buddhism, in which you don’t have to develop great moral character; you just watch passively. Many Hindus converted to Buddhism, but many others vehemently opposed it. Then came impersonalism under which the distinction of persons, roles, and duties is an illusion. Most people stopped performing their dharmic duties because these duties are tied to social roles which are all “illusions”. Still, many people opposed it. Then came Islamic invasions in which dharma was replaced by sectarian blind faiths; the system based on deśhkāla, and pātra was replaced by universalization. Many people opposed it, although the numbers were declining. Then came European (Portuguese, Dutch, French, and British) invasions in which the crimes of Christians were moral because they had been authorized by the Papal Bulls, and the system of deśhkāla, and pātra was immoral. Many Indians opposed it, although the numbers were fewer. Then, Europeans forced their nonsensical ideas of the separation of natural and moral laws upon India and called it “education”. Almost everyone accepted it.

It has been over 2,500 years of continuous decline of dharma. When dharma declines in India, then there is nobody else to teach morality in the whole world because nobody else has a moral philosophy. They just have false, crooked, and immoral ideologies rebranded as religion and ethics. The situation in India at present is that every child grows up thinking that the sun rises and falls due to the gravitational law. Some people think that we can have both dharma and gravitational law. Their brains are probably not developed to give them the capacity to think about the fundamental principles of dharma and karma. There is hence a long way to go if we want to reestablish dharma scientifically.

The Ruler Teaches Dharma

The job of the ruler is to teach the law of dharma-karma through rewards and punishments. If a person misuses his will, the ruler must punish and if he uses it properly then he must reward him. That reward and punishment is the ruler’s dharma. A ruler’s actions do not violate the natural law of dharma-karma. For instance, the reward and punishment a person receives through the ruler are already destined by nature. However, which activity would be rewarded and which activity would be punished is not fixed. A society can reward criminals and punish the dutiful. The total reward and punishment remain constant because they are decided by nature. But if reward and punishment are applied correctly, then society becomes moral. Otherwise, it becomes immoral.

The immoral actors will be punished by the laws of nature in the future. Even the ruler will be punished for not applying rewards and punishments correctly. Therefore, nobody escapes nature’s law, including a ruler, who rewards and punishes others. On the other hand, a ruler can elevate society by using reward and punishment correctly. A Brahmana teaches the theory of dharma-karma and the Kshatriya demonstrates the same theory in practice. This is how dharma is understood theoretically and practically. The practical application of dharma is to constrain ability and opportunity, just like nature. Opportunity is constrained by imprisonment and ability is constrained by cutting off limbs.

A scientific understanding of the laws of dharma-karma takes people toward morality, the performance of duties, and ultimately liberation from the laws of reward and punishment. When teachers present this knowledge, and the rulers implement its principles in society, they too progress toward liberation.

Three Models of Society

The Vedānta Sūtra discusses three social models—egalitarian, hierarchical, and balanced. In an egalitarian society, everyone is moral, and hence free of social restrictions. There are no containers of opportunities, but they could be containers of abilities arranged by nature (due to one’s previous actions). In a hierarchical society, there are containers of opportunities based on one’s abilities; they constitute different social classes. However, if people are not qualified for the social classes, then a system of checks and balances can be devised to keep each actor within the bounds of constraints of duty and compel them to do what the demands of duties require them to do. We can call this system of checks and balances a democratic society. It is neither fully egalitarian nor is it fully hierarchical. Hence it is between the two.

The system of checks and balances is not against dharma if people follow the contextually right and wrong. Hence, there can still be Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaisya, and Sudra, although they are not completely hierarchical. They may not have complete autonomy to do whatever they want, and they may not be fully capable of performing their jobs morally. In such cases, a society can collectively correct each other by pointing out each other’s mistakes through open dialogue. The goal is always to perform the duties of a chosen role.

This type of system has existed in India in the form of Pañchāyats or “village councils”. It comprises five village elders (rather than one ruler). Whenever any issue arises, they call for a village meeting in which everyone is encouraged to speak. Different viewpoints are discussed and debated. Then the village elders discuss the issue among themselves and give a ruling. Since there are five of them, therefore, it is not a system of authoritarian rule. Since the village elders live among the people, they cannot easily escape immoral decisions.

Naturally, it is hard to devise a system of checks and balances. No such system can always be perfect. And yet, if everyone cooperates, the system can be as good as the egalitarian or hierarchical system. Individuals may not be perfect, but collectively they can do the perfect thing. Their debates and discussions lead to dharma, and society remains moral through such openness.

The point is that when people are not always competent or capable, then a system can help overcome their limitations. The system can prevent many gross mistakes if people agree to follow the system and respect it as a force for good. But if people start gaming the system, then the system cannot protect them. If they frame universalist rules and regulations, rather than abiding by contextual dharma, then the system cannot protect them. Hence, the greatest focus must be on the scientific principles of dharma, rather than societal structures.

Whether the roles of a ruler and a judge are merged or separated doesn’t matter so much. It may sometimes be better to separate the rulers from the judiciary if we find that the rulers are immoral. But the judiciary may also not be moral. The separation or merger, therefore, doesn’t solve the problem. The problem is solved only by an understanding of morality rather than legality.

Generally speaking, when a system of ethics or legalities is replaced by a system of dharma, society can continue with its democratic structures. That democracy can also be a constitutional democracy although the constitution must describe the principles of morality rather than ethics.  Then, as society progresses, it can transform itself into a hierarchical system of organization. Finally, as people become moral, society can progress into an egalitarian system in which everyone does the right thing voluntarily, not because there are incentives attached to it and not because there are threats for not doing such a thing. An egalitarian society is obviously the best. But it takes a while to get there.

History Through a Spiritual Lens

Introspecting On History’s Lessons

Indians think that India declined due to foreign invaders. This is not entirely true. We should ask simple questions such as: Is a man punished without any reason? If not, then why is a society punished without a reason? We cannot merely look at outward reasons. We have to also introspect on our failures.

India was subjugated because it accepted impersonalism or the idea that we are all God and the descriptions of God in Vedic texts are man-made mythologies. If someone depersonalizes the Lord, nature’s tit-for-tat law is activated because of which that person is depersonalized. It comes as the destruction of freedom, denigration of all sources of pride, tyrannical exploitation, and obliteration of self-respect and self-confidence. India’s subjugation is not an accident. It is caused by the rampant proliferation of impersonalism in India.

The invaders who conquered India are incidental and circumstantial causes of this humiliation. If one invader fails, then another invader will come. They will come one after another until they are successful in subjugating. Their names, birthplaces, ideologies, and dresses are not essential. It doesn’t matter which invader came in which year. The order in which they came is not important. That is because they are all sent by nature to enslave. Nature will recruit the most powerful actor available at that time to fulfill Her agenda. Her agenda is to enslave. She has that agenda because we have depersonalized the Lord.

Please note that I’m not absolving the invaders of their crimes. I’m making a distinction between role and actor. The show doesn’t stop if one actor is unavailable. Another actor is recruited to play that role. If a man is punished, he can look outward and blame his punishment on the punisher. Or, he can introspect on why he was punished due to his own actions, and the punisher is an incidental cause because he could be substituted by another punisher to deliver the same punishment. The irrational person sees history as a series of events. The rational person seeks an answer to why they occur.

There is serious philosophy behind this. Explanations can be offered at three levels—cause, reason, and justification. If someone presses the trigger on a gun to shoot a bullet that kills another person, you can ask: Why was the person shot? The lame answer is: The trigger was pressed, a bullet was ejected, the bullet hit a person, and he was killed. A better answer is: The person who pressed the trigger wanted to shoot the person, which is why he pressed the trigger, a bullet was ejected, the bullet hit a person, and he was killed. An even better answer is: The person shot had committed a serious crime that justified his killing, which is why a shooter was tasked to shoot him, the shooter wanted to shoot the person, which is why he pressed the trigger, a bullet was ejected, the bullet hit a person, and he was killed. The answers get more complete through these three stages. The final answer is most complete.

These three types of explanations are necessary even for understanding historical events. Indians can blame their enslavement on swords and spears. They can blame them on the people who used those swords and spears. These two are external causes. The introspective answer is that these actions were justified by the prior actions of those who were enslaved. The introspective answer is not contrary to the answer obtained by external observation. It is rather the most comprehensive answer to the same question.

Problems of Impersonalism

Impersonalism began with Shankaracharya and was summarized by him into four sentences: “Brahman is truth. The world is false. Brahman is jīvā. There is nothing beyond”. The ludicrous aspect of this philosophy is “There nothing beyond”. Yes, there is something beyond jīvā. It is the Supreme Lord. If this distinction did not exist, then why would the Upaniśads talk about “two birds” on the branches of a tree called ātmā and Paramātma? We can accept that Brahman is true, the world is false, and Brahman is jīvā is true. The situations are nuanced and require much discussion. But those statements are not patently false. “There is nothing beyond” is patently false.

Impersonalists use the statement “aham brahmāsmi” from Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad to advance their claim. They forget that apart from Brahman, the Vedic texts also talk about Param-Brahman. Brahman simply means spirit or soul. Even matter is Brahman, which is why Chāndogya Upaniṣad says “sarvaṃ khalvidaṃ brahma” or “all this is brahman” or “everything is brahman” and then describes how this Brahman emanated from a Puruṣa who is worshipped by the most peaceful. It is true that everything is Brahman, because everything is a spiritual soul. Even matter is a soul. However, all souls are not the same. There is a Supreme Spirit or Param-Brahman, there is jīvā spirit, there is material spirit, and there is spiritual spirit. The jīvā, material, and spiritual spirits are called the marginal, external, and internal śakti of Param-Brahman. The śakti is always personified which means that even the material śakti is a person. Hence, “aham brahmāsmi” or “I am a spirit soul”, “sarvaṃ khalvidaṃ brahma” or “all this is brahman” (referring to matter), the transcendent world of the spiritual śakti, and that the Puruṣa is the source of three śakti, are all consistent. All contradictions between material and spiritual, soul and God, are created by impersonalists and imagined to exist in Vedic texts by them.

Māyā is also Brahman, but She is an angry mother. She is angry because the soul comes to the material world to feel equal to God, although it cannot equal Him. An angry mother is not unconscious. If we say that, then She will be even angrier. But if we speak lovingly to Her, then Her anger will disappear because She is still the mother. Impersonalism however makes matter inert and unconscious and elevates the soul to the level of God. The mother is depersonalized as achit. And the jīvā is elevated to the position of God.

Mother Pārvati is always depicted as half the body of Lord Śiva. We have discussed the reason for this—the masculine aspect is knowledge, beauty, and renunciation, and the feminine aspect is power, wealth, and fame. They are six distinct modalities of the same personality. The masculine modalities are within the feminine, and the feminine modalities are within the masculine. What is inside is also outside, and hence, they cannot be separated from each other although they are distinct. And yet, according to the impersonalist, half the body is alive and the other half is dead. Half the body is truth and the other half is an illusion. Half the body is active and the other half is inactive. The masculine is alive and the feminine is dead. The masculine part is truth and the feminine part is an illusion. The masculine part is active and the feminine part is inactive. This type of ideology encourages disrespect for women.

When Shankaracharya debated Mandana Miśra on Vedānta vs. Mīmāṃsā, his wife—Ubhaya Bhārati—was the judge. Two renowned men accepted a woman as the judge for their mutual debate. Factually, gender was not an issue in this acceptance. She was appointed the judge based on her expertise, and not to satisfy a contrived notion of men’s performance being judged by a woman. When Mandana Miśra lost the debate after 14 days (judged by his wife), then Ubhaya Bhārati debated Shankaracharya for another 14 days. There was no inequality, disrespect, or gender discrimination. But all such things are encouraged when the impersonalists call the śakti of the Lord unconscious.

This ideology of active-inactive is further perverted in the practices of Aghoris who have sex with the corpse of a woman in a crematorium to realize their godliness. The man is active and the woman is inactive. The man is alive and the woman is dead. Aghoris eat anything and everything because their philosophy is—everything is one. If the predator and prey are identical then what is the harm? Through this process of eating anything and everything they think they will realize the oneness of everything. The ghastliness of Aghoris may shock people. But it is consistent with impersonalism. Unless we take an ideology to its logical limits, we don’t understand what it truly means or entails.

Impersonalism and Subjugation

The claim that “there is nothing beyond” can never be supported by any Vedic statement. Instead, we will always find numerous statements about how the spiritual śakti and Puruṣa are beyond the jīvā. And yet, this unjustifiable and false claim is the cornerstone of impersonalism. Under this claim, the impersonalist imagines that he is God, that the material world is a dream, and if he just woke up from the dream, then the material world would cease to exist. Thereby, “aham brahmāsmi” is taken to imply that “I am God” although I am currently dreaming. If I just woke up, I will realize my Godliness.

I can illustrate this with a story from colonial times that I read in my childhood textbook. An Indian man goes to a theatre to watch a movie. During the interval break, he runs to urinate but accidentally enters a lavatory reserved for British men. The British men kick the Indian man to the floor and urinate on him. Then as the interval break gets over, the British men leave the lavatory to resume watching the movie. The humiliated Indian man walks out of the theatre muttering to himself “aham brahmāsmi”. This statement can be interpreted correctly to mean: “I am not the body; I am the soul. Hence, even if the body has been humiliated, I have not been humiliated”. The same statement can be interpreted incorrectly to mean: “This humiliation never happened because I am God who cannot be humiliated. Whatever I saw as my humiliation previously was just a bad dream which truly never happened”.

You will always arrive at the first conclusion if you accept that God is beyond me, He controls everything in this world, including my humiliation, and when I am humiliated, it is God’s fair judgment and kindness to correct my flaws through my humiliation. However, if you believe that there is no God beyond me, then He cannot cause my humiliation. The humiliation cannot be a fair judgment or kindness on the part of God because there is no God to judge me or show kindness toward me. Therefore, if I perceive my humiliation, then I must be having a bad dream. I must “wake up” to realize my Godliness.

The problem of impersonalism is that it rejects the reality of respect and humiliation, rejects that these two are meant as rewards and punishments, that they are based on the judgments delivered through nature, and that judgment is ultimately benevolent because it tries to correct my false idea of godliness in ordinary people. It rather justifies the idea of Godliness of the self, by rejecting God’s person, His supremacy, and the reality of all that happens in our experience as a dream, by claiming that it would be destroyed by waking up.

When the soul thinks in this way, then it is repeatedly humiliated and is unable to wake up from its supposed dream, no matter how many times it reaffirms its Godliness. The more one affirms one’s Godliness, the more prolonged the humiliation. By this prolonged humiliation, the soul’s self-esteem is destroyed. The impersonalists who say “aham brahmāsmi” will be forced to say “aham dāsoasmi” (I am a servant)  because the real meaning of “aham brahmāsmi” is that I am a spirit soul, but it is spoken in the mood that I am God. The resulting humiliation is a justified punishment. But that justification can be understood only by introspection. If one introspects, then he can say: I am not God, but due to my flawed attitude to replace God, I am humiliated by nature repeatedly.

Therefore, there is a deep connection between impersonalism and subjugation. We need a spiritual lens to see it. If we don’t have a spiritual lens, then we will blame invaders. If we have a false lens, we will say that this humiliation has been a dream which will end if I wake up. Factually, the false lens of impersonalism will not solve the problem because all the humiliated people are unable to say that history was just a bad dream and I should just wake up to end it. Their repeated assertions of their Godliness are incompatible with their repeated humiliating experiences. This is why we must adopt the personalist lens to understand the problem, end impersonalism, and adopt personalism.

The Five Stages of Impersonalism

We have discussed how personhood is six modes—the whole person, and his five aspects, namely, emotion, intention, cognition, conation, and relation. Impersonalism is the claim that there is a whole and all the parts within it are illusions. Essentially, there is an elephant devoid of legs, tail, trunk, stomach, and ears. Once we remove these five aspects, then the whole becomes formless.

The whole is no longer an elephant. What it is, nobody can say, because formless is indescribable. We cannot attach any concepts to it, it has no activities, it has no purpose, it has no emotions, and since there is nothing other than the whole, hence there are no relations. The parts “merge” into the whole and their distinctions disappear. There is Abheda but no Bheda. Hence, Advaita means oneness without parthood, aspecthood, the qualities that distinguish a person from others and connect them through various kinds of relationships such as parent and child, master and devout, husband and wife.

This initial stage of impersonalism is not the full truth, nor complete self-realization, but it is not harmful either. We can isolate ourselves from society, and it will not hurt anyone. This process is prescribed for everyone in the Sannyāsa stage of life. The term nyāsa means separating, detaching, relinquishing, and resigning. It also means settling, inserting, and depositing. Therefore, Sannyāsa means “together with detachment from the world and the settlement into oneself”. Sannyāsa is prescribed for everyone in the last stages of their life after their social duties are over. Anybody can go into a forest, sever their relationships with everyone, close their eyes and stop perception, sit in one place in a comfortable posture and end all their activities, forget about all goals other than the self, and be peaceful. Since everything has been cut off, therefore, we can say that “there is nothing other than the self”.

That “nothing” is not the factual absence of other things. They are just not known, aspired, acquired, owned, and enjoyed. This is the absence of evidence of the world. It is not evidence of absence. Just because we don’t see the world doesn’t mean that the world has ceased to exist. We have the choice to eliminate all the evidence of the world by ending experience. But the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. If we are careful about this distinction, then impersonalism is not the complete truth, but it can be practiced by everyone. In fact, the Varṇāśrama system encourages everyone to go to Sannyāsa.

What happens when an impersonalist hasn’t yet cut off the world completely? What happens when he lives in the world, perceives the world, relates to the world, aspires and desires the world, enjoys the world, and works in the world? He can no longer say that “there is nothing other than the self”. And yet, the impersonalist wants to say that. He achieves this through what is called Idealism in the West. Under Idealism, everything I see is simply an idea in my consciousness. It is not outside me. It is merely inside me. It is like a dream, a self-created reality, speculation, or an idea, that emerges out of me and can be collapsed into me. It has no separate or objective existence outside myself.

During colonial rule in India, Christian proselytizers attacked Hinduism. For them, it was a pagan religion because it worshipped many gods (different from God in many aspects). Hinduism was also attacked for the Varṇāśrama system of four classes, somewhat legitimately, because the system of classes had degraded into a system of castes. I have earlier discussed why the class system discouraged endogamy which is why classes were nearly hereditary, although there were exceptions. To respond to these incessant attacks from Christian proselytizers, Hindus presented impersonalism as the “true” version of the Vedic tradition. In this preliminary form, it was equated to Western Idealism.

Of course, Christian proselytizers were not satisfied. Their aim was not to learn Vedic philosophy but to portray it as a backward religion, which had to be modernized by conversion to Christianity. Hence, when the Vedic tradition was presented as Idealism to Europeans, it was again attacked as having no foundation for ethics. Europeans could not attack Hindus on morality. So, they attacked them on ethics, trying to impose European ideas on India.

When Christians said that impersonalists lacked a foundation for societal ethics (if there is no God, then there are no God’s messiahs, no God-given laws, and hence no ethics), their response was: Yes, we reject your religion of God, God’s messiahs, and God-given laws because we uphold the universal principles of brotherhood, truthfulness, kindness, charity, sacrifice, and cleanliness. Our religion is better because it is rational. We can discuss what is better or worse, right and wrong, while your claims about God, God’s messiahs, and God-given laws are not up for discussion. We are scientific, rational, open, and universal, while you are unscientific, irrational, closed, and sectarian. Your religion of laws has resulted in wars, murder, mayhem, slavery, colonialism, and exploitation. You have enriched yourself in the name of religious and racial superiority and we reject your religion as irrational, immoral, and bigoted. Reason and science are the friends of people and religion is their enemy.

Now, the Idealism of “there is nothing other than the self” became a call to universal brotherhood. There is another person, but he is not separate from me. His problems are my problems. His misery is my misery. Impersonalists became messengers of universal peace. Advaita was reinterpreted as non-difference. Idealism was upgraded from the view that the world is my idea, dream, or illusion, to saying that the other exists, but is not separate from me.

The problem of impersonalism—the rejection of God—worsened by this process. To appear non-sectarian and universalist, the impersonalists had to reject all the Vedic sects, sampradayas, and traditions as falsehoods. To reject their Churches, Mosques, and Synagogues as places of worship, they had to also reject the Temples as places of worship. To reject their names of God as true names of God, they also had to reject the names of God in Vedic texts as true names of God. To reject their Messiahs as divine persons, they had to reject the Acharyas in the Vedic tradition as divine persons. To reject their books as the word of God, they had to reject Vedic texts as the word of God. To call their scriptures human creations, they had to say that Vedic texts were also human creations. To reject their incantations and prayers, they had to reject all Vedic mantras and ceremonies. Nothing was sacred anymore. Temples, books, rituals, mantras, sampradayas, and forms of God were all man-made.

This is called throwing out the baby with the bathwater. The bathwater is dirty and the baby is not. But if we cannot see the difference between baby and bathwater, then we can throw away both. Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, the 2nd President of India, articulated this double rejection in his book “An Idealist View of Life“. He was responding to Christian attacks on the problem of societal ethics in the Vedic system. But he rejected the Vedic tradition as well.

He attacks Christian Deism (in which God created a lawful world but does not intervene in it to avoid breaking His laws): “A god who always works by law is not easily distinguishable from one who never works at all. A non-functioning, ornamental deity cannot remain for long a vital force. If a god is unnecessary for working the world machine, he does not seem to be quite necessary for starting it. Besides, the need for religious mystery diminishes as the scope of scientific explanation extends. We generally indent on the hypothesis of God when knowledge reaches its limits. Popular use of expressions like ‘it is an act of God’, ‘God only knows’, shows how ignorance is the source of knowledge of God.” This is his rejection of any kind of divine personified deity.

He then goes on to write: “The country wants today not so much salvation from sin as social betterment which will transform the mass of people who are ill-fed, ill-clothed, and ill-housed into a free community of well-regulated families, living not in luxury, but in moderate comfort with no fierce or unhealthy competition. Freedom is the rallying cry. It is inevitable that the challenge of freedom means often a rude handling of old loyalties and a hasty dismissal of venerable beauty in symbol and ceremony. But freedom asks for its price. The present unrest, it is clear, is caused as much by the moral ineffectiveness of religion, its failure to promote the best life, as by the insistent pressure of new knowledge on traditional beliefs. A reading democracy which is necessarily imperfectly educated feels it its duty to reject traditional control when it does not understand the reasons for its claims. Skepticism does not cost us much. It is faith that requires courage nowadays.” Dr. Radhakrishnan’s book is filled with such passages of a war cry for the rejection of all religious traditions to uplift society materially. He never distinguishes religion from dharma.

The new Idealism involved ideals in addition to ideas. These ideals are morals rather than ethics. The ethics—or the rules of society—had to be framed by an anti-religious democratic government, and yet, founded on the principles of brotherhood, truthfulness, charity, kindness, and sacrifice. The rich had to sacrifice for the poor. Equality had to be established by fiat. Indian democracy was not therefore the Christian capitalist or socialist democracies of Europe or the Americas. They were far more closely aligned with communism and socialism, which means China and the USSR, of those times. It was “socialism with Indian traits” like China calls itself “socialism with Chinese traits” at present. The reasons are simple—almost everybody hated almost all religions as the cause of evil. They were sick of exploitation in the name of God. Their religion was hard work, sacrifice, and upliftment through material schemes. Śrila Prabhupāda called such ideas “the kingdom of God without God”.

Even as impersonalists espoused such ideas, they did not have a moral philosophy. The Mīmāṃsā system relies on personalism. The same system also advocates rituals, mantras, deity worship, class system, and God’s presence in the world, which was unpalatable to the impersonalists. Thereby, the impersonalists were caught between a rock and hard place. They had made bold claims about morality as the guiding principle of life. But they did not know how to create a moral system. Before Shankaracharya, India was following Mīmāṃsā. Then came impersonalism followed by India’s conquest. After independence, the new-age impersonalists rejected Mīmāṃsā, the only moral philosophy in the world. It could be anything other than dharma, Vedic scriptures, class-based organization, and religious footing.

They chose a system of ethics, just like the Abrahamic religions, although modernized for today’s time as modifiable and debatable constitutions, amendments, and laws. They could still claim victory because the system was open and debatable, not God-given laws. And yet, it was a system of ethics rather than morality. Indian constitution never articulated moral virtues, such as truthfulness, kindness, charity, and cleanliness. Instead, it went on the path of formulating a new type of ethical system, similar to Abrahamic religions and Western constitutional democracies. There was no foundation for morality. So, how could one ensure that the constitution was not immoral?

In any ethical system, all the laws are applicable for all times, places, situations, and persons. In a moral system, action is determined by that which attains the greatest possible perfection for a time, place, situation, and person. When we replace morality with ethics, then most choices are immoral but ethical. Following constitutional law is immorality because morality is not universal. Now, people use the legal framework to do the most immoral things. Indira Gandhi, for instance, used a loophole in the constitution to declare an emergency in India and wrested all power to herself. That was legal, and yet, immoral. Legality is not morality. When you give rules of law, people find loopholes and exploit them. Then you add more rules, and the people find new loopholes and exploit them. You cannot prosecute them because they followed the letter of the law. Every time people find new loopholes, they are not prosecutable because morality is out of scope. An ethical system is an immoral game of outwitting the creator of rules by finding more loopholes.

Thus, after the stages of Sannyāsa, Idealism, and Ideality, the impersonalists got the stage of Immorality. When immorality pervades a society, then the erstwhile goal of creating a society of “moderate comfort with no fierce or unhealthy competition” is lost. The rich and powerful game the system, and others sit and watch. You cannot do anything because you have vowed to stop competition. This is when a society renounces socialism and embraces capitalism. Cooperation is replaced by competition. Industrialization becomes the means to their progress. They don’t want collective good. They want individual success. They hunger for money, power, and fame. We can call this phase Materialism.

The five stages of impersonalism are—Sannyāsa, Idealism, Ideality, Immorality, and Materialism. Once we reach the fifth stage, nobody remembers that impersonalism was originally about Sannyāsa, seclusion, and being absorbed in the self. They forget that it was once Idealism, namely, that the world is my dream and hence should not be taken seriously. They forget that at one time, it was Ideality or the principles of brotherhood, sacrifice, kindness, and truthfulness as the secular replacements of traditional religions. They forget that at one time they were rallying against immorality and corruption among the ruling class. Under the influence of Materialism, they accept that bribery, nepotism, deceit, and exploitation are tools to get money, power, and fame. The philosophy that began by rejecting materiality to be self-absorbed completely renounces self-absorption and throws itself into materiality as life’s goal.

I can illustrate this five-stage process of the devolution of impersonalism into materialism through real-world historical examples. But people don’t like their icons and heroes being named and shamed. They want to preserve the memories of impersonalists as great stalwarts when they have only been a step forward in a process of progressive degradation. Hence, I would not trouble them with details. If they are interested, they can find them (although I doubt they will). If not, aggravating them by naming and shaming won’t help.

My goal is to illustrate how minor issues magnify over time. Active-inactive becomes sex with a corpse. Equating the self with God leads to humiliation. As religious symbolism is lost, so is morality. We may not know the cause-effect relationships because we may not know the philosophy. Hence, we might think that these are disconnected because overtly and superficially they are different. But like the leaves of a tree are joined to a root, and by cutting the root all the leaves die, philosophy helps us see cause-effect relationships. Most weeds look similar to the crops. It is often very hard to distinguish between weed and crop. But if we don’t uproot the weed by discrimination, then they will kill the crop.

Religion vs. the Hero Complex

We can simplify all this by talking about heroes. Every society needs a hero. The hero does great things. But he would not be a hero unless he sets an example for others to emulate. God is the ultimate hero. He can be a hero to everyone. Therefore, if we remember His heroic pastimes and teachings, and emulate them according to our capacity, then we will also become heroes of society. Of course, we cannot match God’s heroism, so God will remain the primary hero. But we can be heroic followers of the primary hero, setting an example of how to follow and revere the hero, although never a process to displace him.

The impersonalist kills the true hero to claim that everyone is a hero. People don’t become heroic by killing the real hero; they degrade into immorality. They don’t have an example to remember. They don’t have a source of inspiration. Rather, inspirational examples are designated “mythologies”. When a society is devoid of heroes, then it elevates flawed mortals to heroes. Thereby, the standard for heroism lowers. The hero who succeeds has even more flaws. Instead of raising the public, the hero falls to the level of the public. The dream of the impersonalist, under which everyone is equally heroic, is thus realized by killing all real heroes and bringing the flawed hero down to everyone’s level.

This process can be illustrated through Indian cinema. In the earliest days of Indian cinema, most of the movies were extensions of classical drama taken from Indian epics. They depicted moral stories and elevated everyone toward moral action. Watching a movie was nearly synonymous with reading scripture. Then, all these heroes were killed because impersonalists were calling them “mythology”. Mythology had to be replaced by realism. In the real world, the hero goes to work in a factory, fights for justice for the poor, and often drinks and smokes. Of course, the women love it. Then over time, all that fighting for the poor and getting them justice was substituted by hero-heroines dancing in provocative clothes. Their stories involved romantic affairs, property disputes, business conflicts, fights between friends, and so on. The hero became ordinary. He just looked better than ordinary people and wore fancier clothes.

Indian cinema went from depicting Vedic scriptural pastimes to showbusiness because the impersonalist says: “The heroes in the scriptures are mythologies; there are no such heroes; we have to find the true heroes among ourselves; we are all heroes; instead of worshipping the imaginary heroes in the mythologies we should discover the hero in ourselves; that will transform us into God”.

Indian cinema is so unrealistically over-the-top because it is meant to make ordinary people identify with the hero and feel that they have become God for a few hours. It arose because previously Indian cinema was depicting real pastimes that are humanly unachievable. The impersonalist ideology simply replaced gods with mortals and kept the unrealistic ethos of cinema.

At present, some people complain about how parts of Indian cinema mock Hinduism. But who started it? It began with impersonalists saying that all Vedic texts are mythologies. For example, the dialogue between Lord Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna in Bhagavad-Gita is not real. It is rather Arjuna’s monologue with himself. If Lord Kṛṣṇa says that Arjuna must surrender to Him, it means that Arjuna must listen to his strong side rather than to the frail side. If we overcome the frailties by listening to our strong side, then we would become God.

When Vedic scriptures are denigrated by people in saintly dresses, then many people accept their message. But we have to know that a man in a saintly dress is not always a saint. Sometimes, sick and perverted minds with a God-complex also wear saintly dresses to cheat people by telling them what they are aching to hear. They are successful because people want to hear that they are God. The problem is that when anyone thinks like that then nature will degrade them, repeatedly and mercilessly, until they can abandon their false ideology.

The Societal Body and Mind

The Problem of Structural Organization

Most people think that a society has no mind but there are profound scientific principles upon which the personhood of a society can be understood. Every society has a stable structure that remains intact even as material particles flow in and out of that structure. That structure is formed and preserved because of a societal mind. If that mind changes, then the structure also changes.

For instance, in a democratic country, there are institutions of the presidency, ministers, bureaucracy, courts, and departments. People come and go, but the institutions remain. That institutional structure is based on some beliefs and assumptions, goals and intentions, principles and values. If those beliefs, goals, and values change, then the institutional structure also changes. But even if the institutional structure is intact, humans and technological products can keep flowing in and out of that structure. What explains the structural invariance?

Under materialism, we think that atoms come first, they form bonds to create molecules, molecules form more bonds with more molecules to create cells and their walls, and slowly—through a process of atoms forming bonds with other atoms—a bodily structure emerges. The anti-materialistic idea of the body is that the mind comes first, that mind then creates a structure, and that structure then absorbs atoms by recruiting the most appropriate atoms for each place in the structure. If there is no mind, then there will be no structure, and atoms will not aggregate into a body. If the mind leaves, the body disintegrates.

The reason that people are unable to think of society as a person is a materialistic idea of a body. Under this idea, structure follows atoms. In the anti-materialistic idea of a body, the structure precedes atoms. When applied to a society, materialism says that people are the building blocks of society. They form bonds and as those bonds grow, a societal structure emerges. Those same bonds in the anti-materialistic idea are based on the mind. The problem with the materialistic idea is that it cannot explain why a living body retains its structure as atoms move in and out of the body. That crucial distinction appears at the time of death when the body is unable to maintain its structure and starts disintegrating. The problem can be seen even in the case of societies—we cannot explain how the societal structure is preserved as people move in and out of it. If a society’s structure disintegrates, it is called “dead”. The people may still be alive. But society is dead if the institutional structure is disintegrating.

The structure of a body or a society involves a large number of hierarchical roles. Those roles may not have actors presently. Hence, in the case of the body, the structure remains imperceivable until it absorbs atoms of perceptual qualities like taste, touch, smell, sound, and sight. In the case of a society, the structure remains imperceivable until people are hired as actors for a role. Those atoms and people are substitutable: If one person leaves a job, another person replaces him; if one molecule is removed from the body another molecule replaces it. By such replacement, the structure stays invariant.

That structure cannot exist without a mental reality of ideas, beliefs, intentions, and values. The same people or atoms can be organized in infinite different structures. There is no scientific or sociological theory to explain why the body or society has one structure instead of another. Hence, there is also a mind, which creates a structure, which then absorbs the atoms and the people.

We can say that the body is developed “based on the mind”. In Vedic texts, this process is described in three stages called manas, prāṇa, and vāk. The vāk is the body we perceive and manas is the mind we don’t perceive. In between the two, there is a structure created by prāṇa, which is not as imperceivable as the mind and not as perceivable as the body. For example, you can draw an organizational chart on a piece of paper. It shows what is “above” and what is “below”. The people who occupy the roles in that chart are not above or below in a physical sense (e.g., the CEO of a company doesn’t necessarily sit on the top floor of a company building and the junior employees do not necessarily sit on the bottom floor of a company building). The terms above and below just indicate the hierarchical structural organization within a company.

The same principles apply to the human body. The region of the heart is at the top, even though the head is higher than the heart. If the heart stops, then the brain dies. But the brain may be dead and the heart may be working, and the person would not disintegrate. Hence, when Vedic texts study the body, they analyze the hierarchical structure of the body. Pain in the leg can be mitigated by doing something in another part of the body if we understand how these parts are internally connected in a hierarchy. Acupressure and acupuncture techniques rely on such internal connections. It is very hard for others to see how pressing one part of your palm will change your digestion. That is because we can see the body parts, but not their internal hierarchical organization.

Of course, some functions are so crucial that their cessation makes the body uninhabitable by the mind. This is why we can poison a body, and the mind would leave and we will call the person dead. Most people think that the body is chemicals due to the possibility of poisoning. They also think that the body is chemicals because they are eating, drinking, and breathing. This is not true.

In the aśtānga-yoga practice, the alternative idea of the body is realized by a progressive cessation of eating, drinking, and breathing. The body doesn’t die of this. It becomes an organization that is no longer hiring or firing people, or a society that has stopped immigration and emigration. It can remain functional forever. Through such practices, one obtains complete control over the body and realizes that this body structure is maintained due to the mind. It is a preliminary step in yoga. There are further steps by which one progressively dives into the deeper aspects of the mind. Yoga is a scientific process but it is based on a structural understanding of the body rather than a chemical one.

We can apply the same idea to a building. Every building requires regular maintenance. Otherwise, the paint will chip off, the plaster will then fall off, the exposed bricks will then disintegrate, and the iron bars will rust. The building will collapse quickly. Modern science says that a building stands up due to molecular bonds, formed by electromagnetic forces. But they cannot explain why some buildings stand for thousands of years without any maintenance. This is because the idea of molecular bonds and electromagnetic forces is false (read the previous post for more on this). In Vedic philosophy, even a building is the body of a soul called vastu-puruṣa (the “monarch of the thing”). Formerly, architects created temples that would stand for thousands of years without any maintenance. A spirit was invited to inhabit a building as its body and that spirit prevents building disintegration. There is no cement, concrete, steel reinforcements, etc. And yet they stand for thousands of years.

There is a famous Iron Pillar in Delhi that is now 1600 years old. It hasn’t rusted. It stands in the open, endures rain and sunshine, and yet, it doesn’t rust. Nobody knows the mystery. They think it must be some unique alloy because materialism has conditioned them to ignore personhood. The reason the pillar has been standing for so long is the presence of a vastu-puruṣa. He maintains his own body. That body is like an organization that is not hiring and firing people. Hence, no atoms are gained and no atoms are lost. If that vastu-puruṣa leaves the pillar, the pillar will disintegrate rapidly. People will then wonder and speculate about environmental changes that caused the pillar to start rusting.

One of the greatest mysteries about Egyptian pyramids is how 50-tonne blocks could be brought to a place with no surrounding mountains and then organized into a mathematically precise pyramidical structure. Those blocks are not the same size. They are not cut at angles. They are just blocks. How do you bring the blocks from unknown places and align them in precise mathematical structures and ensure that they stand for thousands of years without maintenance?

The answer is that the pyramidal structure was not produced by assembling blocks. Rather, a structure preexisted; it was manifested by a mind, and it selected and pulled the appropriate blocks to implement its structure, just as an organization hires the most appropriate people to fill its open positions. Those people can be recruited from far-off lands. They don’t need to be physically close. But if they are recruited, then physical proximity between different people is created by the organization. If we can treat the pyramid as a person, whose body is like an organization, then this idea would be trivially easy. This is the science of manas, prāṇa, and vāk. The prāṇa can select, orient, lift, and move anything. We don’t need machines to assemble it if the pyramid is just another growing organism. It exhibits properties that we might not, but those properties are permissible within the science of manas, prāṇa, and vāk.

But if people don’t prefer the science of mind, structure, and body, then they can try to explain pillars and pyramids. The fact is that they cannot understand those either because they have rejected the reality of the mind, a life force, and how this life force assembles and maintains a body. They have also divided knowledge in a way that pyramids and pillars are not problems for physics and chemistry; they are only archeology problems. So, physics and chemistry will never look at the problem entailed by their theories and the archeologist will find the data but will never be able to explain its existence.

The book The Balanced Organization discusses this topic in detail. It is the study of an organization as a body based on a mind. It is also an alternative view of the body. It is also the refutation of the chemical notion of biology. And it is the idea that structure is not an emergent property of atoms. It is a more fundamental property produced by a mental reality. Many different goals are achieved by discussing structures, which is why the book is very important.

The System of Administration

Prāṇa is that missing link by which the mind controls the body, the demigods bring about health and sickness in our body, and the body seemingly works without our intervention. For instance, our digestion, food and blood circulation, and immunity work even when we are unaware of how they work. Some periods of time are of natural health and others are of natural sickness. Sometimes we feel energized and at other times we feel tired. Prāṇa is like ropes in the hands of a puppeteer that control a puppet. That puppeteer can be the soul or the mind, or it can be the demigods (working under the control of Lord Viṣṇu), or it can be time (working as the implementation of Lord Śiva).

Prāṇa is the Vedic version of “action at a distance”. Hence, it is sometimes called a force. But this force is not impersonal. It is rather in the control of persons. The movement of the sun, for instance, is due to the control of Prāṇa in the hands of Dhruva who resides in the polestar. Everything else revolves around the polestar. Śrila Prabhupāda called this control the “rope of wind“. The celestial objects are moving not due to gravitational force but due to Prāṇa, just like puppets are moved by a puppeteer through a rope. One who knows how the mind controls the body—namely, if you change your mind, the body will get restructured—extends that biological idea to the cosmological idea.

There are 72,000 such “ropes of wind” in the human body. They are called “channels” or nādis in some Yoga-Tantra texts. We cannot see them like we do not see gravitational or electromagnetic forces. But we can perceive their effects—information flows from one part of the body to another. Some people equate these nādis to veins and vessels in the body through which neural impulses, nutrients, and excreta are moved. The analogy is neither too accurate nor totally false. It is not too accurate because veins and vessels are visible, but the force that moves atoms in these veins is invisible, however, the effect of such force—i.e., movement of the atoms—is visible. The analogy is not totally false because there is a visible effect of movement through the veins.

The mind-body problem has been debated for at least three centuries in the West. Nobody could find the connection between the two because they are always looking inside the brain. The mind doesn’t have a “seat” in the brain. It is all over the body. But if we are too keen on finding a seat, then the mind has seven prominent “seats”—the groin, the navel, the solar plexus, the heart, the throat, the head, and the crown. The first five are partial aspects of the whole person; knowing them is like perceiving the tail, legs, trunk, stomach, and ears of the elephant. The sixth is the whole person, akin to the elephant. But the seventh, the complete knowledge of both whole and parts, can be known and yet not perceived (just like we cannot see the forest and the trees at once).

If we insist on finding the one seat of the mind, then we can search in the crown. But that search makes sense only in that brain for which the corresponding mind has the complete knowledge of six aspects. For others, the seventh aspect does not exist since the mind has not integrated the whole with its parts. They can instead find the other six aspects in different parts of the body to varying extents depending on whether a person has a developed self-awareness, emotion, intention, cognition, conation, and relation. Since everyone has an underdeveloped mind, therefore, the mind will not be found in everybody to the same extent. The mind in the crown will be absent for almost everyone. This is why the mind-body problem is unsolvable for scientists. Some people have asked me to write about neuroscience. They think that everyone has a well-developed mind. That is not true. Most people are mindless robots. They have to develop the mind before we can find its effects on the body.

This mind is further controlled by the soul, in the same way as the mind controls the body. The Prāṇa that enables mind control is slightly different and yet not so different than the Prāṇa that allows body control by the mind control. There is hence an alternative system of biology in which soul, mind, and body are integrated into a single hierarchical system with its controls.

The highest entity is like a CEO, the mid-level entities are like the administrative bureaucracy, and the lowest entities are the workers. The universe is also a body, whose soul is Lord Viṣṇu. The universal body is called Virāta Puruṣa, the bureaucratic system of demigods is like the mind, Dhruva is the secretary or the principal whip of the CEO, and Lord Viṣṇu is the CEO of the body. His control flows top-down through Dhruva to the demigods and all other living entities. This system of top-down control can be called “ropes of wind”, puppets in the hands of a puppeteer, action at a distance, the force that maintains the structural integrity of the universe, or an administrative hierarchy.

The Central Role of Willpower

The soul’s will can control the mind and then the body. But the soul is not the sole controller. As noted above, the demigods are also controllers, just as time and matter are controllers. These different types of controllers are not mutually contradictory. They can be understood if we divide causality into six modal aspects—what, where, when, how, why, and who. Time controls when and what. The material energy controls how and where. The demigods (under the supervision of Lord Viṣṇu) control why and who. Conceiving the Inconceivable discusses this six-fold causality in detail in case there is interest.

Time determines what will happen when. For instance, at present, pestilence, war, drought, flood, famine, economic downturn, political upheavals, and societal collapses are occurring. There is no other way to explain so many bad things happening simultaneously except by saying that it is a bad time. It is anticipated to last till 2036 (I’m not an expert on this matter, so I cannot certify this date and duration, but we can use this as a provisional example). During this time, the material energy will determine how and where this happens. For instance, if we find a cure for one CoVID variant, there will be another. If we find a cure for CoVID, there will be tomato fever. Nature has infinite variety. She is playing with people; we are simply puppets in Her hand. If we try to avoid war in one way, nature will create a war in another way. If we evade inflation, then nature will create a stock market crash. She will create food shortages, droughts, and floods. Some of these things will happen in some countries more than in others. Finally, Lord Viṣṇu and the demigods determine to whom these things happen based on their past actions. Everyone will not suffer equally. Some will suffer a lot and some will escape unscathed. This is not random. It is precisely directed by Lord Viṣṇu and the demigods based on who and why.

Thus, there are six aspects of causality. Each of these is in the hands of different puppeteers. Multiple controllers do not mean contradictions in causality. Through the science of modalities, we understand this complicated process in which good and bad things happen at a time, they happen in different places in different ways, and they happen to some people more than others.

Economists talk about the “invisible hand of the market”. That invisible hand is these puppeteers. The working of this invisible hand is elaborated in the book The Balanced Organization. There are ten kinds of movements—five of which occur within each person and the other five in the environment of that person (which is also within another person). These are the five prāṇa. They involve inward, outward, upward, downward, and around movements. They are also in control of the above six puppeteers by dividing each prāṇa into six aspects. This means that the inward, outward, upward, downward, and around movements are sometimes due to what and when causality, sometimes due to how and where causality, and sometimes due to the who and why causality.

There are times when a person automatically develops spiritual inclination due to time making Jupiter prominent. This makes the upward prāṇa prominent. How this spiritual inclination is expressed, however, depends on the other planets influenced by time. For instance, if Mercury is raised along with Jupiter, then the person will go around exploring many different spiritual systems. If instead Mars is raised with Jupiter, then the person will go inward to meditate and introspect. If Venus is raised with Jupiter, then the person will make spiritual friends or join a society of spiritualists. If instead Saturn is raised with Jupiter, a person may learn lessons from his previous mistakes. If the Sun is raised along with Jupiter, then the person will seek intellectual answers to religious questions. If the Moon is raised along with Jupiter, then the person will try to express their creativity through religious activities. If Rahu is raised along with Jupiter, then a person will try to become a religious leader and focus on bringing other people under his control based on religious pretexts. If Ketu is raised along with Jupiter, then the person will perform charities; even if he speaks about religion, it would be for charity rather than for control.

If two societies come closer to form a friendship, it is an outward movement. If two societies withdraw their friendships, then it is an inward movement. If a society decides to uplift itself by true knowledge, then it is an upward movement. If a society decides to downgrade itself by accepting the ignorance of materialism, then it is a downward movement. If society keeps shopping for friends and ideas, experimenting with what works, then it is around movement.

As a result of these various controls, it seems to us that we have no free will. It is true for most people. We have to discover our willpower through a process. That process pertains to the development of intention or purposefulness in life. It depends on two other factors, namely, emotion and self-awareness. Together, these three aspects are called ānanda of the soul. The first step is to get the correct self-image (we will discuss more on this in the next section). From this correct self-image, emotional happiness and inner satisfaction naturally arises. From that emotion, purposefulness arises. In short, first self-awareness, then emotion, then intention. That intention is willpower. If it is missing, then we should focus on developing self-awareness, or the part becoming dependent on the independent whole. That will lead to intention or strong willpower.

If willpower is developed, then we can escape the control of other puppeteers, although not always, and not completely. We can escape it enough to bring a change in our lives gradually, which then makes future changes easier. This willpower will come if we realize our spiritual nature. It involves spiritual knowledge and practice. By these, a person gets the capacity to tolerate hardships, endure difficulties, and remain steady on a long journey. The person is not swayed from their path due to peer or hierarchical pressures. The ultimate goal of all knowledge and practice is to become free of the control of puppeteers. The laws of nature are true and eternal. But they are not true and eternal for everyone. They cease to exist for some people by a practice.

That steadiness on a difficult path is nothing other than diligently following the 4C principles. However, understanding the 4C principles is not the same as having the courage and willpower to implement them. Without willpower, we can succumb to societal pressures, and demands of our government, family, parents, institutions, or friends. We can be swayed by the current social, economic, political, and legal climate. We will not be steady in our path because we lack willpower. Some people have asked me about steadiness. How to remain firm on the path that we intellectually know to be true, right, and good? The answer is willpower. A person needs willpower, and society needs willpower. They can get this willpower through knowledge and practice.

The materialistic system teaches people how to acquire power. The spiritual system teaches people how to acquire willpower. Willpower is intention and power is one of the six aspects of cognition. Hence, power is secondary to willpower, and must work under its control. But if power gains prominence without willpower, then a person breaks all his relationships, stops working, loses knowledge, beauty, and renunciation, and is never peaceful and self-satisfied. All qualities upstream from power are lost and all qualities downstream from power (wealth and fame) become prominent. The ultimate goal is to get respect from others. But because the upstream qualities are missing, therefore, genuine respect is missing. It is replaced by fear. Those with power know that they are not respected; they instill fear by brutality to get a show of respect.

The mark of willpower is the absence of compromise with the truth. No matter how many difficulties arise, the person with willpower will not compromise with the truth. But the man with power, and without willpower, will easily compromise with the truth. When power exists without willpower, it is temporary. It is a matter of time before that power will disappear due to compromising with the truth. Conversely, even if we don’t have power, but we have willpower, then we can acquire power by willpower. And by the non-compromise with the truth, that power will also become permanent.

Brahmanas were men with strong willpower. Kshatriyas may have had greater power than Brahmanas. But they obeyed the Brahmanas because they realized that power is temporary but willpower is eternal. They also realized that when power is subordinated to willpower—i.e., non-comprise with the truth—then it becomes permanent. Thus, both to acquire power and to make it permanent, Kshatriyas stayed subordinate to the Brahmana, which means never compromising with the truth. This is the science of power, how to acquire it, how to use it, how to extend it, and how to make it permanent. Chānakya was a Brahmana with great willpower. He took Chandragupta—an ordinary warrior—under his tutelage and made him the greatest emperor of India. This is an example of how willpower is used to create power. If power remains subordinate to willpower, then it grows. If willpower dies, then power dies.

If society is taught how to develop willpower, then it will automatically acquire power, and by the non-compromise with the truth, it will also be permanent. But to get there, one must find the real Brahmana and surrender to their guidance. It is not hard to judge who the real Brahmana is. Just ask yourself: How many compromises does he make with the truth? If the answer is “none” then we surrender to him. If the answer is “many”, then we avoid him.

A Brahmana is the antithesis of pragmatism because pragmatism means compromising with the truth to get power, wealth, and respect. Pragmatism symptomizes the absence of willpower. Contextualization and individualization of truth, however, is not pragmatism. There is a universal science of contextualization and individualization, by which we can know how the whole truth is present in everything but it may be partially visible for a time, place, situation, and person. The pragmatist says: Those invisible things don’t exist. But one knows the science of individualization and contextualization says—the invisible also exists, and we will act according to the whole truth by using only the visible part. This is the difference between universal and universalist truth—universalist truth requires that the full truth be always visible to everyone but most parts of the universal truth can be hidden and yet present.

The presence of what is hidden from our vision is known by a difference in the effects of our actions. If we act based on the visible, then we cannot explain the effects because what is invisible is also acting. A good example is “dark matter” and “dark energy”. Something exists but it is invisible to us. How do we know that it exists? Because we cannot explain the observed effects without postulating the existence of something we cannot see. In the same way, most of reality is dark or invisible. When one thing is revealed, another thing is hidden. But what is hidden hasn’t ceased to exist. The outcomes of our actions are determined by the presence of the full thing, rather than the presence of only what we see. This is why pragmatism is useless because it relies on what we can see and the actions performed under its influence will always lead to mistakes because what we cannot see is also present, it acts, and yet it remains dark.

Everywhere you look, you will see leaders talking about pragmatism. Politicians are the most pragmatic of all. When a society is pragmatic, then it loses its willpower because it has learned over a long period how to compromise with the truth for short-term benefit. It is tossed around by puppeteers. Even if it can see that it is headed toward destruction, it has no willpower to reverse the course. That is because it lost its willpower through pragmatism.

Power has an immensely corrupting influence. As people get power, they start enjoying life. Hedonism weakens their willpower. Once willpower weakens, then they also lose their power and their pleasure over time. Hence, willpower is always more important than power. If one gets power by willpower, one has to be watchful to never fall into the trap of hedonism, because by that, they will lose willpower, power, and pleasure. It would then be a very long and difficult journey to first get back willpower, then power, and then pleasure.

Collective Social Epistemology

Once we understand the principle of structure as the cause of the body, then we can discuss the four-fold divisions of the “internal instrument”. This “internal instrument” is called the “mind” in the West, but it is divided into four parts called the mind, intellect, ego, and moral sense in Vedic philosophy. The mind understands the world’s meaning, or gives it a concocted meaning, and then translates these real or concocted meanings back into the world. Since the meaning can be real or concocted, hence, the other three aspects of the “internal instrument” involve judging the meaning—as truth by the intellect, as good by the ego, and as rightness by the moral sense. The set of four instruments thus constitutes the process of “knowing” or cognition.

However, apart from cognition, there is also emotion, intention, conation, relation, and self-awareness. It will take us a long time to discuss each of these and expand this article drastically so I will leave it to people’s imagination and hopefully they will do it well based on everything that we have discussed before. I will, however, dwell on one key aspect, namely, self-awareness. This is not self-consciousness. It is rather a picture of the self in the mind. It is an idea about where I am, when I am, what I am, who I am, how I am, and why I am.

Some people may say—I am in paradise, I am living in the best time, I am intelligent and beautiful, I am the boss, I am very happy, and I exist in this world to enjoy its resources. Others might say—I am living in hell, at the worst of the times, I’m stupid and fat, I am subjugated by others, I’m always depressed or sad, and I don’t know why I even exist. This is an idea of the self, not the self. It is present in the mind. It can be judged to be true, good, and right, or their opposites. Hence, there is a soul and there is a reflection or picture of the soul in the mind. Seeing this reflection is almost like a person looking into a mirror. The mirror—in this case—is the mind. It creates a self-image.

This idea of the self in the mind is also controlled by the puppeteers. By identifying with it, the soul is dragged by a false sense of self under the control of puppeteers. By willpower, the soul can change this self-image or stop identifying with it. The process of changing the self-image is called ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanaṁ or “washing the mirror of the mind”. It results in a pure idea of where I am, when I am, what I am, who I am, how I am, and why I am.

All ideas in our minds are altered when the self-image is changed. This includes ideas about the world. I have discussed earlier how modern science emerged out of an individualistic and separated conception of self. This separability leads to reductionism and quantification because the whole is just the sum of the individual countable parts, which then leads to materialism, and eventually to the rejection of the mind. Individualism, separatism, reductionism, quantification, and materialism, constitute the modern societal mind.

The science developed based on separation can be replaced by one based on inseparability. But to understand that science, we have to change our self-image. If the science of inseparability seems difficult, inconceivable, strange, or unfathomable it is because our self-image is individualistic. It is difficult to reconcile an individualistic idea of the self with an inseparable idea of the world. The mental model of the world has to align with the mental model of the self. If they are incompatible, then one of them will be rejected. If the individualistic self-image rejects the inseparable world-image, then we remain stuck with current science. But if the inseparable world-image rejects the individualistic self-image, then science assists spiritual progress.

Thus, the pursuit of science is not contrary to the pursuit of spiritual upliftment. Just by understanding an inseparable picture of the world, the individualistic conception of the self can be rejected. But if individualism is high, then the inseparable picture of reality will be rejected. We will say we don’t understand it when we are merely unable to accept it. Why can’t we accept it? It is because two ideas—of the self and the world—co-exist in the mind. They cannot be incompatible. By changing the self-conception, we know inseparability better. By understanding inseparability, we alter our self-conception faster.

Generally, for everyone, self-conception is a more fundamental and stronger idea. We don’t adapt to the world—unless there is no alternative. We rather seek that world that is adapted to our nature. This is why most people do not seek the truth. They are looking for a “truth” compatible with their self-conception. Even if they receive the truth, their minds reject it, because it is incompatible with their picture of the self. The primary reason they reject is that they know that they cannot fit into that world-conception without considerable changes to self-conception. But the reasons they will cite for such rejection will obscure this fact. Hence, epistemological theories rooted in empiricism and rationalism are useless because we always seek that data that is compatible with our nature. We then find that theory to explain the data that is compatible with our nature. Given a self-conception, data and theories are self-selected to create compatibility between the self-conception and the world-conception.

Strong willpower is hence needed even to accept the truth. That willpower must be used to analyze data and theory to understand its truth or falsity. The self-conception must not be allowed to interfere with this analysis. Once the analysis is complete, higher priority must be given to the truth than the self-conception. The self-conception must be modified per the truth. Most people cannot do this because they don’t have the willpower to modify their self-conception. It hurts them to know that they are not what they thought they were and that they must change their idea of the self to align with the truth. Endurance of this pain is tapasya or sacrifice. Even the philosophical search for truth is not easy because it always involves a painful realization that our idea of the self has been false. Only those who are truly seeking the nature of the self, and are dissatisfied with their present idea of the self, can make rapid progress in philosophical study. Thus, scientific truth always comes out of a self-quest.

If we apply this problem to society, we find that society rejects that truth that is incompatible with its self-conception. An individualistic society cannot accept a truth based on inseparability. It will search for data and theories compatible with its self-conception, which means independent particles, pushed by forces, governed by mathematical laws, in an open space and time. If their self-conception is individual freedom, then they cannot accept hierarchical space. If their self-conception is continuous progress, then they cannot accept cyclical time. If their self-conception is the body, then they cannot accept a mind-like reality. It is hence futile to say that modern science rejects Vedic philosophy. The fact is that the idea of inseparability is incompatible with a scientist’s self-conception. Scientists from varied departments are not aspiring to find the whole truth. Their primary interest is personal career advancement. Unless they change their self-conception, the truth will be rejected.

Suffering is therefore an essential gateway to the truth. Suffering is a reality incompatible with our self-conception forced upon us. We suffer because what we thought of ourselves is not supported by reality. That incompatibility creates a painful situation in which we are compelled to introspect. Where am I? When am I? What am I? Who am I? How am I? Why am I? We go out in search of answers, but we may not accept the best answer because we prioritize our old self-conception over the truth. We seek temporary solace and comfort in not changing things too much. It is a tendency for self-preservation. But that “self” is not the true self. It is simply a picture of the self in the mind.

Mental Aspects of a Society

The mind is the instrument that gives ordinary things meanings. People show affection by folding their hands, bowing before others, patting others on the back, hugging each other, or shaking their hands. If you are alien to a societal convention, you will not feel the affection even if someone demonstrates their societal convention of showing respect. However, if your mind has integrated with the societal mind, then the same actions will evoke in you the feelings that others are feeling. A person from a hierarchical society feels appreciated by a pat on the back by a boss from a flat society but for the person from a flat society, it is just a friendly gesture that should not be seen as appreciation. In some societies, a pat on the back would be a mark of disrespect by getting too close, and not a friendly gesture, or a mark of appreciation. Accordingly, a person misjudges the meaning of actions based on social conventions.

The intellect is the instrument of judging the truth based on prior formed beliefs about reality. For instance, some societies are individualistic while others are collective. Some are hierarchical while others are flat. If you come from a flat society, then you will think that hierarchy is man-made while nature is flat. If you come from a hierarchical society, then you will think that flatness is man-made and hierarchy is natural. In the former case, people accept that a universe is organized hierarchically with the more qualified souls living on higher planets. In the latter case, people think that the entire universe is like our planet. But they cannot find life on other planets. They say it is due to water. But why doesn’t water exist on other planets if hydrogen and oxygen are everywhere? Nobody knows the answer. A person from a hierarchical society, however, says: We see a higher person on a need-to-know basis.

The ego judges the good based on prior beliefs about the nature of goodness. People from free societies assume that they are liberators of closed societies and they would be welcomed by the people from closed societies because they are bringing them liberty. The fact may be that people in closed societies are horrified by the ideas of good and bad in open societies. Theocratic countries for instance abhor the freedom enjoyed by democratic countries. They don’t see it as something good. They consider it an evil leading to degradation. But the same people often change their ideas of good and bad once they move into a different society. Of course, some people continue with their old ideologies. Their bodies may be a part of a new society but their minds are living in a different societal collective unconscious with alternate beliefs about good.

The moral sense is the instrument of judging right and wrong based on prior formed beliefs about the nature of right and wrong. People in the West, for instance, are accustomed to the “rule of law” because they have the idea of universal lawfulness dating back thousands of years. They like to follow rules and regulations. People in India, on the other hand, are not accustomed to the “rule of law” because they have the idea that there are no universal rules and regulations. Rather, the appropriate rule for each situation is situation-dependent and rules can be adjusted based on time, place, situation, and person. In their minds, they are not breaking the principles of morality when they break these rules, but in the eyes of the West, they are breaking the law, which must also be considered a moral violation. However, when Indians go to the West, they immediately start following almost all the rules and regulations. When they return to India, they again go back into the mode of adjustable and modifiable rules. A rule is no more than a “loose guideline” for most Indians. It is, however, an inviolable “law” for Westerners. This is owing to their radically different beliefs about what constitutes morality and immorality.

All these topics are bundled into “social psychology” in modern academia which, depending on your liking or aversion to such nomenclature, can indicate that the society has a mind or that the social mind is merely a euphemism. I’m not going to debate the nomenclature. What I can say, however, is that if we don’t model a society as an organism or person, then we will also produce short-lived societies. By modeling them as persons, we not only understand them better, but also integrate the various aspects of a society—such as a mind and body, or ideas and things—into a more coherent understanding.

A Foundation for All Subjects

In the last post, we discussed a personalist foundation for natural and logical sciences. In this post, we have discussed a personalist foundation for social sciences. These are harder compared to a personalist foundation for mind sciences or life sciences because it is easier for us to accept that a body and mind are a person than to think that a book or a society is a person.

Philosophy manages to transcend these boundaries and adapts to different divisions much better, although there are different traditions of philosophy that prefer to dwell more on one of these domains than others. Analytic Philosophy, for instance, prefers to dwell on natural and logical sciences. Continental Philosophy, on the other hand, prefers to dwell on the mind and social sciences. Eastern traditions in Philosophy tend to cover more scientific areas than their Western counterparts, and the Vedic tradition covers all disciplines.

Those conversant with Eastern philosophy, such as Buddhism, Jainism, or the Vedic tradition know that they have detailed models of the universe, the nature of mind and matter, the essential principles in terms of which to think of conscious experience, and alternative versions of logical reasoning. This was not always the case. For example, Buddhism did not have any cosmology or theory of matter, to begin with. Buddha’s teachings contain nothing about these topics. The theories of matter and cosmos were added to Buddhism to be a viable alternative to the Vedic tradition. The same is true of Jainism. Jain cosmology did not exist, to begin with. The teachings of Rishabhadeva do not have them. But they were added to Jainism to be a viable alternative to the Vedic tradition. The Vedic system pushed Buddhism and Jainism to develop wide ranging theories of reality and set high standards for debate and intellectual rigor that benefited both religions. Hence, Buddhists and Jains have no animosity toward the Vedic tradition, even if they have different views. The Dalai Lama often says that Indians have been gurus for Buddhists.

These extremely rich, comprehensive, and versatile traditions are unfortunately bundled at present into Western theology departments along with other unsophisticated religions. The people who work in these departments are also not trained in scientific subjects to understand the value of Vedic theories. For instance, who in a theology department is trained to understand the problems of binary logic to appreciate the need for alternative forms of logic? Who in the theology department is trained in modern cosmology and its problems to appreciate an alternative cosmology? How many people in theology departments understand the incompleteness of number theory to appreciate the use of qualities and modalities? The answer is nobody. Theologians are not trained to understand the material in these books. The kind of multidisciplinary expertise and approach required to understand these texts is simply beyond the capability of anybody graduating from the modern education system.

Instead of trying to fit Vedic philosophy into one of the academic boxes, we have to think of it in the traditional way in which it was taught. For instance, Lord Kṛṣṇa went to Sāndīpani Muni to get the knowledge of 64 departments. One man was a complete university capable of teaching everything. We cannot imagine such proficiency today because we have systematically fragmented knowledge into dozens of conflicting departments. We think that people with narrow approaches can appreciate the broader truth but it is impossible. We have to begin by breaking all the boxes. If someone can do that, I’m confident they will make rapid progress. Those who cannot, will struggle longer.

The Vedic system is unsurpassed in its proficiency. I am able to transcend the boundaries of natural sciences, logical sciences, mind sciences, life sciences, and social sciences simply on the strength of Vedic philosophy. This is not my versatility. It is the versatility of the philosophy. It can unite everything, it can simplify everything, and it can rid everything of its contradictions. It is not merely “theology”. But unless people pause to look beyond theology, and treat it as a complete science, they will not be able to see its proficiency.

Barely a thousand years ago, universities like Nālandā were teaching these subjects to anyone keen on learning. Their libraries were filled with over a million handwritten books (the Nālandā library burned for 3 months after it was set on fire by invaders). They had hundreds of erudite teachers with expertise in many subjects. They had thousands of students, including hundreds from foreign lands at a time when travel was conducted on donkeys, feet, and boats. People crossed deserts, mountains, and seas, using whatever means possible, to come to India to study these subjects. The situation is far easier now because there are no distances to cross and everything is coming to us with merely a few clicks. Everyone can take advantage of the situation and gain knowledge. They will see the benefits by so doing because even as we can debate endlessly about whether something is pudding, the best way to prove it is by eating it.