Namaskar. Welcome to Session 5 of the Cosmic Philosophy course.
As human beings our goal is self-realization – complete awareness of the infinite Cosmic Consciousness. That’s our inner search. But there’s also our external world of social relationships and responsibilities. So we need to strike a balance between the internal and external aspects of life. In 1959 Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar (Shrii Shrii Anandamurti) introduced a socio-economic theory to achieve just that. It’s called Prout – the Progressive Utilization Theory, meaning the progressive utilization of resources for the welfare and happiness of all. In the next two sessions we’ll go through some of the main aspects of it, and how it relates to our spiritual search.
• Prout is based on spirituality and universalism
The thirst for infinite happiness is the overriding human desire, and to quench that thirst a proper system of spiritual practice is needed. But for spiritual practice you need a healthy mind, and for a healthy mind the body must also be strong and healthy. Physical requirements must be met before one can think about spiritual development and elevation. So spirituality is linked to the socio-economic necessities.
“Prout is a spiritual theory. It will be established by seeing One in many.”
Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar
The outlook of a truly spiritual philosophy cannot be anything other than universalism: love for all creatures of the universe; not just human beings, but animals and plants too. “It is the Cosmic ideal alone which will unify humanity,” because only when one realizes the unity in all diversity can the feeling of love for all beings be developed, transcending all apparent differences. Love for the Infinite inculcates love for all as members of the same Cosmic family.
“Human society is one and indivisible. Don’t try to divide it. Each and every individual should be looked upon as the manifestation of the Cosmic Entity.”
Shrii Shrii Anandamurti
• A happy blending of individual liberty and collective responsibility
A tree has the freedom to grow and produce fruit, but it also has the responsibility to give shade. Likewise a proper social system needs to be a happy blending of individual liberty and collective responsibility. Individual good lies in collective good and vice-versa: the welfare of the individual is inextricably linked to the welfare of the collective.
“One will have to promote individual welfare motivated by the spirit of promoting collective welfare.”
Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar
• Same constitutional structure
For all people of the world to live in harmony, we will need to have fundamental principles of life common to everyone. That is, we should have a common constitution by which we will all live by, including a common philosophy of life (that of Cosmic fraternity), a world language (in addition to local languages), and a world government to coordinate development and settle regional and international disputes. Fundamental human rights will have to be guaranteed, as well as the minimum necessities of life for all people.
• Moral leadership
Human capacity and potentialities, both individual and collective, need to be developed for the benefit of the world as a whole. This implies that the leaders of society, responsible for controlling resources and making policy decisions, should have strong moral integrity and selfless dedication to society, thus avoiding the diversion of resources away from the public interest. Authority should not be centered in the hands of individuals, but should be expressed through collective leadership. In any electoral process the electorate as well as the candidates would need to possess three qualities in order to validate the election: morality, education, and socio-political consciousness.
• Political centralization and economic decentralization
The most effective method of legislation and coordination would be that of a world government for overall supervision, combined with local (immediate) governments for control of local resources, economic planning and coordination. Both world and local governments would have an overall board of moralists as well as legislative, executive, and judicial boards.
While political power must be in the hands of moralists, economic power and decision-making should be under local control, because it is the local leaders and planners who understand the problems of the area and are able to implement policies quickly and effectively. The freedom of the local people to make all their economic decisions is called economic democracy. Generally a local area is defined on the basis of common factors such as ethnicity, culture, language, economic situation, and geographic location. With increasing similarity among these factors neighboring local areas can merge, improving their collective wealth. With improvements in technology and communication it will eventually be possible for all local areas in the world to merge as one. So while the application is regional, the outlook is universal.
“This path to attain happiness… I call absolute devotion. Carry on performing your worldly duties with sincerity, and at the same time think about the pure Self within you. The constant thought of your pure inner Self will certainly one day establish you in your original source, and this is the ultimate aim of spiritual practice.”
Shrii Shrii Anandamurti