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Section V — Prevailing crisis and the way forward

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Section V — Prevailing crisis and the way forward

In essence, man is a spiritual being and his inherent nature is of love, goodness, harmony and peace. But, due to the coverings of mind and matter, his inherent nature becomes dormant; and spiritual inertia with an outward focus sets in. Desire, anger, lust, attachment and ego, become the dominant forces, and they entice him with the temporal pleasures of power, wealth and sex. As these three forces are essential for the fullness of life, man gets so engrossed in them, that he losses all discretion and balance. “Money is the visible sign of a universal force, and this force in its manifestation on earth works on the vital and physical planes and is indispensable to the fullness of the outer life. In its origin and its true action it belongs to the Divine. But like other powers of the Divine it is delegated here and in the ignorance of the lower Nature can be usurped for the uses of the ego or held by Asuric* influences and perverted to their purpose. This is indeed one of the three forces—power, wealth, sex—that have the strongest attraction for the human ego and the Asura and are most generally misheld and misused by those who retain them. The seekers or keepers of wealth are more often possessed rather than its possessors; few escape entirely a certain distorting influence stamped on it by its long seizure and perversion by the Asura” [Aurobindo, 1972: p. 11-12] (*“Asura” is a vital being with a demonic character that attempts to dominate and control life). Thus, taking a realistic view of human nature, the Indian philosophy is based on the fact that “though the individual is lit with the divine spark, he is not wholly divine. His divinity is not an actuality, but a potentiality, a prophecy and not a fulfillment. Man is a part of God aspiring to be the whole. As he is, he is dust and deity, God and brute crossed. It is the task of the moral life to eliminate the non-divine element, not by destroying it, but by suffusing it with the divine spirit [Radhakrishnan, 1914: p.168-183].

If we analyze the root cause of all crisis (economic, political, business, societal, environmental or personal), we will find man’s greed for power, wealth and sex as the root cause behind them all. Greed never works alone; it is always accompanied by desire, anger, attachment and ego in some form of the other. Combined, these five evils of mind promote insensitivity in man towards his fellow beings; inject a false sense of achievement in man, and warp his discretionary capabilities. Slowly and gradually this spreads like an infection amongst the weak willed and a community of weak willed surfaces. Thus, at the scale, at which the influence of the five evils is visible in society i.e. the number of people and the magnitude, clearly reflects the mentality of modernity.

The challenge before us is how to change the mentality of the masses and arrest the decadence that has taken place in society. The solution rests in changing the quality of mind and that can happen only through ‘consciousness or awareness expansion’. The power of mind as recognized in the Indian thought; is also recognized in the West. Ralph Wado Emerson notes, that the greatest revolution of our generation is the
discovery that man can completely change the outer aspects of his life by transforming his inner thought patterns. The ancient scriptural statement reinforces this truth: “As a man thinketh in his heart so is he.” Yatha drishti, thatha srishti. The law of our being is that whatever we hold in our consciousness becomes manifest as our experience. Our thoughts and dreams form the only blueprint that the eternal builder in us uses to shape our future. In other words, our lives and affairs are completely influenced and shaped by the character of our thinking. A person is not limited by God’s will or heredity or by fate or circumstances but by his own dominant state of mind. Stirrings of greatness and groans of downhill slide begin within the mind. This is the unalterable eternal law of our being, the abiding dynamics of success and glory or failure and misery, radiant health and longevity or suffering and death.

Today what is needed is neither worldliness nor un-worldliness, but ‘Better Worldliness or Better World Order’. ‘Better Worldliness or Better World Order’ is a state where the inner and outer personalities of both (man and society) are developed and balanced. There is integration of the secular and non-secular needs of man and mutuality in the air. The focus of each individual is to keep his/her small corners of the universe clean and efficient, so that collectively there is overall cleanliness and efficiency. All live and thrive in the spirit of ‘Fatherhood of God and Brotherhood of Man’. This may sound utopian in nature, but it is not. The model given below has already been implemented in Dayalbagh, Agra, India. The rationale behind the model is “not to destroy the lower nature of man, but to suffuse it with the higher nature of man”, through meditation, participation in social service and spiritual service.

Meditation entails far more than the simple self-observation of mental activities. It includes control of the mind, and focusing of attention at the particular center of consciousness located within the human frame (ref. to section III). This practice is based on centuries of research carried out by the seers and mystics of India and often includes a detailed ‘map’ of the area of consciousness under exploration. A high code of moral conduct — both outward and inward — is also a part of all such practices as it is understood that purity of mind and expansion of consciousness are closely linked.
Model to Achieve Better Worldliness [Satsangi, 2006: p.127-167]

      • Objectives

  • To achieve better worldliness or better world order

  • To render selfless service to mankind

  • To evolve complete man with a balanced physical, mental and spiritual personality
      • Obstacles

  • Ego

  • Temptation (greed, anger, lust)

  • Selfishness (attachment)
      • Solutions

  • Engage in community service, religious service and spiritual practice

  • Provide education, more education and education made perfect inculcating values such as obedience, tolerance and cooperation

  • Set up habitats that facilitate leading exemplary life of better worldliness

The following research findings demonstrate the efficacy of the model to bring about the necessary change in the internal personality (consciousness levels) of man and society. It is interesting to note that even mechanical observance of spirituality, brings about a change in self and society.

Neuroscience research

  1. Effects of meditation on the brain: results suggest that long-term, or short- term practice of meditation results in different levels of activity in brain regions associated with such qualities as attention, anxiety, depression, fear, anger, the ability of the body to heal itself, and so on [Davidson, 2007: p.171- 174].

  2. To verify the hypothesis that ‘self’ is seen as separate in the Western culture and connected with others in the Eastern culture, a group of Americans and Chinese were asked to think about their self and their mother. fMRI showed that when the subjects thought of their ‘self’ the ventral MPFC (and perigenual ACC) of both groups was activated, but when they were asked to think about their mother, the ventral MPFC only of the Chinese got activated [Zhang, 2011: p.514-519].

Impact of religious practice on social stability in USA

  1. There exists a powerful and positive relationship between religious

commitment and personal well‐being; overall, psychological functioning

improved following a resumption of participation in religious worship for

those who had stopped [D’Antonio, 1980: p.89-104].

  1. In a nationwide survey of strong families, it was observed that 84 percent identified religion as an important contributor to the strength of their families [Murry, 1992: p.483].

  2. In an important study published in 1987, it was observed that the main cause of problematic adolescent sexual behaviors and attitudes is not only family dynamics and processes, as previously thought, but the absence of religious behavior and affiliation. The study suggests that healthy family dynamics and practices are themselves caused to a powerful degree by the presence or absence of religious beliefs and practices [Jones, 1985: p.53-63].

  3. A four year longitudinal, stratified random‐sample study of high school

students in the Rocky Mountain region, published in 1975, demonstrated

that religious involvement significantly decreased drug use, delinquency,

and premarital sex, and also increased self‐control [Cochran, 1989: p.147-


  1. In research conducted in the late 1980s a research team from the University of Nevada found that black men who eventually ended up in prison and those who did not, came respectively from two different groups: those who did not go to church, or stopped going around ten years of age, and those who went regularly. This failure of faith at the onset of adolescence parallels the pattern found among those who become alcoholics or drug addicts. Clearly, the family's inability to inspire regular religious worship among emerging young adults is a sign of internal weakness [Freeman, 1985].

  1. Regular church attendance is the critical factor in marital stability across denominations and overrides effects of doctrinal teaching on divorce. For instance, black Protestants and white Catholics, who share similarly high church attendance rates, have been shown to have similarly low divorce rates [Larson, 1985, p.121-147].

  2. Drug and alcohol use is lowest in the most conservative religious

denominations and highest in non‐religious groups, while liberal church groups have use rates just slightly lower than those for non‐religious groups.

But for all groups, religious commitment correlates with absence of drug

abuse [Amoateng, 1986: p.53-76].

(Note: For more research findings please see “Why Religion Matters: The Impact of Religious Practice of Social Stability By Patrik F. Fagan, January 25, 1996, The Heritage Foundation, www.heritage.org)

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