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There is only one goal. That is to be whole again.

There is only one goal. That is to be whole again. How human beings live and work determines whether they remain whole or are split. ...


Wide, well-lit, and strewn with fragrant flowers

Do not seek quiet and rest in those earthly realms where delusions and desires are engendered, for if you do, you will be dragged through the rough wilderness of life, which is far from Me. Whenever you feel that your feet are becoming entangled in the interlaced roots of life, know that you have strayed from the path to which I beckon you, for I have placed you in broad, smooth paths, which are strewn with flowers. I have put a light before you, which you can follow and thus run without stumbling.

Meditation is paying attention. It is not an attempt at quieting or controlling the mind but rather an active watching of the mind. We start by paying attention to the physical sensations in our bodies. We watch without control. 

Over time we watch whatever we are presented with. These are gifts from the cosmos. Our work is to watch. 

The cosmic gifts on one hand are divergent. They are as varied as we are. Some of us begin to see colors. Others hear words. Still others see images and inhabit them. The gifts are endless in their variety. We may see, hear, feel, sense, understand. We may think, dream, sleep, know, investigate. 

On the other hand the cosmic gift of meditation is convergence. Choices fall away. Where we once saw two roads ahead we now see only one. Where we once struggled over our choices--so many paths to so many possibilities, good ones and bad ones, hasty ones and well thought-out ones--we now experience no struggle. 

We see just the one path. Wide, well-lit, and strewn with fragrant flowers. 

Black Forest
20 September 2018


The root of the word heresy in the original Greek means choice. The ancients were aware that choice is maya, illusion, created by duality.

Industrialism everywhere broke the backbone of culture, which is grounded in religion and the belief in God. 

Right action, immediate and accessible to all from the oral transmission of great poetry--in the form of the great myths, the great works of oral literature that everywhere in the world were only much later written down--was replaced by choice with its attendant confusion.

Confusion leads to doubt. Doubt leads to the breakdown of faith. 

With that breakdown is the modern world impregnated. 


Either we are asleep or we are awake. This is not a matter of choice. It is a simply a description of a state of being. 

When we are asleep we are split. When we are awake we are whole. 

When we are asleep we are in a world of choice. Should I do this or that, choose this or that, what if I do / what if I don't. If we are conscious while we are asleep we worry about our choices. We want to be good and make the right decisions. Whether unconscious or conscious, when we are asleep we are engaged in what the ancients called maya, or illusion. 

To be awake is to be whole. To be without choice. Then moment by moment life presents the right action and we live it. 

Good Friday 2018, Singapore. 


We create stars

When you look up at the night sky do you have a friend up there? One that you feel intimately connected to. A planet, a satellite, a star, a constellation, a galaxy, anything out there. A friend.

When we first met we would go on night walks and Krista would point out Orion. Having grown up in busy, polluted Bombay, I had never noticed the night sky. But from that very first walk in Evanston I have had a friend in the sky.

I always look for Orion. Or rather Orion looks for me. When I look up at the night sky Orion's right there, twinkling at me.

When you look into the horizon do your eyes rest upon another friend--the sea, a river, mountains, valleys, woods? I was born by the Arabian Sea and the sea has always been my friend. Sometimes far away at another seashore I wonder if I can touch the sea of my childhood. And I realize that she is the one reaching out to me.

Have you taken a close look at your heart? For your heart is also your friend. The first time I really noticed my heart I felt her open to me.

If we first pay attention to our friend heart, and then up to our friend in the night sky, and then down to our earthly friend, we create a triangle.

If we create triangles at different times, in different parts of the world, together we create interlapping triangles of attention. When our triangles of attention across time and space interlap, we create stars.

2 February 2018


Although I was born in Bombay I spent the first four years of my life in Hyderabad, the capital of a rambling ancient kingdom ruled by the Nizam until a decade and half before I was born. For those four years of my life I did as I pleased, spending my days, as the song goes, singing long before I could talk. 

Early mornings with birds and our neighbor's water buffalo, days playing with Legos brought to us by our father's friend from Vienna, nights of huge parties on our veranda with our parents' friends from all over the world. 

Music, laughter, dancing, and play. 

Freely expressing the little wild anarchist inside, and aping the Telangana revolutionaries, I even threw tiny stones at jeeps sporting corrupt cops. (A few years ago Telangana was finally recognized as a separate State within India.)

For the first four years of my life I was following life. Then for many years and many decades I tried to make things happen, opted for control over following life, only to come to the point now where I can clearly see that to live following life is the only way to really live. 

And when the holidays come along it is a gentle reminder from life to give up controlling things and to enjoy each other, our lives, and our beautiful earth. 

Wishing all my friends a wonderful Christmas, happy holidays, and a fabulous new year in which we let our little anarchist within sing and leap for joy!



Rural folk have an innate grace that city folk like me lack. Jeffrey, a local friend, helped me with some things yesterday afternoon that I would not have been able to do myself.

I have learned in these months on the island that offering people cash like we do in the US is a big no no. There is nothing more embarrassing than holding out money like we do in America and the intended recipient smiling and saying gently, "There is no need for that."

So yesterday I agonized over what to give Jeffrey. Of course I could have just let him help me and let that be the end of the matter. But I didn't. In the past my go to present has been cake. Really. Filipinos, like Indians, love love love cake. I am a rather helpless foreigner in their midst and I need a lot of favors.

So I was on a roll with handing out cake until I realized I was overdoing it. I was pushing on their inherent politeness when I was producing yet another cake for my many helpers. So as I say, I agonized over what to get Jeffrey. Then suddenly in great self-congratulation for my brilliantness I had it: rice! I had bags of organic red rice from the neighboring farm. I would give him one!

When I gave Jeffrey the bag of rice he seemed confused. What would you like me to do with it? he asked. Eat it! At that he smiled and actually bowed. I felt so good about myself I could have kissed him. I had figured it out, I knew what gifts to give my rural friends!

As he was leaving, with many gracious thanks, I casually asked him if he was used to eating red rice. Yes, he replied, that is what we grow on our family farm.


When we saw foreigners we'd run away

As urban areas expand, rural areas contract. The nature of the economy changes. Rural areas are societies that took a very long time to form. They are not cash economies even when money is used. They are social economies, where economic functions are embedded in deep social relations and interrelationships. Rural economies are earth-based economies, where nature plays a big role in providing for people's needs. Things produced come from the earth and return to the earth. 

In the rural area in the Philippines where we have spent over two months, it is easy to see this. Coconuts everywhere! The fiber is used to make thatched roofs, the coconut water is drunk, the flesh used to make coconut oil and coconut milk. The guyabano fruit--a powerful cancer fighter prized by Krista--and papaya grow everywhere. Rice, black as well as red, is easy to grow. People don't earn much in terms of cash but that's exactly the point. They don't need much cash in an earth-based economy. A local friend uses cash to buy a little carton of Dutch Milk as a special treat for his two year old daughter. 

If I were to take the ferry from this island--two hours by fast ferry, five by the slow one--to the city I would enter a very different world. I know that world well having spent two months living there with friends. The city is entirely a cash economy. Nothing grows there so everything has to be bought in markets and increasingly in malls. Everyone I got to know there uses 'vegetable oil', that foul, unhealthy oil made from soy beans. Coconut oil is prohibitively expensive and available only in select pharmacies. People earn a lot more cash in the city than they do here in the rural area, but the cash is spent quickly on Nestle formula ( it is difficult to breast-feed the young while working twelve hours a day), Nescafe 'white' coffee (instant coffee mixed with that vegetable oil atrocity: 'non dairy creamer', 'cheap' clothing at the mall for the family, ridiculously expensive school uniforms complete with black leather shoes and school 'supplies'. The cash based economy destroys the society that rural living built over centuries. 

A local friend reports visiting a village in China and then returning a year later to find an entire city in place of the village. That is the likely fate of the rural area here in the Philippines that we have spent an idyllic two months in. An international airport is being built--one so big that it will cover four barangay (the unit of local government) and permit ten airplanes to take off and land simultaneously--to be operational next year. Already the first 7-Eleven on the island has come up, anchoring the first mall, containing exactly three stores. In a year this place could be hell.

We start to say goodbye to our dear friends in this rural area, this beautiful island. Carlo's house bequeathed to him by a favorite grandmother is over a hundred years old. It is built on stilts, in the traditional manner, with thatched coconut roof and woven grass walls and graceful openings for doors and windows that have no 'doors' or 'windows'. The house is open to the world as it has been for a hundred years. Carlo says, laughing, "When we were young we thought foreigners were ghosts. When we saw one we'd run away!" 

But the land, our earth, can't run away when the 'foreigners' come. She is open, with no 'doors' or 'windows', even as we disfigure her beyond recognition. 


By now we must all agree that poverty is truly global. We can not go on with the illusion that poor people live in poor countries and rich people live in rich countries. 

The fact is that the poor are everywhere, both in so-called poor countries and in so-called rich countries. They are all suffering. 

The cause of global poverty is the thoughtless trapping and destruction of resources. 

Friends, this thoughtless trapping and destruction of resources is not something going on out there, far away from us. This is going on very much in our own midst. We are doing it. Until we understand this and change, global poverty will not be alleviated. 

When Arun Gandhi, one of Gandhiji's many grandchildren, was around thirteen, he spent a few months with Gandhiji at his ashram. Though Gandhiji was, as you can imagine, very busy, he spent an hour each day instructing the young Arun. The lessons were practical, immediate, and unforgettable. 

One day Arun was walking to the ashram on the road and absentmindedly tossed the tiny little stub of the pencil that he used each day into the bushes. He thought no more of it until his daily lesson with his grandfather. Gandhiji had a way of getting young Arun to recount his day for him, turning daily living into a living laboratory of lessons. When Arun reported tossing the pencil stub, Gandhiji interrupted the lesson. Arun was to leave at once and scour the long road for the missing pencil stub, returning only when he had found the pencil. For young Arun it was like looking for a needle in a haystack! It took him two hours of diligent searching to find it. 

When Arun returned to his lesson his grandfather explained to him that everything contains resources and how we interact with things can cause poverty or abundance. 

When we take any action without thought we do not recognize the dignity value inherent in every thing. Any kind of thoughtless action is thus violent. 

When we throw things away thoughtlessly we destroy resources. After all everything contains resources, so when we thus destroy resources we lower values by not recognizing the dignity value of things being tossed. I may think that something is 'used up' and hence worthless (like the pencil stub) but it will be of use to someone else somewhere. When I throw it away I take it away from the person who could have used it causing that person poverty. In my action I am not recognizing the inherent value of the item, its dignity value, and by my thoughtless action am causing poverty. This is what is meant by the thoughtless destruction of resources. 

When we thoughtlessly own things that we do not use, we trap resources. Since everything contains resources, our action of holding on to things we do not use -- our houses, possessions, wealth, anything unused -- we artificially raise values above their dignity values. We think that we 'value' these things since we own and hold on to them but in reality since we don't use these things, we trap the resources contained in them. I don't use these things but I don't let others use them who would use them everyday. In this way I am thoughtlessly stealing resources away from those who would use them. 

If we can be thoughtful in our actions we can create abundance everywhere. 

Firstly, instead of throwing things away that have no use for us, we can recognize that everything has dignity value and that someone somewhere would have a use for almost anything that we possess. We can give such things away to those who would use them. 

Secondly, instead of owning and keeping things that we do not use, we can give away such possessions to people who would recognize and respect the inherent dignity values of these things and importantly, use them. 

If the cause of global poverty is the thoughtless trapping and destruction of resources, the cure is the thoughtful release and circulation of resources. Abundance is available to us everywhere. God did not create us to suffer. We, that is, each and every one of us, needs to change how we live, and if we do, we can have more abundance than we can imagine! 

Every ancient faith affirms that and so do our hearts if we but listen. 


We are gathered amongst friends. The conversation is warm and engaging. Towards the end of the evening I am asked to say something on the two interrelated topics that have sprung up -- human nature and freedom. This is what I say: 

It is dangerous and misleading to talk about 'human nature' being this way or that way. When we do that we are in the world of half-truths.

Are humans rational? Sure, but they are also irrational. Are we driven by self interest? Yes, but we are also moved into other interest.

To pick a few extreme tendencies of human nature while ignoring their opposites -- opposites that are just as much a part of human nature -- as does modern economics, is wrong.

Modern life has made us split. Instead of whole people we are consumers, producers, 'economic agents' casting 'dollar votes', profit maximizers. 

When repeatedly told that and forced into situations where these ideas are reinforced -- work life separated from family life -- an education that identifies and extolls certain extreme tendencies of human nature -- a cash based economy combined with money-controlled television and social media which dramatically change and shape lifestyles -- we are thoroughly conditioned into the 'products' that can be fed into the ever hungry, ever greedy system of modern life. 

And then we behave largely, though not entirely, as modern economics describes us: not as people but as products.

But therein lies the beauty of God's gift to us -- that of free choice. We can never be completely conditioned! So how do we find our way out?

We must watch ourselves very carefully, and that watching (called meditation in many traditions, awareness or mindfulness in others) is the key.

It is this watching of ourselves that allows us to see successively:

1. That our lives are unsatisfactory

2. That we are expressing a very limited number of extreme proclivities

3. That there is a system at work that shapes society

4. That it is possible to break out of the system

5. That we can live lives where we are no longer split but rather whole, expressing a beautiful range of tendencies lead by love. 

The way God has created us we have every proclivity as well as its opposite. Our work on this planet is to find a way of appropriately expressing the right balance of these proclivities and develop ones we may initially be unaware of. That, to me, if freedom. 


It is accepted without question that so-called poor countries need a) an economic policy b) guided by foreign experts c) funded by international entities.

This unquestioned idea is the cause of the misery in those countries not the solution to the misery.

The very idea of economic policy is erroneous. Implicit in the term is the idea that whatever social relationships that exist and would exist in the absence of the colonial and post colonial influences would not and could not possibly be adequate. That the naturally developed economy or that that would emerge naturally in the absence of the corrupting influences of the colonizer can not be accepted as appropriate. That it must be changed. This is utter nonsense. Common sense tells us that societies can and do develop sustainable economies when left alone.

The idea that foreign experts and its corollary, foreign-trained indigenous experts, can somehow direct this misguided at best and disingenuous at worst, economic policy has been accepted at all levels and has caused untold suffering in the so-called poor countries. Instead of allowing natural social-economic relationships to be sustained and developed, foreign experts forcibly direct economic policy, which actually destroys the fragile social-economic ecosystem that is developing on its own.

The final blow comes from foreign money. Large sums of money created by governments and banking systems in the West with the single purpose of making a profit in the short run and gaining control of / owning resources in these so-called poor countries in the long run, are funneled into these countries. 

Debt results first. The debt becomes so large that the foreign experts then demand privatization which is essentially theft of resources (a stock) from the so-called poor countries by the rich. 

Debt gets even bigger as the country's resource base shrinks. Economic policy now takes the form of Austerity. People work long hours for less and less, with income (a flow) increasingly diverted to paying the foreign lenders.

People everywhere! Don't fall prey to these blood-sucking strategies wearing the 'respectable' clothing of economics and economic policy. The economists will destroy your countries and enslave you. Please let us wake up to this.


What do you make of rural folk who are disconnected from the earth?

I grew up disconnected from the earth. I am very aware of that. Even while growing up I had no illusions about this. You see, I grew up in the concrete jungle called Bombay. But growing up I didn't know of any rural folk who, like me, were disconnected from the earth.

When I was nine we visited my father's village. He grew up there and life was pretty much unchanged when he took us there. Food was cooked on wood-fires, there was no electricity, and we got around on foot, bicycles, and bullock carts. His village was right on the Arabian Sea, so aside from what people grew on the land (grains, vegetables, amazing fruit) there was fresh sea-food available. I remember a woman coming by with freshly caught lobsters one day. My mother (who was and is a strict vegetarian)said she'd buy them for us kids if the woman would prepare them. The woman went home, grabbed a couple coconuts (these grew everywhere), and made us a delicious lobster curry, the taste of which I will never forget.

Rural India has changed beyond belief and this is happening everywhere in the world. The rural lifestyle has been replaced by the Cash lifestyle. Emulating urban life, the rural dweller consumes much like her urban counterpart. Which means cheap and shoddy mass-produced goods, fast foods, and a digital lifestyle, all of which require Cash.

The very idea of living off the land is bizarre to people everywhere, both in urban and rural areas. The idea that our food, our shelter are gifts of God go diametrically against the Cash lifestyle. And thus it is that our rural folk just like our urban folk are completely disconnected from the earth.
Later, we are in Cebu, Philippines. The family we stay with has four servants. They work seven days a week, every day of the year from around seven in the morning until around nine at night. The family is considered liberal - they let their servants go home at night while most others make their servants stay close by in bamboo shacks so as to be of service twenty-four hours a day.

The servants are paid cash every Friday. They rush to the mall on pay day to buy their families cheap T shirts, packaged snacks, fast food. Each week they spend all that they earn.

The servants live in the Cash trap with no way out.
Chottu is 15 years old. He lives in the boardinghouse for mostly foreign tourists that we are staying at on our visit to Jodhpur, in Rajasthan.

He is married. His wife lives with his extended family back home in the village. He owns agricultural land in the village.

So what's Chottu doing living in a boardinghouse ten hours by road away from home? He is a servant, almost a slave. He works night and day every day of the week cooking, cleaning, serving, visiting his family once a year.

This is a very common problem. Granted Chottu's land is not very productive. However it is productive enough to feed his family. But his family is not interested in simply growing food on the family land and living off it.

The problem is that the prevalent industrialism has created a lifestyle for his family in the village that can be lived only with the means of cash. Young men from all families are hence sent far away to the cities to work as indentured servants, almost slaves, so that the families can have cash to support their cash-based lifestyle.

It is no longer enough to approach the problem as a production problem, the way E. F. Schumacher brilliantly did fifty years ago. He came up with the idea of intermediate technology - agricultural methods that would be small and simple but far superior to the old ways. For if today somehow Chottu's family was equipped with such intermediate technology and was able to grow crops such as juwar and bajri, the sad thing is that in all probability they wouldn't know what to do with these grains.

I was fortunate to have grown up in India at a time when my grandmother would prepare bhakri - unleavened bread made from local grains such as juwar and bhakri and stubborn enough to be the only boy in the history of our school who insisted on studying traditional cooking as an elective.

However when Krista and I tour India now we rarely find anything other than mass produced wheat flour anywhere. Even when we are occasionally able to find other grains and a stone mill to grind them in, only the very old know how to prepare breads (like bhakri) made with anything other than wheat.

So the problem now is a lot more complicated than it was a generation ago. Cash is a lifestyle that creates a vicious cycle of enslavement of young men who are torn from their families, while the families live a life increasingly disconnected to the earth.


What are the real constraints of change in the economy? 

The only real constraint is that everyone and everything has its dignity value. When I created the concept in 2008, I defined dignity value as the inherent value of all things and beings. I have not changed my definition since.  

Organic change recognizes and respects dignity values. Such change is sustainable and enriching. This is the approach of Gandhian economics. We use words like wholeness, interrelationships, society, to describe such change. 

Any other kind of change, such as that effected by industrialism, development economics, and foreign aid, disrespects dignity values. Certain things such as 'infrastructure', 'privatization', 'progress', are given exaggerated values while others such as traditions, crafts, the extended family, are devalued. When an economy moves away from its dignity values, bubbles are created. 

Bubbles give the illusion of the excitement of change, of great power over nature, of a new, ordered, rich society. That is what much of the world is experiencing right now. However bubbles always burst, returning us to dignity values. What appeared to be great change is seen to be mere maya, illusion. 

People everywhere, in rich countries as well as poor, have wasted time enmeshed in such maya. The entire field of economics is maya

The Ancients said that there was only one cure for what ails the human being - to wake up from illusion and start the hard work of building real relationships. 


I always pick the simple over the complex. The direct over the indirect. The essential over the inessential.

I would pick the individual collection of rain water over the building of a dam. Help among neighbors to a scheme of assistance. Farming, community building, and allied businesses over so-called infrastructure such as electrification and road-building.

Health services need to be built around what is a healthy way of life, not illnesses and pharmaceutical practices. If we live healthy lives we do not need medicine.

There is no need for a banking system, the most rotten and corrupt of all systems.

There should be no systems in general.

Modern life has reduced vibrant societies to masses of people. Gandhiji said that while a group of people was a mass, a group of people with interrelationships was a society.

We need to recreate our society everywhere in the world, in rich countries as well as poor. People are hurting everywhere.

As we develop real societies built on genuine interrelationships we will reject the complex edifice of the parasite of modernism that is sucking life away from us.

We can start today by picking small over big, interacting with neighbors for our social and business needs over faceless commerce and so-called social media, and picking love as the only answer to all questions.


The trick is to find our selves when our upbringing, our society, works to create a false self.

This false self values status, believes that we are our bodies and nothing more, and blindly follows religion (falsely called) whether that of an organized kind or of science.

We are programmed to reproduce the values and material expression of modern society, of industrialism and consumerism.

That we are not our bodies at all is banished from the set of possibilities. That we are not separate individual beings is a thought that is considered 'backwards'. How do we dare go against the idea of 'progress' - that imaginary linear march of conquest of human proclivities?

For the most part we don't. While the most political action in reality would be to meditate we waste our precious moments of life supporting certain causes and fighting others.

None of these actions ends suffering. None of these actions, our very lives, recognize us as the wondrous powerful beings that we are. That we are energy, that we are capable of profound insights about life, insights that lead to the evolution of human consciousness.

And so I find myself at the end of my life profoundly disappointed.
Not a single day passes by when I am not reminded of my limitations. My ego continually wants to be in charge. I act from greed. I act from fear.

I am drawn into the conditioning that the modern rudderless world creates and reinforces so effectively, even effortlessly.

I am not only a victim of the modern world. I am enlisted, through unconscious conditioning from a young age, to act out the will of the collective modern consciousness.

So how do I live?

The only way to live is to die each day.

Each day I believe to be my last day alive. My very last day on our planet. What do I do, how do I act, knowing these to be my very last actions?

As I die each day I learn to live. In spite of my ego, my crude conditioning as a grasping material being, I discover my real self fleetingly each day.


How have we come to the point where we have accepted a sad, stressful, material existence in place of a happy, robust, spiritual one? How have we been duped into accepting life as it is--a garbage can full of pointless consumption--when existence can be, and should be, blessed and strewn with flowers? 

It must be that we have been unaware. That in the middle of our long sleep our souls have been sucked away and replaced by a chasm that only knows to consume. We see this all around us, everywhere, in rich countries and poor. If someone had predicted such a total and absolute transformation of the world in Gandhiji's day no one would have believed that prediction. How is it that in about 50 years the world went from hope and expectation of a world where small is beautiful to a world where the small, the organic, the truth, have been sucked away by a giant suction machine called global capitalism? 

We must, as I said earlier, have been unaware. And so there is only one solution. We must wake up and become aware. 


Modern economics puts self-interest at the heart of life--we are all supposedly guided by the law of self-interest above all else.

Gandhiji revolutionized economics by putting love at the heart of life, where it rightly belongs. Gandhiji said,

"It is my firm belief that it is love that sustains the earth. There only is life where there is love. Life without love is death."

If we find that we live in a society where love has been displaced by self-interest, we can do something about it.

We can love more. With more love we will find life once again invigorated and self-interest will fade away.
A note on methodology

We proceed in the manner of Gandhiji, experimenting with bold ideas, always willing to change them as they evolve with our experiences, applying the tests of truth and nonviolence at all times. Gandhiji said,

"There is no such thing as 'Gandhism', and I do not want to leave any sect after me. I have simply tried in my own way to apply the eternal truth to our daily life and problems."

Clearly, Gandhiji did not want us to blindly go about repeating what he said but rather to actively create new understanding with our own experiments and gain our own inferences from these experiments. So this blog is not an attempt to recount all that Gandhiji said about economics--that would be creating a sect, which is what Gandhiji clearly did not want. This blog is an attempt to share my expanding understanding of Gandhian economics as I live and grow and experiment over time. 

Therefore, the first principle of my methodology is personal experimentation under Gandhiji's influence

Furthermore, Gandhiji was interested in the creation of wholeness in life. Any study, any experimenting must be done in the spirit of wholeness. Gandhiji said,

"The whole gamut of man's activities today constitutes an indivisible whole. You cannot divide social, economic, political, and purely religious work into water-tight compartments."

So my study of Gandhian economics is a study in wholeness. I have found through my own experiments with life that the main problem with modern life based on modern economics is that we have been split. That basic split in our psyche can be made whole by living whole lives that are based on interconnections with others, meaningful work that allows us to be whole, a simple lifestyle that aims at self-realization rather than accumulation. 

Therefore, the second principle of my methodology is wholeness in living and enquiry

*Both quotes above are of Gandhiji. They may be found in Tendulkar's 'Mahatma' vol IV pages 66-67 and 212.


When times are hard our yoga practice becomes our sail-boat that helps us cross the stormy sea. Our yoga practice is not only the daily practice of physical postures known as yogasana or simply asana but also the daily practice of living our lives. 

When times are hard we feel fragmented. It is a great challenge to stay focused, to move forward with our lives. Such times demand that we make conscious use of our most precious resource, namely time. The ancients have given us three modes of being that, to continue our metaphor, allow us to cross uncharted waters in our sail-boat. Any one of these can take us safely across when combined with our asana practice. 

The first mode is known as bhakti yoga. This is the devotional mode. One dedicates every waking and sleeping moment to a cause, a deity, a principle, anything that one believes in whole heartedly. Bhakti yoga is very effective when you have something that you can single-mindedly focus on. That then becomes your meditation, night and day.

The second mode is known as gyan yoga. This is the mode of the intellect. One immerses oneself in the discovery of new knowledge, gaining a deeper and deeper understanding and perspective upon our subject of study. Gyan yoga is not simply book-knowledge. You study for your self the practical implications of that knowledge and act upon your understanding.

The third mode is known as karma yoga. This is the mode of work-for-the-sake-of-the-work-itself. The Bhagavad Gita defines this mode as follows: You have the right to your work but not to the fruits of your work. You simply immerse your self in your work with no thought of the results but simply connecting to the act of working as your meditation practice. The beauty of karma yoga is that anyone can do it in absolutely any kind of work that one is engaged in. You could be hand-washing dishes, working in a library, painting a house, directing a movie--all that matters is that you do your work with no ego-attachment to the results of the work. 

Which mode we pick depends on our personality and personal preferences. Joining any one these modes with our asana practice allows our sail-boat to stay afloat and cross the stormy seas. After all the word yoga means to join: we must join the practice of living and the practice of doing to create wholeness in our lives.


Economics needs to be redefined. We can easily demonstrate that the traditional definition of economics as the study of meeting unlimited wants by limited means is incorrect.

An important principle given to us by Gandhiji is

means = ends

After all, only truthful means can lead to truthful ends and only nonviolent means can result in nonviolent ends.

From the definition above we focus on the term "limited means." We must agree that

limited means = limited ends

If our means are limited our ends must by necessity also be limited. Furthermore if our ends are limited our wants can not be unlimited: After all a want is a desire for an end!

We can thus redefine economics as the study of meeting whole but limited wants by whole but limited means with the goal of creating whole and unlimited people.


What are we to do?

Life prompts us forward towards expansion. This is a very natural process. Evolution wants to happen, always and everywhere. I call this process the pulse

Often in our ignorance we thwart this process. We settle for a material existence created by great force. We possess things, have status, achieve things. But for how long? Before long these things, life itself, fades away. 

This is the problem everywhere in the world. There is so much turmoil both in the parts of the world where there is severe poverty and in the parts that have plenty. We can deduce from this that the problem is not simply a lack of material things but something much greater: a missing link to life itself. 

In order to regain our connection with life's promptings we must continually shed our possessions, our positions, our hard-earned status in society. We must become small and open to possibilities. 

It is then that we start experiencing the quiet promptings of the pulse and if we follow the pulse we move forward. 


It is difficult to apply truth and nonviolence to our daily life. That is because both truth and nonviolence are whole ideas whereas our lives are not whole. Our lives are split, reflecting the split in our selves.

I have found that simply noticing two related but split ideas in our daily lives is the first step to wholeness. The two ideas to notice are fear and greed.

When I am aware of my fear moment to moment, pay attention to it without trying to change it, I grow towards truth and nonviolence. When I am aware, however fleetingly, of my greed, pay attention to it without trying to be any less greedy than I am, I grow towards truth and nonviolence.

Friends, awareness precedes action. We must fully accept that we are split and deeply notice the manifestation of that splitting in the form of fear and greed. When we do so we take our first steps towards embracing truth and nonviolence and hence wholeness.


To heal we must become whole. We must lose our egos until we see that we are one. You are not just you as you think of and see yourself. You are also me. You are also your worst enemy.

As long as we cling on to our sense of 'me' we are limited. From this limited perspective the first step in consciousness is self interest. We recognize, in this limited state of being, the importance of self preservation and self expansion. 

With further development of consciousness we recognize other interest as our guiding principle. This is the second step in consciousness. It leads to acts of kindness. However consciousness does not stop here. 

In the third and highest state of consciousness we recognize that we are one. In this state of one interest there is no separation, only wholeness. 

Gandhiji described this state of one interest in his talks on the Bhagavad Gita at the Sabarmati ashram thus: 

It is in man's nature to do good for all selves are one. Since that is so, the apparent separateness of each self has no significance. When this is realized man's ego melts away. Man's essence, which is the atman, is all-pervading, because he who has realized it will not see himself as different from others, but will see all in himself. For such a person, therefore, doing good becomes part of his nature. When he seems to be serving other creatures, he is doing so not out of kindness to them, but is merely following his own nature. To us who are enveloped in maya, it might seem like he is practicing virtue, but in truth it is not so; he is acting only according to his nature towards all creatures.

What a contrast it is to compare Gandhiji's beautiful description of human nature to that of the modern economist. To have an economics based on the lowest level of human consciousness is to expect very little from ourselves. This is the state that modern economics finds itself in. And what a pitiable state it is! 

We must recognize that the teachings of modern economics are but the first step of human consciousness, that higher states of human consciousness are possible. With the growth of human consciousness into higher states it is possible to have higher states of economics. 

These higher states of economics are what I call Gandhian economics. 


What gives meaning to life? Not money, not getting ahead, not acquiring things, but consciousness alone. 

Individual consciousness (atman) wants to merge with the universal consciousness (brahman). Which is why we engage in the ordinary business of life. 

When we recognize economic activity as consciousness we create a whole new way of looking at economics. Then we ask ourselves how may wholeness be achieved in our lives.


Economics is commonly thought of as no more than an expression of the law of demand and supply. That is so but not in the narrow, split way, of modern economics. Let us look at the terms demand and supply with fresh eyes.

What is demand? Is it not desire?

What is the ultimate desire for? What is behind your desire of this or that? We do not desire things for their own sake. Rather our desires are expressions of a primary impulse, that is the desire for the darshan, or being in the presence, of God.

And where does supply come from? You may say it comes from this company or that government. But ultimately all supply comes from God.

So the law of demand and supply thus reformulated is the law of wholeness. It is a gestalt,  parts of God (us) seeking God (the whole) while God (the whole) offers its parts (us) a chance for a reunion.

When thought of as wholeness, demand and supply make a lot of sense. 


The Bhagavad Gita gives us a wonderful word which expresses what human beings must strive to be to realize God:


I like this word a lot. Not only is my own name embedded in it but its meaning, according to Gandhiji, is "who are free from all attachment, fear, and anger," a perfect summary of the work ahead for each of us human beings. 

Instead of putting self interest at the heart of our economics, as does modern economics, what would happen if we made vitaragabhayakrodhah the heart of our new economics? 

I invite you to meditate upon this, then apply it, and affirm it. 


karma + vikarma = akarma

The Bhagavad Gita has given us this beautiful economics formula. You can see from it how different our conception of work is from that of the West.

Karma is action. We work, that is action. We engage in karma. Vikarma is how we engage our souls in our work. Our souls are simply our inner essence. Work without soul is mighty effort indeed! When we engage in work of that nature in our society we are proceeding incorrectly. Wrong work leads to exploitation. Tomes have been written analyzing the nature of exploitation. But friends, exploitation is only a reality when work is devoid of soul.

When work is done with the engagement of the soul one hundred percent something magical happens. Right work results in akarma, or unwork. Akarma can not be analyzed in terms of exploitation because there is none.

If work is the basis of economics it seems to me that we must start by understanding the nature of work. We would all do well to meditate upon the simple formula, the very foundation of our new economics and keep Krishna's wise words in our hearts, "By going there you will understand how utterly serene the mind can be while performing continuous service; you will understand how, though action rages without, the heart can be tuned to produce unbroken music."

Meditation: karma + vikarma = akarma

Exercise: How can I today wholeheartedly engage my soul in my work? 

Affirmation: I can separate my work from the fruits of that work, letting go of the fruits!


If we are to make practical inroads into ushering in the new reality that awaits us we must start with ourselves. I would suggest that we all work on the following elements within ourselves:

1. Harmony
We must exist in harmony before we can do anything in the world. Harmony is not the common image of the happy individual (happily) consuming a wide variety and large quantities of material and spiritual goods. Harmony has nothing to do with commerce. Harmony is an inner strength, and inner peace that must be earned. The only effective way that I know of to develop harmony is long and rigorous meditation.

2. Balance
This has nothing in common with the modern economist's conception of equilibrium. Balance can not result from opposing forces acting against each other, such as the case of supply and demand, which are mere inventions of modern economics. Balance comes from following the inner voice in each and every action that one engages in. It comes from right action without considering the fruits of the action.

3. Openness
Once harmony and balance become a way of life one naturally opens, much like a flower, to take in and express one's inner essence. Openness means never using history to make judgements, rather responding in the moment, improvising in the moment.

These, in my opinion are the preconditions for allowing the new economic reality to come into existence. Friends, it is hard work but what do we have to lose? Can we tolerate another year, another month, another day, another moment even of the reality that we live in?

I for one can not. 


Q. Can you explain how the idea of trusteeship can function in a practical way in our very imperfect world? It seems to me that everywhere people look to their own interest so that there must be policies that redistribute wealth and income to fight that tendency.

A. When you talk about 'a practical way' do you not assume that the fundamental nature of our economic organization can not change?

Q. I don't see any evidence that there is a natural progression towards sharing so I say that the redistribution must take place by the use of rules and regulations.

A. And yet we can not begin to talk about a new way of living or organizing ourselves until we do two things. Firstly, we must accept that our old ways of thinking have not worked and will not work in the future. Secondly, we must accept that each of us must go through a period of intense soul-searching, that society itself must go through such an intense period of soul-searching. What will result from that is a very different way of being and living and thinking about things.

Q. You do not accept the evidence of what is as the basis of the formulation of your new policies.

A. Not only that, I do not accept that the way things are are a reflection of human proclivities let alone human potential. The fact is that the reality that you point to me is the result of a profound splitting of the human being. When people are no longer whole their organization, their foundations, their very lives are no longer whole. What is simply points to the fact that we are split. Surely that can not be the basis of understanding wholeness.

Q. Would trusteeship, the idea that each may earn what they want to as well as keep it as long as they don't believe that they own that wealth but accept that they are simply trustees of that wealth provide a solid and sustainable basis to our economics?

A. Which economics are you talking about? If you plan to simply tack on this idea of trusteeship to all your other ideas such as self-interest, survival of the fittest, and so on that would be no firm basis for trusteeship.

Q. Then what is needed? What about human rights?

A. What is needed is a complete reinvention of the human being in its original and natural form as someone who is deeply connected to his inner voice, inter-relates meaningfully with others based on tenderness and duty rather than demanding of rights, and strives to be whole in all spheres of life. Such a renewed human being will be aware of many of his or her God-given talents, develop them fully with the cooperation of others, in turn helping others to realize themselves. The rights that you are talking about come about as a result of an integrated, whole life. They are not the starting point.

Q. Can this change happen in our lifetime?

A. It can happen in the blink of an eye. Right now, right this moment pledge to be kind, pledge to be whole, to live and work for universal oneness. Let go of fear, do your work, and don't always be looking to see if your rewards are on their way. Do this now and your life changes now! If you assert that life changes only when the results, the rewards come, you misunderstand the purpose of life. In Gandhiji's words, ours is simply to "do or die," and as the bhagavad gita says, "you are entitled to your work but not to the fruits of the work."


What do we seek? Some say we seek things, material goods. Others say we seek comforts, leisure. Still others point to religious and spiritual spheres as the ultimate things that we seek. 

But the important question is not what we seek. It is why we seek. And the pursuit of that question, why do we seek is really the most important thing. In answering that question we come to understand the nature of the human being. 


Thoughtfulness is how I define the standard of living. A group of people with plenty of material possessions but no thought for others is a group with a very low standard of living. On the other hand, a group of people with very little in terms of material possessions but great thoughtfulness towards each other is undoubtedly a group with a high standard of living. Kumarappa writes

We must bear in mind that the true test of civilization is not our material possessions or our manner or mode of life but the thought we bestow on the well-being of others. *

And what exactly creates well-being? It is certainly not the so-called consumption championed by modern economics. Consumption is a one-way street. It is a using up of resources. It is the least mindful and most thoughtless of actions. Well-being is created by a sense of purpose, a sense of belonging, a sense or responsibility and a spiritual understanding that we are One.

When we gauge our own lives or assess the life of our society we may confidently use the yardstick of thoughtfulness to measure the standard of living.

* Why the Village Movement by J. C. Kumarappa 1949 page 3. 


Here is a basic framework for Gandhian economic analysis when it comes to policy. When we are considering a project with largely economic dimensions, we must examine the means independently from the ends.

We can never say, "Well the ends are so lofty so we may accept the means, whatever they may be." Instead we must ask ourselves, "Regardless of the ends what is the nature of the means? Are the means the right action?" If they are, they will be consistent with truth and nonviolence.

Next we must examine whether the proposed policy leads towards wholeness or towards splitting.

Modern economics, with its idea of raising standards of living leads directly to the splitting of the individual. Work is not meaningful, it is wrongly seen as a "means to an end" and separates the worker aspect of the person from all of his or her self--moral, religious, loving, social, creative, earth-intelligent.

We must only accept policies that move us towards wholeness. Work that uses all of a person's abilities, that enriches their moral and social consciousness would be accepted while work that is demeaning, soul-less and self-defeating such as that under modern economics must be rejected.

This is just a start. But I challenge us all to start implementing it, starting right now! Only then can we see change in our lifetime.


There is only one goal. That is to be whole again.

There is only one goal. That is to be whole again.

How human beings live and work determines whether they remain whole or are split.

Modern man is split. That is obvious to anyone who inquires into the human condition. In spite of tremendous increase in measured wealth, in the so-called standard of living, humans are more miserable than ever.

So the question emerges, why are humans split?

Human beings are split because of their economics. How they live and work is generally profoundly disconnected to the natural order of things. In place of harmony and balance, most people, especially in the West, but increasingly in the East as well, live lives of meaningless, disconnected work and neglected family and community lives. There can not be a rich web of interconnections when the core is rotten. And that rotten core is the system of modern economics.

In an act of absolute violence modern economics split the means from the ends. This way of looking at life involved using whatever means possible, guided only by self-interest, to maximize tradable output. Instead of seeing people as inherently good, as responsible caring members of families and societies, modern economics emphasized the individual, that too one that only seeks maximum satisfaction. This way of splitting means from ends led to the justification of the use of horrific methods never before used or even imagined by mankind. Nuclear power, dependence on fossil fuels, global and constant war are all considered to be appropriate means.

This has gone on for so long that the sickness of split humans has spread worldwide and violence and war, greed and exploitation have become the norm. In the name of peace we wage war, in the name of feeding people we poison the earth, in the name of the future we destroy the present. Everywhere we create a race of obedient workers working meaningless jobs, blindly following their politicians and leaders, ignoring their children, families and community in their restless (and pointless) attempts to get ahead.

Modern economics can be summarized in the following schematic:


Everywhere people are engaged in means that seek only to maximize production. Then there is an arbitrary and usually unjust distribution of that production. How else can we explain CEOs making billions while ordinary workers make less and less? The tax system is generally regressive in effect so that the poor are getting more and more destitute even as the rich get richer. Where I live the number of homeless people has easily multiplied by four times in the last few years while the simplest single-family house sells for well over a million dollars.

Consumption is the 'opiate of the masses.' By flooding the markets with cheap, shoddy goods and entertainment services, modern economics ensures that people stay too busy consuming to really question their lives.

This consumption is supposedly the ends of the whole corrupt, repressive, exploitative and splitting system of modern economics.

But there is an alternative--Gandhiji gave that to us a hundred years ago! Gandhiji said that means and ends are convertible terms, that there is no difference between means and ends. In other words

means = ends

and what follows from this equation is the total collapse of modern economics. For the system of


can only exist as long as means and ends are violently and forcibly separated.

Once we are enlightened with the deep understanding that means are the ends and ends the means, we will never again use violence (means) to achieve peace (ends), never again work meaningless jobs (means) to support our families (ends), never again follow individual self-interest or greed (means) to achieve a meaningful and happy life (ends).

Instead we will understand that only nonviolent means will lead to nonviolent ends, only meaningful work will create meaning in our lives, families and communities, only doing things for the good of all or One-interest rather than self-interest will lead to wholeness.

Friends, I am as scarred as you are by the violence of modern economics. I have been guilty of being seduced by modern economics for much of my life. I have paid the price for that with a broken family, lost friendships, and the malaise of meaninglessness. I have been there and continue to struggle with many of these issues each day. I am not a saint, just a very ordinary human being who lost his way in modern economics and was saved by Gandhiji.

Will you join me today in building a whole life for your self? Even if there are just two or four of us in the whole world we can make a difference. The point is to start, today.


Modern economics is built on the three-fold model of production-distribution-consumption. First a society, it is asserted, must decide what to produce using available but scarce means. Next that society must decide how to distribute the fruits of all the effort that was put to producing things in step 1. Lastly, the society must consume the fruits of work in accordance with how those fruits are distributed, this consumption being the ends of economics.

Gandhiji said simply that

means = ends

so the whole three-fold edifice of modern economics collapses when we approach economics from Gandhiji's perspective. 

Then there is no production-distribution-consumption but only right action. 

As the Bhagavad Gita tells us, our work is to commit to right action in all aspects of our life without any attachment to the fruits of that action. We create by connecting with family, with neighbors, thereby creating a society. A real society is one where people's wealth is in the rich interconnections that they have developed with others through right action. 

We don't commit to right action to create wellbeing in society:

right action = wellbeing

That would be separating means and ends. Instead we commit to right action simply because that is the right thing to do:

right action = right action

That is the essence of Gandhian economics.


I = S - M

The modern way of thinking about economics has been

I = M - S

Where I is the I as in me, M is what is 'mine' and S is what is shared.

So we are brought up to think that we are what we have , what is ours (M) minus what is shared (S). Sharing in that formulation takes away from me (I). 

Gandhian economics suggests that we reverse this usual formulation to read

I = S - M

I am what is shared (S) and what is 'mine' (M) takes away from what I am (I). 

Wealth consists in our interrelationships. The greater and more wonderful our interrelationships the greater and more wonderfully do we share, enriching the 'I'. 


Symbols are important. Symbols are inherent in any world view.

In the world view of modern economics the symbol deeply inherent is that of self interest. That mankind is slave to, indeed is driven by, the need to satisfy its self interest.

Gandhian economics has a very different symbol inherent in it. That symbol is love. Mankind is capable of love. Love at the level of love for another, love for family, love for society, love for everyone and everything in our world.

The thing is self interest is very easily accessible. If I do not live a life of meditated action, of deep and consistent contemplation, I know that I myself fall into a very self interested state. It is a very small minded, a very small hearted state.

When I work hard to be more mindful of my life, of others, of mother earth herself, I find myself capable of love. Sometimes I am so overflowing with love I want to hug everyone around me. In my hardest moments, in my trials, I find gratitude towards God, that which is infinite love.

So we could say that Gandhian economics is economics as if love matters.



A Gandhian economy is not an economy closed off from the rest of the world. Though small, vibrant, local economies are the very substance of Gandhian economics, appropriate international trade has an important role to play is such an economy. 

In Gandhian economics we are interested in qualitative relationships, not the quantitative relationships assumed and analyzed by modern economics. We are looking for harmony rather than equality, with the notion of oneness and wholeness rather than the notion of equilibrium.

Equilibrium requires the presence of two or more opposing forces which are then met at one (or more in the case of multiple equilibria) point. In Gandhian economics we reject the notion of the equilibrium and look for harmony instead.

This is not just a theoretical approach. In fact we do not separate theory from practice. Instead we practice wholeness at all points:

Harmony happens at the point where 

X - M = (S - I) - (G -T)

where X = exports; M = imports; S = saving; I = investment; G = government purchases; T = tax revenue

viz. the harmony in the trade position of the economy depends upon the harmonies between the investment and saving positions on one hand as well as the harmony in the government's budget position. That is to say that if the nature of saving and the nature of investment in our economy are in harmony and further that the nature of government spending and taxation are in harmony, then there is the very great potential of a lively international trade with the rest of the world that is also in harmony

Dear friends,

Our local news source for the Indian community, Siliconeer, ran a story on me this week.


Wishing you all well, peace & love. 


Western economics thinks along the trajectory of an arrow shot upwards towards the sky--ever harder striving, higher so-called standards of living, all at the cost of fragmentation of the psyche and the family. Means are used to achieve the ends. The mathematics of Western economics is a linear thinking.

Gandhian economics thinks along a gentle curve, a circle to be precise. Means and ends are ever convertible and create wholeness. The mathematics of Gandhian economics is circular thinking. 

Friends, we are not individuals competing to get to the top. We are One. Together we make, not a hierarchy, but a circle. 


The essence of Gandhian economics

A quote from Schumacher:

"Divergent problems, as it were, force man to strain himself to a level above himself; they demand, and thus provoke the supply of, forces from a higher level, thus bringing love, beauty, goodness, and truth into our lives. It is only with the help of these higher forces that the opposites can be reconciled in the living situation." (Small is Beautiful, New York, Harper & Row, 1989, p 103)

Schumacher was the second greatest economist of our time (by his own admission the greatest being Gandhiji). Like Gandhiji he firmly brings us back to God as the center of our analysis. 

And a quote from Brother Lawrence:

"It is however needful to put our whole trust in God, laying aside all other cares, and even some particular forms of devotion, very good in themselves, but yet such as one often engages in unreasonably: because in fact, those devotions are only means to attain to the end, so when by this practice of the presence of God we are with Him who is our end, it is then useless to return to the means. Then it is that abiding in His presence, we may continue of love, now by an act of adoration, of praise, or of desire; now by an act of sacrifice or of thanksgiving, and in all the manners which our mind can devise." (The Practice of the Presence of God, Aeterna Press, London, 2015, p 16)

Brother Lawrence was a simple, awkward, uneducated (by his own admission) lay monk who lived in Paris in the 1600s. All he did day and night was stay in the presence of God. From this lifelong practice he arrives at the same insight that Schumacher, the great economist, does. And of course they both echo Gandhiji's wise words:

"Means and ends are convertible terms." (Young India, 31-12-1931, reprinted in M.K. Gandhi, The Essence of Hinduism, Delhi: Farsight, 2009, p 67)

So the starting point of the new economics that we are creating together, all over the world, involves invoking the forces from a higher level, namely God who is our supply, and to do so in a simple way of life where we are constantly in God's presence. By thus obliterating the artificial divide between means and ends, we attain wholeness. 

That is the essence of Gandhian economics. Its only reason for existence is to bring love, beauty, goodness, and truth to our lives, which in my opinion are also the essence of wholeness.


Gandhian economics does not teach equality. It teaches oneness. Equality is the result of oneness, not a method of proceeding. It is a policy outcome, not policy itself. This confusion has caused quite a muddle in our thinking.

Equality means two things are equal. In that mathematical construction of the relationship we create separation. If I say, "you are my equal," I am immediately setting up a separation of "us" into two parts, viz. you and me. 

In his beautiful and wise commentary on the Bhagavad Gita Gandhiji says:

"It is only if we have faith in our hearts that, although we exist as separate beings, we are all one--it is only then that we can feel a sense of equality. Otherwise, even two leaves are not equal."* 

Friends, do we have the courage to see that we live in just such a world, where even two leaves are not equal, and that Gandhiji gave us a clear economic methodology of action rooted in the Bhagavad Gita emphasizing oneness. 

It is incumbent upon us to adopt this simple approach and allow for the flowering of a new, whole human being and a new, whole society. 

*See especially the edition published by Jaico Publishing House, Mumbai, 2010


Modern economics makes a slight-of-hand in making the equality of buying and selling as the central pillar of its theoretical structure.

buying = selling

However the fact is that whatever is bought is in fact sold! This is a trivial observation, what we would mathematically call an identity, rather than an equality. An identity is true by the very way in which we define the terms and tells us nothing novel or interesting about how magnitudes may potentially relate to one another.

While buying is identical to selling, the idea that buying equals earning is far from trivial. Mathematically, it is a true equality rather than an identity.

buying = earning

How we buy ends up equalling, over time, and through the complex and drawn out process of what we call the economy, how we earn.

So we must pay a lot of attention to how we buy. When we buy from neighbors, from businesses that promote wholeness, that are integrated in the society that we live in, we create the foundation for whole earning for everyone who resides in our society.

It is simple as that!


God is our supply. God gives us everything that we need.

Not what we want. What we need.

So supply has to do with needs not wants.

Sometimes we need suffering in our lives. Often we don't want it, but we may need it. Just as much as we need joy.

Supply is the unfailing flow of resources from God to meet our needs.


At a recent gathering of friends an erudite economist says:

"How can you begrudge self-interest? It is what is universal, what connects us all, each to each."

I reply:

What is truly universal, what truly connects us is God. I have traveled the world and I have yet to find even in the farthest reaches of the earth families, communities and societies that do not believe in God. They may call their God by different names but they all have the sense of something much bigger than themselves, far greater than their miserable self-interest, which is based only on fear and greed. So I say that God is what truly connects us and God is who is universally considered to be holy or hallowed, both words that mean 'whole'. What connects us, each to each is wholeness.

When asked by the distinguished Christian leader Dr. John R. Mott what had brought deepest satisfaction to his soul in difficulties, doubts and questionings, Gandhiji replied quietly, "A living faith in God."

God connects us all, everywhere in the world. To create wholeness in our lives we need to bring God back inside our homes. Back to our work. Back to our lives.


What do I imagine to be the perfect world? I can do no better than the words that my own teacher Kumarappa quotes from Anquetil du Perron in Public Finance and Our Poverty (1945):

"When I entered the country of the Marathas, I thought myself in the midst of simplicity and happiness of the golden age, where nature was as yet unchanged, and war and misery were unknown. The people were cheerful, vigorous and in high health, and unbounded hospitality was an universal virtue; every door was open and friends, neighbours and strangers were alike welcome to whatever they found."

This description is not a figment of du Perron's imagination. I know that for a fact for my wife and I visited this mythical-seeming land of the Marathas during my Fulbright in India. It is after all this time still the same. I must also inform you, dear reader, that this is my ancestral land.

That it is unchanged, untouched should not come as a surprise. After all Kumarappa, the father of Gandhian economics, called it the economy of permanence. 


Shukracharya in the 8th century CE argued for an economy based on morality. In fact morality is indispensable when it comes to the economy. For the economy is how people live and work, how they connect with each other (for no man or woman is able to create all that he or she needs by himself or herself), and how they grow.

Not how what they produce grows but how they grow. Whether they grow into fearful and greedy souls or whether they come to the realization that all life is one. The former has been the path taken by the modern economy, which is to say most of the world, while the latter is the clear path that Gandhiji lighted up for us with his wisdom and love.

These are simple matters but we have to care to listen.

Why do we accept greed and competition as the basis of economy? Is it not a wonder that we do so? Stop for a bit and think about it. Do we have any tradition anywhere in the world of sustained wisdom, something that has had lasting value and was passed on through many stages of the society that taught greed as a principle to be adopted in living and working?

No, all sustainable traditions have taught, as did Shukracharya, that morality was inseparable from economy. In modern times this idea found its clearest expression in John Ruskin's Unto This Last, the book that was to profoundly influence Gandhiji's life and make him, in the words of the great humanitarian economist E. F. Schumacher, the 'greatest economist of our age'.

Gandhiji taught us that

means = ends

so that the adoption of violent means would create a violent society, the adoption of greed as a means (as Adam Smith and most economists following him have argued for) will only lead to a very greedy society and the adoption of competition as the means will create a society of cut-throat competitors.

Survival depends on cooperation rather that competition. If we cooperate to create good work and good families we will have a society with people who are fulfilled by their work and loved by their families. The creation of a new economics is well within our reach. All we have to do is let go of fear and greed and accept wholeness as our guiding principle.

We should love our work and work our love. We should love our families and we should love our neighbors. We should work with others instead of against them. That is all that Gandhian economics asks of us. Would you join me in making this happen one person, one workplace, one family, one society at a time?


I would like to see a world that is more interconnected not less. So I am not arguing for a world where we make walls around us. That is not the true meaning of swadeshi at all.

True swadeshi sees everyone as one.

Since it makes sense to use our resources wisely we turn to our neighbors first both to share the fruit of our labor and to seek that which they may have produced.

We are truly one.

Let's be sensible about it. We are all one but let's turn to our neighbors first.

When we do that we end up creating a real society. That is all that Gandhiji wanted us to understand about economics. 


Why do we believe what we are told? Why do we not think for ourselves?

Is it because we have been trained like Pavlov's poor dogs to respond a certain way to certain stimuli? I think it is. In my own case the Pavlovian analogy is not so far-fetched. My so-called teachers carried canes in their hands and beat us mercilessly if we did not do exactly what they wanted us to do. I remember once I was caned for speaking in Hindi, once for eating 'Indian food' out of my plastic lunch box. Both those were forbidden. So for me it is not hard to understand why I would 'buy in' to the brainwashing that passed for an education. With that sort of education it is a wonder that I ever 'got out'.

And the only reason I 'got out' was because of Gandhiji.

Growing up in a system far worse than the one I was subjected to, Gandhiji managed to find his bearings and with strength and dignity declared freedom from the stupid bigoted colonial education that all of us in India grew up with. Which is why he is my bapu, my father.

He is our bapu.

And he is the bapu of what we may now call Gandhian economics (though he never called it that). This would be an economics, a study of how people live and work in the 'ordinary business of life' as whole beings. People not split into consumers and producers but whole people who do many things: Live, work, love, laugh, enjoy their families, their friends, contribute to the building of complex inter-relationships and hence society itself. That is what we are exploring in these pages.

We are inspired by our father's example in rejecting the conventions of what passes today as economics, just as it did 100 years ago in Gandhiji's own time. We are building up, bit by bit, ideas, principles, theory and applications of a multifaceted, pluralistic and above all whole body of ideas that replaces the conventional ideas held by economics today which serve only to split each of us, split our families and destroy what is left of society.

We can change the world. We have to start with ourselves. We have to deprogram ourselves from our Pavlovian training and think for ourselves, chart our own paths across the sea of our life.

Gandhiji can serve as a useful compass on this journey. Which is why I write and which is why we should read him in his own words. 


I don't have to look far to see that there is humanity and then there is rationality. Humanity is a felt thing. You know when you follow Truth and when you follow unTruth. It is simple and can be trusted. This is the path that Gandhiji urged us to take.

Rationality gives precedence to cold reason over human considerations. Rationality is the path urged by modern economics. It is rationality alone that made it possible for the British to tax salt in India at levels that were unsustainable for the poor but immensely profitable for the government. India being a land of the poor, its very spirit was broken by this law. The salt lay in plain sight in the earth and yet its harvesting was forbidden even when done for the sake of the cattle who needed an occasional lick to sustain themselves.

There are accounts of cattlemen taking their cattle out late at night so that the cattle could lick some salt. Often such attempts were aborted by the overzealous police. The men were beaten, their cattle impounded. Such was the use of rationality in economic policy-making in British India.

It was a very profitable policy. All it lacked was humanity.

And that missing humanity makes all the difference between bad policy and good policy, between life wasted and life sustained. It is hard for me to believe that in my own country of birth (and that of Gandhiji) and all over the world people still, to this day, buy into the idea of rationality as the guiding principle of economic policy.

Friends, that is not just silly, it is downright dangerous. That attitude has brought the world to the brink of destruction. Only humanity can save it.