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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. ...

4/29/16

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

vitaragabhayakrodhah

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. 

4/11/16

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!

4/7/16

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. 

4/4/16

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."

4/2/16

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. 

4/1/16

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.