Hinduism and Economic Development in India

A conflict of knowledge and wilfulness

A discussion on a paper by by A.K. Saran:

If we look at the evolution of economic development in India over the past millennia, some may say it is playing catch up to the west and as of 2019, it is not only catching up but taking over. This is providing positive outcomes for some and further impoverishing others because that's the nature of capitalism.

When we look at the Hindu political and economic sphere today, it seems to be operating an accord to an extract from the article 'Hinduism and économic Development in India' by A.K. Saran who says:
"The sociological problem of India's economic development is not one of implanting in a planned order the capitalist ideology of the achieving societies, nor is it that of overcoming and utilising the resistance to development arising from a ruined tradition and its surviving institutions. It is the problem of finding a philosophy for planned economic developments that alone can root out the decaying institutions of Hinduism which conflict with modern economic development.
The contemporary face in the emergence of such a new philosophy is merely the existential reflex of others there. And this means that the hope for autonomous non-satellite economic development is false."

While it is clearly evident that this understanding or attitude has been adopted by the capitalists in their 'break India campaign', A.K. Saran spelled this out though he never proposed it. To find out what he meant, we must examine the detail he was writing in response to Webbers Thesis on the rise of Modern capitalism asking why did the scientific, artistic, political and economic development of the China not enter the same path as the European's?

He begins with the comment that he wishes to review the idea that the course of Indian economic development was stunted by the British and other occupiers.

A.K. Saran lived from 1922 to 2003 so perhaps we should can conclude that his formative years and included a great deal of British bull shit for the want of a better phrase. Over the past 40 years it's become much better known that the British looted India of many trillions of dollars, they transferred the industries to Britain then destroyed their original Indian manufacturing processes going to such extremes as breaking the fingers of textile workers, assassinations and genocide on a considerably large scale. Not only that they dismantled the social and educational structures, created the caste system and the widespread poverty that India is recovering from today.

He further goes to say "if this indirect refutation is sound it should also affect the strength of what may be called the historic justice argument for economic aid to underdeveloped countries an argument which may turn out to be little more than the whiteman's burden doctrine in reverse." Given that the entire wealth of Europe came from the exploitation of India, Asia and Africa this point is widely out of context and displays a distinct lack of knowledge on the course of modern history.

Saran then describes the conditions required for economic development being invention, innovation and individualism saying in other words that no economic development is possible without a fast developing technology and a class of individuals who have the enterprise and the requisite social and economic motivation to make productive use of these advances. Then he says "the Hindu tradition is incompatible with the development of technology, the enterprising spirit and the requisite individualistic motivation.

On these two points he is absolutely correct, but then he goes on to say that India played a negligible part in the unprecedented technological advance that characterises the transition of the West from Medievalsin catholic to Modernism. On this point he is correct to some degree but omits the fact that the technological achievements of the modern world are all based on ancient Hindu knowledge and even today scientists seeking to advance technologies keep looking to India for the foundational science.

Then he says that in order to understand the relationship with Hinduism and technological development which is largely a break from tradition it's necessary to briefly review the West's own break with tradition. "Briefly and roughly the specificity of Modem Reason could be appreciated in terms of the following concepts Universal doubt choice means-end schema for the analysis of human action and an experimental-empirical criterion of truth." Saran expands on this point more on page 85 to draw the conclusion that " an almost complete separation between Man and Nature was gradually but firmly effected."

The age of reason of course began in the European Renaissance as Hindu ideas flowed more thickly having in some cases been amended by the Arabs who were given ownership of the ideas that inspired further scientific thought and technological experimentation. To express this more simply, the Western world cut reason free of any substantive reality in a rather christian/ Romanised world dominated by brutality and forced adherence to particular ideas.

The result was that the Westerners became divorced from reality and operated without any rational guidance because reason could be used to suit any goal. Like modern capitalism itself that relies on a diminishing supply of free resources, degrees of slavery and a market for it's products science and technology became subsumed by capitalism which is basically destroying the planet we rely on for our existence.

"In sharp contrast stands Hinduism: Here Reason is not given the highest place. In Hinduism, intellectual powers are regarded as potentially infinite, the task of Eastern rationality is to enable man to see the need for and awaken the next higher power of Man The Hindu thinker starts with tradition of knowledge of the entire cosmos and the beyond and received technique of disciplines for the realization of the Primordial Unity." The Hindu use of reason is to help realise the traditional wisdom that has existed within Hindu culture for perhaps tens of thousands of years which requires a sense of unity with nature and instead of the separation espoused by the West.

On page 89 Saran alludes to the Hindu ideas of creation as being completely mythological yet even though these ideas are perhaps tens of thousands of years old, they are remarkably similar to the most modern scientific thinking that they cannot be differentiated other than by differing phraseology. But he goes on to claim that "it hardly needs any elaborate argument to show that the modern scientific spirit could not have arisen from the Hindu tradition." Again I must refer back to the fact that the knowledge of the West originated from Hindu tradition. From here Saron makes brief mention of Hindu technology which was flourishing before the Moslems arrived. There was gold, copper, bronze, steel and a great deal of technological knowledge.

But we must realise that while the ancient Hindu had the knowledge and the means to develop technologies, the wisdom told that such things were unadvisable. Since around the fifth millennium BC, capitalism began to afflict Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism) and creating some divisiveness between peoples. Various yogis and mystics including Sadhguru describe technologies for instance how to make an aircraft but such things were not developed.

It seems that our ancestors had the knowledge that technologies were ultimately destructive and while our lifetime on earth is finite, they knew that if we cooperated with nature, we would perhaps discover our inner potential and technologies that could be developed without destroying our means of survival. Unfortunately we are smothered in technologies that are already creating extremely unpleasant circumstances for all life on this planet. Saran quotes Ellade who describes the Western break with nature so severe that nature itself must be completely destroyed resulting in complete self annihilation then robots may take over. In a world governed by artificial intelligence one may presuppose that intelligence would recognise the availability of resources for survival and adapt behaviours to preserve those resources were as long as possible - an underscore of dharmic living and any humans by chance who were still alive would witness this transformation and see humanities mistakes.

"It is partly for this reason that the alchemical tradition in India differs significantly from the other alchemical traditions. First in India it was always an integral part of the yogic and tantric tradition. As is clear from the researches of Professor Eliade, alchemy never acquired an independent status in India being subsidiary to the yogic and tantric traditions the inherent dangers of alchemy were firmly kept in check for the täntra and the Yoga aim primarily at Mukti the latter striving to achieve perfect Samadhi and the cessation of the flow of consciousness. This obviously is to strive to abolish or transcend time but in direction that can never lead to the modern idea of conquering time by taking on its role himself."

Alchemy or what we call chemistry was not unknown in India but the dangers of it were known as well as knowing that there were better ways to achieve the same ends or results. When we apply this to medicine the chemistry was not required to destroy the pathogen's, rather a more natural approach was taken to strengthening the organism thereby forcing pathogens back into their nonvolatile role.

As for the aims of tantra and yoga, it seems the writer may have taken these ideas from self-proclaimed non-Hindu experts because the is an untranslatable term but in simple terms is to know one's self as part of nature and inseparable from it. The ideas of yoga and tantra are tools to help achieve that knowingness, an aspiration that is completely adverse to modern technological capitalism.

"He has to be unmindful of the fruits of his own action This is again doctrine which will foster fatalism when the spirit goes out of it but when alive will block all utilitarian economic action for it seeks to redeem action by transforming it into contemplation. By turning all human action into ritual and all thinking into contemplation of the Divine Mystery, Hinduism prevents the alienation of Man and Nature and all utilitarian or means-end conceptions of human action."

Being unmindful of the fruits of one's own actions I think is a misinterpretation of scripture. There is a difference between knowing the fruit of success and letting the associated emotions carry one away so one can enjoy the fruit of success but not be so attached.

"But the most powerful force against the emergence of both technology and capitalist enterprise is what may be called the relentless self-transcendence of Hinduism. It is difficult of formulation. Roughly speaking what is meant is this Each level of spiritual and intellectual achievement has to be discarded as illusory and the effort continued to attain to new and higher level."

This 'powerful force' is neither for or against anything, it is a human characteristic to want to know oneself and to realise one's own self nature because that is the ultimate success and according to Scripture our entire reason for being. I could go into a long discussion of what is real and what is not, suffice to say that the phenomenal world is illusory and our worldly life functions according to agreed notions and beliefs like up-down, East-West and the reality of the external world around us is experienced only within our own minds. However this aspiration to know oneself when followed gives rise to the knowledge that we live in a finite world and that we live peaceably with each other then we can all enjoy life in paradise. However the whole thrust of capitalism and capitalist technology is to enable a select few to enjoy a paradisicle lifestyle at the expense of the many.

Saran goes on to speak of the "The indifference, mental and moral laziness of the people." When a country has been occupied and ruled by foreigners for such a long period, when the population has been so decimated and abused is not surprisingly is a certain degree of indifference. Capitalism is fundamentally abusive because it not only requires free resources and slaves, it has an army to take what it wants. What is most amazing is that while hundreds of millions of Hindus have been slaughtered and otherwise dispossessed, they don't bear any hostility toward their oppressors. Morality on the other hand is simply a tool for political control, anyone who knows themselves as a part of life doesn't need morality, they are fundamentally incapable of causing harm.

"While in the West the decay of the ancient tradition threw up new spirit, a new idea of man and society,
no such development took place in India. Here Hinduism disintegrated and decayed but no positive impulse of change no new world-outlook grew up from within itself."  Here Saren again seems bereft of knowing any history, that the knowledge including ancient knowledge arose in India and that the separation was the combination of patriarchy and capitalism operating as Christianity and Islam - following the Roman idea that if you want - you take and a morality/democracy applied to those conquered.  This continues into this day with the USA as the new Rome.

Saran goes on to describe Swami Vivekananda reach to the West as failing and the disintegration of Hinduism.  We must remember that Hinduism is a word invented by the colonists who couldn't understand Sanatana Dharma. Those limited men who turned their attention to the west perhaps foresaw what was coming and they sowed seeds of Dharma which are becoming resplendent communities within the Western world so bent on amplifying suffering. Hinduism is only disintegrating within India because of the forces trying to destroy it, take away capitalism and India would quickly become the jewel of the world.

"According to current thinking the fundamental problem of economic growth is broadly speaking one of overcoming resistances and retardation effects arising from the survival of traditional institutions like caste, joint family, sacramental marriage etc. and values and attitudes. And accordingly there is broad consensus of opinion that there must be synthesis of the traditional Indian values and those of an industrial society, a marriage of science and religion."

Let's remember that caste is something created by the British to break India and give them better control. The traditional Indian values are love of life, kindness and compassion of which there are some efforts to instill into capitalism. But of capitalism fully adopted these values it would no longer function or no longer be recognisable as the monster that it is. As to a marriage of science and religion, Sanatana Dharma as the most scientific way of living for the betterment of every living thing, it is not a religion.

Religions require belief and followers of Dharma, inquiries into the nature of individual existence do not believe, there is what they know and what they do not know in a field of possibilities and tangible realities validated through direct experience. So what Saran and here is asking for is some form of alchemy between a science advocating eternal life and a capitalistic science hellbent on destroying all life.

"Contemporary thinking about underdeveloped countries in developed countries like the U.S.A. emphasizes the lack of two things in Indian society, one the spirit of achievement, a progressively higher level of aspiration, and an achieving enterprizing class which will play the part of innovators; the pre-requisites of all economic development"

The economic thinking that has evolved in the USA is widely regarded as one of the world's greatest failures and the imposition of US style democracy merely a tool or a different form of colonialism allowing US affiliated corporations to exploit any country they wish. For sure they foster a spirit of individualism and high achievement with a very flexible morality, you may give the order to kill but as long as you do it in the name of US capitalism, then you are morally virtuous. These prerequisites for economic development are being forced on India through the channels of communism, Christianity, Islam and NGOs that also work to undermine the tenants of Sanatana Dharma turning people against each other.

We must note that Roman capitalism was a notion that if you want something, you take it and if you want something done you get slaves to do it. From around the 1500s A.D. the Europeans began spreading their wings and these barbarians began looting the world, the British perhaps in recompense for what they had suffered at the hands of the Vikings who'd applied a mixture of looting and trading in their travels.

When the Spanish began looting the Americas, the British ran a crown sponsored program to intercept the treasures flowing back to Spain (piracy) and then they participated in the triangular trade of slaves, opium and newly manufactured goods from Britain made using stolen and modified Hindu technology operated by slave labour. This is also the era of transportation, tough times in Britain because the corporations (rich people) owned everything and denied the poor even the right to exist so they fled in vast numbers for a better life in the USA and other colonies while those who cause some insignificant offence were transported to Australia on prison ships.

As we come through into the 1900s, the civil population of the Western world were standing up to the autocratic rulers through the union movements and demanding the right to life and a few crumbs from the pie. The capitalists realised they had to capitulate otherwise they may go the same way as the ruling class during the French Revolution, they valued their heads and an uneasy truce has existed between the ruling and working classes since then. Most people in the modern world now believe they are free, independent and able to make their own decisions however they are tightly bound by an incomprehensible array of rules and regulations.

It is from this quagmire that India gained the idea of independence, self-rule according to how the British thought it should be done with a layering of British institutionalisation. We should also mention that the cornerstone of the capitalist economy is war and point out that without all the current wars in the world the economy of the USA, Britain and Europe would completely disintegrate.

"Hinduism is no longer living tradition today. What is usually taken sometimes by trained sociologists too as evidence of its tenacity and continuity is merely the fact that Hinduism has produced no internal sources of radical change intellectual and institutional." A comment like this makes me wonder what world this man is living in. The Hindu understanding, culture and way of life, and appreciation of Dharma is flourishing despite the best attempts of capitalism and imposition of modern democracy to destroy it. Thanks to those pioneers who sowed the seeds of yoga and dharma in the West Sanatana Dharma exists in every country and may well be the world's salvation when capitalism crumbles. The fact that Hinduism has produced no internal sources of radical change is because the world has no need. A dharmic world is a synthesis of life with tremendous value that cannot be realised in monetary terms but it can be realised and successful continuation of our species for the duration of the life of our planet. By then some new organic technology may have emerged to take us beyond the stars, one of the drivers inspiring modern technology.

"A species of pseudo-necromancy" Here Saran is implying that Hinduism is dead, done and dusted and all that is left is a clinging to the ideas of the dead and gone. Unfortunately there is a ring of truth in this because many Hindus have been brainwashed into believing in facets of their ancient past and have replaced sadana with prayer which plays into the hands of the capitalists by making people easier to manipulate.

As to the hope that "industrialization will somehow escape the usual
undesirable consequences." One cannot begin to enumerate the undesirable consequences, continuing deforestation, massive pollution, widespread corruption and one could go on although in 2019 a new corporate nation is emerging although it continues to dispossess and disinherit those relies most on for survival.

"Hindu and other traditions amply prove there is in them systematic cosmological thought though it is based on different conception of Nature and Man So it is an encounter of one scientific system with another and radically different one Between two systems claiming to seek the complete truth there can
be no synthesis except on the basis of agreement on basic truths and postulates Hinduism and modern science are opposed as truth and error between them there can be no question of synthesis."

Here Saran is right, synthesis is not possible and here the reader must weigh up the evidence and decide. Does one go with the opening statement at the top of the page which is Saran's closing statement that Hinduism must be completely dismantled?

To arrive at indecision one must in essence know the world we inhabit but of course that's not entirely possible because we have no idea as to our place in the universe and terms like up-and-down are an agreed reality having no inherent reality of their own as is the very nature of existence. For many people, not knowing is distressing and to alleviate that distress great attempts have been made to manufacture a history, a form of placation to ease those troubled minds. The British thought the Hindus were too stupid to have had an original culture and coined the Aryan invasion theory, however there is evidence of civilised life in India circa 10,000 BC and trade/communication between the Mediterranean, India and the Asian Pacific regions since before this time.

And contrasting east and west, Eastern thought is enquiring into one's own personal nature and relationship with life, a scientific approach to living that gave rise to astrophysics and the basis of all scientific knowledge. With this knowledge came the wisdom that technologies such as being developed today would be ultimately harmful not only for human existence but for all life on the planet scrubbing out the chances of happiness for our children and their children.

Western thought ignores one's internal world completely promoting intellectual cleverness to manipulate the external world and achieve temporary pleasure and happiness without any regard to the cost. The industrial pollution from the Roman silver mines of 2000 years ago can be seen in the archaeological record (Greenland ice), and today Western capitalist ideologies and technologies hasten us toward complete extinction.

Modern economic development has provided greater longevity and a higher standard of living for most people is and clearly we're not going to throw that out. We clearly cannot live without money, trade and communication yet rather than dispense with Hinduism, capitalism must be completely transformed and the wash of modern technology severely reduced if we are going to survive as a species.

The choice is yours, meditate and vote wisely.

The original work:
Reflections on AK Saran page 17


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