Spiritual revolution –The only solution to the global moral crisis.
Narsee Monjee College of Commerce & Economics
The human race is hitting a new tragic low on a moral plane in every sphere of life be it business, politics, entertainment, law itself or even the noble professions of medicine and teaching. Frauds in business, scandals in politics, extortion racquets, land grabbing, environmental catastrophes rooted in human greed and vanity, profiteering, animal abuse for epicurean satisfaction, rape, incest, child abuse and scandals in marital life and terrorism are so common place we don’t even wonder why. The only solution is a spiritual revolution that will overhaul the way we think to programme each one to identify with the rest of the world. The secret lies in the ancient Indian philosophy of ‘Vasudaiva kutummbakkam’ meaning the entire Universe is one family.
The reason for the rapid downfall of human-kind lies in identifying oneself in a narrow fashion with one’s own physical body alone. This causes one to grow a false sense of ego that entails powerful desires. The greed to fulfil those selfish desires leads man to eventual self-annihilation through acts of thoughtless, self-centred, self-aggrandisement. With little or no regard of one’s actions on other members of the society, man continues to initiate and perpetuate the negative cycle of ‘inflict pain –cause hurt – victim inflicts pain on innocent recipient’ and the despair spreads like a ripple. The spectator too imbibes the ‘ways of the world’ and is ready to react negatively at the first instance without even considering the possibility of exploring if there was a positive and kinder way to retort. Breaking this negative cycle and planting love where there was hatred, is the only way to arrest this wild fire of sadness.
The great Indian spiritual scientist Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite bhajan (devotional song) ‘Vaishnav jan to tene re kahiye je peed paraayee jaaane re…’ says it all. His Aashram reverberated with these melodious words to remind him that unless one is able to feel and understand the plight of the other, he cannot be called a real devotee of Lord Vishnu. Empathy is thus, what we need to cultivate in every child so that each citizen of the world identifies with every other living thing on this planet.
The most logical way to cultivate empathy is to understand the unity of spirit. Every living thing is a peculiar form of energy as it has also been proved by quantum physicists. Underneath the different physical forms that we don, all life is precisely unique patterns of energy. If one understands this truth it will be easy to see how similar we all are to every other form of life, rather than focusing on how different we have been. Applying this revelation of ‘Unity of Spirit’ to different troubled aspects of our modern life will bring more clarity and closure to a lot of negatives the world stands defeated against today. Realisation of the Unity of Spirit is the key first step to a wholesome cure to modern day cancer of moral degradation.
Spirituality in Business
Consumerism is the root cause of all economic evil and the same is fuelled by human desires that are unbridled and often free of moral or ethical justification.
Businesses are ridden with scandals of all types and magnitudes from cheating the consumers on the count of quality, false advertisements, dishonour of warranties and guarantees, fudging financial records to mislead the investors and creditors, evading taxes, bribery for permits to mismanagement of funds and even poaching and body-shopping. Profiteering has hit a new low with blatant and shameless violations of environmental laws and the irreversible damage to biodiversity due to loss of habitats and over exploitation of natural resources on which businesses depend in a substantial way. At this rate of exploitation of natural resources it is only logical to estimate that there will be a time in the near future when all natural resources will be used up by businesses for production of goods and services and a corresponding amount of wealth generation too would raise the GDP of the nation exponentially.
However, there will be no pure water, air or soil left around for us to grow our food and survive any further, though ironically, we may have pots of money to pay for the same. Yet the life support system may not be recovered. Greed is the root cause of this economic situation.
A solution to this can be found in the spiritual philosophy of ‘Trusteeship’ advocated by Mahatma Gandhi, wherein businesses play the role of custodians of the nations wealth and are hence careful not to damage the same while processing it to offer products of real value. This will also bring in the concern for ‘Sustainability of the natural resources’ so that they are conserved for the needs of the future generations.
With spiritual awareness the attitude of businesses will then lean in favour of the ‘intrinsic value’ of all resources, both living and non-living. All labour laws will be rendered irrelevant and issues of managerial nature will find instant solutions. The management will empathise with the labour class and senior management will be open and just with their subordinates.
Philip Kotler in his book Marketing 3.0 recognises that consumers are not merely creatures craving for physical comforts or socialites trying to flash their wealth but have higher aspirations while they engage in the purchase behaviour. This implies that businesses need to attribute a conscience to the modern consumer due to which, for an instance, they may choose kinder and more cruelty-free products over a substitute that involves inhumane tests on animals or has animal blood or bone extract. Also, the consumer with a spiritual awareness of oneness of all life may be willing to pay more for a ‘fair trade’ ‘eco-friendly’ product over saving a few bucks. If modern businesses want to survive, they need to take a fresh look at the ‘being’ of a consumer in this new spiritual light.
Spirituality in politics
Politics today has earned its infamous status due to the criminalisation of the political processes. Political leaders are looked down upon as most need to be brutally corrupt just to survive. But this is a negative cycle that has been perpetuated due to the indifference of the good citizens. The evil cannot succeed unless the good decides to keep quiet on it. This apathy is partly due to the lack of spiritual awareness on the part of good people.
The moment one realises that our destinies are intertwined as we are all one in spirit, it will be difficult for most to subject others to ill-treatment as well as for the others to accept the same without objection. With each political leader viewing the masses as an extension of himself / herself, there will be no more conflict of interest between what is beneficial for the leader and what is in the interest of the nation and its people. With the spiritual principle in mind, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Shivaji Maharaj and Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi will be easy to emulate.
Spirituality in education
Our very own system of education has remained a thoughtless machine to make money while churning out young explosive minds with sharpened intellect but with a conscience rusted due to years of deliberate suppression. Educational scams are a thing of every day news, so much so that we have lost the ability to gauge the gravity of the situation. Education is bereft of values while its original purpose was only to impart and imbibe values among young minds.
Swami Vivekananda extolls the role of education in ‘nation-building’ as in his view the end of education is ‘character’. An educator who is aware of his spiritual unity with all, will neither cut corners in his / her work nor reduce education to a means to earn a livelihood. Education is for life and only a spiritually aware teacher can inspire the students to look within and introspect for that still small voice of conscience and make it one’s eternal charioteer. All the modern evils of empty degrees and inconsequential piles of knowledge will disappear to give way to real enlightenment under a teacher who has realised the essential unity of all in spirit.
Spirituality in law
Modern systems of law enforcement and the judiciary are ridden with corruption and filth. Often crime is encouraged due to the inability of the legal system to dispense justice in a speedy manner. Bribery and the dirty nexus between powerful individuals and the judiciary further degrades its integrity.
If only the practitioners of law would be aware of the spiritual unity of all beings, they would deliberate adequately before defending the guilty. Alternatively, the correction facilities would focus more on reform and rehabilitation rather than on punishment.
The world over spiritual awareness alone has brought about concrete positive and constructive uplifting changes. People who have felt the oneness of spirit have gone beyond their physical, financial and practical limitations to dream and achieve things that have served humanity in constructive ways.
Mother Teresa, the Saint born in Macedonia who found her way to Kolkatta which was teeming with poverty, disease and orphaned children at the time, was moved with pain and decided to stay back. In her lifetime she built a hospice, centres for the blind, aged, and disabled, orphanages as well as a leprosy colony. Her compassion knew no boundaries of race, religion or colour.
Kisan Baburao Hazare lovingly called as Anna Hazare from Ralegaon Siddhi in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra is better known for his social and political activism to set up a transparent and corruption-free governance system in India; had served in the Indian Army for over 12 years as a soldier. He followed the technique of Satyagraha and Anshan to pressurise the Indian government to implement the Jan Lokpal Bill in 2011. Though a school drop-out in grade seven, his school for those with multiple marksheets was a bold experiment in the belief in the goodness of spirit, irrespective of their intellectual prowess. The dignity of human birth is most evident in the success stories of this venture. Fighting hunger, deprivation and failure were the worriers of his unique school who came back to the school to return the gift they had received.
Murlidhar Amte lovingly called Baba Amte and his wife Sadhana who lived austere lives and worked tirelessly to rehabilitate and empower the poor people suffering from leprosy at their their NGO called Anandwan in 1950.
Dr. Prakash Amte, a surgeon by education, and his wife Dr. Mandakini carry on their Lok Biradari Prakalp the in Hemalkasa village of Gadchiroli in Maharashtra to cover a hospital, a school and an animal orphanage. It was started in 1973 by his father Baba Amte to treat not just the tribal (madia gonds) poor but also the wild animals affected by the constantly expanding addiction of industrialisation that are snatching away the habitats of the wild animals and pushing them in to the clutches of poachers and wild life smugglers at the worst and in to starvation and displacement at its least. Amtes animal ark – Orphanage cum Rescue Centre houses bears, leopards, snakes, deer, wild boars, crocodiles, lions etc. Their kindness crosses the boundaries of spices and the bond between the man and wild animals is evident in the way the so-called beasts react gently to being medicated and handled.
Peta’s Ingrid Newkirk founded People for the ethical treatment of animals in the United States in 1980 in America with the principle that animals are not ours to experiment on, eat, wear, use for entertainment or abuse in any other way.
Greenpeace uses non-violent creative action to pave the way towards a greener, more peaceful world and to confront the systems that threaten our environment. It was an initiative to stop the US military from testing nuclear bombs in 1971 at Amchitka Island in Alaska as it would have spelt doom for the marine wild life. In the years to come with the support of private individuals alone, it has been able to bring about several global level victories for the voiceless like the ban on harpooning, anti-whaling laws, ban on dumping of radio-active waste in the oceans and getting nations to rethink and shut down nuclear power plants as they are an environmental nightmare.
Wildlife SOS an NGO active in the Junnar region of Maharashtra run by Dr Ajay Deshmukh and his team of trained volunteers from among the local sugarcane farmers, work tirelessly to rescue and rehabilitate the wild animals in the region particularly the leopards. These majestic animals are a victim of habitat loss due to the human population explosion and the rapid thoughtless industrialisation of the rural regions in a desperate effort to garner votes during elections. The man-animal conflict has been kept at bay only due to the compassionate efforts of this young veterinarian.
World Wildlife Fund for Nature founded in 1961 in Switzerland through the Morges Menifesto signed by 16 of the worlds leading conservationists, biologists and wildlife enthusiasts under the then existing International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources and the Conservation Foundation to gather substantial financial support for the conservation movement on a world wide scale while the expertise already existed.
Modern day evils are rooted in desire and greed, both arising out of a false sense of ego and separation. Once we understand the Unity of Spirit principle there will be little sorrow and despair as empathy will prevail automatically. Bible has rightly guided humanity ‘to do unto others what you would have them do unto you…’
Spiritual literature from the Sathya Sai Organisation
Swami Vivekananda’s Words of wisdom
Autobiiography of a Yogi by Paramhamsa Yogananda