Charter of Dharma
All human endeavors, individual or social are for synthesis of self and God. The universe is a design for self-actualization, to provide a proper setting for such self realization is the collective responsibility of all Humanity. The movement of life is constantly towards this higher intellectual and spiritual synthesis; to facilitate this momentum, we must discover and express the intrinsic humanity, from an individual to the collective.
This synthesis of self with God on a complete humanity basis is possible if such principles are incorporated in the present synthesis of Nationalism and efforts are made to direct the collective growth of human-actualization. Till such a society takes shape, we must live as a nation before we start living as humanity.
A Nation requires no other commonality except the purpose of human elevation. This unifying principle is at the core of all current Nationalisms, which are formed for the same purposes but result in division instead due to their focus on language, religion, race, region and customs. A common enthusiasm uniting with a common interest is the most powerful fosterer of nationality.
Presently, Humankind has started taking the first necessary steps towards the higher synthesis through several Supranational unions like European Union (EU) and the regional co-operation Nationalisms like the African Union (AU), the Organization of American States (OAS), the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Arab League, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). The United Nations Organization may yet realize its complete potential.
However, the idea of a Nation cannot be just a uniform system of Governance. The Roman Empire, created a common language, a common religion and life, and tried its best to crush out racial diversities under the weight of its uniform system, but it failed to make one great nation and imploded under its own weight. Frequencies like Geo-political unity, a common History and a common urge to realize itself in an organized manner through governance which expresses its Nationality best, a uniting Leadership and common resistances to a common pressure; all provide the basic impetus to the idea of Nationality.
The plurality and differences in Humankind is in fact the very essence of it. Negating it or trying to form a uniform society is to negate the purpose of Humanity itself. The biggest challenge for Humankind, Governance and Leadership is of creating a setting where every individual can express himself/herself completely and at the same time follow a common set of laws and objectives to fulfill the collective self-actualization of Humanity.
The present popular worldviews of looking at the society through the lens of financial and materialistic yardsticks is rudimentary and incomplete. Contemporary social ideas based on only man- materialistic synthesis essentially propagate an innate conflict with those who have and those who don’t. A natural struggle emanating due to the imbalance of wealth distribution is also an essential component of wealth-based social theories. However, it is common knowledge that wealth alone cannot form the basis of society. A few random efforts on more Holistic indicators of social progress and quality of life have been attempted. Like GNH (Gross National Happiness) policy by the Monarch of Bhutan through the empirical research on happiness, positive psychology and well-being; by a Vermont-based, non-partisan, non-profit organization called Gross National Happiness USA and a few other organizations spread in different nations.
Though GNH is a far more Holistic approach to the elevation of society than wealth based approaches, in its present form it does not factor the plurality of Humankind and probably needs to formulate a very dynamic scale for measurements and indicators. However it is interesting to note that the origin of the concept lies in Buddhist principles. Unlike other organized religions Buddhism does not emphasize on faith but offers a formula of living. A good attempt has been made here to apply this formula in national policy.
Human pluralism can be incorporated quite efficiently into the Holistic approach to social elevation if we include Dharma as the basis of every exchange and transaction. “Dharma is the Law that upholds, supports or maintains the regulatory order of the universe”. All Indian Socio-economic-religious movements like Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism have the idea of Dharma at their core; where it points to the purification and moral transformation of human beings.
Dharma is not the same as religion, though differing in some particulars, all concur that the goal of human life is Moksha or Nirvana, wherein lies the completeness and fulfillment of Human life and in which the ultimate nature of Dharma (as cosmic law) is apprehended experientially. Dharma can be categorized into three levels
Swadharma. At the personal level where Dharma is the result of right conduct based on ethical and moral principles. They can also be called duties some personal ones (natural duties that you are born with) or Putradharma or Putridharma (the duties you have towards your parents). There are any numbers of personal Dharma’s as one may value. There are social duties like your Kuladharma (duties to your tribe), Rastradharma (duties to your nation), Manudharma (duties towards humanity) and so forth. Dharma here is obligatory or optional, therefore is of instrumental value.
Dharma for Dharma’s sake. This is a higher level of value, where Dharma is regarded as an intrinsic value worth pursuing for its own sake. Akin to the Kant’s ‘categorical imperative’ where he states in respect to good, ‘that all good in itself, and considered in itself is to be esteemed much higher than all that can be brought about by it in favor of any inclination’. Here, Dharma transforms from an instrumental value to an intrinsic value.
Dharma for Moksha. This is the highest value of Dharma, where it is urged that all activities should be of righteous nature and must also be Nishkama karma (undesired action) with no care for the benefits or fruits. Such deeds and conduct done without desires for the holistic good and probity ensure Moksha to the doer. Here we find Dharma becoming a combination of instrumental as well as intrinsic value. It transforms into a spiritual value for achieving the ultimate spiritual ideal of Moksha.
The movement of Human elevation is essential spiritual. That is the reason we find in societies with a long history of peace and stability an emphasis on the cultural and spiritual aspects. Even the best periods of Human history like the Gupta Era in India are called golden because of the growth and expression of art and creativity. The next step of cultural growth is spiritual growth.
If we are to formulate the ultimate and timeless model for social elevation; we must look for a model that not only guarantees spiritual synthesis but must have spirituality as its basic component. By including Dharma in every action, be it individual, social, national, natural or universal; we can ensure the Human pluralism and individuality to work flawlessly with one universal law.
Any society based on Dharma shall provide the best platform for both collective and individual elevation. Till the time we can move towards a united Human society, Dharma which is simultaneously both rigid and dynamic can provide a Humanity unification code. Societies and Nations can define their own Micro-Dharma best suited for their common Geo-political unity, History, culture and so forth. Markers of social and individual well-being are remarkably trans-cultural: communities generally show life satisfaction if they have strong and frequent social ties, live in healthy ecosystems, experience good governance and adopt spirituality as the basis of life.
An in-depth study of the history of the transitions of tribal states to territorial states in the southeast Asian regions; which are sandwiched between two great civilizations of India and China, indicate that the Kings of these new states choose the ‘Dharmic Model’ over the ‘All under heaven Model’ as this provided them with the independence, equality and the freedom to define its urge to realize itself in an organized manner through governance. This model provides sovereignty to realize itself collectively as well as individually, yet remain attached to the common canon of Dharma.
Spiritual growth is as much required as material growth for Human elevation. It is only when we adopt Dharma as the essential element in every exchange and transaction we shall be able to balance the synthesis of Humanity with God.
1.Highest synthesis is spiritual synthesis
2.All humanity shall unite through spiritual synthesis
3.Plurality and not uniformity is the basis of humanity and its synthesis
The problem of unification under one model or law while maintaining this intrinsic pluralism of humanity can be solved by adopting Dharma as the absolute value of all exchange and transactions
Implementation of Dharmic values guarantees complete human synthesis at all levels
Next chapter : Implementation of Dharma in the Indian political context