Towards Societal Renewal

Acárya Shambushivánanda Avadhúta

Social Progress does not happen in a vacuum. It is greatly influenced by the past and current trends. History is usually considered to be a chronology of facts relating to socio-political events that have happened during a particular period. Such a dry record of facts has been called itikatha by Shrii Sarkar, the propounder of Neohumanist philosophy. Itikatha, however, is of limited utility. Itihás, the Samskrta term for ‘History’ connotes a different meaning: Iti hasati ityarthe Itihás. Itihás, (History) examines why certain events happened and what we can learn from them for the future. Also, it does not merely look at the status of those in power but also how the common people lived during every reign or regime or era and the scientific and cultural development that took place during different periods.

Neohumanism’s view of history is about the status of moral development which lies at the core of human progress. It is important to understand how to transform society and its value system so that the welfare of all creatures is protected and nurtured. The present human-centric outlook has brought many species on the verge of extinction. Neohumanism extends the moral dimension to bring parity in the treatment of all entities of the universe. It allows for building habitats not only for humans but provides living spaces for all creatures. Hence, water harvesting structures, afforestation and building sanctuaries in every community is an integral part of the neohumanist notion of development.

Neohumanist Education is, first of all, about self-realization and discovering our spiritual nature that unites all of creation. Neohumanism is secondly about the cooperative spirit that inspires us to protect the welfare of one another through mutual respect and dignity. Third, neohumanism is about learning the unique role that every entity plays in this creation to enhance the quantum of joy of all residents through the philosophy of ‘live and let live’. Fourth, neohumanist learning is about exploring the most rational way to navigate through the challenges that face humanity. The saga of domination, wars and destruction are an old story of humanity. The new motto should be to solve all problems through dialogue with a rational and compassionate approach and to preserve the existential right of all beings. No brokers of power should be allowed to destroy nature or to make people and other creatures homeless. The future of humanity is at stake if we remain merely silent witnesses to conflicts and destruction. Let not a single entity be deprived of the freedom to live without fear. Let no moral sanction be provided to the indiscriminate use of weapons to destroy other living beings.

The Supreme Consciousness is our father; the Cosmic Operative Principle (Parama Prakriti) is our mother and the universe is our homeland. This is the underlying spirit of Neohumanism.

In the words of Shri P.R. Sarkar “The annals of human history should show which communities brought about which amount of progress and prosperity in which area of social life and in which part of the world – only such significant events are worthy of being recorded. History should also maintain special records of the trials and tribulations which confronted human beings, how those trials and tribulations were overcome, how human beings tackled the numerous obstacles to effect greater social development, and so on. Only such history would I call the complete history or complete cultural history of the human race.” (1)

Gurukula Network is about nurturing all initiatives that foster societal renewal and a global transformation through individual and collective empowerment. In their introduction to “A Transformative Edge: Knowledge, Inspiration and Experiences for Educators & Adults”(2), Ursel Biester and Marilyn Mehalmann have very eloquently articulated the need for transformative learning through “expanded awareness, positive attitudes and shifts in life style”; and through “learning that transforms problematic frames of reference to make them more inclusive, discriminating, reflective, open, and emotionally able to change.” (Mezirow on Transformative Learning, 2000). The editors further add: “The shifts in consciousness lie at the heart of permanent change in the way we see ourselves and the world in which we live and esp. our relation with the natural world. It involves our understanding of power relations in interlocking structures of class, race, and gender, our body awareness, our visions of alternative approaches to living, and our sense of possibilities for social justice, peace and personal joy.” Neohumanist philosophy does exactly that. It frames the world view in such terms that the love of the human heart extends to embrace the entire living and so-called non-living world.

(1). A Few Problems Solved – 4, Let History Be Rewritten by Shri P.R.Sarkar

(2). The free ebook version of this book is available on edge, published by Transformation Hosts International Publications, ISBN 978-3-9822033-0-0