Thursday, October 12, 2006

What is Progress?

We need to have a common idea of progress that is inclusive and meaningful to one and all...

"Know That, knowing which, you will know everything that is to be known."

The above saying from the Upanishads, represents the acme of human thought. It implies that when one becomes aware of a higher perspective, one comes to know of things encompassed by that higher perspective (the highest perspective being that of Universal Consciousness or ‘God’).

This axiom is frequently useful in the worldly context and helps to solve difficult problems. Progress, growth and eradication of poverty are debating points in today’s world. ‘Progress’ is a term being used by various people: the politician, economist, scientist, common citizen, industrialist, businessman - each has his or her own interpretation. However we frequently find that a particular idea of progress is being projected as the one representative of everyone. Thus we find that at the social level, material progress as evidenced by modern development of cities is frequently regarded as a sign of progress. Consequently ‘growth’ is considered to be increase in material possessions. And poverty is regarded as lacking in material needs. These are superficial interpretations, which have been perpetuated and have come to be accepted by and large.

However these assertions do not stand close scrutiny. Progress and growth have no meaning if the human being is unable to enjoy them. Good health and spirit form the basic requirements for material possessions to have a meaning. Material progress would be hollow inside, if the people are lacking in inner peace. Today we find that whatever inner bliss people may be having is being constantly eroded by the materialistic socio-political environment, which is at conflict with the core requirement. Such a hollow progress is fragile and always at the risk of collapse.

True progress can be considered to be strengthening of inner peace and contentment. If this is recognized and preserved then the superficial material possessions will be added on to it as and when required. This is the law of nature and each successful individual knows that his/her own life is the proof. Whether this law becomes operational depends on one’s preference at the individual level and the political process at the state level.

For true progress of the state or the nation, we need a political structure that is in tune with this law of nature. This is possible when the individual’s heart, the abode of bliss, is made the bottom-line for all political processes. Partyless Governance, based on the individual’s conscience will provide the framework for meaningful growth and progress and eradicate poverty in its true sense (i.e. lacking in inner bliss). It is a question of individuals forming the society recognizing and reposing faith in this law of nature that will provide prosperity based on inner peace.

Once progress is viewed from this perspective, it throws light on the present distressing global phenomenon of terrorism and suicide bombers. Those who indulge in such inhuman acts basically lack in ‘inner bliss’ and instead they are filled with negative feelings. It would be a sign of wisdom to try and find why they have come to reach such a state of ‘heartlessness', and try to correct the conditions that have led them to such a state. Simply trying to counter terrorism without addressing the basic cause would be shortsighted and counter-productive.

True progress would take into account the welfare/grievances of people whoever and wherever they are in an ever-increasing manner.


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