Saturday, 24 June 2017

Materialism: a brief synopsis.

Today i am writing about the term "Materialism" in response to a question I received in facebook message. A short introduction is as follows:

The concept of Materialism is very objective. It changes its meaning with time. If one were to say that real materialism started with the industrial revolution of the European nations that would be big fallacy. Materialism started way before then that. Out of the six basics branches of the Hindu pantheon we have a branch that is wholly attributed to Maharishi Charvaka and his upanishad, "CHARVAKA UPANISHAD". The bible of materialism. It has a very famous sloka:

"यावज्जीवेत सुखं जीवेद 
ऋणं कृत्वा घृतं पिवेत
भस्मीभूतस्य देहस्य पु
नरागमनं कुतः "

The very essence of the sloka means "if you have to live a life, live life in full pleasure, borrow money and have delicacies made of ghee, because when you die its the end of life and there is no reincarnation". This sloka was said by one of the Rishi's of Hinduism. The hardcore materialistic approach to life.

Some similar thoughts have been propounded by English atheist and materialistic Philosopher Jeremy Benthem. Jeremy Benthem in his "Utilitarianism" and "Hedonistic Calculus" principles asserts that "one should live a life to maximize ones pleasure and minimize one's pain". The exact quote of Bentham is as given below.

"Nature has placed mankind under the government of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure... they govern us in all we do, in all we say, in all we think: every effort we can make to throw off our subjection, will serve but to demonstrate and confirm it."

 Bentham a hardcore positivist and atheist asserts that we aren't governed by holy rules but from the intrinsic natures of ones own self, the basic human psychology that "we yearn for pleasure and condemn pain". So one should live a life with full of pleasure and shun everything that leads to pain.

The works of Bentham is echoed in the "Declaration of independence of America" which has the famous line "we hold these truth to be self evident that all men are created equal and they are endowed with certain inalienable rights by their creator, that among these are life, liberty and pursuit of happiness".The very core of American Independence is based on pursuit of happiness. The pursuit of happiness is a very subjective term. Happiness depends on peoples thought and their mentality. This is for the reason there laws have been made in such a way that it advocates individual rights and they have a very liberal system to pursue whatever they desire that makes them happy.

This is for the reason the materialism is deeply rooted in the legal and political system of England inspired by Utilitarianism and  positivist Jeremy Bentham and also in the American values. The very essence of "pursuit of happiness" in the American Declaration of Independence doesn't mean spiritual happiness. The happiness being a subjective term can be materialistic or spiritual.

Lastly, Maharishi Charvaka predates Jeremy Bentham on "materialism". We Hindus always had "materialism" as one of our philosophies. The only reason for materialism not propounding greatly in our society like that of  the west is that we have always believed everything to be an illusion. Since everything is Maya, it is an illusion which only holds to be truth until the veil of ignorance has been lifted.

So, to conclude my lines I would want to say, we Hindus do have materialism in our philosophies from age old but it has not been the whole aim of our lives. We have always used materialism for our spiritual growth and less for filling our lives with happiness and pleasure. Happiness and sorrows are the same thing. It is nothing but good and bad experience. To live a life to maximize ones good and bad experiences of the materialist is way low then the supreme elevation of ones consciousness of the spiritualist. One should live a life beyond one's mind because the "pleasure and pain" are the topics of mind and not the soul. The whole universe is the reflection of the mind and the mind is the cause of all bondage. The more you are attached to pleasure and pain the more karmic it becomes.

No comments:

Post a Comment