Is that “they always showed first-class good will, but also third-class ability for practical thinking and execution”. There are only few exceptions like Swami Vivekananda, Swami Dayananda, Guru Govind Singh, etc. to this general trend of our spiritual leaders. Let me cite some instances of such third-class ability for practical thinking and execution (my apologies if anyone gets hurt – as long as my language is civil, I am within my ethical and legal bounds to express my opinions).
- Swami Vivekananda
- Suggested his Ramakrishna Mission members to “follow the line of the least resistance” and “avoid politics completely for ever” with the reasoning that then Mission work will last for the longest time (as if longevity of organization rather than its actual contribution is the real virtue). So, RK Mission became just a charitable organization despite all his good will for changing the face of India through his Mission. His RK Mission did not contribute to any social or political reform, not even on something innocuous and inhuman like bondage labour problem in rural Bengal. Truth is India needed RK Mission for pressing social and political reforms, but they stuck to their line of charitable work in spite of so many problems in India.
- Believed and preached that only people who become monks will be able to do their best to humanity. (What about J. R. D. Tata, Bill Gates, so many married scientists and engineers etc. then – who invented polio vaccine to save children from crippling handicaps – an RK Mission monk???) Such extremist views degrade and demoralize those who perpetuate the human race and do so much good to humanity. The contribution of good-hearted married people is billion times more than that of good-hearted monks if we count all the blessings that democracy, mass education and various researches of science and technology brought to humanity.
- More resources should be spent on the less capable than the more capable sections. One of his quotes was along this line: a person of less intellectual abilities should be given better teachers than a person of more intellectual abilities. So, as per him, the best teachers should be given to the least capable persons. This type of socialistic vision is a total disaster because only to some extent, egalitarianism can be followed in intellectual and spiritual planes – beyond that, individuals constitute a clear-cut pyramidical hierarchy on these planes which can never be leveled down as people are born with different levels of talents in different dimensions of life.
- Preached but did not give practical knowledge on yoga and brahmacharya which could be spread to the masses and thus, all his exhortation to spread yoga and brahmacharya from door to door remained just on paper.
- I am so dissatisfied with the implications and impracticality of his teachings on social and political dimensions that I consider him now a role-model only on personal development aspects as explained in this article.
- Still, his good will was so strong that despite above impracticalities, he influenced so many non-RK Mission good-hearted people who did many good social and political reforms in India. But, unless we realize the practical shortcomings of our great spiritual leaders, we will get only miseries while trying to go good to humanity. So, I have included his shortcomings as well here.
- Ramakrishna Paramahansa
- Wept by seeing the poor during a pilgrimage and relented to move ahead only when his rich accompanier fed and clothed the poor. What next? Nothing, the story was over with this.
- Why did he not think deeply on how India had so much poverty? More than 2 crores of people died in India due to famines under British misrule in his own lifetime. But, all his compassion did not lead to finding the root cause of British misrule and he was the person who berated the “rajasic” nature of politics and politicians so much before his disciples that even his brilliant disciple, Swami Vivekananda, could not avoid berating politics while talking about compassion to the poor. What a great intellectual self-contradiction and paradox shown by him and his disciple, Swami Vivekananda. And since, RK Mission did not do a single thing to solve the political angle of poverty in last 110+ years of its existence, we cannot claim that Ramakrishna Paramahansa and Swami Vivekananda berated politics for the time-being because the time was not ripe. Also, from the anti-politics language that Ramakrishna Paramahansa and Swami Vivekananda used, it is fully clear that they berated politics ideologically which means for ever and not for the time-being.
- Swami Sivananda
- Supported the fully impractical advice of Gandhiji that parents should use lifelong celibacy as the only family planning method after 1-2 kids and all contraceptives should be banned in India because they give us licenses to avoid celibacy and thus weaken us morally and spiritually. The truth is: lifelong celibacy after having 1-2 kids is not possible for a majority of people and if Indian Government would have followed the fully impractical advice of ban on contraceptives, then our population would have been at least 3 billion rather than 1 billion. Thanks heavens! There was no ban on contraceptives in India.
- He clearly says, 6 hours (from 10 pm to 4 am or so) is enough for every adult. The fact is different adults need different sleep hours from 6 to 8 and I have myself seen more productive people in 7-8 range than 6-7 range of sleep hours. Our sages do not follow scientific approach of gathering lots of random data and then arriving at the conclusion as done in every scientific study of worth – they inevitably indulge in illicit generalizations and give many impractical advices to others.
- I need not mention many things about him, but here I will mention one thing. He derided modern psychiatry as useless by citing maximum suicide rate among the psychiatrists. This is using a piece of information without going into deeper reasons like done in a truly scientific approach. Truth is that the suicide rate among psychiatrists is high only because they do self-medication or ignore their emotional problems before it is too late (like many of us do at times) instead of going to some other psychiatrist when facing serious emotional problems – this is just a professional blindspot which psychiatrists and other physicians need to overcome and does not in any way take away anything from the importance of psychiatric medicines in dealing with serious emotional problems in emergency situations. But, when you learn a fragment of information and make a doctrine out of that without doing proper studies, you end up with unscientific and misguiding conclusions. This is a problem with not just Osho, but, in my humble opinion, with many influential saints of India in present as well as past.
- Overall failings
- No real thinking on high degree of political accountability. Ravan, Kansa, Duryodhana, etc. so many kings proved that due to lack of political accountability, monarchy can bring ruin to millions and for decades. Even if we consider them mythological stories, still they clearly point toward the shortcomings of monarchy. This is the failure of our Rishis and Munis in my opinion. Have we ever heard our great Lord Buddha doing anything on this issue – he could have influenced a couple of his king disciples to abolish monarchy? No, he did nothing like this despite all talks of compassion and despite all the mass crimes that concentration of power with no accountability produces in monarchy and dictatorial regimes. It is a pity that we became a democratic country after the British rule and not earlier.
- No real thinking on roots of poverty despite all the talks of kindness. Otherwise, some economic and financial reforms would have been introduced by our spiritual leaders for sure.
- No real thinking on roots of crime despite all the talks of kindness. Otherwise, some administrative reforms would have been introduced by our spiritual leaders for sure.
- No real thinking on anything except how to get personal liberation.
- So, it is clear that barring few exceptions, our saints have done no real thinking on anything except how to get personal liberation. They took the lopsided view that the experience of world depends on our mind and by transcending our mind, we will transcend the miseries of the world. The reality is that transcending the mind and hence the world is beyond the reach of the majority as it requires lifelong celibacy practice from early 30s onward or earlier. They should have given some thought on practical realities of this world also that for a majority who are not so enlightened, the experience of world depends on our mind as well as how the world is structured and that by changing the structure of the world in its numerous dimensions like politics, economics, education, etc., the true compassion can be shown on humanity by making them have happier experience of the world.
- So, basically, our saints failed in making bridge between their own enlightened spiritual state and the practical realities of this world and most unintelligently ignored many practical realities of this world while trying to ease human sufferings.
- But, why did this happen?
- Because as per the law of karma, you achieve more perfection through more practice and you lose more perfection through less practice. Meditation and yoga require very little hard thinking. Practice of thoughtless awareness or prolonged concentration on an object or idea as done in meditation does not require exercise of one’s thinking faculty and hence, cannot make any one so intelligent that one will become a great thinker on every aspect of life. We, Indians, never understood this and believed that if our saints are silent on political, social and economic reforms, this means such reforms are not meaningful and important for humanity.
- Even a brahma-jnani (enlightened saint) can teach us about only one thing which is how to attain brahma-jnana and not about the needed political, social and economic reforms. But, historically we put our enlightened sages on such high pedestal that we lost our own discernment and ability for independent and deep thinking on our political, social and economic problems just because our enlightened sages did not bother to do independent and deep thinking on them. So, if the leader (saint) is to be blamed, the followers (the rest people) are also to be blamed. We should not do foolishness like this again:
- If Buddha is fine with walking whole life, we thought, there is no need then to bother about speeding up travel time by going beyond ancient bullock-cart technology.
- If no saint of Punjab is bothering about building “Great Indian Wall” in North-Western India to stop foreign invasion (like the Chinese did in their country), we thought, there is no need then for this wall to stop foreign invasion.
- If Ramakrishna Paramahansa is happy by just making his rich accompaniment feeding and clothing the poor, we thought, there is no need then to look into the political roots of such massive poverty in India.
- If Swami Vivekananda is berating politics (under obvious and unfortunate influence of his Guru who used to berate politics whole life) as inferior, then politics is really inferior and we need not bother about politics.
- If our Rishis are fine with monarchy, we thought, there is no need for alternative political system with more political accountability.
- All such things were instances of our foolishness only. A really intelligent Prime Minister of a democratic country will never hire someone like Buddha as Transport Minister, someone like Ramakrishna Paramahansa as “Poverty Alleviation Minister” (despite his immense compassion), someone like Swami Sivananda as “Family Planning Minister”, someone like Swami Vivekananda as “Panchayati Raj Minister” (as politics is inferior as per Swami Vivekananda and Panchayats are political institutions) and so on so forth.
- Final conclusion. If we are or want to become really intelligent, we must never accept anything blindly a saint says about political, social or economic problems with great faith as, in a majority of cases, it is not the domain in which the saint has done enough sustained studies and thinking to be a good enough thinker and hence, cannot be expected to be authoritative and correct despite any illusions that the saint or his/her followers may like to harbor – because “those who do not learn from the history are doomed to repeat it like we, foolish Indians, have repeated till 19th century.” But we did not repeat such mistakes that much in 20th century. So, India of 2000 AD is million times better than India of 1900 AD and if we completely eliminate the habit of getting blindly influenced by our saints’ attitudes and thinking on political, social and economic dimensions of our national life and do fresh, independent thinking ourselves, basing such thinking on universal spiritual values preached by all spiritual saints and traditions to the extent it is practically effective in face of (often more harsh than honeyed) ground realities, India of 2100 AD will be a trillion times better than the India of 2000 AD.