Communism and other 'isms'
(With friends and pressmen on several occasions)
Q : Do you think that there is any basic defect in all the various modern 'isms'?
A : Yes. They all stem from materialism. And materialism has no answer to the very fundamental question : "Why at all should people aspire for world unity and human welfare? Why should they feel pained at the sight of man set against man? Why should we love each other?" From the materialist point of view we are all equally gross entities, each separate and exclusive in himself, who can have no bonds of mutual affinity or affection. There can also be no inner restraint in such beings which can make them control their selfishness from running amuck, in the interest of the humanity as a whole.
Q : But how has it affected their working on the practical plane?
A : In the absence of any positive urge for service or sacrifice, on the practical level a sort of 'contract' between the individual and society had to be worked out to avoid the inherent conflict born out of selfishness. It is this basic conflict that expressed itself in the form of capitalism on the one hand and communism on the other. That is, on the one hand, the individual became the enemy of the society, and on the other, the society became the enemy of the individual.
Q : Whatever their practical failures, the communists have at least presented an ultimate inspiring goal of human society - 'the withering away of the state'.
A : Even thousands of years earlier to Karl Marx our seers had envisaged that state 'where there existed no state, no king, no penalty and no criminal; all protected one another by virtue of Dharma'. Whereas Marx could not give any basis for his concept of 'stateless society', our thought-givers had given a cogent explanation and the practical basis for reaching that goal.
Q : The communists claim that their theory is based on a scientific principle of human evolution. Is it not one of their strong points ?
A : But, in actuality, a scientific inquiry into the true nature of human evolution disproves their claim. The communist theory solely rests on materialism which stands at the very lowest rung of human evolution. Evolution invariably proceeds from the gross to the subtle. Man, in his primary stage, is attached exclusively to gross material things. He expands all his time and energy in the pursuit of material pleasures and satisfaction of his bodily desires. As he progresses and evolves himself into a higher state, he thirsts for mental happiness by the satisfaction of his emotional aspirations. He is now on the path of culture, another name for human evolution. The aesthetic element in his gets quickened. He creates art in its myriad forms. Going a step ahead, he then attempts to unravel the hidden element of beauty underlying those forms. That is the state when he begins to experience delight on the intellectual plane. He now finds joy in diving into the deepest recesses of the ocean of knowledge. Science and Philosophy furnish a challenging realm to his powers of intellect for research. However, he refuses to be satisfied even with that. He hankers to forge ahead. He tries to go beyond his intellect and probe the secret of his own being. He now enters the region of the spirit. Finally he reaches the Ultimate Reality, God - that all-pervading subtle principle of Highest Bliss.
Such is the true nature of human evolving from the gross to the subtle, from matter to the spirit. How then can the communists claim a scientific basis for their materialistic dogma ? In fact, viewed in this light, the communists are reactionaries, anti-progressive and retrograde.
Q : Do you not think that the principle of communism has an intrinsic value ?
A : No ! I do not. Its 'intrinsic value' was exposed the very day the prophecy of its exponent proved false. According to Marx's prophecy, communistic revolutions were to have taken place first in the more industrialized countries of England, Germany and America. The fact, however, that it took place in Russia, a very backward country at that time, proved how his whole theory was basically wrong. And even now, after so many years, there are no indications at all of the coming revolutions in England, America etc.
Q : However, equality is their fundamental principle.
A : But it stands on a wrong basis - the basis of materialism. I fail to understand why, I should cherish the feeling of cooperation with others on a basis idea that man is a mere bundle of physical wants is not born out by facts. Along with the physical, man has a mental etc. These other wants are equally - if not more - important. Can any system of thought which does not take into value ? The only basis of true equality can be the realization that all living beings are part and parcel of one and the same Reality, call if God or Eternal Truth.
Q : The communists seem to have given definite answers to problems and successfully adopted them in practice.
A : No, they have not. They have also begun to accept the right of the individual and are gradually allowing the ownership of private property. The production in Russia has fallen sharply. It was only in the first few years that the production was at its peak. Now in spite of the huge slave labor it is falling.
Q : Are you intending to incorporate some of the principles of communism or of some other 'isms' in the work of the Sangh?
A : I am not concerned with other 'isms'. If our ideology contains any 'ism' or any part of any 'ism' I do not mind. Even if it does not, I do not bother.
Q : In what 'ism' do you believe ?
A : I do not believe that human intelligence has by now gone bankrupt that it should be straitjacketed in some 'ism'.
Q : Do you want to advocate any new 'ism' ?
A : I consider all these 'isms' as but temporary phases. They are here today, they may be gone tomorrow. Many 'isms' have sprung up till now, many more may spring up in future also. But, the current of life behind them flows on as before. I am not one of those who believe that one or the other of the 'isms' as yet presented to the world must necessarily be chosen.
Q : Is not the growth of communism inevitable in our country, so long as economic disparity persists ?
A : Economic disparity is not the real cause for the class hatred on which the communists thrive. The idea of dignity of labor is not properly imbibed by our people. For example, a Rikshawala who gets a daily earning of 3 to 4 rupees is addressed as a 'fellow', and a clerk getting but Rs. 60 a month is addressed as 'Babuji'. It is this difference in outlook which gives rise to hatred. A way out would be that graduates should take up such professions so that manual labor will attain dignity. In Karma there is no distinction of high or low. Every work is the worship of the same Almighty in the form of society. Bhagavad-Gita says : Swakarmanaa tamabhyarchya siddhim vindati maanavah.
The theory of 'exploiter' and 'exploited' classification is also wrong. Sometimes the owners and other times the workers go on strike. The labor’s demands as also the owner's losses both fall on the consumer, who will be the really exploited.
Q : How do you account for the comparative popularity of communists in our country?
A : The average man is afraid of power. He, therefore, worships power. Communism has a mass appeal because the power behind it, Russia, is great.
Q : But in that case USA should be even more popular.
A : No doubt USA is more powerful than USSR, but it is also, at the same time, less frightful, because of its democratic compulsions. There is, therefore no propitiatory worship of USA.
Q : Is there no other reason at all?
A : There is also another very substantial reason for whatever popularity communism enjoys. Man does not live by bread alone. He must have faith. He must have a faith to live by and die for. Without such a faith life loses its direction and meaning, man begins to drift. He feels lost. It is an impossible state of being. Till the rise of science, Christianity provided the necessary faith for European life. But science made mincemeat of Christianity. It blasted the Christian concept of time, space, life and the world. However, Europe lost one anchor-sheet but gained another. It lost its faith in religion and gained faith in science. Indeed, science became the new religion. Men believed it to be as omniscient and omnipotent as any God thought up by man anytime, anywhere.
However, soon science disproved itself. And Einstein, than whom there has been no greater scientist in recent times, admitted the inability of science to solve the riddles of the universe. From the omniscient mood of the Victorian Era they soon felt themselves no more than picking pebbles on the shore of a vast ocean of knowledge lying unexplored before them. This collapse of faith in science left the Western man rudderless on an un-chartered sea. The old faiths were dead, and new ones were powerless to be born. It was in this vacuity of faith that some specious faiths came-up to fill the gap. Fascism was one such, communism is another.
Communism is a crude revival of some tenets of Christianity like equality etc. Toynbee has rightly described it as a 'Christian heresy'. Communism is like Islam in the economic field, complete with its Holy Prophet, Holy Book and Jehad! Man must have faith. But Communism is a poor faith.
(May 1952)

Q : It is tacitly assumed by many that the Bhoodan movement will take away the appeal of communism from among the masses.
A : My view is exactly otherwise. This movement with its slogan of 'land to the tiller' and with threats like 'If you do not give of your own accord, communists are bound to come up and take away your all by force', will only give rise to an impression in the mass kind that after all communism is correct and it is inevitable. It will be an indirect sanction for communism. I feel therefore that, contrary to all expectations, this movement of Bhoodan is likely to pave the way for communists. In fact merely to work with a view to counteract communism is dangerous.
Q : What then is the positive way out?
A : The main reason for the growth of communism is absence of nationalism. Poverty may be one of the reasons. Even with poverty, a spirit of intense nationalism can effectively neutralize the appeal of communism. Of course, efforts to eliminate poverty must be made. But the stress and appeal should be on nationalism.
See the example of England, Patriotism being the dominant note of their life, they are able to surmount all adversities. Just after the Second World War, a gentleman who returned from England attended a party here. Seeing the amount of sugar consumed for tea here he exclaimed, "The quantity of sugar which each of you consume is given to a person to a person in England as ration for a whole week. Still they pull on cheerfully." This is the spirit which keeps nations alive, powerful and free from the growth of all anti-national cults.
(November 1957)
Q : The West thinks communism can be countered only be Christianity and economic development. Therefore their slogan is that "the hoary Hindu religion must go" if India is to be saved from communism.
A : The West does not know its own malaise. It knows even less about our malaise. It just does not understand the nature of this problem. It is meaningless to say Hinduism cannot resist communism. If today the tide of communism seems rising in Bharat it is because the Government is making communism respectable and acceptable, by itself accepting the communist jargon, the communist thought patterns and the communist programmes. The Congress thinks it is taking the wind out of the communist sails. This is misleading. The communist success in Kerala - unimaginable just six years ago - shows that Congress is only making things easy for a communist take-over.
I told the Congress Government mostly responsible for Communist popularity. Its overemphasis on economic development - as against development of character, health, culture, moral values etc., - is creating acute discontent among the masses and so preparing the ground for communism.
Those who think Christ alone can save this 'heathen' Hindusthan should pause and ponder why Russia, the most orthodox country of Christendom, disowned Christ and disestablished Christianity. Even Marx had considered revolution in Russia quite unthinkable.
Q : What about the American policy to contain communism?
A : Their dollar approach is equally wrong. We are not a purchasable commodity to reject or accept communism according as we receive or do not receive foreign aid.
USA is playing the communist game when it accepts Pt. Nehru's thesis of economic development as the only defence against communism. Such an approach aggravates the desire for higher standards at a time when they cannot possibly be attained. It is this hiatus between the expected and the attainable which is threatening the country with collapse, chaos and, may be, communism. Let us not forget that revolutions are not caused by misery, but by the consciousness of misery. It is known that the French were more prosperous on the eve of their revolution in 1789 than ever before. But all the same they revolted in that year. They revolted not because they had become poorer, but because they found that they were not growing rich fast enough. The Congress party and the USA are unwittingly conspiring to create precisely this climate by their overemphasis on the so-called better living standards.
Q : Where do communists thrive?
A : An important person has written an article that wherever there is a rule by characterless people there the communists thrive. Because, when character is lost, selfishness shoots up and it makes a man forget his country and its interests, making him an easy prey to communist designs.
Q : What is your alternative to the communist pattern of economy?
A : It goes without saying that the primary needs like food, clothing, shelter, etc., should be fulfilled for one and all. The state should not assume, as in Russia, all powers. So I suggest that through cooperative enterprises production should be stepped up. We can adopt the technique of the West for production but should maintain the spirit of our social structure.
Q : How is that possible, especially when factories occupy a dominant place in our economic life?
A : The guiding spirit of our social set-up is cooperation. There should be sharing of profit in all economic ventures. Some may invest their capital in terms of money, some in terms of intelligence, and some others in terms of physical labor, but each should have a share in profit. It is only when there is no sharing of profit that conflicts arise. Unhealthy competition and rivalry is also foreign to our social spirit. Cooperation eliminates that also.
(November 1965)
Q : During every crisis of war our Government appeals to the people in the name of democracy, secularism and socialism. Will this touch the hearts of our people?
A : The spirit of 'democracy' at its best, which confers the right of freedom of speech, thought and action on the individual is nowhere more fully recognized and practiced than in the Hindu tradition. If by 'secularism' is meant that the state should not be tagged on to any particular creed and that all faiths should be equally respected, then this again would be another name for Hindu thought. In fact, it goes far beyond the Western concept of mere tolerance; it respects all faiths as equally sacred. If by 'socialism' is meant removal of economic inequality, then here again it is the Hindu philosophy and practice that stand as the unfailing guarantee for social and economic inequality, then here again it is the Hindu philosophy and practice that stand as the unfailing guarantee for social and economic justice.
All told, these various concepts can all be conveyed to our people - and in a much better manner - in terms of Hindu tradition and nationalism. This is in their blood since ages. Therein lies the real source of inspiration which can rouse all the traditional virtues of self-sacrifice and heroism in our people. It makes them offer gladly whatever is expected of them in time of national trial such as war.
Q : What is the Bharatiya system to ensure individual development?
A : The West relies on two systems : democracy and communism.
Democracy, as we see, has led to the growth of selfishness and set up man against man. There is no peace to man. Spirituality has no chance to grow there. The self-praise and the condemnations of others which are normally indulged in during elections kill spirituality.
Communism on the other hand has led to the regimentation of mind; it destroys the individuality of man. But man is not a mere animal to be content with eating and procreating. He has an urge which goes beyond that, which cannot be met merely by the material things.
In our system individual liberty and social solidarity were both ensured. The individual was freed from the shackles of economic bondage, because he was assured of a profession from his very birth. Even in the West, thinkers have begun pondering on these lines. This system ensures a clear way to rise to Godhead, devoid of the worry for worldly needs. Thus it was that among all the castes, saints of the highest order were born. This is a wonderful democracy on the spiritual basis. All are one on that basis.
Q : What is the speciality of the Bharatiya concept of state?
A : In the West, the state has no higher purpose other than caring for the physical welfare of its people. We have, on the other hand, looked upon the state as a means not only for achieving the physical welfare of the people but for improving the 'quality of man' as well.
Q : Is not the motto 'the greatest good of the greatest number' upheld by democracy the noblest so far conceived?
A : That is true so far as the West is concerned! Our ideal, on the other hand, has been 'the total good of all beings' :
Sarvepi Sukhinah santu sarve santu niraamayaah.
(Let everyone be happy, let everyone be free from all ills.)
Q : Is democracy a Bharatiya concept?
A : We had tried all experiments - including democracy even prior to the West.
Q : Do you believe democracy to be the best form of government?
A : Bernard Shaw has said, democracy came for want of a benevolent despot. Any type of government will do, if the men running it are honest and selfless. It all boils down to the quality of the human being.
Q : Supposing a despot who is honest comes to power. Is he preferable to democracy run by dishonest men?
A : With despots, it is difficult to continue the tradition of good government generation after generation. Some arrangement for change must be there. Human nature being what it is, such arrangement has become necessary. Democracy is one such arrangement.
Q : What is the role of a king as ordained by the Hindu scriptures?
A : He should abide by the dictates of Dharma. When he aspires to become a Chakravarti, he performs the crowning sacrifice, the Ashwamedha Yaga, and says thrice 'Adandyosmi' (I have conquered the world and nobody can punish me). Each time he says that, the chief priest of the sacrifice takes the Dharma Danda in his hand and hits on his head saying Dharmadandyosi (Dharma is there as your punisher).
Q : Why is not democracy successful in our country to the extent it ought to be?
A : The persons in charge of running the democratic structure are themselves not democratic in their attitude. For example, if a person wants to remain in power for all time, it is not a democratic attitude. A real democrat will say, 'I will make way for others.' But in our country, people want to stick to their positions till death takes them away.
Q : How is the proper mental attitude to be brought about?
A : By educating the people. By education is meant the moulding of right attitude towards the nation, the people and the national ethos.