The most precious outcome of intellectual labour is perpetual development of the understanding of the Universal Intelligence so that Universal Consciousness gets settled in humanity. Those who dedicate their lives to intellectual labour must avoid distractions of excessive physical comfort and luxuries in life that are for pleasure of the senses and distort the true perception of things. The people who dedicated their lives to such intellectual labour were called ‘Brahmins’ in ancient India. They depended on the alms offered to them by others for earning their livelihood and merciful immunity granted to them by the society for their physical protection.
The man found that his intellectual efforts also helped him in improving his quality of physical life. Not all, but at least a few sections of the human population could make their lives much more secure and comfortable through intellectual labour. Superficial understanding of the process of life makes the man respond to his physical advancements more quickly and to a greater extent than his spiritual advancement. Ordinarily one’s senses respond to physical conditions instantly and rather loudly; whereas, his intellect responds to the matters of spiritual nature very slowly and peacefully. The powerful and the selfish among the men quickly realized that use of intellectual labour, instead of physical efforts and strength was a more effective way for leading a life with greater ease, comfort, and security. In the modern world, demand for those, who could put in intellectual efforts for generating more wealth and much faster than through physical (bodily) labour, rose by leaps and bounds.
Although most scriptures and many wise philosophers had warned against the indiscriminate use of intellectual labour for ensuring mindless physical progress, but the powerful and the influential among the men preferred to lead the world in a direction that gave them better opportunities for creating much wealth to satisfy their greed, and the power and social status to manipulate the affairs of the world in their favour.
M.K. Gandhi said, “The intellectual labour is for the benefit of the soul; it cannot be deployed for earning one’s livelihood.” In spite of serious warning by many other modern philosophers also a new but much distorted and perverse form of ‘Brahmanism’ established its roots firmly in the modern world. The intellectual supremacy, the intellectual efforts and labour are being primarily used for physical empowerment and growth of a few privileged people out of the vast population of human beings. These privileged people lead, control, and rule; and, decide everything concerning the lives of those, who have little or no privileges. The intellectual efforts are very sparingly being used to explore the realities of today in today’s circumstances. We hardly find people dedicated to reviewing what was said by our wise ancestors, so that the eternal knowledge we claim to be in possession of can be used by the modern man who has many affinities to the intellectual efforts for his physical welfare, for the sustainable good of the human race, without discrimination and distinction. On the contrary, the eternal truth is being presented to the modern man as something highly theoretical and beyond his reach. The matter does not end here. Those who help in circulating the great knowledge created for the spiritual growth of the mankind need money to perform their duty, because the trend is to consider even intellectual efforts (labour) for promoting spiritual, religious and ethical growth as a commodity. Just as the opportunities for physical survival must be available to all, without distinction; the opportunities for spiritual growth must also be free.
The critical issue before us is ‘exploring the realities of today in today’s circumstances’. The historical realities of the past many centuries have pushed the man towards aggressive and violent means for his physical advancement. Virtually, nothing has been seriously done to review the changes and ponder over what the man had been doing individually and socially. The man quickly learned to reduce his dependence on his bodily efforts and deployed his intellectual abilities to grow faster than ever before. Those who could make intellectual efforts were promoted by the powerful in their self interests. The vast majority of human populations were neither powerful nor intellectually advanced as a few among them were. Today, the nexus of the powerful and the intellectually advanced call the shots, and the majority just watches the game helplessly. Just as many Brahmins of ancient India took upon themselves to pay more attention to and guide the warrior classes that often ruled; the intellectuals of modern times served the handful of powerful people to help them become more powerful. In ancient India the Brahmins, the intellectual class, considered it as their duty to guide the ruling class so that the right social order is maintained, but their proximity with the ruling class distracted them from the purpose they were supposed to serve. As a result the spiritual growth of the entire society was stunted. The scenario of modern times had been different. The use of intellect to reduce the component of labour from production prompted the powerful people to acquire the means of production to acquire much wealth in no time. The majority lost the means of production that they possessed, as also the opportunities to put in physical labour for their survival. The people with intellectual abilities; knowingly or unknowingly, willingly or unwillingly; sided with the powerful, because only that could have guaranteed them a comfortable living. This analysis may appear a bit too simplistic, and the root causes and repercussions of the happenings may be far more complex, but the appearance of a totally misguided, greedy and impatient ‘Neo-Brahmins’ cannot be overlooked.
The appropriate use of human intellect is more for his spiritual growth, because only thereby the man learns how to live. Undoubtedly, man’s intellect can also be used to facilitate his physical survival, but the benefit thereof must accrue to all without discrimination and distinction.
PROMOD KUMAR SHARMA
[The writer of this blog is also the author of “Mahatma A Scientist of the Intuitively Obvious” and “In Search of Our Wonderful Words”.]