Sunday, April 26, 2009

Karl Marx,Marxism and Hinduism

In my earlier Blog I had written that Marx had no knowledge of Hinduism. I was partially incorrect as he had indeed commented on Hinduism in his certain essays.
Karl Marx wrote about Hinduism being a religion of worshipping cows and monkeys. He called it a religion of absolute deprivation and forced ascetics. So he did have some knowledge of Hinduism but very evidently a second hand percept and a weak knowledge of Hinduism as a religion. His words and views merely reflected the views of the Christian missionary writers of that time. There is no record of his reading of any Hindu scriptures.
Any one who has studied Hinduism beyond the visible rituals would verily perceive his folly. Hinduism as practiced in Non Dualism as a philosophy is a precursor to communism. The Isa Upanishad shloka
Om Sahana Vavatu,Sahan Bhunaktu
Sah Veeryam Karvavahe
Tejaswina Vadhi Tamastu
Ma Vidvisha vahai
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti
Amply demonstrate the desire of an all round growth. Bahujan Hitay Bahu Jan Sukhay also speaks of Greater Good for Greater Mass.
Marxism also speaks about Mass Upliftment. About rule of the Workers.
The distinction being, Marxism professed physical force as an essential instrument. Whereas Hinduism lay more emphasis on Inner transformation and the Strength of Soul was construed as the applied force.
Initially Marx under Hegel too, to certain extent believed in the said percept of Inner Strength. Latter on he moved on to more physical domain with the influence of Feuerbach and Engels. Yet when Marx writes that “Emancipation of a Man is brought about by his completeness. By destruction of his ego. By his realization of his inner self devoid of other embellishments of citizenship and other trappings”. He is talking about Morality and Hinduism percepts are his statements.
When Swami Vivekanand says that to a hungry man Bread is his God. He though a great Hindu seer is talking Marxism.
Marx professed the rule of Proletariat. Vivekanand said the next leaders would be one who is “Dasasya Dasam” . Hinduism is of service to the Proletariat whereas Marxism is the Rule of Proletariat.
Marx is all but a failure today. Even during his life time he remarked “Thank god I am not a Marxist”. His most ardent successors both Lenin and Stalin were not Marxist in the real sense. The Mass Murders of your own fellowmen to promote your Concepts can not be termed as Marxism or rule of the Proletariat. Marx Marx did not believe in Party. He was an ardent supporter of Multi Party democracy and Press Freedom. He would had strongly objected to the sort of Governance where the Government derives its strength from Secret Police keeping an eye on its populace.
Marx looked at Hinduism as a religion with all its ill hackneyed rituals.He had no perception of “DHARMA”. The very fact that basically Hinduism was not a religion but a “DHARMA” was alien to him. His basic understanding of religion was borne out of semetic religions. Principally that of Christianity and to a much lesser extent Islam.


Pablo Antuna said...

This is interesting. I've never thought about this. I think, however, that Hinduism is more inclined towards liberalism.

kochi said...

will hve to read it again. i read karl marx recently but thi is new take!

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vanam said...

Vanam Jwala Narasimha Rao
Freelance Journalist, Hyderabad

‘Hinduism’, whether a religion or not, but, as a way of life influenced me a lot. ‘Karma Siddantha‘ of the Itihashas or Puranas and Vedic literature profound, that, everything in the universe- from creation to destruction, is all pre determined. Every living and non-living creature play its assigned role in the universe in the form of a lengthy drama (Jagannatakam) written, produced and directed by the God almighty. The Marxist philosophy of DETERMINISM too says similarly. The anti thesis, thesis and synthesis of this philosophy leading to establishment of Rule of the Working Class-Dictatorship of Proletariat, is born out of dialectical and historical materialism as also out of the theory of surplus value. Is this too not a pre determined theory as much as the ‘the karma Siddhanta’?

Karl Marx writings were mainly directed to the critical analysis of capitalist development and ultimate transition to socialism, they were all depicting humanism in some form or other. His desired system would be a ‘People’s Democratic Secular society’ based on rational planning, cooperative production, equality of distribution, and, most important, liberated from all forms of political and bureaucratic hierarchy.

Dialectical Materialism, a philosophical approach to reality derived from the teachings of Karl Marx, holds that, all phenomena exist objectively and independently of human perception and that reality is reducible to matter. In explaining human history by the application of this theory, Marxism suggests, that, men’s mental and spiritual life, their ideas and aims, reflect their material conditions of co-existence. The relations that men enter into, in producing the means of life, determine the class relations in society. Social and political institutions and their accompanying patterns of ideas arise as a superstructure on this economic base. The history of society is the history of class struggles. History progresses from one stage to its diametrically opposite, and moves further to a higher level. All things contain contradictory sides or aspects-tensions and conflicts are the driving force of change. Thus, according to this theory, the inherent contradictions of any society will lead eventually to its overthrow by the rural workers. The final synthesis will be a classless society.

Did not Valmiki write the Ramayana, ahead of all these happenings, and foresee the birth of Rama as god incarnation? Did he also not predict the existence of Ravana a cursed devotee of Lord Vishnu destined to born as a Rakshasa? Ravana, a ‘Super Human Devotee’ of Lord Vishnu destined to be born as his enemy. Ravana, the strongest (may be like the mighty, in the metaphysical sense, though in a different way) was ultimately overpowered by the combination of weakest forces- the human beings and monkeys - led by a tactful Rama, his brothers and Hanumantha. The final synthesis was establishment of Ramarajya, which Gandhiji prayed for as Gramarajya or Rule of the Rural Folk.

Humanism is the name given to the intellectual, literary and scientific movement of the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries, a movement that aimed at basing every branch of learning on the literature and culture of classical antiquity. We heard of Christian Humanism, Cultural Humanism, Literary Humanism, Political Humanism, and Religious Humanism and so on.
The essence is, whether it was a “RAMARAJYA” or “GRAMARAJYA”, or “KARMIKARAJYA” the concern should be human being and that is humanism. Struggle for humanism is a continuum. It is iterative and recursive. In fact, Tamil Gramarajya believed in an electoral system called ‘KUDA VOLAI’ or the ballot box, even in the Chola times itself. How many times Yugas-ages have not been repeated? Which particular cycle’s Yuga stories do we believe? The message is ‘struggle’ leading to recognition of humanism. Literature is one of the means to achieve humanism.

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Jwala Narasimha Rao Vanam

Dinesh D said...

nice post! really it's worth reading , can you provide lingashtakam lyrics which will be chanted in favour of lord shiva.