Equal distribution of wealth, freedom for peace

Published 22 January 2002 SAMA DARSHAN is the Sanskrit for 'equal vision' as found in Bhagavad Gita 5.18. This important text implores us to look beyond the gigantic inequalities between so-called developed countries and so-called developing countries, and see with equal vision all classes of human beings, animals and plants. According to the Gita, we live in what Pitirim Sorokin, former Chairman of Harvard University's department of Sociology, called a 'sensate' universe, a society that "intensely cultivates scientific knowledge of the physical and biological properties of sensory reality. " But as human beings, the most intelligent animals on the planet, we have a duty to care for the lower creatures of earth - especially the animals. And of the animals, cows have a special place. They are specifically singled out in the Gita verse beginning with krishi go raksha (18.44), meaning that cows always have to be protected. These domesticated animals have supplied us with milk since time immemorial. Sorokin continues: "Despite its lip service to the values of the Kingdom of God, society cares mainly about the sensory values of wealth, health, bodily comfort, sensual pleasures, and lust for power and fame. Its dominant ethic is invariably utilitarian and hedonistic." The inevitable result, Sorokin wrote, is the exceptional violence we have experienced in the 20th century. The world's vastly unequal distribution of energy tells us a lot. It reveals how those who "have," get controlled by fear and protect themselves. Love-hate relationships tend to develop between the 'have nations' and the 'have-nots.' The human phenomenon known as envy proceeds from personal to communal to national levels. This, as Sorokin indicates, has generated outbursts of violence, terrorism, wars and mass death. Economic one-world-ness, which demands ethical fair play, has proven to be only a partial answer. What is 'fair' to one group of people is 'unfair' to another. India, the world's largest democracy, has to date not been able to take full advantage of the 'democratisation' of finance. Vast differences in development of technology and information still remain, despite our desire for a more equitable world. Leaders of all countries can take at least three steps to ease the tensions that have arisen between nation-states. 1. Make mandatory two compulsory fasting days every month. This would save tons of food and improve the general health of the world's citizenry. 2. Require all their citizens to surrender a calibrated portion of their income for creating a spiritual atmosphere in the particular state. 3. Ban intoxication of all description. These preliminary directives would help everyone take the first steps on the long journey toward peace, prosperity and equality for all. In such an environment global egalitarianism can flourish.