[Advaita-l] marxism & advaita

Bala Subrahmanyam P. balasubbulu at gmail.com
Thu Jul 20 21:20:23 EDT 2017

Dear Sriram,

1.     The concept of the inhuman “*Alienation of worker from his work*”  that
is central to the critique of Capitalism in Marxist philosophy finds its
parallel in the complementary Principle of “*Swadharma*” which is common to
all the three Indian Philosophical systems of  Advaita, Visishtadvaita and

There is no Alienation from his work, if one follows one’s Swadharma. So
much importance is given to immersion in doing one’s work for the
well-being of the individual that it is unequivocally asserted that
“Swadharme Nidhanam SrEya: (it is better to die doing one’s chosen work
rather than changing over to another type of work unsuited to one’s
nature)” . On the other hand, if one chooses to follow “Para-Dharma” swayed
by other extraneous considerations like higher material benefits etc., one
lands up in a frieghtening situation (Bhayaavaha) in the long run.

2.     Again, the Communist Principle of “From each according to his
capability and to each as per his need” is followed in the Practice of
“Sattra YAga”, where in “all are YajamAnas and Rtviks and Yajna-Phala is
shared by all (this last may be more like Socialism than Communism”)  and
also in the interaction of Devas, where they follow the Principle of
“Paraspara SEvya-SEvaka BhAva” (ie., each serves the other and in turn, is
served by others by a division of labour without the differences of high
and low).

3.     Even hierarchy among Devas is only for the purpose of ease of
achieving the chosen task and has no other connotation. An example for this
is the taking up of the subsidiary position of  being the Adhidevata of
feet by Upendra [a form of Vishnu], subsidiary to the overall supervision
and control of Indra, although as Vishnu, He is the SarvAdhyaksha of the
Universe. Thus, this is a higher form of Communism.

4.     Lastly, the concept of *Private Property* is not Present in
Primitive Communism and will be ultimately abolished in the higher form of
Scientific Communism. Similarly,

4.1.         In the first Mantra of Isavasyopanishad, a rhetorical Question
is asked, viz., “*Kasyasvit Dhanam?*”. Samkara gives an alternative meaning
to this by saying  “*Kasyasvit Dhanamiti Akshepartho Na Kasyachit
Dhanamasti*” (This is a rhetorical Question as Wealth is not owned by
anybody Privately and exclusively).

4.2.         Again in the commentary on 1-5-2 (*SaptAnna BrAhmana*) of Br.
Up., Acharya Samkara says, “*Misram Hi Etat Sarvesham Hi Svam Tat
Apravibhaktam Yat Pranibhi: Bhujyate*” (Whatever is being enjoyed by the
living beings, is the joint undivided common Property of all).
with regards,
P.Bala Subrahmanyam

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