The aim of all philosophical systems excepting the Carvaka materialist is moksa or liberation of the individual soul from the bondage to the world of manifestation and society, for these are fields of misery rather than of freedom, fields or pleasure trailed by pain.
So the pratijna of each system, Vaisesika, Nyaya, Samkhya, Yoga, and the Vedanta appears to be escape from misery by knowing the truth about nature, soul, and all relations which is that they are binding and abridging man’s consciousness or existence. Karma Mimamsa which promises the enjoyment of the yonder world and also of this world by performing yajnas and other sacrifices finally tells us that such enjoyments of heaven etc. are not permanent but transitory though very much prolonged than the instantaneous perishing events of the material world (ksanika). Buddhism is definitely world-negating; so too Jainism. As it was pointed out the only school that tried to make the best out of this world was Carvakas who did not run out of the world because the things of this world are momentary and misery producing. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
The social organization accordingly was biased towards escape form the world to the permanent world beyond or even to nothingness if it meant that.
The four purusarthas are graded in such a way as to lead to renunciation or moksas. The four asramas are, though natural, also directed towards exalting the renunciation of the world as the goal. Education is motivated towards the nisreyas and moksa values as against the values of life.
Thus this world is not the home but the yonder world of God or Brahman is the home of each individual soul, and of all souls.
The four varnas or orders of society and the duties pertaining thereto are essentially to serve this trans-earthly life. Whether it is trans-social beyond is secondary. Further each individual soul has to make its own effort to be free from the bondage to the world.
It appears therefore that pessimism is the reigning attitude to life. No one tries to make the world a better place to live in even during the period of precarious sojourn in it, but it should be said every effort is made to make life here miserable, more miserable than it is, so that one could strive to escape from it even before the allotted span. Life is hard and made more hard, and for the spiritual man these are previous indications that he is beloved of God: they are boons and gifts of God ripening his wisdom towards renunciation-vairagya and jnana.
Even Yoga or God-union is said to be impossible except through sannyasa. This leads to detachment from all attachments and produces a person who acts impersonally on the basis of the law of dharma or renunciation of fruits if not of all karma.
A Second Approach can be made.
The Vaisesika world-view is pluralistic. There are infinite number of souls and they have to live together. They adopted the fourfold society as well as the four asramas. A pluralistic society is based on the acceptance of the atomistic world with all its aggregating and disintegrating processes. The permanent souls have to liberate themselves from this eternal process-chance or adrsta works all though. But it is human will that should aim at dharma or law and create it however temporarily. Nyaya system reveals how this could be done by reasoning and discovery of concomitances and helps using them.
Pluralism is also the philosophy of individualism and democracy. However it also tends to get over the hard process of self-government by giving up or renouncing the job of government to a leader either by a covenant or by a convention or by just a course of habit of disinterestedness in the affairs of the world into the hands of a monarch or a living God who is a delegate of God the cosmic creator or any clique or coterie. As Svami Vivekananda pointed out in a speech he made in U.S.A., India loves monarchy. It cannot give up that. Pluralism that surrenders individual rights of freedom to govern oneself is pretty difficult to accept. We have disowned monarchs in this twentieth Century; pluralism exalts the finite individual by almost apotheosizing him into a God. And every one could become a God, but maintain a world of peace.
The individualist conception of society provides for the equal growth of every individual. His society must provide for growth and not merely for the preservation of the abstract liberty of each individual.
The social consequences of the illusionistic philosophy have already been stated in the sec.I. (approach). So long as the social four order arrangement is not seriously threatened, it does not matter what a man seeks or does or strives after. Once liberty is secure so long as one does not break the laws of the conventional society built up on the principles of society order, truth, justice, non-violence, chastity, and other virtues of Indian ethical or social life, no one is bothered about society. The yamas of Yoga are not only for the mumuksu but also for the bubhuksu.
Let us turn to the collectivistic view that might be developed out of the Advaita view or the Absolutistic view.
The Absolutist does not recognize the diversity and as such does not accept the liberty of each individual unless it be of the highest spiritual consciousness. A realized individual is already integral to the whole or the Absolute and his consciousness would be super consciousness. But no one can say except perhaps oneself whether he has arrived at that superconscious state and is permitted to legislate for all other individuals less endowed than himself. But the individuals of the whole would have already begun to lose their individual separateness, would participate in the super consciousness. The moksa of one individual would entail the moksa of every other individual, and vice versa, if the individuals do not feel moksa, no one has been liberated so far.
The rational version of liberty as rationality solves certain problems whilst raising some others. The hierarchy of rationality even like consciousness levels would hinder the collectivist hypothesis as satisfactory to the social dynamism of evolution.
The only view that may help to solve the social evolution and flexibility or freedom would be the organic view of the mutually complementary opposites or polar opposites operating continuously to maintain a dynamic growth along with equilibrium of what today passes for homeostatis. The world and the individuals interlocked in polar opposition are dynamically modifying each other, in releasing the divine potentialities of matter or nature and the divine potentialities of each individual soul under the concept of the one divine immanent in booth as their self or Ideal. They have been thrown together to bring out the cosmic meaning of being, the inherent freedom in all the three. This solves the problems of pluralism as well as holism. It cannot be said that this has been worked out in the context of a politico-social organization but it was verily worked out by Ramanuja in the context of temple organisation and his hierarchy of God-hood or statuses of God-as transcendent, as cosmic, as heroic, as inner ruler, and as the loving image or icon of infinite radiation in Matter.
A temple centered culture has more significance for social dynamics than perhaps the modern temple, the industrial estate. But then all arts and sciences could be moulded to bring out the eternal significance of liberation and freedom not only here but also beyond. If in the past the freedom was sought beyond because of its richness in infinite measure, in the present it has to be sought here for this too is the necessity in God’s Universe.
Every philosophy as a view of reality entails a practical aspect. Some Philosophies deny a practical aspect for they affirm their ‘contemplative’ attitude as all-sufficient. They however accept a practical aspect for attaining the contemplative state and all social institutions are serviceable to engender this practical process or ethic to promote the theory of contemplation or dhyana or meditation which is said to promote the disengagement from Nature and promote liberation.
There are others who hold that after one attains a philosophy the practical may be said to be the consequence of the theory. It is the technique or art that expresses the freedom-this is the concrete freedom, a freedom in and not a freedom from, a freedom in and though. Society as a vale of soul making is one view, society as the ksetra of freedom or gnostic yoga is another. They however are not contradictory though both cannot be practiced by the same person. The individuality of any individual lies in his different fitness or adhikara.
The self-finding of this adhikara is very difficult at the early stages. The social organization in ancient times did provide guide lines. Since that organization has undergone sea changes what is needed is a rethinking on institutions today all over the world. Vedanta has shown three major lines, the pluralistic, absolutistic and the organistic and they could be synthesized where there is a will towards freedom and flexibility.
Social meliorism and humanistic work was said to be canalized towards spiritual upliftment of the individuals comprising the society or community by the sannyasi leaders-leaders who have arrived at the vrddha or maturity or old age having renounced personal attachments of all kinds. In one sense they are said to have renounced artha, wealth and power, kama, desire for progeny or love of them, and have taken to the way of dharma, righteousness completely, impersonally.
The Buddhist Monk was one who had dedicated himself to possessionlessness, who had shaken himself off from all social contact, but even he later on was asked to help every thing on its upward way. Compassion was the quality of the bhikku, a non-possessive compassion.
Jains also discarded society and social concerns were not theirs. Though all sannyasis in a sense were dependent on the lay society and prescribed duties for the householders to help these monks, sannyasins, avadhutas, bhikkus, they have been prescribed only the duty to live an unattached life of purest virtues of satya, ahimsa, aparigraha, asteya and brahmacarya and rigid observance of these, though they had also to renounce all lay duties of dharma.
In fact at one time and even now in certain sects, a Guru should be a Sannyasi-a renounced one. Svami Vivekananda held that they alone could carry out spirituality everywhere as torch bearers. Patriots also must be sannyasins dedicated to the winning of freedom, spiritually and morally.
Sri Ramanuja in his time had non-sannyasins as Gurus to preserve the spiritual work. He did permit sannyasa but he did insist on the non-sannyasi being equally fit to be a Guru to lead one on to the path of moksa. The gain was the Grhastha Guru was in sympathy with the Grhastha who has been a much maligned person. The temples were not only like the viharas for men sannyasins only but for all people of all asramas and all varnas and in some cases even for the avarnas. Sri Vaisnava sampradaya thus made a departure from the sannyasi-Guru governed society to install the householder lay spiritual man to be the Guru in a varnasrama Society. This change had far reaching consequences following from the omnipervasiveness of God and his five statuses of Icon, Antaryami Vibhava-Avatar, Vyuha and Para as enunciated by the Pancaratra Idea of God with which Sri Ramanuja’s philosophy of religion is fundamentally entwined.
It is not to be compared with the Protestantism of Europe which permitted their ministers to marry as against the Catholic view.