Acharya Krtashivananda Avadhuta
revised by Dharmadeva
editing by Brian Hammer and Dharmadeva
The Necessity and Prerequisites
We are at a stage in history where, through the influence of science and technology, our planet and its inhabitants have become parts of one whole, affected by each other. Environmental, economic and political phenomena are compelling us to treat the world as one unit. Yet the sense that the human race must become one community remains a casual whim, a vague aspiration, and not yet generally accepted as a conscious ideal.
Attempts to bring human unity or social cohesion by creating political systems through force have proven abortive. Take the recent case of the invasion of Iraq in 2003, dubbed ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’ by the United States of America. The invasion occurred from 19 March 2003 to 1 May 2003, and initially involved a combined force of troops from the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Poland. It then became the Iraq War involving a further 36 countries, forming an international coalition with the purpose of establishing a democratic political system in Iraq. A parliamentary federal system of representation was constitutionally approved by referendum on 15 October 2005 and implemented. The war was officially declared to be over on 15 December 2011.
However, sectarian tensions between Iraq’s Shia majority and Sunni minority are proving the most intractable. These tensions continue to undermine political stability and social unity, despite the international involvement that occurred in Iraq and the system of representative government that was put in place. Indeed, the invasion and war led to one of the most violent periods in Iraqi history which will not be forgotten quickly or easily. While international involvement placed a heavy mark on the process of state and political nation building in the country, it did not alleviate the social sentiments and resultant sectarian tensions that now continue.
So, even today, in many places across the world, we find that in people's minds there are clashing tides of colour, race, nation, religion, caste, gender and other geo- or socio- sentiments that continue to create mutual antagonisms. In the process they build myths and illusions that divide human society into hostile camps. Unfortunately, there is no world body with a firm resolve or accepted mandate to neutralise such hostilities.
The tyranny over and oppression of the Tibetan people, the massacre of Bosnian Muslims, tribal conflicts in Africa, religious persecution in the Middle East, and the persecution of minorities in Bangladesh and elsewhere demonstrate clearly the impotence of the United Nations when it comes to dealing with geo- and socio- sentiments. Sometime in the 1990s, the Khaleej Times of the United Arab Emirates wrote along these lines: "Blunt military action in Somalia to avenge armed offences against United Nations personnel contrasts starkly with inaction ... in the face of persistent Nazi-like atrocities against Bosnian Muslims." The Il Messaggero of Italy also wrote to the effect: "It was hoped that the United Nations could finally carry out its duties in a world government framework, [but] it does not yet have the authority, the strength, or the necessary political design to accomplish its tasks."
The powerlessness of the world body lies in the fact that any one of the Big Five (the permanent members of the Security Council – China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and United States of America) can, in accordance with the United Nations Charter, veto any crucial or non-procedural decision of the collective body. Another glaring problem is the contradiction in the United Nations Charter between its first purpose to “maintain international peace and security” and the first principle of "the sovereign equality of all its Members". Further, “its Members confer on the Security Council primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, and agree that in carrying out its duties under this responsibility the Security Council acts on their behalf”.
That means the United Nations has no real authority to interfere in the internal affairs of any nation even if its minorities are victimised by the ruling class. Yet, the United Nations sometimes punishes an entire nation for the crimes of its leaders and ruling class with military action or economic sanctions. Effectively, nations can disregard human values and justice with the consequences, among others, of suppression of minorities and increase in the exodus of refugees. There is currently a tension between maintaining the principle of state sovereignty (a defining pillar of the United Nations system) and the enforcement of evolving internationally accepted norms related to human rights under international law. For the progress of human society, this must be resolved in favour of the responsibility to protect all communities and people based on universal or cardinal human values and the rights that derive from such values.
One of the principal tasks of the United Nations, as set forth in Article 55 of the Charter, is to promote "universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion". In conformity with this provision of the Charter, the Commission on Human Rights was set up by the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations in 1946 and replaced with the current Human Rights Council in 2006. The original Commission drew up the famous Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 10 December 1948. This declaration is regarded as an international Magna Carta for all humankind.
The Declaration consists of a Preamble and thirty articles. Closely following, in parts, the United States Bill of Rights and instruments declaring people's rights in other countries, the first part of the Declaration reaffirms civil and political rights and various freedoms, such as freedom of speech, expression and worship, personal security, equality before the law, a right to own property, etc. The second part touches on more recently recognised human rights, generally called economic, social and cultural rights. But a mere declaration of rights, of itself, cannot ensure the enjoyment of these rights unless they are recognised and enforced by the governments of countries in which they are supposed to apply. In the absence of any constitutional obligation or laws and any agency to enforce these rights, the Declaration will remain largely a pious wish. It is essential today for all places of the world to adopt a set of human rights based on real human values (both individual and collective values). It is also essential to ensure some form of legal sanction so that human rights can be enforced. For this to happen, the world body must have constitutional sovereignty based on cardinal human values over national sovereignty.
To neutralise the antagonisms between ethnic, racial, religious and communal groups, the spirit of Neo-Humanism (Sarkar 1982), which invokes an ideological responsibility to take care of all entities in the universe, should be given prime importance. In the opinion of M.N. Roy (1952) who was influential in the ‘radical humanist’ movement of India: "Humanism is cosmopolitan. It does not run after a utopian internationalism, which presupposes the existence of autonomous national states. A cosmopolitan commonwealth of free men and women is a possibility. It will be a spiritual community, not limited by the boundaries of national states – capitalist, fascist, communist, or any other ism, which will gradually disappear under the impact of cosmopolitan humanism.”
Similarly, P.R. Sarkar (1959b) proposes that: "The universe is just like a joint family. Peace and tranquillity depend upon a well-knit socio-economic structure. The moulding of the socio-economic structure depends upon ideological outlook.” To form and sustain a well-knit socio-economic structure, first we should have a constructive ideal. The ideal should not only be the culminating point, but it should be the starting point also (Sarkar 1958). The ideal should imbibe an expansive outlook. As people become more generous and broad-minded, they rise above narrow feelings. Their circle of compassion grows and becomes universal, to include all living and animate entities and also the inanimate environment. Those who wish to foster the welfare of all living beings as a whole, and who care for ecological well-being, have to embrace this universalism.
In furtherance of a constructive ideal, Sarkar (1958) states and proposes: "Universalism does not depend upon any relative factor. Hence, it is free from the vices of 'isms'. 'Isms' thrive because of group interest. Amongst other factors, 'isms' are a major contributor to war. Those who are eager to establish peace should shake off nationalism and other allied 'isms'. If we are to shake off these 'isms' we have to organise a universal body and go on strengthening its power. It will be the first phase in establishing the World Government. In the initial stage it will be a law framing body. The first beneficial effect of such a body will be that no country will be allowed to frame laws detrimental to the interest of its minorities. The right of executing those laws will be vested with the local government and not with the World Government. The World Government will decide the principles to enforce law in a particular country."
Centralisation of political power does not mean centralisation in one person or one institution or at one level. Rather, there is to be a common source at a global level for development of a consistent global law based on common principles. Sub-levels of government (international confederations, nations, federation of states, states and other local levels) are to implement the law as per the relevant jurisdiction. Implementation is to be consistent with the global framework in which human values and rights is a primary factor in the framing of laws. Further, the independence of legislature, executive and judiciary, as well as audit of government expenditures and agencies, should continue to be developed and maintained at the various levels.
With centralisation of political power, economic power should be decentralised. This requires the formation of self-reliant socio- economic zones based on the sentimental legacy and economic potentiality of each zone. Ultimately, compatible socio-economic zones should unite into a confederation of zones. Depending on conditions, a particular zone may not immediately materialize some laws applicable to a confederation of zones, but a zone must not go against those laws which have been developed based on high level principles agreed at the global level. At the same time, the arms of government of a confederation must not ignore the interests of its member zones, else there will be a conflict that could psychologically adversely affect all zones in the confederation.
Factors Essential for a World Government
Universalism is concerned with the welfare of all beings with loving care and concern for our planet and life on it. Discarding nationalism, or internationalism based on national sovereignty, and forms of fascism, communism, capitalism and other limiting ‘isms’ as a basis for political development, universalism must find its way towards the establishment of a world government. The following elements are essential for this purpose:
(1) Common philosophy of life;
(2) Universality of constitutional structure;
(3) Common penal code;
(4) Availability of minimum necessities of life.
(1) Common Philosophy of Life
The destiny of the human race, as of the individual, depends on the direction of its life forces – the values that guide it, and the rights that mould it. At this juncture of human history it is essential to discard the narrow geo-sentiments, socio-sentiments and other group sentiments in the form of nationalism, communalism, racism, religious groupism and other like sentiments, in order for humanity to progress. Cosmopolitanism is now dominant in world affairs
The cruder the prevalent philosophy, the weaker the social cohesion (Sarkar 1959b). When people have a subtler motive their philosophy also becomes subtler, and their social ties become stronger. Social synthesis therefore requires a subtle philosophy of life – in its absence quarrels become frequent. A common philosophy of life demands an acknowledgement that the development of the human personality and human evolution takes place in three spheres – physical, metaphysical or mental, and spiritual. Such a complete rational theory is ever-progressing in its application, with details of implementation varying somewhat according to the relative environment of the age.
The social and cultural blending of the present age which is taking place and will continue to take place also shows the domination of cosmopolitanism in world affairs, leading to a greater diversity of expressions amongst an appreciative human society. This is occurring in respect to physical, mental and spiritual matters, and is a unifying force. That there is a spiritual unity of all living beings within an apparent diversity of expressions is the essence of a Neo-Humanist (Sarkar 1982) outlook. In this regard, the real essence of progressive movement is from imperfection to perfection, from bondage to liberation. Perfection occurs by all-round development in the physical, mental and spiritual spheres; and liberation arises from struggles to break loose from fetters in relation to those three spheres. In the collective effort to realise the unity of souls lies the genesis of social progress.
(2) Universality of Constitutional Structure
Throughout history, dominating classes have framed laws according to their interests and sentiments rather than higher values. These laws originated as the by-products of what was considered to be virtue or vice often based on the religious faith, traditions or customs of a locality. Discarding narrow considerations of religion and class domination, there should be one universally accepted set of laws. This requires a proper assessment of virtue and vice based on what leads, or does not lead, to the greatest welfare.
Vice is that which makes the mind narrow and selfish, and so does not lead to the greatest welfare of all. Virtue is that which expands the mind and so assists in increasing the circle of one’s compassion or love, the greatest extent of which is universal welfare such that the universe is considered an integral part of oneself and every entity must be taken care of.
It is cardinal human values that are reflected in the spirit of continuing efforts towards welfare of the entire humanity and promotion of universal well-being. Being universal, these values are acceptable to all and so elevate humanity. They are mostly unchangeable and include love for all and benevolence, and they nurture spiritual understanding, self-reflection and expansion of consciousness. Cardinal human values are not ego-centred, matter centred, dogma centred or about worldly comforts and acquisitions. Cardinal law can thus be expressed as a responsibility to ensure the welfare of all entities in the universe. This includes to collectively ensure the unity of human society with its diverse expressions.
Morality is required in the formation of human society and its observance is essential for the movement of human society. Morality is an effort to lead a well-knit life – it is a dynamic force (Anandamurti 1957)and involves choices regarding one’s conduct and outlook. In this sense, morality is not an end in itself, but the means to individual and collective progress. The practice of morality builds trust and cooperation in society.
A true moral code is egalitarian because there are benefits for all, and does not foster group or class interests (Towsey 2009). The system of guidelines for behaviour stipulated in a moral code are general rules about right living conceived as universal conscience or natural, but the application of which depends on time, place and person, and requiring a conscious endeavour to decide in favour of benevolence. Moral law can thus be expressed as a code of conduct based on the inherent dignity of human beings that leads human beings to their highest fulfilment, while promoting collective welfare.
A legal system should transpose cardinal human values and morality into good social outcomes by the development of human laws applied through society's legal system (Fitzgerald 1999). Human law is made by human beings and changes over time in order to adapt and take into account real-world circumstances. For example, crimes are acts forbidden by the law of the government concerned. Different acts (or not acting) are added and deleted from the criminal statute books regularly.
Thomas Aquinas in the Summa Theologicaasserted that where human law “is at variance with natural law it will not be a law, but spoilt law”. Similarly, the larger the gap between human law and morality, the more the scope for social disharmony and problems, because the human law did “not oblige in the court of conscience”. As the function of morality is to promote individual and collective welfare, social progress depends on reducing the gap between legality and morality, and the intention of the law should always be to give expression to cardinal human principles (Towsey 2009).
Accordingly, the universality of a constitutional structure under a world government requires that the differences among cardinal human values, morality and law should be lessened. The application of cardinal law, moral law and human law should be consistent and differences minimised.
A social blending of humanity is in progress with the need for a common constitutional structure so as to build solidarity amongst all peoples. In furtherance of this, the world constitution should, at least, include the following principles which may be contained in a Charter of Principles or Bill of Rights:
(a) A guarantee of purchasing power adequate to secure the minimum requirements of life to all citizens of every country;
(b) The recognition of four fundamental rights:
(i) spiritual practice or dharma;
(ii) cultural legacy;
(iii) indigenous linguistic expression;
(c) A guarantee of complete security to all plants and animals.
As an example, local languages must be encouraged to help the indigenous literatures develop and contribute towards world progress and thereby a common humanity. At the same time a lingua franca of the world, currently English, should continue to be evolved for our common benefit.
Another example is the recognition of not only rights of human beings, but also of animals and plants. The lives of all created beings are equally dear to them in terms of environmental and ecological systems, and animals and plants also have a birthright to exist on this Earth. Where biological disparities, such as deforestation and the effects of pollution, exist between the human and animal worlds, the human and plant worlds, or between animals and plants, processes must be undertaken to attain parity or ecological balance between the human, animal and plant worlds. That is, the maintenance, use and planning of ecosystems must be such that the disparities do not arise again. This will help assure the security of animals and plants.
If it happens that the practice of any constitutional rights conflicts with cardinal human values, then that practice should be modified, restrained or curtailed as necessary. Cardinal human values inspire the benevolent welfare of all and because of that basis should take precedence over all other rights.
(3) Common Penal Code
The penal code should be prepared on the basis of principles set out in the world constitutional structure. The agreed principles should serve as the fundament for developing the penal code. This requires that the entire conception of vice and virtue be changed. As Sarkar (1959a) states:
All those actions which help in the growth of the spiritual, mental and physical aspects of human beings in general should come under the category of virtuous deeds, and those actions which go against humanity in its spiritual, mental and physical development must come under ‘vice’. This conception of virtue and vice applies commonly to humanity in general.
Sarkar (1959a) also asserts the legislation for the penal code must be “progressive and capable of gradual adjustment with the prevalent conditions”. The penal code must hold a parallelism with the ever-changing conditions of time, place and person and be established with a view to rectification. With regular review and amendments that are ongoing, a common penal code can be evolved.
(4) Availability of Minimum Necessities of Life
The minimum requirements of life can be assured through guaranteed purchasing capacity which must be enshrined in the constitution as a fundamental or cardinal human right. Making available the minimum essentialities of life for all human beings is a fundamental socio-economic principle of the Progressive Utilisation Theory (PROUT). Currently, food, shelter, clothes, education and medical care constitute the minimum requirements of life. These minimum necessities of human society must be guaranteed through systems of production and supply and the social responsibility of ensuring that individuals have adequate purchasing power to attain them. The minimum requirements may increase over time, for example, to include means of transport and communication.
The availability of the minimum essentialities of life plays a vital role in social cohesion and harmony and also in the development of human personality. By their easy acquisition human beings are better able to utilize their surplus energy in subtler individual and community pursuits (Sarkar 1959a). However, if the supply of minimum requirements be guaranteed without any conditions of exercising personal skill and labour, individuals may develop the psychology of idleness (Sarkar 1959a). Therefore, a minimum exchange of physical or psychic labour according to a person’s capacity is required in return for the purchasing power (e.g. money) to obtain those minimum requirements.
Furthermore, diversity is the law of nature, and individual skill and per capita income for everyone will never be uniform. Special amenities should therefore be provided so that the diversity in skill and intelligence of people is fully utilized, and each person by their talent is encouraged to contribute their best towards human development (Sarkar 1959a). Special amenities, as incentives, may be given to those persons who are making greater contributions to society, but not without guaranteeing the minimum requirements to all. In this way economic balance in socio-economic zones throughout the world can be restored.
For example, if presently every person requires a Type A amenity as a minimum requirement, while greater contributors to society, such as scientists, researchers and persons performing special services, require a better Type B special amenity as an incentive, in due course every person should also have available to them the Type B amenity, and at that time the greater contributors to society may require a still better Type C special amenity, and so on. This approach increases the provision of special amenities pertaining to the age to all, and also, simultaneously, decreases somewhat the provision of special emoluments given to some, but retains enough of a gap to allow for incentives.
In this way, PROUT espouses a never-ending process to minimize the gap between minimum necessities and special amenities, but as a result of minimization it will never come to zero (Sarkar 1959a). Such a never-ending effort for achieving proper economic development and the required adjustments has to continue with a view to assisting the spiritual, mental and physical evolution of human beings. The application of this economic principle will allow human beings to develop a sentiment for world fraternity and equitable sharing of resources.
A world constitution which contains the above elements is already apparent to many people. While getting diverse people to agree on world laws may likely be a graduated process, there is considerable agreement already about human rights, at least civil and political rights, and also other basic principles. As well, global laws are important for economic, social and cultural reasons and to protect the Earth's environment and ecosystems for the future of humanity and the security of animal and plant life which transcend boundaries. By expanding our areas of agreement to protect all entities of this Earth, each socio-economic zone of the world is bound to have ample scope for its integrated development within the framework of a world constitution and high level world government.
“From the first expression of moralism, to the establishment in cosmic humanity, there is a gap. The concerted effort to negotiate this gap is termed as social progress, and the collective body of those who are engaged in this concerted effort I shall call the ‘society’.”
- P.R. Sarkar
(Human Society Part I, p.11)
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 Article 27.3, which states “Decisions of the Security Council on all other matters shall be made by an affirmative vote of nine members including the concurring votes of the permanent members …”.
 Article 1.1.
 Article 2.1.
 Article 24.1.
 Paragraph 55.c.
 General Assembly Resolution 60/251 establishing the Human Rights Council (15 March 2006).
 ST, I–II q. 95 a. 2.
 ST, I–II q. 95 a. 4.