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Books > Philosophy > Philosophers > I Believe - A Philosophy for the Global Society
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I Believe - A Philosophy for the Global Society
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I Believe - A Philosophy for the Global Society
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About the Author

Dr. Karan Singh, heir-apparent to the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir was born on March 9, 1931. At the age of eighteen, he was appointed Regent and thereafter was Head of State for eighteen years. In 1967, he was inducted into the Union Cabinet and held many important Cabinet portfolios. He served as India’s Ambassador to the United States and has been elected four times to the Lok Sabha and since 1996 is a member of the Rajya Sabha. A Ph.D. from the University of Delhi he has been Chancellor of Jammu & Kashmir University, President of the Author’s Guild of India, and the People’s Commission on Environment & Development; Chairman of the Temple of Understanding, a global interfaith organisation; Member of the Club of Rome, the Club of Budapest, and the Green Cross International. Currently he is Chairman, Governing Board of the Auroville Foundation, Chancellor of the Benaras Hindu University, and President of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, with the rank of Central Cabinet Minister.

Karan Singh is recognised as one of India’s outstanding thinkers and leaders and has written many books and has lectured on political science, philosophy, education, religion and culture both in India and abroad. This book reveals the amazing depth and sweep of his mind.

Preface

As I travel around the world I am often asked, usually by younger people, a simple but formidable question : "What is your philosophy?" While 1 speak extensively on the philosophy of Vedanta, of the Upanishads, of Sri Aurobindo and so on, that does not answer the question. So I thought I would try and spell out what precisely I believe.

Our beliefs flow from the totality of experience to which we have been exposed. I have been fortunate that my exposure has in many ways been more varied and intense than falls to the lot of most people. There are four main sets of factors that have moulded my thinking — books, music, travel, and people. In all four I have had the good fortune of an extremely wide and stimulating contact, and if] have not imbibed more from them the fault is entirely my own. In any case, I shall try briefly to identify the major beliefs I have come to hold, even though J am acutely aware of the difficulty in expressing complex ideas in simple words :

1. I believe that man, still in an intermediate stage between the animal and the divine, can raise himself to a higher plane of being if he makes a conscious and dedicated effort to do so; and there can be no nobler endeavour than this aspiration towards divinity. I believe that each human being born on this planet, or for that matter anywhere else in the limitless cosmos, carries within themselves an unquenchable spark of divinity. Our true destiny as human beings revolves around fanning of this spark into the smokeless flame of spiritual realization.

2. I believe that all political, economic, and social activities should have as their ultimate goal the fostering of this divinity within each individual. Scientific and technological developments are ultimately counter-productive if they do not lead us towards this end.

3. I believe that at their highest all religions are so many different paths leading to the same goal, the ineffable and indescribable union between the human and the divine; that mystics of all religious persuasions have realized and preached essentially the same doctrine of human love and divine communion; and that strife and hatred in the name of religion is therefore (see p. 33) the very antithesis of spirituality and a gross slur on the name of humanity.

4. I believe that India, with its unique heritage stretching back to the very dawn of civilization, has a special role to play in fostering a society which would support this process of evolution. In a world torn by violence and hatred I believe that India can play a crucial role in leading humanity towards a new equilibrium between wealth and wisdom, having and being. I believe that we must work for political integration, economic growth, social transformation, and secular democracy not merely as ends in themselves but because this combination can best provide the framework within which the people of our ancient land can fulfil their destiny.

5. I believe that as long as millions go without the basic necessities of civilized existence it is utterly unreal to talk to them about things of the spirit, and that the basic material needs of man must be satisfied as a foundation for further spiritual growth. I believe that this can be achieved only when we succeed in motivating the people of India to put in several decades of hard, disciplined effort for the production of wealth and simultaneously adopt policies to ensure that the wealth so produced is distributed fairly to all sections of society. I believe that this can be achieved not by propagating the bitter doctrine of implacable class warfare but, rather, by trying to involve the nation as a whole in the mighty effort required to break the poverty barrier that still persists around us.

**Contents and Sample Pages**







I Believe - A Philosophy for the Global Society

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About the Author

Dr. Karan Singh, heir-apparent to the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir was born on March 9, 1931. At the age of eighteen, he was appointed Regent and thereafter was Head of State for eighteen years. In 1967, he was inducted into the Union Cabinet and held many important Cabinet portfolios. He served as India’s Ambassador to the United States and has been elected four times to the Lok Sabha and since 1996 is a member of the Rajya Sabha. A Ph.D. from the University of Delhi he has been Chancellor of Jammu & Kashmir University, President of the Author’s Guild of India, and the People’s Commission on Environment & Development; Chairman of the Temple of Understanding, a global interfaith organisation; Member of the Club of Rome, the Club of Budapest, and the Green Cross International. Currently he is Chairman, Governing Board of the Auroville Foundation, Chancellor of the Benaras Hindu University, and President of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, with the rank of Central Cabinet Minister.

Karan Singh is recognised as one of India’s outstanding thinkers and leaders and has written many books and has lectured on political science, philosophy, education, religion and culture both in India and abroad. This book reveals the amazing depth and sweep of his mind.

Preface

As I travel around the world I am often asked, usually by younger people, a simple but formidable question : "What is your philosophy?" While 1 speak extensively on the philosophy of Vedanta, of the Upanishads, of Sri Aurobindo and so on, that does not answer the question. So I thought I would try and spell out what precisely I believe.

Our beliefs flow from the totality of experience to which we have been exposed. I have been fortunate that my exposure has in many ways been more varied and intense than falls to the lot of most people. There are four main sets of factors that have moulded my thinking — books, music, travel, and people. In all four I have had the good fortune of an extremely wide and stimulating contact, and if] have not imbibed more from them the fault is entirely my own. In any case, I shall try briefly to identify the major beliefs I have come to hold, even though J am acutely aware of the difficulty in expressing complex ideas in simple words :

1. I believe that man, still in an intermediate stage between the animal and the divine, can raise himself to a higher plane of being if he makes a conscious and dedicated effort to do so; and there can be no nobler endeavour than this aspiration towards divinity. I believe that each human being born on this planet, or for that matter anywhere else in the limitless cosmos, carries within themselves an unquenchable spark of divinity. Our true destiny as human beings revolves around fanning of this spark into the smokeless flame of spiritual realization.

2. I believe that all political, economic, and social activities should have as their ultimate goal the fostering of this divinity within each individual. Scientific and technological developments are ultimately counter-productive if they do not lead us towards this end.

3. I believe that at their highest all religions are so many different paths leading to the same goal, the ineffable and indescribable union between the human and the divine; that mystics of all religious persuasions have realized and preached essentially the same doctrine of human love and divine communion; and that strife and hatred in the name of religion is therefore (see p. 33) the very antithesis of spirituality and a gross slur on the name of humanity.

4. I believe that India, with its unique heritage stretching back to the very dawn of civilization, has a special role to play in fostering a society which would support this process of evolution. In a world torn by violence and hatred I believe that India can play a crucial role in leading humanity towards a new equilibrium between wealth and wisdom, having and being. I believe that we must work for political integration, economic growth, social transformation, and secular democracy not merely as ends in themselves but because this combination can best provide the framework within which the people of our ancient land can fulfil their destiny.

5. I believe that as long as millions go without the basic necessities of civilized existence it is utterly unreal to talk to them about things of the spirit, and that the basic material needs of man must be satisfied as a foundation for further spiritual growth. I believe that this can be achieved only when we succeed in motivating the people of India to put in several decades of hard, disciplined effort for the production of wealth and simultaneously adopt policies to ensure that the wealth so produced is distributed fairly to all sections of society. I believe that this can be achieved not by propagating the bitter doctrine of implacable class warfare but, rather, by trying to involve the nation as a whole in the mighty effort required to break the poverty barrier that still persists around us.

**Contents and Sample Pages**







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