Exploitation – No More

I have already said that human beings use only a very small percentage of their inherent capacity – less than one percent, to be precise. Even people whom society has accepted as great personalities use hardly ten percent of their inherent capabilities, and the remaining ninety percent remains unutilized. To put it very plainly, human beings waste ninety percent of their capacity. Those who are very crude by nature waste half of their time in idle pursuits, and the rest of the time they only use a small percentage of their capacity for worthwhile tasks. The term “crude” refers to those people who utilize their physical capacity but totally neglect their mental and spiritual power.

Why do human beings fail to utilize their total capacity? First, they do not know how to utilize their capacity – they lack proper knowledge as to what should be done and what should not be done. Secondly, they are habitually indolent, suffering from psychic and spiritual inertness.

Some people think early in life, even at the age of twelve or fourteen, about how they can utilize cent percent of their psychic power and perfect themselves through spiritual practices. Unfortunately, due to lethargy, they fail to utilize their capacity and thus their potentiality gradually diminishes. Even those who are acclaimed as great personalities in this world utilize hardly ten percent of their capacity in the intellectual and spiritual spheres. This is really very unfortunate. But even more unfortunate is that some people not only fail to utilize their own capacity, but block the progress of others – they do not want others to prosper at all. This mentality is shameful, deplorable, and highly detrimental.

Suppose a very dark-complexioned boy is called a “nigger” by his classmates and even his teachers. This certainly depresses him and blocks the expression of his capabilities. He thinks, “I am inferior. I am downtrodden. I am ugly.” Similarly, those who are born into so-called low-caste families are criticized for being of low birth. People say derogatorily, “Ha! What sort of education can such low-caste people expect?” As a result, their minds contract and their progress is thwarted. In exactly the same way, poor people are subjected to all sorts of indignities and harassments because of their financial difficulties. Suppose a poor but meritorious boy is making excellent progress with his studies: his envious classmates comment, “Why do you bother to study? Shouldn’t you get a job as a servant?” Because of such attitudes, many brilliant and gifted people are forced to let their inherent potentialities go to waste. This is not only a matter of regret and shame, it is an act of blatant oppression, suppression, repression and exploitation! Consequently, the genius in many people gets choked. This is called “intellectual exploitation” in philosophy. You must oppose it.

It is sad that human potentiality is not fully utilized. Those who utilize a mere ten percent of their potentialities are considered to be great people by society. Imagine what the result would be if a person were to use cent percent of his or her potentialities.

As I mentioned earlier, the first reason for this waste of human potentiality is ignorance about the right path, and the second reason is lethargy. There is a third reason. Sometimes, even if people are aware of the right path and are not at all lethargic – even if one is a genius – they cannot express their full potentialities as they are subjected to unusual intellectual or social pressure. Thus, the natural expression of their potentialities is checked. This socio-intellectual exploitation is highly detrimental. You must oppose it.

There are many petty criminals in today’s society. If you keep calling them sinners, they will develop a complex deep in their minds. “I am a sinner. I am a wretch. I am mean and vile. I have no future,” they will think. You must not do anything like this. Rather, you should find their good qualities and praise them. This praise will encourage them to cultivate their attributes and move along the path of virtue. They will concentrate more on their good qualities than on their wickedness, resulting in the gradual diminishment of their sinful tendencies. Finally the day will come when they will be so preoccupied with doing good deeds that they will cease to commit any crime. That is why I say, “Praise the good qualities in human beings.”

But if these criminals are neglected, their progress will be checked and they will become even more sinful. If they are repeatedly called sinners, if they are subjected to social punishment, their habit of committing crimes will become stronger.

Even the worst sinners have some good qualities. If you appreciate their good qualities, they will be encouraged to take to the righteous path – there will be a great change for the better in their lives. This is the right approach. If, instead, so-called sinners are ostracized or criticized by society, they will no longer strive to cultivate their inherent good qualities but will stick to the path of vice so tenaciously that one day they will become a great burden on society.

As most people do not know basic human psychology, their actions result in the so-called criminals becoming a greater burden on society. Having been subjected to much social injustice and criticism, some people think, “Now that I have stepped onto the path of vice, now that I have fallen down, I will not stop until I reach the deepest hell.” You should not do anything, even unconsciously, which goes against fundamental human psychology, and you should ensure that other people do not get any scope to make such mistakes either. If so-called sinners are repeatedly scolded, they will never become transformed into good people. Even bad people, under indirect pressure, or external attraction, or urge for Parama Puruśa, can turn into good people.

You should lead the wicked people to the path of virtue. You will see for yourselves that they, too, will feel an attraction for Parama Puruśa. You should encourage them to develop the noble qualities lying dormant in them without delay. This is the proper psychological approach, the real path of rectification.

Let us consider two points: attraction for the Great and collective pressure. As a result of attraction for the Great, one joins the path of virtue; and, as a result of collective pressure, one’s attributes get scope for external expression. Here, social pressure does not mean declaring anyone an outcast or ostracizing anyone or stopping the supply of anyone’s basic needs. This is not proper social pressure; rather it is a useless approach, having no positive effect on people. On the contrary, it merely strengthens the determination of the sinner to sin. What is proper social pressure? It is to find the good side, the noble aspects, of a person’s character, and help bring about a change in his or her life. In fact, a human being has but one task: to remove that which is harmful or detrimental in society. As you march along your path of movement you should oppose those people who work against the collective interest; you should raise the slogan, “Human exploitation – No more, no more!”
4 January 1979, Patna