43. 5 Things You Didn’t Know About The Modern Civilisation That Will Blow Your Mind


We are used to measure the level of civilisation by economic performance and the nature of the social order. Hence the illusion that development is determined solely by these external categories. But this illusory idyll of us being “civilised” is regularly violated by egregious cases of savagery and vandalism committed by superficially cultured people. And it makes you wonder about the other criteria of being civilised that lie in our internal system of values.

A prominent thinker of Bengali Renaissance and a leading philosopher, savant and spiritual reformer of Gaudiya Vaishnavism of the late 19th century Bhaktivinoda Thakura gave an alternative view of the levels of culture and civilisation, based on the ancient wisdom of the Vedas. He identified five levels of civilisation in relation to people’s spiritual advancement.

1. Lack of understanding about God and morality. It is a society of animals or criminals that dictate to the rest of the world their concepts from a position of power – might is right, they think they can do what they wish unchallenged, even if their action is in fact unjustified.

2. The concept of morality, but without God. For cultured materialists morality is the lowest ( minimal) form of spirituality. In this case, morality is maintained or enforced by social pressure based on tradition or by repressive system. The vivid examples of such social formations can be the former Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, as well as Chinese or Japanese social order based on Confucian ethics. But if the external pressure is removed, morality begins to break down.

3. The concept of God as the source of morality. Morality of such people is more stable, because it  depends on the individual internal understanding than on social pressure. But at this level, people use God to fulfil their own desires. It is a society of secular believers. Their faith is utilitarian, not unselfish. God for them is not a goal but a means.

4. The concept of God as all-pervading being. The purpose of this understanding is to merge with this impersonal God and achieve full unity with Him. As a stage of societal development, this concept is progressive, but if it becomes a final goal, then it turns into a last trap of illusion on the soul’s way to the Truth.

5. Understanding of God not only as an all-pervasive being, but also as an ideal person, which people may have the intimate loving relationship with. At this level of awareness people voluntarily become servants of God. And it becomes a God-centered society. God becomes the goal rather than a means. This level of understanding and civility is the highest since it corresponds to the mood of the eternal reality of the spiritual world.

These five levels of consciousness and the ensuing behaviour may be present within the same society as separate layers with their subculture and values. Yet there is always a dominant, the most numerous layer of these five, which dictates its value system to the rest of the society, directly or indirectly.

A society up to the third level, where the concept of God appears in people’s minds, is still considered uncivilised, since people still do not understand the subtle laws that connect them with the spiritual reality through the material nature.

With people of the first and second level, God speaks on the language of circumstances, since the message of the sacred writings is Mambo jumbo for them.

Suffering for them is a sign of violations of the laws of harmony. But people do not understand these laws and try to create mechanisms that would help them to break these laws and avoid suffering.

The first two levels can be called the atheistic materialism as material development is based on the grounds of rejection of the higher reality. At this level people consciously follow the most obvious  basic laws of nature and the concocted political and administrative laws, and they ignore the subtle laws. Such societies are doomed to regular crises and disasters, but they don’t learn the history lessons.

The third level of civilisation can be called the theistic materialism. That is, people already believe in the existence of God and the higher laws, but they beg God for material prosperity and therefore remain materialists, though more subtle.

Levels 4 and 5 are people with spiritual domination, guided by the higher laws of reality. Practically these levels of civilisation are manifested in various forms of culture.

The lowest level of culture is a culture of sense gratification. At this level, people are trying to create maximum external comfort for our five senses (hearing, touch, sight, smell, taste). Marketing and advertisement, packaging and external attractive appearance of products and goods, restaurants, entertainment, secular art – all this supports the culture of the senses.

A higher level of culture is an intellectual culture. It includes secular education and science, which aims at improving comfort. Factually 95% of the entire information circulating in the world is how to satisfy the mind and the senses.

Genuine spirituality begins with the level or the culture of intelligence when a people are able to distinguish spirit from matter, primary from the secondary. And this is the spiritual science, not just a naive faith in God. At this level, a person is able to control one’s senses for the sake of spiritual growth ( advancement ) rather than be a slave of the senses. This is a practical application of the “Simple living – high thinking” principle.

The theory and practices of Applied Spiritual Technology are explained in the ancient Vedic treatise “Bhagavad Gita” which is the only sacred scripture on earth that is a first-person narrative by God Himself and has a clear logical structure.

A discovery and comprehension of the mysteries of the “Bhagavad Gita” brings one to the highest level of culture – the culture of the soul which is intimate personal relations of the soul with God.

So, even mundane morality such as “love thy neighbour” has its spiritual origin, as is the shadow of our original relationship with God, who is our most intimate friend. Therefore, a progressive moral society is not possible without a spiritual culture. The real human level of civilisation begins only at the level 3 ( morality + God).

Someone may pose objections: there are countries with a high percentage of the religious population, but these examples are not particularly inspiring to the rest of the world.

Why? Because spirituality only at the level of faith, without knowledge, solves some problems and immediately creates others ( intolerance, religious fanaticism, xenophobia).

For example, in Iraq a couple of years ago, a young student decided to convert to Christianity. All family rejected him, and his own father nearly killed him. He was forced to emigrate to a European country which has granted him an asylum. Here is an example of religious fanaticism that comes from faith without knowledge.

Therefore, a mass faith or religiosity doesn’t solve the issues of morality and quality of life. People need practical spiritual knowledge – the culture of the intelligence set forth in the “Bhagavad Gita.”

Discover the Bhagavad Gita here!

Read Article:  “Uncover The Hidden Treasure Of The Bhagavad Gita!”


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