12 June 2009

Review of Spiritual Economics- An Economic Eyeopener, A Spiritual Masterpiece

A review of HG Dhanesvara Das’s “Lessons in Spiritual Economics from the Bhagavad-gita – Part 1 – Understanding and Solving the Economic Problem” by Chaitanya Charan Das.

Srila Prabhupada once told Satsvarupa Maharaja to write a book showing how all the problems of the world can be solved only by Krishna consciousness. Satsvarupa Maharaj eventually wrote an illuminating small book, The Daily News: All Things Fail Without Krishna, in which he analyzed various news stories to show how the problems therein arise from a lack of Krishna consciousness. In the foreword of that book, Maharaj stated how this instruction of Srila Prabhupada is a huge mandate, which will require enormous research and effort to fulfill.

Dhanesvara’s Spiritual Economics book fulfills Srila Prabhupada's instruction in the somewhat unlikely (from the perspective of what is ordinarily thought of as spiritual) field of economics through its comprehensive research, penetrating analysis, scriptural and unambiguously devotional call to action.

Spiritual Economics marks a historic leap forward in the scholarly preaching of Krishna consciousness. In what is probably the first time in modern world history, the concept of the three modes is applied to analyze various economic systems throughout human history as being either in goodness, passion or ignorance. This analysis, presented in chapters three, four and five, of the book, constitutes the heart of the book - and gives us an endearing glimpse into the dedicated heart of Dhanesvara.

Spiritual Economics is simultaneously enlivening and disturbing. It is immensely enlivening to see the principles of Krishna consciousness, which we are all dedicated to practicing and preaching, presented so expertly, comprehensively and cogently in a field that has not been done, or even attempted (to my knowledge), by any devotee till date. For the intellectual rigor and spiritual vigor that Dhanesvara Prabhu brings to work in this book, he deserves a place among the likes of Sadaputa Prabhu, Drutakarma Prabhu, Satyaraja Prabhu, Garuda Prabhu and Devamrita Swami, who have all brought laurels for Srila Prabhupada by their scholarly writings.

At the same time, Spiritual Economics is profoundly disturbing; it documents in scary and gory detail the extent to which the exploitative and destructive mentality, characteristic of the mode of ignorance, has gripped the whole world - especially including the economic big shots. This contemporary research powerfully demonstrates Srila Prabhupada's statement that the world is being ruled by the demonic and drives home the crying necessity to vigorously preach Krishna consciousness. Spiritual Economics concludes that the solution to the prevailing global economic (and social) mess is to raise our consciousness individually and collectively through chanting the mahamantra and building a God-centered economy.

To fully solve the economic problem we must understand Krishna’s instructions for a spiritual culture. This focuses on the unfinished second-half of Srila Prabhupada's mission -- establishing working models of varnashrama dharma, with economics in the mode of goodness. This will be elaborately explained in Part II of the work.

Being myself an author of several books, I am impressed, even astounded, by the exhaustiveness of the research that has gone into making this book. Dhanesvara has toiled for more than two decades, pouring over hundreds of books, to gift all of us - and the whole world at large – this ripe fruit of his devotional intellect. In the true spirit of the gifting economy that he advocates, he has made his book freely available to all in electronic form from here. The book should soon be available in print from www.lulu.com.

Dhanesvara deserves great credit for painstaking scrupulousness in study and unflinching faithfulness in preaching. By applying the principles of Krishna consciousness that Srila Prabhupada brought to the world and that Dhanesvara powerfully presents in this book, we can all do our respective parts, small or great, in assisting Srila Prabhupada's mission to save the world from its present suicidal course.