The society which we know as India in modern times was once a society firmly placed on the twin-pillars of self-governance and voluntaryism [1-5]. Voluntaryism is a philosophy that posits that all forms of human association should be voluntary [6 and 7]. A voluntaryist society is one where people live, socialise, transact and trade without any structures of power and hierarchy, without any coercion or regressive power dynamics. The decentralisation of power, which ends with a community or family in modern times, ended only with the individual politically, socially and spiritually in ancient India.
Spontaneous order in the political and economic realms was respected and harmonized. While in the past I have written on Dharmocracy, comprehensive (political, economic and spiritual) democracy; in this piece, I go one step further in decentralisation and renegotiation of the normative to the individual. In ancient India, at least in spirit, it was Swarajya (self-rule of people within picayune kingdoms/republics so much so, that even in 1947, India had 565 princely states) not Samrajya (imperial rule), catallaxy (a synchronisation of individual economics and interests) not a modern economy (transactions with assumed common goals and interest) [8, 9]. This was the perspective that prevailed, and in such a liberal society, people lived with responsibility, peace and rationality: traits of a rarely found, open, free and transparent society [10-12].
The Vedas are the fountainhead, the spring of profound and beautiful philosophical, soteriological and spiritual principles and ideas [13-18].
Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the Vedas constitute the oldest layer of scriptural literature within the Sanatana Dharma, with Hindus considering the Vedas to be apaurueya, not authored by a man. While monarchies prevailed in the Vedic society [19, 20]; not only was there a movement away from pre-eminence given to political power towards a more spiritual one [21, 22], but also the existence of ancient Indian republics Ganatantra, which contributed towards the decentralisation of power . Whether this directly took the form of anarchism is debatable, but there was a move towards reducing the importance of the construct of a primary, overarching state and constructs of powers .
The Dharmic path has always been about a fearless trek into the unknown, about seeking the truth of reality [25-27]. It throws out any and every imposed normative ideal of political philosophies, and in doing so, calls for the sacrifice of attachment of the human mind with dogma and rigid political alignments. While this perspective highlights societys ills and even prescribes possible solutions, it lays a greater emphasis on mutual respect, cooperation and harmony in society rather than rigid loyalties to political constructs of the state or ideologies. This is part of the greater Dharmic realisation of the futility and fleeting nature of all constructs be it political, social or economic, in the pursuit of the Absolute Truth.
Satya, the Absolute Truth, is beyond constructs of politics and society, particularly those of state and (political) ideologies
And in doing so, it had anarchist undertones, when one considers politics: it highlighted the fallibility of human power and reasoning that can be applicable to one and all. The importance of spontaneous self-organisation and unconscious design in political entities, the significance of innovation and influence of factors and forces beyond the control of a central authority.
Satyaniti, this Dharmic anarchism, is the result of the Indic civilisation embracing the dynamism of life, and the spontaneity and capacity to the self-organization of human beings.
The principle of self-governance naturally arises from this realisation. Instead of imposed structures, the emphasis is on peaceful emergent orders without any rigid conservatism regarding hierarchy, power dynamics, and coercion. A truly Dharmic society has at its foundations a pre-eminent place for honest introspection, self-improvement and evolution of thought, and individuality thereby. This is a dynamic way of determining ones purpose of life, of ones role within society, and the key to ones happiness.
There is a distinct difference between western anarchism and Dharmic anarchism. While western anarchism is about negation and oft-violent insurrection against political structures, the Dharmic version preoccupies itself with the realisation of why the obsession with these political elements is naturally at odds with ones existence and well-being. The Rishis (seers) since times immemorial led by example in highlighting how self-governance and self-rule are significant, coupled with anarchist tendencies of not placing much importance with control of the state.
They dwelled in forests outside the control of any government be it of a monarchy or republic of ancient India. They brought forth a spiritual mooring for education and existence, a values-based living and a realisation of Rta (cosmic order) and Dharma (the path that facilitates this order, the universal cosmic principle as well equilibration in nature).
While western anarchism emphasised anti-state policies, Dharmic anarchism emphasised self-consciousness. While western anarchism went against specific rulers, Dharmic anarchism went for decentralised and non-hierarchical polities. The latter prioritises community living, sensitivity to holistic living and ecologically sustainable lifestyles. This was done with a combination of grassroot democracy (that was centralised around the unit of the Gram, village), Dharma, Varnasrama (not Jaativad) and socio-spiritual realisation of Satya, Truth.
Grassroot democracy can be seen even today with the Panchayati model. Over millennia, this turned India into not only a village-based society but also a strongly community-based, resilient society. The movement towards making these fundamental units of politics and society self-governing and self-sufficient has been seen over the ages. This was in a cooperative model, which was sustainable and nature-bound, and most importantly, independent from the state and its associated politics. Orientalists such as Metcalfe, Munroe and Wilks have described the importance of these communities in India. Kings came and went, dynasties came and went, power exchanged powers, wars took place, but what never changed beyond a point was the underlying social fabric of India, which is based on the village- and community-based model.
C. F. W. Hegel highlighted how this system made India impervious to the vagaries of despotism and subjugation by rulers and invaders, even during the colonial era. The achievement of this high level of decentralisation was that there never was a political monolith that a coloniser or invader could demolish for the Indians to fall as a people. It is this rich political heritage that naturally translates to the principle of self-governance, self-rule and Swaraj. And it is this rich political heritage that I would like to stand by.
Satyaniti and Swaraj constitute the historical backbone of the socio-political order of India, through the ages.
 Talwar, Balvir. Sustainable growththe Vedic way.International Conference on Quality (ICQ05), Tokyo, September. 2005.
 Rammohan, Sethuraman. Improving Governance In The Light Of Ancient Indian Heritage Texts. (2018).
 Jha, Pradip Kumar. Decentralization in India: Reflections from Bihar.Journal of Politics and Governance3.4 (2014): 149-155.
 Singh, Gurdeep. Swami Dayananda Saraswatis Instruments in the Reformation of Indian Society.
 Mohapatra, Amulya Ranjan.Swaraj: A Multi-Dimensional Concept. Readworthy, 2009.
 Herbert, Auberon Edward William Molyneux.The principles of voluntaryism and free life. Free Press Association, 1897.
 Watner, Carl. Stateless, not lawless: voluntaryism and arbitration.The voluntaryist84 (1997): 1-8.
 Tilak, Deepak, and Geetali Tilak. Swarajya and Tilak. (2019).
 Nikam, N. A. Indian Thought and the Philosophic Bases of Responsibility of Man.Revue Internationale de Philosophie(1957): 75-87.
 Kuppuswamy, Bangalore.Dharma and society: A study in social values. Macmillan, 1977.
 Londhe, Manali. Vedic Concept of Rta: The Cosmic Order.Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy. Vol. 16. 2018.
 Saravanamuthu, Kala. Gandhian-Vedic.Envisioning a New Accountability (Advances in Public Interest Accounting, Volume 13). Emerald Group Publishing Limited(2007): 177-235.
 Halbfass, Wilhelm. The Idea of the Veda and the Identity of Hinduism.Defining Hinduism. Routledge, 2017. 16-29.
 Goodall, Dominic, ed.Hindu scriptures. University of California, 1996.
 Macnicol, Nicol.Hindu scriptures. Univ of California Press, 1996.Remove featured image
 Zaehner, Robert Charles.Hindu scriptures. Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 2001.
 Frawley, David.Wisdom of the ancient seers: Mantras of the Rig Veda. Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1994.
 Wilson, H. H. Rig-Veda Sanhita: A Collection of Ancient Hindu Hymns, Vol. (1888).
 Bedekar, V. M. VEDIC FOUNDATIONS OF INDIAN CULTURE. (1976): 223-226.
 Singh, Sarva Daman. Monarchy in the Vedic Age.Australian Journal of Politics & History35.3 (1989): 338-352.
 LINDBLAD, J. THOMAS. The Ultimate Implications of the Ancient Hindu Concept of Sovereignty: The Principle of.Journal of Indian History: Golden Jubilee Volume(1973): 193.
 Sinha, Braj M. SVADHARMA AND SVABHVA IN THE BHAGAVADGT.Journal of South Asian Literature23.2 (1988): 144-149.
 Pandey, R. B. Vedic origin of Indian republics. Proceedings of Indian History Congress; 15th. session, Gwalior. 1952.
 Weir, Kay. A brief history of anarchism.Pacific Ecologist19 (2010): 48-50.
 Agarwal, Manjul K.The Vedic Core of Human History: And Truth Will Be the Savior. iUniverse, 2013.
 Edgerton, Franklin. The Upanisads: what do they seek, and why?.Journal of the American Oriental Society(1929): 97-121.
 Nigal, Sahebrao Genu.Vedic philosophy of values. Northern Book Centre, 2009.
Here is the original post:
- Voluntaryism - Wikipedia - May 3rd, 2020
- Satyaniti and Swaraj constitute the historical backbone of the socio-political order of India, through the ages - OpIndia - March 26th, 2020
- Satyaniti and Swaraj constitute the historical backbone of India - Global News Hut - March 26th, 2020
- Bear Lake Hill Climbs were a success | News-Examiner - The Herald Journal - February 12th, 2020
- The Panarchist Solution to a World Divided - CounterPunch - December 21st, 2019
- Scientists Set New Temperature Record for Superconductivity - May 28th, 2019
- Can You Tell Which of These Models Is CGI? - May 28th, 2019
- We Asked an AI to Finish Real Elon Musk Tweets - May 28th, 2019
- Watch a Super-Strong Robot Dog Pull a Three-Ton Airplane - May 28th, 2019
- SpaceX Just Unleashed 60 Starlink Satellites Into Orbit - May 28th, 2019
- Asteroid Flying by Earth Is so Big It Has Its Own Moon - May 28th, 2019
- United Nations: Siri and Alexa Are Encouraging Misogyny - May 28th, 2019
- New Law Could End Robocalling Once and For All - May 28th, 2019
- Elevate Your Leadership and Grow Your Business at Your Clouds Can 2019 - May 28th, 2019
- NASA’s Moon Mission Leader Just Quit After Only Six Weeks - May 28th, 2019
- Watch a Tesla in an Underground Tunnel Race One on the Street - May 28th, 2019
- Elon Musk Ridicules Jeff Bezos’ Plan For Space Colonies - May 28th, 2019
- See China’s Newly Unveiled Maglev Train - May 28th, 2019
- Here’s How NASA Prepares Its Spacecraft for Mars - May 28th, 2019
- New Research: The Oceans Are Slowly Leaking Into the Earth - May 28th, 2019
- Studying the Sun’s Atmosphere Could Make Fusion Power a Reality - May 28th, 2019
- NASA Just Hired the First Contractor to Build Lunar Space Station - May 28th, 2019
- Anonymous Group of 3D-Printed Gun Makers Is Spreading Online - May 28th, 2019
- This Robot Scans Preschoolers’ Faces Daily for Signs of Sickness - May 28th, 2019
- We Asked an AI to Finish Real Elon Musk Tweets - May 25th, 2019
- Watch a Super-Strong Robot Dog Pull a Three-Ton Airplane - May 25th, 2019
- New Law Could End Robocalling Once and For All - May 25th, 2019
- Scientists Set New Temperature Record for Superconductivity - May 25th, 2019
- Can You Tell Which of These Models Is CGI? - May 25th, 2019
- Watch a Tesla in an Underground Tunnel Race One on the Street - May 25th, 2019
- SpaceX Just Unleashed 60 Starlink Satellites Into Orbit - May 25th, 2019
- Asteroid Flying by Earth Is so Big It Has Its Own Moon - May 25th, 2019
- United Nations: Siri and Alexa Are Encouraging Misogyny - May 25th, 2019
- See China’s Newly Unveiled Maglev Train - May 25th, 2019
- Here’s How NASA Prepares Its Spacecraft for Mars - May 25th, 2019
- Elevate Your Leadership and Grow Your Business at Your Clouds Can 2019 - May 25th, 2019
- NASA’s Moon Mission Leader Just Quit After Only Six Weeks - May 25th, 2019
- Studying the Sun’s Atmosphere Could Make Fusion Power a Reality - May 25th, 2019
- NASA Just Hired the First Contractor to Build Lunar Space Station - May 25th, 2019
- Elon Musk Ridicules Jeff Bezos’ Plan For Space Colonies - May 25th, 2019
- Anonymous Group of 3D-Printed Gun Makers Is Spreading Online - May 25th, 2019
- This Robot Scans Preschoolers’ Faces Daily for Signs of Sickness - May 25th, 2019
- New Research: The Oceans Are Slowly Leaking Into the Earth - May 25th, 2019
- voluntaryist.com - Fundamentals of Voluntaryism - May 21st, 2019
- Introduction to Voluntaryism - The Art of Not Being Governed - May 19th, 2019
- Hatzalah - Wikipedia - May 11th, 2019
- Cryptocurrency News: Looking Past the Bithumb Crypto Hack - April 29th, 2019
- Cryptocurrency News: This Week on Bitfinex, Tether, Coinbase, & More - April 29th, 2019
- Ripple Price Forecast: XRP vs SWIFT, SEC Updates, and More - April 29th, 2019
- Cryptocurrency News: XRP Validators, Malta, and Practical Tokens - April 29th, 2019
- Cryptocurrency News: Bitcoin ETFs, Andreessen Horowitz, and Contradictions in Crypto - April 29th, 2019
- Cryptocurrency News: What You Need to Know This Week - April 29th, 2019
- Cryptocurrency News: Bitcoin ETF Rejection, AMD Microchip Sales, and Hedge Funds - April 29th, 2019
- Cryptocurrency News: New Exchanges Could Boost Crypto Liquidity - April 29th, 2019
- Bitcoin Rise: Is the Recent Bitcoin Price Surge a Sign of Things to Come or Another Misdirection? - April 29th, 2019
- Cryptocurrency News: Vitalik Buterin Doesn’t Care About Bitcoin ETFs - April 29th, 2019
- The Voluntaryist - April 26th, 2019
- Expert: AI-Generated Music Is A “Total Legal Clusterf*ck” - April 21st, 2019
- The Mueller Report Confirms We’re Living in a Cyberpunk Dystopia - April 21st, 2019
- When the Large Hadron Collider Turns on, It May Trap Dark Matter - April 21st, 2019
- This Space Roomba Could Clean the ISS While Astronauts Sleep - April 21st, 2019
- John McAfee Vows to Reveal Bitcoin’s Creator - April 21st, 2019
- Astronomers Finally Found the Universe’s First Type of Molecule - April 21st, 2019
- India Blew up a Satellite. Now A “Space Fence” Is Tracking Its Debris - April 21st, 2019
- Professor: Total Surveillance Is the Only Way to Save Humanity - April 21st, 2019
- Amazing New Rocket Engine Sucks up Atmospheric Oxygen for Fuel - April 21st, 2019
- Climate Change Could Cause Fukushima-Style Meltdowns in the US - April 21st, 2019
- Denver Is Voting on Whether to Decriminalize Psychedelic Mushrooms - April 21st, 2019
- The Government Wants to Make an Example out of Mark Zuckerberg - April 21st, 2019
- China’s Military Built an Autonomous Amphibious Landing Vehicle - April 21st, 2019
- Boston Dynamics Unveils SpotMini You’ll Actually Be Able to Buy - April 21st, 2019
- Puerto Rico Will Stop Burning Coal Next Year - April 21st, 2019
- Listen to Brutal Death Metal Made by a Neural Network - April 21st, 2019
- From Coffee to Popcorn, Celebrate 420 With These Futuristic CBD Edibles - April 21st, 2019
- Scientists Create Material With “Artificial Metabolism” - April 21st, 2019
- Scientists Find Genetic Variants That Prevent Obesity, Diabetes - April 21st, 2019
- IBM Pulls the Plug on Drug-Discovering Watson AI - April 21st, 2019
- The Israeli Moon Lander Is About to Touch Down - April 12th, 2019
- Some People Are Exceptionally Good at Predicting the Future - April 12th, 2019
- Here’s How Big the M87 Black Hole Is Compared to the Earth - April 12th, 2019