Theory and Practice


by Shrii Prabhat Rainjan Sarkar

The theory which springs out of fundamentals can be materialized with little effort. But that materialization will depend upon the effort, time and opportune moment. When theory precedes practice, however, the theory may or may not be materialized. There are four main factors which are responsible for the failure of any theory.

The first factor is the hypocrite’s psychology. Hypocrites formulate theories without the least intention of materializing them. By exploiting the name of a theory they serve their own purpose and that of their group. But without making any effort to materialize their theories, how will they be put into practice? They are obviously only for show. People formulated many such theories in the past and are still doing so even today. Such hypocrites want to misguide the people by their tall talks alone. Lord Shiva had this to say about such people: “Loka Vyámoha Káraka.” That is, “They create disease in the minds of the people.” Their aim is not to solve society’s problems. Rather, they are the chief cause for the downfall, retardation and sad plight of human society. The present crisis in today’s civilization is due to them. Their theories are based on the psychology and intellectual extravaganza of the hypocrite. You will certainly encounter many such theories in the social sphere, the economic sphere, and other spheres of life. This is not the problem of a single country, but of the entire intellectual world. Again I repeat that the crisis in civilization today is due to the intellectual extravaganza of these hypocrites, these polished satans. Take the mixed economy, for example. Those who have any sense know that it is a farce. It was neither implemented in the past nor will it ever be implemented in future. It is a white lie. Nor are its exponents interested in implementing it, for their motive is simply to dupe the people. Peaceful coexistence is another case in point. It too has never been put into practice, nor will it ever be in the future. Democratic socialism is yet another example. It is as good as golden plaster. Plaster should be made of stone and not gold. Behind all this works the hypocrite’s intellect, one of the four factors responsible for the failure of a theory.

The next factor is the theoretician’s psychology. When theoreticians expound a theory they do not study the world to ascertain its practical application. Blind to what is underneath their feet, and with total disregard for reality, they build castles high in the sky. After some time most of the theoreticians’ philosophies fade into obscurity.

So many theories have been expounded throughout the history of India. Some of them even had some practical application and, to some extent, met with success. But you will notice that, among the five theist philosophies, the Nyáya philosophy (not the Nyáya of Kanáda but that of Gautama) soars high without having any concern for the practical plane. Therefore, no practical cult was possible on the basis of Gautamiiya Nyáya. In medieval India, many scholars of Nyáya uselessly researched year after year the question [[Pátrádhára taela kiḿvá taeládhára pátra? – “Is it oil contained in a pot, or is it a pot containing oil?”]] This has nothing to do with the real world. Some people may wonder why there was not more development in Pathan India, in spite of a high population of scholars. The reason is that Nyáya philosophy, the philosophy divorced from practicality, had too great an influence on life.

There is one more defect in the theoretician’s psychology. Human life is trifarious: physical, intellectual and spiritual. However, the theoreticians remain confined to the intellectual realm, ignoring the physical and spiritual spheres. Thus they make no effort to practically materialize their theories. First, their theories are impractical; second, they make no efforts to materialize them.

The third factor is inefficiency in the field of application. Even if the theory is correct, it is not materialized due to inexperience or other defects.

Sometimes people are efficient in individual life, but totally unsuccessful in collective life. Many great saints lived in India during the Baoddha Yogácára period, but they were only successful in their individual lives. They did not care for the world, neither did they attempt to make people more efficient in their practical lives. Those who are acquainted with the philosophical life of India of those days know that, due to the lack of a proper theory, people were defeated by the philosophy of Shankaracharya. This resulted in an intellectual vacuum in India after Shankaracharya, a vacuum which proved damaging. This vacuum occurred between the death of Shankaracharya and the advent of Maháprabhu.

The fourth factor is environmental difficulty. The expounder of any theory remains engrossed in a particular mental environment. He or she creates a world in the mind and tests the theory on the mental plane. Let’s take Marxism as an example. Its propounder was very perceptive. The theory which he created in his mental environment was correct to a certain degree. But the crust of the earth and the environment of the mind are certainly not the same. The crust is quite hard. When this particular theory was manifested in the practical world, it was a total failure. It was of course correct in the artificially created mental environment, but in practice it was found to be not at all in consonance with the intellectual environment. To give another example: In you psychic world you can imagine that there is no water in the River Ganges, but milk. You can then go to plan how you will make delicious sweets out of that mentally created milk, and how you will export them. But remember, water flows in the Ganges, not milk! Hence, the theory made in a particular environment can be a total failure in practice.

If theory precedes practice many difficulties will be encountered. But when theory succeeds practice it has a practical application. First the apple fell and then the theory was formulated. The apple did not fall according to the theory. Lord Sadashiva was the first to realize that a theory can only have some practical value if it follows practice. He observed all the big and small events of this world to which people attach themselves little knowing the reasons behind them. He eventually discovered the reasons and expounded a theory in consequence. He saw the practical manifestation of the theories governing art, architecture, literature, dance, music, science, etc. For example, after studying the details of a particular style of dancing he formulated a theory. His theory of Tantra was the laboratory notes of a practical scientist. He discovered a particular dance which vibrated the lymphatic glands in such a way that it developed manliness. He called the dance Tandava which is derived from the Saḿskrta word Tańd́u, meaning jumping. Because it is supported by the theory of Tańd́u, it rightly called Táńd́ava. Another dance evokes feelings of softness (Lasya) in the mind due to the way its soft vibrations contract the lymphatic glands. As it softens the mind of people according to the theory of Lasya, its name is Lalita Nrtya. Thus Lord Sadáshiva perceived the spirit behind each action, gave it a theory and propagated it. A theory which follows practice will be successful.

When two successfully proven theories merge, a new resultant in the form of a new theory comes into being. When this resultant is mixed with yet another theory, another resultant is created. Thus, by different syntheses six Rágas and thirty-six Ráginiis came into being. The science of music was formulated in this way. It was successful because theory succeeded practice. Taking “Ta” from Lord Sadáshiva’s Táńd́ava Nrtya and “La” from Párvati’s Lalita Nrtya, a new resultant theory came into being in Indian music called “Tála”.

You must always ascertain which comes first, the theory or the practice. If theory succeeds practice it will definitely be materialized. One of the main variables is the time factor, and that will depend on the effort applied. The greater the effort, the less time required for its materialization. Even if little effort is applied, it will still be materialized, but after a long time.

I have already told you that human civilization is in danger. The chief reason is that in so many cases theory has preceded practice. You must not entertain any of these four factors which hinder a theory’s application.