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How different is the world today from what it was some centuries ago? How much more different it is going to be some centuries hence? These are questions that naturally appeal to rationalists. The Vedic pandits (scholars) of the Puranas and ltihasas (mythologies and Epics) do not raise these queries and do not wish to understand the situations either. This is because these pandits take the fantasies of the Puranas as true, live in them, and are almost part of them. It does not bother them as to the practicability or otherwise of the miracles and obscenities depicted in the Puranas. They are content to believe that nothing is impossible for the god-head or for the avatars (incarnations) of god.

periyar 296Rationalists on the other hand are those who look at the present-day world, examine the changes taking place in nature, and understand the changes to which nature can be subjected to man’s benefit. Having examined the present, a rationalist tries to deduce the past and construct the future on a scientific basis.

Poison of fantasy 

The pandits (scholars), in glorifying the ancient world of the Puranas, would like to get back to them if they could. The scientists picture the future every minute of their lives and labour to plan and progress towards a creative evolution of which they are convinced. It is not our opinion that pandits of all countries would be alike in their obscurantism.

We largely refer to the Hindu pandits of India. The education and training imparted to our pandits is such as to prevent them from developing a rationalistic or scientific attitude. What stands between them and reason is not their innate intelligence but the type of education given to them. Having slipped into the mire of the Puranas and itihasas, they are caught and entangled by the snakes of god and religion and are unable therefore to sense rationalism, which needs contact with the flower of nature and not the poison of fantasy.

Founded supernaturalism 

Our religionists are worse than our pandits. If the pandits would like to go back to the puranic world of a thousand years ago, the religionists would like to go to the good old yugas millenniums ago. These two types of people are never satisfied with the ordinary happenings in nature. They delight in things impossible for man beyond human reason. Supernaturalism is their rock foundation. It is natural therefore for such pandits to imagine that the scientific world to come is all evil and therefore not worth pondering over. The people who take and follow their advice cannot help being superstitious and irrational. People with a firm faith in the good old days of gods and rishis whose word is the final word for them, look with suspicion on all those who doubt the past and plan a future not linked to puranic (mythologic) ideas.

No Private Property 

To a limited extent, it must be admitted that the past has to be used. In as much as we are children of the past, we cannot wholly discard it. It is also impossible. But the aim should always be to discover new things and make progress. The Westerners have progressed and invented numerous things only because they are not satisfied with the past achievement or imagination, and never have wished to leave the last word with the antiquities. It is with their aid and achievements that it is possible for us now to imagine the future world.

The past history of mankind and the opinions of great historians indicate that there will be no monarchy in the future world. Gold and silver will not be the monopoly of the privileged few. The future is a socialist world in which there will be no private property and for such a society, a monarch whose authority is built on individual wealth and power would be inconsistent. The means of livelihood and leisure will not be conditioned by the present type of labour with all its difficulties and restrictions.

Why so much poverty? 

The time spent on labour for purposes of livelihood is now long and the time available for leisure to enjoy the fruits of labour is short. Foodgrains are grown in plenty and consumer articles glut the markets but people are too poor to buy and enjoy them. There is ample scope for individualism and selfish vested interests but there is no real freedom for the people. They cannot live independently without vested interests. The means of production and stock of resources are on the increase. Yet millions of people go without the ordinary needs of life.

The land available for cultivation is extensive but landless labourers are innumerable. In a world of plenty and beauty, why should there be so much poverty, starvation, restlessness and struggle for existence? Is there any concoction between these and God and the religions? People who connect the world and its affairs to god nowhere seem to blame that god. Apart from making god and religion responsible for the ills of the world, could it be said that man has no capacity or intelligence to overcome these ills?

Reshaping the future 

Man is the most intelligent of all living creatures. He has invented god, religions, philosophies, and spiritualism. Many extraordinary men are stated to have realized god and even become gods. But even such great men have not found any solution for the miseries of the world. The reason could be that people have not learnt to disconnect the affairs of the world from god and religion and look at them independently.

There have been some scientific and rational men who could be able to do something to alleviate the sufferings of man only because they had the courage to disassociate themselves from god and religion. They refused to take the world as they found it. Their optimism and solicitude for the struggles of man egged them on to research and scientific inventions on the one hand, and to rationalist thought on the other. This is true only of the West. They have changed the face of the earth and are still engaged in further reshaping the world of the future.

Why should people be born? When born, why should they struggle for mere existence? And then why should they all die away? These are questions that have always agitated and disturbed reasoning man’s mind. They are being attempted to be answered in a rational way these days. A day will come when the lives of men will not be merely reformed but revolutionized. When that time comes, metallic coins will not circulate among the people; plutocrats will cease to dominate the people; hard labour will be absent; mean work will have vanished; slavery will be unknown, one will not live on the mercy of another and women will not want special protection, safeguards and support.

All differences will be wiped out 

Today it is possible for the Heads of Hindu Monasteries (matathipathis), princes and Land - Chieftains called zamindars to have lives of pleasure and leisure. In the world to come these people will cease to exist and their places will be taken by all the people. With just an hour’s work or two, it will be possible for the people to produce the goods they need. The rest of the time will be available for leisure to indulge in fine arts or simple pleasures. Communal life will have reached such height that the pains and trials of one citizen will be the pains and trials of the whole community. Co-operative effort and unitary feeling will have wiped out all differences and discriminations.

No military

Wars of the modern type will have been abandoned. People in all parts of the world will not indulge in the luxury of wars, fights and murders. Unemployed vagrants will be unknown and there will be no deaths by starvation. People will want jobs that would give them better physical exercise. Wonderful scenery, Exquisite exhibitions and public sports will be available for the enjoyment of all people and will not be restricted to the privileged few. Private industrial promoters, moneylenders, merchant princes, insurance agents, brokers, advertisers will all be absent in the future world as they are all middlemen profiteers. The navy, army and air force for destructive or armed purposes will have no use in the co-operative world state of the future.

Employment for all 

There will be no need to struggle for employment. Everyone will easily find employment in accordance with his aptitudes and abilities. The efforts of the scientists, economists, and industrialists, all working in the common public sector, would be directed towards increasing comforts and amenities for a happy life and life itself will be longer and more secure. However extensive the needs of man, the effort needed to produce them will be quite small, because of the tremendous advance in technology.

No labour means nothing to eat 

In days gone by, weavers use to labour hard and long to manufacture cloth. What hundreds of weavers managed to produce is now being produced by a single machine in a single hour. A weaver used to draw 150 threads per minute. The textile machine draws 45000 per minute. A cigarette machine makes several thousand of cigarettes per minute against 3 to 5 made by manual labour. All that is required is to feed to the tobacco at one end. The packed cigarette cases ready for loading into the railway are thrown out at the other end of the machine. When such complicated machines are at work now, the progress that will be achieved in the future can be imagined.

In fact, the efficiency of the machine and the enormous quantity of consumer goods it will produce will be so high that it will be necessary for the worker to labour just for a few weeks in the year. The rest of the year will be available for other pleasurable avocations. Nobody needs to imagine that the enormous leisure made available for man will be wasted and turn men lazy. Just as means will have been found to make goods in a short time, so also plans will have been drawn up to make a man spend his leisure hours gainfully so that mischief may not spurt out of idle brains and health and efficiency may not deteriorate for want of exercise and occupation. In a highly civilized state, there can be no room for laziness. If there are some lazy people, they cannot impair the efficiency of the State. Those who do not labour shall not eat, will be the rule of the future.

Scavenging by Machine 

Will men be available for mean and dirty work? What is deemed to be mean and dirty work nowadays will cease to carry such a notion in the future. Scavenging, Sweeping, dishwashing, etc., will all be the job of the machine. A worker will be engaged as operator of a sweeping machine as one will be engaged on any other. It will not be necessary for any man to lift or drag or push heavyweights. Machines will do that. In as much as there will be the dignity of labour what is now considered low and dirty will rank high in the future and there will be competition for such unique work in the name of social service and public esteem.

Poets, sculptors, novelists and dramatists will vie with one another in creating new things for the betterment of the world. People of ability, merit, and efficiency will properly be recognized and the rest will go unnoticed.

No misbehavior will be tolerated 

In the world of the future, there will be no men without character and culture. It will be possible for a man to behave badly, only if there is scope to benefit in any way by so doing and there must also be people to connive at his immorality. The conditions will be such that it would not be possible for a man to conduct himself unethically and people would tolerate no such misbehaviour. The new world will just give no room for the exhibition of an individual’s personal whims and fancies, exploitation or aggrandizement. Envy, jealousy and desire find expression when people of lesser abilities are found to enjoy better benefits.

The depravity of modern character is founded on culture, justice and discipline being used for maintaining caste and class differences among men and for granting freedom to the individual to exploit the people for his personal benefit. When these capitalist and individualist conditions are absent, the need for the depraved character will not arise. Similarly, thieves will cease to exist, as no one will be left un-provided for. Is there any need to steal water from the River Ganges for those living along its banks? Or do they take more water than is necessary? Do they store water for tomorrow’s needs? When therefore consumer goods; and foodgrains are in plenty and their distribution is done according to everyone’s needs, the scope for their distribution is done according to everyone’s needs, the scope for thieving or taking more will be absent. There will be no necessity to utter falsehoods in the future world, as falsehood would obtain no gain.

None need worries about the tribulations of the wealthy in the event of a revolution. That would be a false philosophy. For the benefit of the thief and in sympathy with his starving wife and children, nobody wishes to leave the doors open when retiring at night. The precautions taken to secure the house areas necessary for the householder as the precautions to be taken by society to prevent the indirect and unseen theft of the poor people’s money by the exploiting classes, whose means are a hundred times more unscrupulous than that of the common thief.

There is no need, however for any kind of violence. There is, however, a need to be prepared to meet violence from the aggressive exploiting party. There is really no need for any rich man to be afraid of his future. The new society will look after their material comforts, educational needs and economic requirements of all people in the land. Even as it is, it is not the poor worker and the peasant alone that suffer in an economic crisis that sweeps the world.

The capitalist and the industrialist suffer as well as their troubles and trials are not unknown to the people at large. The mental torture they go through to amass wealth and later to preserve it is indescribable. The merchant suffers mentally in loss as well as in gain. The loss does not always put him out of the world. Gain always leaves behind the feeling that he should have got more of it.

Socialism – ideal for all 

No man is completely satisfied with what he gains or with what he has. The satisfaction the capitalist has in the regard and respect which he obtains from the people as a wealthy man is really small when compared to the anguish he privately suffers all the time. There is really no such thing as loss or gain in the ultimate analysis of things. People want to get rich only to reach false and fleeting situations and not to obtain mental peace or spiritual poise.

Hence it may be seen that nothing terrible will happen if the rich class vanishes. For the good of all, the unhealthy ideal of becoming rich will cease to bother the minority of our people and by diverting the energies of the best man for the common good, the greater happiness of the larger mass of the people may be ensured. In brief, socialism will be the ideal for all.

Big divide of rich and poor 

The source for all human ills and loss of peace is this big divide between the rich and the poor. It is often maintained that man is the highest product of creation and superior to all other living creatures. I am unable to accept this thesis. If the condition of the present society of man is objectively examined, only those out of their minds will regard birth as a human being as a great and enviable achievement. I would rather say that it is wretched and dirty to be born as a human being.

The so-called lower animals do not exploit and deceive their kind. Slavery or mastery is unknown among the animals. They are not selfish and do not spend their energies for the benefit and prosperity of their children or grandchildren and for this purpose do not commit all imaginable crimes. Acts and thoughts considered the lowest and the most abominable are to be found practiced by man, supposed to have been made in the image of god. No ass rides on another ass. No tiger rides on another tiger. But man does. Look at our rikshaw pullers. I fail to see anything noble or good in man not found in the animals.

Hasten the time for Revolution 

It must be noted that God, king, religion, caste, sastras (Doctrines) all have been used and still being used for the benefit of an infinitely small section of humanity to deceive and exploit the larger section. Their only purpose is to keep a small part of mankind in control and privilege.

Man’s birth and death are attributed to god. His doings, good or bad, are also foisted on god. If that is really so, who can honestly say that all this is a credit to god? Is there anything in man’s doings and conditions for which god can be praised? By making god the source of all things, are we not really insulting, fooling, and belittling god? All this is false thinking and must be eradicated and the time for revolution hastened.

There will be no prohibition of liquor in the future world and there will be no bad effects because of alcohol. Social relations will be such as not to call for murder. There may be sportive competitions among men, but not gambling.

Love based on mutual freewill 

Prostitution will be unknown, for the simple reason that unemployment and hunger, which are the principal causes for that evil, will be absent. When self-respect has attained a certain level, submission to another’s power will not take place. When men do not wish to be slaves, neither can they be masters. This will apply to the relations between man and woman. Being equals in status, love will be based on mutual consent and free will.

Novelty, Change, and multiplicity will not actuate men of culture. Physical health will be a matter of supreme importance to all people. For all these reasons prostitution will be a thing of the past.

Average life of man will be hundred years 

Communications will mostly be by air and of great speed. Transistors and receivers would be in most men’s hats. Television will make such progress as to enable people to talk to each other seeing each other’s faces through sets of pocket size. It will be possible for a teacher to teach students in different areas at the same time.

Food enriched with vitamins will be encased in pills or capsules sufficient for a day’s or week’s sustenance. The average life of a man may stand at a hundred years or more. 

No sex-act needed for child-birth 

Intercourse between man and woman may not be absolutely necessary for childbirth. Test-tube children produced out of semen collected from the best and the choicest of men may be common. Family planning and population control will have been completely mastered both by the people and the State.

Consumer goods will be of different types and sizes, and their cost will be within easy reach of the average citizen. Motorcars may weigh about one hundred kilos and will run without petrol, with electric power generated in small batteries or jets.

What will be the position of God? 

Electricity will be everywhere and in every house, serving the people for all purposes, making domestic duties more a pleasure than a drudgery.

No industry or factory will run for the private profits of individuals. They will be owned by the community at large and all inventions and manufactures will cater to the needs and pleasures of all people.

What will be the position or state of God in the world to come? This is a question that naturally kindles everyone’s imagination.

This world converted into a paradise 

God had not shown himself to anybody. He has been given a shape and a name and a character by religionists and shown to the people as such. In the world to come, there will be none to preach anything about god. People will forget all about god. It must be noted that man will need an unseen power, only when there is a need for it in world conditions. Ignorance, fear, desire and speculation gave rise to the idea of god in the ancient past.

In the future world, man will discover the origin and cause of all things, his desires will be evenly satisfied without much labour, and no man or group will live on another man or group. When the world itself has been converted into a paradise, the need to picture a paradise in the clouds will not arise. Where there is no want, there is no god. Where there is scientific knowledge, there is no need for speculation and imagination.

Worship of god would serve no purpose 

The prime reason for the assertion of the existence of god today is the existence of the universe. Who created this universe and who runs it? The answer has always been god. This problem has already ceased to bother the scientists. What is it in life that we regard as god’s work? Only what we are not able to understand. For that which we understand, we do not bring in god. It would be correct to say “we do not understand” or “it is unknowledgeable” when anything is beyond human ken, and not unnecessarily bring in god.

This will be the attitude of man in the world to come. Even when some things are understandable, the future man will not waste his time in worshipping a god as the knower of all things, as he will be rational enough to know that such worship will serve no purpose whatever.

No ideas about heaven or hell 

The new world will entertain no ideas of heaven and hell. The need for them is felt only when the world is full of bad men. No one will need another’s charity in the world to come. Unless one is mentally sickened, one will do no harm to another. Neither will he misbehave for his own advantage.

A brief sketch of the world to come has been made. Having regard to the progress made by man so far, and the plans he has for the future in science, technology and sociology, the picture drawn for the future cannot be far from the mark.

Miseries of the present world to vanish 

Even if the future imagined is speculative, there will be no one in his proper senses who would not earnestly wish for such a world. Everyone is anxious that the miseries of the present world must vanish and that life which is regarded as a burden must change into one of ease and pleasure. The struggle for existence needs to be changed into a life of happiness.

Whatever be the future, if the people aim and work for a world as pictured, much will be achieved. The average man’s vision will be widened to cover all mankind, liberalized to treat all alike, and energized to strive for a better world for all.

Not an atom moves without God’s sanction 

A brilliant vision of the future will kindle men to stop thinking that “nothing is possible for man; not an atom moves without god’s sanction.” They will cease to blame god, karma (deed) and fate for the ills of the world, the horrid differences engendered by casteism and their own selfish and base motives. They will stop printing their faith to the hymns written in Sastras and Puranas by somebody thousands of years ago, and take courage to think for themselves with the aid of science and humanism.

The advance of true democracy and socialism will not be characterized as “the world is going from bad to worse.” The vision will make men take faith in the creative evolution of man. Man does not and cannot regress. His march is towards progress, social equality and happiness for all. The vision painted for him will urge him towards that goal.

Translation by Prof. A. M. Dharmalingam

(From 'Collected Works of Periyar E.V.R.', compiled by Dr. K. Veeramani, published by 'The Periyar Self-Respect Propaganda Institution')

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