“Survival of the fittest” is the reality of material nature which emphasizes that those who are fit are the ones who survive and flourish. This is not just an opinion about nature but an objective observation.
Will Durant, in his book “The lessons of History” asserts – “The first biological lesson of History is that life is competition. Competition is not only life of trade, it is the trade of life— peaceful when food abounds, violent when the mouth outrun the food. Animal eat another without qualm; civilized men consume one another by due process of law. Cooperation is real and increases with social development but mostly because it is a tool and form of competition; we cooperate within our groups – our family, community, club, church, party, race or nation in order to strengthen our group in its competition with other groups. Our states being ourselves, multiplied are that we are; they write our nature in bolder type and do our good or evil on an elephantine scale.”
The Bhagavatam explains about “Jivo Jivasya Jivananam ,” which implies that one being is food for another being – “Survival of the fittest.”
When life and nature is designed in a such way then what is the use of talking about non resistance, compassion and kindness? In Will Durrant’s “The Story of Philosophy” Book, Nietzsche states that – In this battle we call life, what we need is not goodness but strength, not humility but pride, not altruism but resolute intelligence; that equality and democracy are against the grain of selection and survival; that not masses but geniuses are goal of evolution; that not justice but power is the arbiter of all differences and all destinies.
Therefore, certainly kindness and compassion have no power to resist such idealists who value power over kindness.
Even the great Bhismadeva when confronted & questioned by Draupadi for not being able to save her from assault by the evil power of Duryodhana and gang, he explained with tears in his eyes, “The Dharma is unfortunately defined by those who have power in their hands and sadly, power was in the hands of Kauravas.”
This highlights the harsh reality that when a powerful person does something wrong, he can buy justice but when an innocent person makes even slight mistakes, he is easily criminalized. No one can deny these facts unless one is an imaginary idealist or lunatic philosopher.
Therefore, the Dharmik scriptures and the concept of civility created four fundamental aspects of life – Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha – with a profound and realistic purpose.
DHARMA establishes the foundational ethics which causes conditioning of good morality but that is not sufficient without wealth generation which means ARTHA. “Artha” means investing in the development of resources or building one’s power structure. Once a power structure is developed or while it is developing, it gives rise to joy, happiness and enjoyment which is referred as KAMA. However, when the Artha and Kama are founded in Dharma one is conscious of not being overboard. Part of enjoying life is, sharing and empowering the pleasure of others, which extends the self. Finally, one detaches through legacy and moves forward towards MOKSHA (liberation) or meditation or the eternal Love of God.
The process of four Purushartha (Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha) is the only ideology that has the power to balance between enjoyment and compassion, power and kindness, violence and non violence & selfishness and service to others. There is no other idealogy that can sustain itself beyond a limited time, period or place. It’s bound to fail because it’s unreal.
The two Great books of life and reality – Ramayana and Mahabharata – depict this reality of harmonizing morality, power, enjoyment and detachment. Therefore, reading these ideas in integration is to understand the history of life and the human mind since creation. They represent every layer of life without hesitation in presenting. They beautifully strike the balance between the seemingly opposing forces of life – War and love is integrated, Politics and relationships are harmonized, Love of God and duty to life is ascertained.
The concept of “Survival of the fittest” suggests that only the strongest individuals can succeed in the struggle for survival. However, the four Purusharthas, are a pathway for finding real fulfilment in life by blending self-interest with service to others. Study and observe four Purusharthas to sustain and extend the Legacy of Purusharthas, which offer a blueprint for leading a meaningful life.
Article by Govinda Das