Go beyond two equalities to true equality

A modern social critic, George Orwell, highlighted how the illusoriness of the equality that communism tried to create: “In communism all people are equal, but some are more equal than others.” Although communism aimed to create a classless society, it ended up with two classes: the rulers and the ruled. The rulers lived in prosperity; the ruled, in poverty.

In general, attempts to create absolute equality at the material level are bound to be frustrated because their premise is flawed: we all are not equal materially. Different people have different abilities, different income levels, different social stations, different nationalities, different genders, different ages. And all these differences create undeniable diversity.

Of course, these differences are not meant to justify discrimination of any kind. But artificially denying these differences can’t create equality.

Undoubtedly, our intuition that we all are meant to be equal is true, but it is true at the spiritual level. We all are at our core eternal souls, who are equally the parts of Krishna, everyone’s eternal source and Lord.

The Bhagavad-gita (5.18) declares as spiritually equal a broad gamut of living beings: both human and non-human. Among humans, it spiritually equates a cultured intellectual of sublime vision and an uncultured person of indiscriminate eating habits. Among non-humans, it spiritually equates a cow, which is traditionally considered sacred; a dog, which is considered somewhat profane; and an elephant which is somewhere in between.

While affirming everyone’s spiritual equality, Gita wisdom also acknowledges their material diversity and strives to give them all the appropriate opportunity to grow spiritually. The way to rue equality is not by artificially denying material differences, but by highlighting the common spiritual purpose towards which these differences can be directed.

Thus, devotional spirituality, centered on perceiving and pursuing everyone’s connectedness with Krishna, is the way to true equality.

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