The economic and ecological basis of poverty

mail07464 at mail07464 at
Wed Sep 13 23:09:03 UTC 1995

One of the last postings I got to read before I moved out of Madison (and
went off line for a couple of weeks) said something about poor people in
India being blessed with "fresh air and sunshine."

It's best to set aside the issue of contemporary financial and
psychological misery, which is not exclusively an Indian problem, but is
all over -- in Chicago, London, Tokyo, Rio... and the whole planet is
ecologically empoverished, for that matter.

Regarding poverty as renunciation -- a path willingly embraced as a means
toward self-realization by adults who are fully aware of the consequences
of their acts -- I have the following questions:

[1] When were the last texts written that advocate such a path toward
self-realization in India? I have the impression it was in "Medieval"
times. If so, what were the economic and ecological conditions of India at
that time?  Did India at that time still have clean air and water, and
sufficient trees and vegetables? In other words, was India up to the
16-17th centuries still capable of sustaining a class of sadhus and other
mendicant intellectuals?

[2] Ignoring for a moment the fact that there is no archaeological evidence
for it, how are we to give credibility to the hypothesis of "the Aryan
invasion" -- i.e. some wild Aryans riding horses and carrying iron weapons
suddenly settle down and (bingo!) the Vedas pop out of their mouths. Why is
it that no Veda fell out anywhere else along their hypothetical routes?

>From the Rg-veda I gather that there must have been a well-established,
well-to-do society that was capable of maintaining all of those fulltime
rsis and brahmanas. RV 10.101, for example, speaks about craftsmen employed
in the service of the sacrificers. How would all those people make a
living? How would enough cows be raised for so much ghee?  Who would milk
the cows and prepare the ghee?  Were people and cows living exclusively on
prana? If so, the air must have been clean and nourishing...


Beatrice Reusch
<mail07464 at>
153 North Arnaz Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
310-659-9404 (voice & fax)


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