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Taxes, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Bible

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Adrit Chaturvedi
I am an engineering undergraduate student at IIT Delhi
 

Obviously the Bhagavad Gita- the guide to human life and the people of Bharat explained by God himself- would profess Social Justice by seizing power from the hands of the wicked and centralizing it with the moral perpetrator of the land i.e. a virtuous government. There is no doubt that it would proclaim a system of forced donations from the rich to the poor.

This reminds me of President Trump speaking at the Freedom Concert in Washington D.C., shortly after signing an executive order to ease the Johnson Amendment- which prevented Tax-exemption to politically partisan religious-like institution; he said, “Bureaucrats think they can run over your lives, overrule your values, meddle in your faith; and tell you how to live, what to say, and where to pray. But we know that parents, not bureaucrats, know best how to raise their children and create a thriving society…and we know that families and churches, not government officials, know best how to create a strong and loving community. And above all else we know this, in America we don’t worship government, we worship God.

As a matter of self-spirituality- religious freedom and assistance to its cause are deeply personal. Whether that assistance comes in the form of labor, goods, or money. The state charging tax on the income made by unilateral intra-community donations and bilateral sale of goods for religious symbolism and utility, to redirect it on any other cause- which may conflict with the religious community- is a great infringement of religious liberty. The framers of the Constitution had this possibility in mind when they came up with Article 26 and Article 27. The former ensures full autonomy in religious matters and administration of property to every religious denomination. The latter restricts Government action of the use of tax funds from a person of one religious community to endorse another religious community.

Yet somehow, it is darkly present in Independent India history, as if the atrocities of the East India Company and the British Government on Hindu Temples were not a lesson to learn. From the Madras Regulation VII (1817) to the Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act(1959), the tyranny of excess Government involvement is too substantial undermine. The absurdity stretches out when the Big Government Tax Champions invoke the Gita, ‘Hindu Socialism’, and Jesus Christ to call out for false hypocrisy of complaining Hindus and Christians. Not only is this heretical to Church hermeneutics and Temple Donation, but absolutely bizarre to the exegesis of scripture. 

Eric Wolf writing in his book Peasants – Foundations of Anthropology points out,

 “…many Middle American Indian groups who have abandoned their traditional Catholic folk rituals– with their great costs paid out in the support of religious organization and events -and have turned to a sober Protestantism for which such expenditures are not required.

 

While talking about peasants resisting ceremonial expenditure for their community. Max Weber had famously contended this apparent differential theological application- between Protestants and Roman Catholics -in everyday life. Weber wrote in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism
the difference of the Calvinistic from the mediæval asceticism is evident. It consisted in the disappearance of the consilia evangelica and the accompanying transformation of asceticism to activity within the world”; to suggest that the Christian Reformation ideology of ‘Salvation through faith alone’, in other words, Salvation is not achieved by human works but by the decree God- rendered Christians to infiltrate accumulation of wealth in the name of God. Whether it is the ‘Ceremonial Expenditure’ of Eric Wolf or ‘Consilia Evangelica’ of the Roman Church- these clauses are not mandatory. Moreover, they are devoid of State control. For if it were the ‘Holy Sacraments’ and the ‘Funds of Rent’ of Wolf, State control would even have a credible case in the life of a Christian.

Ignorant Socialists like Bernie Sanders- who get up on stage at a Christian University and quote from the Bible to make a case for Socialism being the essence of core Christian belief -not only have not read the Bible but are perverting it for the sake of their political agenda. Paul writing his second letter to the church in Corinth- 2 Corinthians-says,

 “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion”. 

 

And Yahweh God in all his might and knowledge warned the Jews through Moses in the 19th chapter of the Book of Leviticus- Leviticus 19-by saying,

 “Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.” 

For is it my Christian bias, or is God warning us against the postmodern ‘Social Justice Warriors’ who want to occupy the Wall Street while taxing the rich till all income for everyone vanishes? I guess Jeremy Corbyn can answer my question in his Labor 10 Commandments. 

In the 17thChapter of the Bhagavad Gita- Arjuna, in his curiosity of salvation, asked Krishna about the people who have faith in God but do not follow the scriptures. Krishna told him that there are three kinds of nature of the mind of man – Righteous, Passionate, and Ignorant; and the faith of the man conforms to the nature of his mind. Krishna then goes on to categorize major human activities in the aforementioned particulars. So the manner in which a person chooses to carry out an activity would be in reverence to the nature of his mind i.e. branded with the same category. After discussing three kinds of food, sacrifice, and penance – Krishna moved on to donations. Krishna says:

Charity given to a worthy person simply because it is right to give, without consideration of anything in return, at the proper time and in the proper place, is stated to be in the mode of goodness.

But charity given with reluctance, with the hope of a return or in expectation of a reward, is said to be in the mode of passion.

And that charity, which is given at the wrong place and wrong time to unworthy persons, without showing respect, or with contempt, is held to be of the nature of nescience.”

Gita contends that when a donation is given with contempt to ‘unworthy persons’, it is deemed dull or ‘nescience’ by God; and so a donation held ‘Good’ by God is the one given voluntarily- for the sake of righteousness-to a ‘worthy’ person. The determination of a ‘worthy person’ is to be done scripturally with his individuality as the basis. Unlike a centrally controlled fund distribution system with the individual’s intersectional group identities as a basis for beneficiary involvement – that is the case with a federally handled progressive taxing system. Too bad for Sitaram Yechury, who wants to quote from a book that he has not understood, but this is what Krishna said.  

From Nehru’s Socialism launchpad model for India in the 1950s, the 97.75 percent marginal tax rate (including surcharge) for the highest slab in the 1970s, and the tyrannical Wealth Tax, we have come a long way.

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Adrit Chaturvedi
I am an engineering undergraduate student at IIT Delhi

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