Beyond Capital

Polemics, Critique and Analysis

Robbers and the State

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Ramakrishna Paramhansa once told the following story to a gathering (don’t ask me to be exact!):

A man going through a forest was robbed by three robbers. After robbing him, one proposed to kill him. Another reasoned about the uselessness of killing the person, he proposed to tie him up and leave him in the forest. Ultimately, the robbers bound his hands and feet and left him. After sometime the third robber returned and freed the person saying, “I am very sorry, hope you are not hurt. Come, I will lead you to the highway from where you can go home”. When they came to the road the man expressed his gratitude towards the robber – “You have been very kind to me. Come with me to my house”. The robber, obviously, refused and went away, while the man kept on looking at him charmed by the goodness of the robber and asked god to keep him safe.

This world itself is the forest, where Sattva, Rajas and Tamas are the robbers robbing a man of the Knowledge of Truth (The Real), leaving him enchanted by Maya. Tamas wants to destroy him, Rajas binds him to the world, while Sattva rescues him from the clutches of the other two. Under the protection of Sattva, the man is rescued from anger, passion and other evil effects of Tamas. But then Sattva too is a robber who leaves him further off from the knowledge of Truth – of Moksha and Maya. Ultimately he is left mesmerised by Maya.

Isn’t this story an interpretation of the dialectic of coercion and consent (which is the basis of the State and its apparatuses) – translated in terms of the interplay of Tamas, Rajas and Sattva?

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Written by Pratyush Chandra

January 17, 2009 at 2:40 pm

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