Hindu modes of capitalist accumulation in the Bhagavad Gita

Bhabani Nayak

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


The paper attempts to understand and expand the idea of capitalist accumulation process and modes of production debate from social structures of accumulation theory to religious structures of accumulation. Studies to understand material and economic progress in the Indian economic historiography isn’t new (Pattnaik, 1998). The economic historians have studied extensively on the impact of Hindu religion on the Indian economic thoughts (Kapp, 1963; Dasgupta, 1993) in general and economic growth in particular (Rodrik and Subramanian 2004). However, there is scarcity of literature in the Indian economic history to understand the impact of Hindu religion on the modes of accumulation. The paper locates the role of Hindu religious philosophy in establishing conditions in which capital organises and expands through production, circulation, consumption, and distribution to stabilize the Indian economy by social stratification which creates regimes of accumulation. The institutional sets of Hindu religious principles, theological promises, norms and other practices have provided the base for modes of accumulation. The regimes of accumulation and modes of accumulation are two central concepts in regulation theory which is significant to understand the history of contemporary economic growth and marginalization in India. In this way, the paper attempts to show how different social, economic and cultural institutions interact with each other to normalise the crisis in the process of capitalist accumulation by the Hindu religious philosophy as outlined in the Bhagavad Gita. It provides strong philosophical justification for capitalist accumulation process by solving three inherent problems of capitalism i.e. i) historical contradictions between capital and labour in the process of production and distribution, ii) competitions and instabilities in the capitalist structures and modes of production, and iii) conflicts in the process of accumulation of surplus value (profit).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLifting up the Spirit, Uplifting the Body
Subtitle of host publicationInterfacing Religion, Spirituality and Social Work in India
Place of PublicationPune, India
PublisherSamajdarshan Prakashan
ISBN (Print)978819082901490000
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • religion
  • economy
  • social work


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