Sarkar's Social Cycle -- A Spiral Dynamics - Integral Perspective


Angela Masters


(circa 2004-2007)







P. R. Sarkar’s macro-historical Social Cycle is a framework for examining the deep structure of social evolution. It is described along with Ken Wilber's Integral Theory that has been enhanced by Spiral Dynamics to examine the characteristics of the classes of the Social Cycle. While the deep structure will not change, the waves of the classes can be described and examples are given of their developmental potential. The Social Cycle is not fully AQAL as the classes are only dealt with in the collective, while the sadvipra is primarily dealt with as an individual. A sadvipra is described as a second tier leader, whose challenge is to encourage expression of the classes’ healthy memes, whilst attempting to mitigate the mean memes so that the Social Cycle can progress through positive epochs.





This paper discusses Sarkar's Social Cycle through the Spiral Dynamics enhanced Integral framework. The Social Cycle is a macro-historical framework of Prabhat Rainjan Sarkar that describes the evolution of civilisations over time, and from a futures point of view is helpful in explaining the tensions and deep drivers of social change. The Integral framework of Ken Wilber seeks to draw together all of the truths of multiple theories in an attempt to map a grand synthesis of the whole of the Kosmos[1].  Don Beck and Christopher Cowan, building on foundational work by Glare Graves, developed Spiral Dynamics that is a framework for describing individual and social development that Beck and Wilber have found complementary to Integral theory. The purpose of this paper is to examine Sarkar's macro-historical framework against Wilber's Spiral Dynamics enhanced Integral model to see what insights can be drawn.


Sarkar's Social Cycle


Sohail Inayatullah is a source of insight into Sarkar's work[2]. Sarkar's model constructs four classes: workers, warriors, intellectuals and accumulators of capital. Each class can be perceived not merely as a power configuration, but as a way of knowing the world, as a paradigm, episteme or deep structure. A particular collective psychology or varna comes into power bringing in positive necessary changes, but over time exploits and then dialectically creates the conditions for the next varna. The cycle has developed historically through evolution representing a universal social structure. There have been four historical ways humans have dealt with their physical and social environment: either by being dominated by it, by dominating it through the body, dominating it through the mind, or dominating it through the environment itself.


The four classes below and in Figure 1 have been paralleled as ‘castes’, although individuals are not locked into one as they may transfer among them:




dominated by environment



struggle with and dominates environment



struggle with and dominates ideas



struggle with and dominates environment/ideas


Figure 1 – Sarkar’s Social Cycle


In this cycle of civilisation one age changes into another. This gradual change should be called evolution, kranti. The period of transition from one age to another can be said to be a transitional age, yuga samkranti. One complete cycle from the shard age evolutionising to the other four ages is called a full cycle, parikranti. Sometimes this social cycle is reversed by application of physical or psychic force by a group of people inspired by a negative theory. Such a change is, therefore, counter-evolution i.e. against the cycle of civilisation. This may be termed as vikranti.


Life is a dynamic principle and the movement of the social cycle continues without any break or pause, and further cannot be checked as stagnation implies death[3]. The direction of the social cycle through time is determined by how the classes struggle with their environment. Sarkar imagines this cycle as rotating between worker (or brute, chaotic) power, warrior (or expansionist) power, ideational (or rule of priests or technocrats) power and capital (capitalism) power. Each epoch transforms the social conditions of the previous era. The social cycle in itself cannot be transformed, that is a perfect society is not possible, only a good society where periods of exploitation gradually decrease.[4]


There may be balance, exploitation or oppression, for example exploited shudras can cause chaos; oppressive ksatriyas may cause political anarchy or a militarised state; vipras may become elite and exclusive; and the vaeshyas may exploit beyond innovation to commodification. The dynamic balance, or prama, of the social cycle is therefore important to ensure social change across the classes can take place without disintegrating into oppression or exploitation. Inayatullah takes this further; prama means a dynamic balance between past and future, between the sectors of the economy (agricultural, manufacturing and information), as well as the dimensions of the self (physical, mental and spiritual), and of theory (theories that address material and spiritual factors instead of only focusing on the former or latter[5], and which address the psychic or mental realm as well).


Sadvipra Leaders


The sadvipra is situated at the centre of the social cycle as a compassionate servant leader who is a seeker of prama and parikranti. Through the intervention of sadvipras the cycle becomes a spiral, each of the cycles go through stages representing eras where exploitation of one class turns through to a new synthesis and the possibility of social progress beyond. Therefore while the structure remains intact and patterned, the future can be dramatically changed. The nature and role of sadvipras is therefore crucial and complex.


Sarkar's ideal leadership is based on the complete mind, one that has the characteristics of physical, protective, intellectual and financial service to others.[6] Sarkar imagines sadvipra leadership as primarily a moral and social leadership, less concerned with government but more with ensuring that society has a direction, a vision, that the rules are fair, that humans treat each other well. Sarkar's leadership is thus an attempt to mix physical power, social and cultural power, and economic power into a new type of political or governing power. Sarkar sees these leaders as foresight-oriented, that is, they anticipate the movement of the social era – the movement of history through various epochs – and as exploitation begins, they help bring about the next phase of the social cycle. While the sadvipra would certainly struggle against anarchist, monarchist, theological or capitalist forces, since there is no perfect society to be created, there is less of a possibility of persecution of the other in the name of a grand ideology.[7]


Place of Sadvipras in the Social Cycle[8]


Such a morally and spiritually equipped sadvipra [satya means Cosmic truth; sadvipra means ‘whose intellect is ensconced in satya; true vipras] has to perform a fundamental and vital duty to society. The duty of sadvipras is to see that the dominating class does not take recourse to exploitation. The function of the sadvipra shall therefore be to see that the dominating or ruling classes do not have any scope for exploitation. The few (exploiters) degenerate themselves due to excess of physical enjoyments and the many (exploited) cannot elevate themselves, because all their energy is taken up in mundane problems and all their mental waves are always tending to attain psycho-physical parallelism, thus getting day by day cruder. Hence for the physical, mental and spiritual welfare of the administrator and the administered of society as a whole, it is essential that none should be given any scope to exploit the rest of society.


The sadvipra is not an inactive witness. They are active participants to see that no person or class exploits the rest. For this she or he may have to resort even to physical force because the sadvipras will have to strike at the source of the power which is tending to become the exploiter. In case the warrior class is becoming or are exploiters, the sadvipras may have to resort to physical force and in an age where the intellectual class is dominating and exploiting, the sadvipras may have to contest and win elections because the capitalist class rule by democracy and their version of democratic set-up enables them to accumulate undue gains.


Ghista[9] describes sadvipras as uncompromising moralists, “someone who is essentially a spiritual revolutionary, not merely a revolutionary in the physical and intellectual realms but in the spiritual realm as well. Furthermore, a sadvipra’s approach to everything is fundamentally rooted in her or his spiritual realization, in her or his blissful love for the Supreme.” When spread to the world, this is truly a revolutionary spirit.


However, such elevation also requires a moral standard. Universal principles of morality were developed by Tantric yogis who were free from all sectarian and social prejudices, as their sole aim was spiritual realisation. These ten principles are divided into two categories known as yama (the restraints) and niyama (the observances). They are:



            1. Ahimsa

            Ahimsa means not to hurt anyone by thought, word or deed.

            2. Asteya

            Asteya means not to deprive others of their due by thought, word or deed.

            3. Satya

            Satya means the use of words with the spirit of welfare for others and not just for oneself.

            4. Brahmacarya

            Brahmacarya means moving in Brahma or Supreme Consciousness.

            5. Aparigraha

Aparigraha means to engage in continual struggle to reduce one's mundane possessions.



            1. Shaoca

Shaoca means purity, both internal and external.

            2. Santosa

Santosa means being content and at ease no matter what the situation.

            3. Tapah

Tapah means penance or sacrifice undertaken to benefit others.

            4. Svadhyaya

Svadhyaya means inspirational study such as of one's own Self (Pure Consciousness, the Lord) by studying scriptures and meditative practice.

            5. Iishvara Pranidhana

Iishvara Pranidhana means intensely running after only the Supreme Beloved, the Supreme Consciousness and also firmly adhering to the Beloved with all one's body, mind and soul.


Integral Theory


Integral theory has been profoundly influenced and developed by Ken Wilber. It is a meta-perspective of the realm of psychology and ways of knowing. The research has examined and brought together Eastern and Western philosophies, as well as mysticism, spirituality and scientific endeavour. The Integral operating system can be used to enrich psychology, economics, politics, medicine, religion – almost any human field of endeavour. It is impossible to give more than a cursory outline of such vast work here. The reader is directed to Wilber's A Theory of Everything[10] that captures the genesis of his work so far.


In a brief article, Introduction to Integral Theory and Practice[11], Wilber describes the Integral model as the product of “… taking literally everything that all the various cultures have to tell us about human potential – about spiritual growth, psychological growth, social growth … … to find the critically essential keys to human growth, based on the sum total of human knowledge now open to us …”. The model is a map that uses all these known systems, and distils their major components into five simple factors or elements. The result is the AQAL model (all quadrants, all levels, all lines, all states, all types) that is the heart of Integral theory.


These five fundamental elements are available to everyone, and are more than theoretical concepts; they are aspects of individual experience, and contours of consciousness. Awareness of these in the self enables both development of them within the self, and in appreciating other human constructs.[12] While all of the elements are explained, this paper focuses on quadrants, levels, and lines.


The five elements are described in conjunction with Figure 2 below:



The four quadrants express the Kosmos from an internal and external perspective, i.e. the interior and exterior of the individual and the collective.   Hence the left hand side of the quadrant contains 'I' and 'WE' (interiors), and the right hand side 'IT' and 'ITS' (exteriors). Conversely, the upper quadrants correspond to individuality, and the lower quadrants to communion with the collective.



Levels relate to waves of development; from matter to body to mind to soul to universal spirit. These are not rigid or discrete like a ladder, more like waves that overlap in a fluid, flowing and intermeshing fashion.



Lines are like streams of development of the different modules, dimensions or areas of development e.g. cognitive, moral, linguistic.



States include states of consciousness e.g. waking, dreaming, sleeping, altered.



Types include types of consciousness, or possible orientations at every level, including different personality types and gender styles.


The most critical point with levels within any of the quadrants is that not only do the waves overlap and intermesh, they transcend and include. This means that preceding levels are not discarded or altered, they are folded into and become part of the new expanded whole. All of the attributes of the preceding levels remain available. This is discussed further below.


Also important is to note that subsequent levels are not inaccessible. An individual may glimpse or spend some time experiencing these, which may act as a driver to explore interior development further, or remain as an apocryphal moment[13]. Whether an individual ranges through the levels already available or glimpses ones out of reach, at any point in time there is a centre of gravity around which one predominates.


Figure 2 – Elements of the AQAL model

Adapted from Wilber, Integral Psychology, 2000, p 67


There can be many lines of development in the four quadrants, however Figure 3 captures a key line in each.


Figure 3 – Key lines of development in quadrants

Wilber, Introduction to Integral Theory and Practice, 2003


Integral Theory and Spiral Dynamics


The ‘Integral’ theory has been linked with ‘Spiral Dynamics’ to create ‘Spiral Dynamics - Integral’ by Ken Wilber and Don Beck, as the spiral stages of social development mesh well with Wilber's developmental waves. Spiral Dynamics was initially researched by Clare Graves in the 1970s. It is a framework that describes stages of social development that complements the Wilber model. Don Beck and Christopher Cowan continued the Graves work, developing a colour coding system that is a convenient way of describing levels. The levels, called vMemes are described in Table 1 below, with correlations to Wilber's upper left (UL) levels from Figure 3 above.


It is important to stress that while using the colour system is expedient it is not to pigeon-hole or limit individuals or groups by these descriptors, but to acknowledge that there is generally a centre of gravity around a wave. It should also be noted that the nature of both ‘integral’ and the ‘spiral’ means that each level has transcended and included the other, and that depending on the quadrant and developmental line, the centre of gravity may be different.


Table 1


Stage /

Colour Code

Popular Name / Wilber Correlate


Cultural manifestations and

personal displays



WholeView / Integral


collective individualism;

cosmic spirituality;

earth changes;


integral meshworks - informational



FlexFlow /



natural systems; self-principle;

multiple realities; knowledge;


holistic commons - informational



HumanBond / Pluralistic


egalitarian; feelings; authentic;

sharing; caring; community;


value communities - informational



StriveDrive / Rational Formal


materialistic; consumerism; success;

image; status; growth;


corporate states - industrialised



TruthForce / Conformist Mythic


meaning; discipline; traditions;

morality; rules; lives for later;


early nations - industrialised



PowerGods / Egocentric Power


gratification; glitz; conquest;

action; impulsive; lives for now;


feudal empires – agrarian



KinSpirits / Animistic Magic


rites; rituals; taboos;

superstitions; tribes; folk ways & lore;


ethnic tribes – horticultural



SurvivalSense / Archaic Instinctual


food; water; procreation;

warmth; protection; stays alive;


survival clans - foraging

Adapted from Beck, Stages of Development, 2000


Four Quadrants


I – Self and Consciousness (UL)


These waves run through personal, interior development of consciousness from instinctual to integral.


Instinctual (Beige) is the infant in the ego-centric world of immediate needs to be met. This develops through magic and wonder (Purple); primal notions of good and bad, superstition and curses; gangs and tribes. Power emerges (Red) with heroes and villains, protectors of the weak, power and glory, and the rise of lords and underlings. Mythic order (Blue) follows with direction, purpose and meaning answerable to a higher all-powerful Order. There are clear codes of right and wrong, with reward or punishment absolute and to be gloried or feared.


Rational/formal (Orange) moves away from the strictures of conformist mentality, and seeks to express and achieve for the self. The world is rational, and science can answer the tough questions without resorting to mysticism. Those who excel can achieve and reap the material rewards – to the loser nothing. The pluralistic self (Green) seeks to reconcile and connect with others after the cold world of rationality. Networking is valued, as are relationships and communication. Hierarchies are rejected as all are equal and valued.


All of these levels are termed ‘first tier’, as while they transcend and include each other, those within often don't realise this and find each of the others are wrong, ignorant, or flawed in some way. It is only at the pluralistic stage where networking and communion have developed that there is a sense that all of the other levels are valid, equal and have something to contribute. The trap with pluralism is what Wilber terms ‘boomeritis[14]. Boomeritis is explained as “… the very high developmental meme of pluralism becomes a shelter and a haven for a reactivation of some of the lower and intensely egocentric memes. In [a] noble attempt to move beyond conformist rules (many of which are unfair and marginalizing), and in its genuine desire to deconstruct rigid rationality (much of which can be repressive and stultifying) – in an attempt to go postconventional it has often inadvertently embraced anything nonconventional, and this includes much that is frankly preconventional, regressive, and narcissistic.”[15] In other words, this level has the potential to indulge in its own significance and beneficence.


The jump to holistic and integral, or second tier levels (Yellow – Turquoise) are described as a “momentous leap”, where “a chasm of unbelievable depth and meaning is crossed”[16]. In the second tier one moves from pluralism to integralism, where while this experience may not be able to be articulated as such, the understanding gives one the ability to grasp the bigger picture of the preceding levels, and that they all play a necessary role. The second tier looks for the rich contexts that link and join the pluralistic systems, and thus it takes these separate systems and begins to embrace, include and integrate them into holistic spirals and integral meshworks[17].


WE – Culture and Worldview (LL)


This quadrant and the exterior quadrants to follow share the same structural levels as Self and Consciousness above where the waves develop from their most basic form to an integral one. ‘WE’ is the collective expression of ‘I’ in culture. This is the typology of cultural collectives, of the interior ways of knowing. Wilber, in a discussion on meaning says “In other words – as we have often seen – every subjective intentionality (Upper Left) is situated in networks of intersubjective and cultural contexts (Lower Left) that are instrumental in the creation and interpretation of meaning itself.”[18] Waves in the worldview progressively move through archaic to holistic.


IT – Brain and Organism (UR)


Also known as exterior individual and behavioural, this quadrant includes limbic systems, brain, neocortex. These are the exterior biological organic states, delineating the difference between the physicality of the individual’s brain systems (UR) and the interiority of the mind (UL). In terms of behaviour this quadrant includes health, reproduction, physical well-being and aging and the behaviours in human life associated with these things. It is the visible outer arena of human capability[19]. A part of the Integral framework is to explicitly show the relationship between the exterior ‘it’, and the interior ‘I’; and as an example from a medical point of view treatments should consider both realms.


ITS – Social System and Environment (LR)


Also known as exterior-collective, this quadrant is the empirical, tangible world of social construction and interaction. The waves of motion in this quadrant reflect the development of social systems and institutions. Business, industry, science, and technology are ‘out there’. In this regard, ‘flatland’ is the result of becoming fixated with or stuck in this quadrant.


Stages of Social Development[20]


Each emerging social stage or cultural wave contains a more expansive horizon, a more complex organizing principle, with newly calibrated priorities, mindsets, and specific bottom-lines. Many of the previously acquired social stages remain in the composite value system to determine the unique texture of a given culture, country, or society. Societies with the capacity to change, swing between I:Me:Mine (UL/UR) and We:Us:Our (LL/LR) poles. Tilts in one direction create the need to self-correct, thus causing a shift toward the opposite pole. The Me decades become Us epochs as we constantly spiral up, or spiral down in response to life conditions. Some social stages stress diversity generators that reward individual initiatives and value human rights. Other social stages impose conformity regulators and reward cooperative, collective actions. Societies will zigzag between these two poles, thus embracing different expressions at each tilt.


Once a new social stage appears in a culture, it will spread its instructional codes and life priority messages throughout that culture’s surface-level expressions: religion, economic and political arrangements, psychological and anthropological theories, and views of human nature, our future destiny, globalisation, and even architectural patterns.


From this explanation, attributed to Beck, another perspective on the direction of the social cycle portrayed by Sarkar can be seen. The tilt of the classes will affect the polarity, and which class will become dominant. This will create the tensions that may give rise to interventions by sadvipra personalities and sadvipra type movements.


Spiral Dynamics Characteristics of the Classes


The descriptions below are illustrative only, in an attempt to give a macro level sense of how the vMemes may be active in the four psychological classes or varnas.




The general populace is described by Sarkar as proletarian[21], essentially dealing with the ‘mundane’ (Ghista). Shudras are the labour supply to the vaeshyas, soldiers to ksatriyas, and students to vipras. In return shudras expect protection, economic benefits and education and a means to express faith. With oppression or exploitation shudra social structures will destabilise or become completely chaotic though unemployment, poverty, or insurrection. The shudra centre of gravity is generally Blue being obedient, abiding and comfortable with structures and faith in systems. If exploited however shudras will activate Red and seek to resist and fight. In the event of destabilisation or complete collapse shudras may have to revert to Beige subsistence.


The potential for shudras is the same for all classes, as the eras pass through the social cycle, and with the higher levels of the spiral accessible (as for all classes) in each of the quadrants. As shudras proceed to Orange, personal achievement and wealth accumulation drive aspirations for more freedom from the strictures of Blue. Shudras will become more critical/resentful of the ksatriyas, questioning of vipras, and depending on the stage of the vaeshyas dominance will drive consumerism, demanding diversity in products and services. The vaeshyas will in turn respond with greater innovation, and demand for different skill sets in the shudra workforce.


Green shudras become more discerning, concerned about the exploitation of the environment and a work/life balance. Such shudras wish to be taken for more than another resource, wishing for more of a ‘voice’ and will seek to engage the vipras. The Blue ksatriyas will be seen more as an oppressor of those shudras still in the lower levels. Shudras will of course also become susceptible to boomeritis.




The warrior serves to protect against outside forces and to maintain order within the classes. The requirements for a good military and police force are discipline, obedience, and the ability to enforce laws (all Blue) and perpetrate force/violence (Red) sanctioned by authority when necessary. As mentioned, when the ksatriyas turn oppressive, militarised states can emerge.


The potentials for Kshatriyas in Orange are fewer ‘bodies on the street’, and more reliance on technology and science to maintain control. In a pathological state the Orange ksatriya resembles an insidious ‘Big Brother’ and the other classes will feel less safe as they sense a loss of privacy or autonomy. In a non-pathological state, a tactical            approach with specifically targeted action can mean prevention rather than conflict.




The priests and academics possibly have a wider spectrum of vMemes. While the ritual and ceremony of religious observance is Blue, and the traditional academic world is also Blue, the striving of research and empirical sciences are distinctly          Orange. Out of intellectual pursuit also comes Green which seeks to resolve the dissonance between Blue and Orange, and is fearful of Red while believing that no one should be struggling at Beige. Vipras are a diverse group, but when strongly Orange are highly competitive and elitist.


As a diverse group already experiencing Green, vipras have the earliest potential for the second tier leap, but are therefore also the first to have to deal with the disease of boomeritis. Vipras also have the longest period of having most of the other classes not understanding the vipra psychology and actions – as well as some of the greatest struggles within its class due to its own internal diversity.




The capitalists are Orange in their pursuit of material gain, market share, increasing consumption and investment returns. Even pre-industrial the capitalist, while not having access to Orange technology, still had the entrepreneurial drive and innovation to build and acquire. Vaeshyas thrive when shudras shows the Orange tendencies described above.


The higher potentials for the vaeshyas are available to them as for the other classes, but the material gains and associated power of Orange are the hardest to let go of. Orange vaeshyas must come to terms with the dangers of excess accumulation, commodification and exploitation and experience a profound values shift to accept that there are unrecognised costs in its world view that must be acknowledged. Green vaeshyas, however, are informational, commons based, and more balanced in their approach to business and finance. Green shudras have the best chance of modifying the behaviour of the vaeshyas, but will require the support of vipras to do so, which is why vaeshyas in this instance are especially interested in keeping shudras Orange.




The sadvipra embodies the qualities of each of the psychological classes: shudra, ksatriya, vipra, vaeshya, while predominating in the vipra psychology. It can be seen from these descriptions that sadvipra leadership is far beyond the usual seen in contemporary society. The prime concern is the overall health of society as it moves through the social cycle through striving to limit oppression and exploitation among the classes.


Meditation and contemplation are also central to sadviprasconnectedness to the Supreme Being and are no doubt sources of inspiration and clarity in dealing with the issues at hand. In considering Beck's table below, and the discussion of sadvipras, we can see a correlation with second tier or Yellow – Turquoise characteristics for stratified democracy. Ghista has mentioned signifiers that identify true sadvipras (uncompromising moralists, spiritual revolutionaries) and in doing so also describes the characteristics of a sadvipra leader that link to the second tier. Sarkar notes that sadvipras are less concerned with formal governance, however the type of role as described is certainly one of leadership, although probably less concerned with administration.


Table 2

STRATIFIED DEMOCRACY: Managing the Global Mesh


















survival clans


tribal orders


feudal empires


authoritarian democracy


multiparty democracy


social democracy


stratified democracy

holonic democracy

Confederal unitary

Federal unitary



eat when hungry

mutual reciprocity & kinship

to victors belong the spoils

the just earn the rewards

each acts on own behalf to prosper

all should benefit equally

all formulas contribute to spiral health

resources focus on all life

Beck, Stages of Social Development, 2000


A sadvipra as a second tier individual has taken the ‘momentous leap’ from Green to Yellow and possibly Turquoise. This stance allows sadvipras to understand the value structures active in each of the other classes and understands why they do not understand each other. Implicit in this is the knowledge of the circumstances that give rise to oppression and exploitation, the consequences, and therefore the insight in how to intervene without excessive disruption to the progression of the social cycle.


Healthy Memes and Mean Memes


The sadvipras challenge in maintaining the health of the social cycle is to control and mitigate the oppression and exploitation amongst the classes. The Spiral Dynamics descriptions of the classes have shown examples of these, as well as discussion of sadvipra intervention. This has also acknowledged that sadvipras can and will use the power of lower memes to help bring about change, with the overall objective of maintaining the health of the social cycle/spiral. Not discussed so far is the term ‘mean meme’. This term is used by Wilber and Beck to describe the pathological ‘underside’ of each meme. All of the stages have one (although not enough is yet known about Turquoise). They are set out in Table 3 as follows:


Table 3


Stage /

Colour Code

Healthy Meme Expression

Mean Meme Expression







natural systems,

universal care and compassion,

accepts paradox

ability to manipulate


































gathers together,

folk ways and lore











The sadvipraschallenge therefore is actually to attempt to control and mitigate the effects of the mean memes, while promoting and encouraging healthy meme expression. Social change through healthy memes will bring about parikranti, while dominance of mean memes will bring about vikranti.


At the first tier the levels do not recognise or understand the higher levels (causing issues for sadvipras), and may even seek to deny them. Similarly, having transcended a level, the level(s) below is prone to attack and dismissal – the irony of which is that the higher level does not recognise and/or tries to deny that these lower levels are part of itself. Therefore, a sadvipra would be aware that when there is necessity to act out of lower vMeme levels it is imperative not to be subsumed by them. For example, to resort to force to bring stability to Red shudra actions through the use of ksatriyas, the sadvipras must remain aware of the effect on both classes, while remaining aware of their own vulnerability to the crudity of the measure.


Spiral Dynamics - Integral Characteristics of the Social Cycle


The social cycle in Integral terms contains aspects of AQAL, although in an uneven way. The development of sadvipras is explained from the Interior-Individual perspective (UL) in terms of striving for a vision-logic stage of development (in Spiral Dynamic terms, Yellow or Turquoise). The Exterior-Individual (UR) behaviours of sadvipras are discussed by Ghista through the yama and niyama moral code. As a compassionate servant leader, a sadvipra will still resort to harsh measures if necessary to maintain control of the social cycle. This identifies that second tier leadership can and will access lower meme behaviour to maintain the health of the spiral’s motion – Beck’s Prime Directive.


It must also be remembered, sadvipras are not born Yellow but have to develop through each of the waves just as anyone else has to. The sadvipra is not a mystical being, and is not beyond or superior to any of the other levels, because a sadvipra embodies all of the other levels.


One of the challenges for a sadvipra as a second tier leader is that the three first tier classes (at various stages) cannot identify with the thinking of the second tier. It is not that they do not have the capacity, rather their value structures prevent them from that level of understanding. Also, because the structures amongst the classes vary they will have difficulty understanding each other.


Provided shudras stay Blue they will not encounter difficulty with ksatriyas or vipras. Shudras will not have difficulty with vaeshyas as long as there is no extreme profiteering of shudra labour, jobs are plentiful and there is reasonable distribution of wealth. Shudras will be content as long as things seem to stay within the bounds of reasonableness. As soon as capital distribution becomes too inequitable and does not satisfy their needs or wants shudras will rebel, led by disgruntled vipras and ksatriyas.


At first, no one will understand Green vipras in a capitalist/vaeshya world, and initially they will be seen as ineffective, indecisive, and irrelevant – simply by being too intellectual and lacking practicality. Being disgruntled with the vaeshyas, they will though develop practical qualities. The ksatriya impetus for change will also assist in this regard. While shudras and ksatriyas will see vipras for what they are, and while susceptible to boomeritis, the vipra is also the class with the potential to make the leap to second tier leadership.


The rest of the social cycle deals with society at the class level, including the cultural behaviours of progression or regression and that of oppression or exploitation (LL Interior-Collective) and how the society copes with its environment (LR Exterior-Collective). What appears to require more analysis is the interior of the individuals in the classes, and the relationship of sadvipras with the society that the sadvipras are not just controlling, but are also a part of. These are about behaviours in human life and human capability with others.


Because Sarkar says the social cycle cannot transform itself, and sadvipras are always seeking to control oppression and exploitation it appears that (although individuals are not trapped caste style into a class and are capable of transcendence) the classes as a whole have no capability to transcend themselves. Over time, and with interior development of individuals on the whole, from an Integral perspective this would not appear to hold true. The centre of gravity will rise or fall, but the capability to rise is within everyone. The question is whether it can be done by a class completely.




As a deep structure, Sarkar's Social Cycle is a valuable way of viewing social evolution. It benefits from a Spiral Dynamics perspective that enables the structure of the classes to be stratified, to help understand their predominant world views, as well as their potentials. Integral AQAL helps to highlight the Interior-Individual (UL) realms of the classes that are not exposed by the social cycle. Also, sadviprasinteriority is examined, and again AQAL and Spiral Dynamics help articulate the relationships and methods that sadvipras may use. While the deep structure may not change, Spiral Dynamics - Integral brings to the fore the developmental capabilities of the classes.


The Spiral Dynamics - Integral perspective provides another useful lens through which to see the social cycle, and the nature and role of sadvipras is valuable in conceiving and articulating the qualities needed for second tier leadership. In influencing the social cycle to parikranti, sadvipras seek to mitigate the expression of the mean meme and promote the healthy meme in each of the classes.







Beck, D., Stages of social development: The cultural dynamics that spark violence, spread prosperity, and shape globalisation, 15 August 2004,


Ghista, G., Sadvipras: Uncompromising moralists, 4 September 2004,; See also:!topic/english-silvia/ZQ3_yOE3S4Q.


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[1]Kosmos’ is a Greek word which means the patterned whole of all existence, including the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual realms. Wilber, 2001, p xi.

[2] Inayatullah, 2001.

[3] Sarkar, 1999.

[4] Inayatullah, 1999, p 185.

[5] Ibid., p 182.

[6] Ibid., p 185 citing Inayatullah, S., Understanding P. R. Sarkar. Doctoral Dissertation, Department of Political Science, University of Hawaii, 1990.

[7] Ibid., pp 185-6.

[8] Sarkar, 1999.

[9] Ghista, 1999.

[10] Wilber, 2001. 

[11] Wilber, 2003.

[12] Wilber, 2001, pp 42-44.

[13] Ibid., p 132.

[14] Wilber has written a novel called Boomeritis that is an entertaining yet poignant story of integral theory and the disease of boomeritis. Wilber, 2002.

[15] Wilber, 2001, p 27.

[16] Ibid., p 11.

[17] Ibid., p 12.

[18] Wilber, 2000, p 166.

[19] Slaughter, 1999, p 449.

[20] Beck, 2000.

[21] Proletarian: French prolétariat, from Latin proletarius

1: the lowest social or economic class of a community

2: the labouring class; especially : the class of industrial workers who lack their own means of production and hence sell their labour to live







This article was edited by Dieter Dambiec, who also incorporated the concept of disgruntlement into the article. Disgruntlement is an important element in the process of social change and the behaviour of vipras and ksatriyas in that process, which in turn affects the inclinations of shudras.