ETHICS IN GITA
Bhagavad Gita, the famous dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna in the middle of the Kurukshetra battle, popularly considered as a sacred text of moral code, is a liberating text. As even Arjuna surrenders to Krishna, pleading for removal of his confusion and inability to decide in this crucial moment, Krishna begins by instructing on the imperishable nature of Self. Self-knowledge is presented as the means to salvation. Krishna says, it is impossible for one to remain action less even for a moment. Since a person is by nature forced to act, Krishna says, let this action be channelized and well-directed. Action is said to be three-fold based on the gunas, sattva, rajas and tamas.
The action is to be oriented based on the sattva guna, where the benefits of one’s act reach more number of beings, which serves as the cause for spiritual upliftment. The attitude is the ability to accept the consequence of action as the grace of God. The importance of karma yoga is highlighted and is presented in four different layers. Firstly, karma yoga is to be performed as a commandment of the scripture. It involves an element of fear and is said to be the initial stage of action. Secondly, the sense of gratitude in the form of worship of God out of love (and not out of fear) is seen as karma yoga. Thirdly, karma yoga is performed as a means to refine the mind and lastly karma is seen as the very dharma, performance of which, maintains the cosmic harmony of the universe. Concept of Svadharma:
A society prospers when dharma is followed fearlessly. One consumes the world, and it is important to reciprocate, says Krishna, else such a one is considered a thief. Dharma, in nut-shell is, ‘take and give’. Svadharma or one’s own duty is to be done for the sake of well-being of the society and the code of righteous living is determined by time and the people who are seen as the role model of the society. Whatever is done by a famous figure becomes the standard of living of current times. So Krishna says, Arjuna is a famous warrior known for his commitment to dharma, and swerving away from his dharma in the time of crisis will be cited as an example for violation of dharma by the commoner. Krishna shows the impact where if one violates dharma, the entire society will sheepishly follow such unhealthy ‘models’ leading to a sociological disruption.
This further creates confusion with regard to each one’s duty resulting in a chaos. Arjuna questions ‘what is the cause of unrighteous living when one wants to lead a moral life?. Krishna replies, it is the ignorance of the fundamental understanding of the difference between the role of dharma and adharma in a given time. This non-understanding is expressed in the form of two forces, ‘want’ and ‘anger’. Want, says Krishna, is a ‘Great Consumer’ that never satiates; it eats away the mind to materialism. The non-fulfilment or contrary fulfilment of one’s want is expressed as anger. Krishna warns, one who is subject to anger can never follow dharma.
Religious Ethics: The bhakti movement can be seen almost as a time of transition as value system begins to collapse. An intense devotion to Almighty developed instantly as a widespread movement that arouses unity in the country’s nook and corner. Religion gives room for devotional activity and a futile commitment to a healthy life, as it is said that a’ clean’ existence is the road to the Lord. As an act in regeneration of righteousness and morality, the different incarnations were eulogised. A situation of chaos in the social structure, a lopsided development of the rich and the poor, superstitious belief systems, etc., were uprooted by the living legends that led simple life and won God’s grace.
The devotees boosted the morale of the commoner in finding a meaning in leading an ethical life. Religion propagated purity at physical, verbal and mental level. The physical expression of devotion was popularised through rituals, festivals and pilgrimages where people of different strata and walks of life come together. The verbal expression includes study of one’s own scripture and the mental mode is practice of meditation. The religious consciousness, thus, presupposed an ethical living. The ritualistic practices were simplified and compromised to suit the changing times.
The religious reformers created a break-through by bringing about a sense of oneness of varied practices in the length and breadth of the country. Religion could sufficiently succeed since the value system was universally accepted that has to be indispensably adhered to and this moral scheme was utilised by the devotees to bring about a moral discipline. The value structure in various tones is embedded in the Puranic literatures.
SOCIAL AND POLITICAL ETHICS
The Social Ethics of medieval India reflects in the famous Manusmriti of Manu, who is considered as an extreme moralist. Manu in his code of law, kept in mind the social condition and reveals his awareness of the diminishing value system in each yuga. He recommends the highest value to be upheld in the kaliyuga as ‘charity’. The common conduct to be upheld by the first three varnas is charity, study of scriptures and performance of rituals. While the specific responsibility of brahmana is propagation and preservation of wisdom, the ksatriya is responsible for protection of people. Manu specifies, that the ksatriya should keep away from overindulgence of sensual pleasures. The duty to protect the animal kingdom and engage oneself in trade and commerce is the key area of vaisyas, while the sudra varna is to assist the other three varnas.
The specific duty of sudra mentioned is charity and freedom from jealousy. Practice of one’s specified duties with utmost care, Manu feels, will result in a poised living condition. Even though, the duties and responsibilities are enjoined based on a particular feature, Manu favours the idea that one should take to an action that pleases the mind. Manu seems to warn one who takes to unrighteous path (adharma) that such a person will find no peace while living. Through the concept of transmigration of soul, Manu shows that soul is the carrier of results of action that has to be experienced in different births. He says, in death of the body, no person or relation will follow but only one’s conduct. It encapsulates the value system in poetic language, wherein the consequence of association with good ones and bad ones is based on the law of association.
He says, a good company removes sluggishness in thought, motivates to speak truth, elevates self-respect and pleases the mind, whereas a bad association is condemned in the manner that it should be given up as even one abandons a snake. An unrighteous life led out of lack of knowledge is also condemned. He says, that the fire can be quenched with water, the bright sun can be avoided by using an umbrella, elephant with rut can be controlled with a goad, disease can be removed by medicine but there is no medicine for a foolish person who refuses to lead a virtuous life.
The Political Ethics resonates in the Arthashastra of Chanakya that is considered as the Dharmasastras addressing the rulers and transgression of law was seen as a punishable crime. Arthashastra emphasises three-fold duties of a ruler, that is, protection of the state from external aggression (raksha), maintenance of law and order within the state (palana) and safe-guarding the welfare of the people (yogaksema). Chanakya recognises the four stages of life as relevant for the maintenance of the social and political order of a nation. In the work ‘Chanakya Neeti’, Chanakya highlights the importance of education.
He censures an uneducated person as a scentless flower. He has a high regard for wisdom and states no land is alien for a man of learning. For him, knowledge yields fruits in all seasons, it protects and rewards one in distant lands and is the greatest secret treasure. Chanakya maintains that the highest bliss is attained through knowledge and one should never be content with knowledge gained. He defines dharma as the eternal principle unlike wealth, prosperity, life and youth. Chanakya cautions not to be too simple and straight forward, he says, in the forest the smooth, straight trees are felled whereas the crooked ones stand unharmed.
we have focussed on the investigation of moral control as found in the accessible writing dating to medieval period. Writing is said to be the reflection of the general public and subsequently we got esteem framework from various written works starting from the two incredible sagas, Ramayana and Mahabharata. Set in various timeframe, the shifted writing uncovers the changing worth structure in this manner demonstrating the changing life standard. This is unavoidable and osmosis of this encourages us in having a serene existence. We locate the ongoing theme all through the various occasions is need for an amicable living and each endeavour in various pretences is realizing harmony and coordination.
The interruption of harmony can be at any level, yet people who make the general public are the key factor. Henceforth, we discover the writing, center around general and explicit orders for each person. Obligation performed will normally bring about picking up rights. The switch of this is a perilous deal. Be that as it may, abuse is annihilated by reformative developments on numerous occasions. There is by all accounts a cyclic procedure. An equalization of strict, philosophical, social, political condition through its characterized morals may appear to be a perfect circumstance, however is a need that is reminded in stylish culture. We have seen the job of morals in every one of these fields and their commitment for a superior humanity, which is the requirement during the current hour.
It is said that at whatever point customary men of the world were in question with respect to dharma and adharma, they ought to choose the issue by intently watching the dharmic deeds of the older folks in their general vicinity or by counselling them on explicit issues.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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