crdibility - leading ethical life -

Gummuluru Murthy gmurthy at MORGAN.UCS.MUN.CA
Wed Feb 25 08:14:11 CST 1998


Although there are some humans who are unethical, most humans, by and
large, lead a life of virtue with "high" ethical values. The purpose
of this short article is to argue that a person leading what the human
society calls an "ethical" life is as far from Self-realization as one
who does not. I give some examples.

Credibility is one of the great virtues. A person who considers his/her
word is sacred (to that individual) and goes to any extent to keep the
word is considered a very reliable one. Philanthropists donate money
for good causes and are considered model members of the society. Many
Universities and hospitals are named after such people who donated money
with long-range welfare of the human society in mind.

But, are the humans in the above two examples any closer to
Self-realization than one who has robbed banks, or committed crimes ? In
the first example of credibility, the human is hanging on to a tenuous,
artificial, unreal utterance of that individual and is prepared to go to
any length to keep that word i.e. that person has not, in any way,
realized the Truth or anywhere near the Truth. Such a person is egoistic.
In the example of the philanthropist, the return which he/she gets is
the name and fame which are artificial and are as far away from the Truth
as one can be. Thus, while the human society gives high credence and respect
to such individuals, from the viewpoint of the supreme Truth, these
individuals are as much in darkness as can be.

Now, if we consider what we call members on the "low end of the society"
[e.g. robbers, people who commit crimes etc], although the society
condemns them, they are not doomed from the viewpoint of the supreme
Truth. Although the karma theory explains that these different levels of
society members are the result of the good or bad karma by the jeeva in
its "journey", it seems to me that their "path" to realization is
unaffected and is independent of the status bestowed on them by the
society. The only thing that determines whether the individual becomes
immortal in this very life is the lack of desire (and I mean the genuine
lack of desire mentally, physically or in any other way) in anything
worldly. When all the desires that reside in the heart fall away, the
mortal becomes immortal right here itself, as stated so emphatically in
various upanishhads.

Then, isn't "yasassu", desire for fame that is there in the so-called
ethical members of the society condemnable ? We often see "volunteers"
working hard to a good cause. Aren't they identifying too much with the
cause and hence aren't they developing vAsanAs which are as hideous as
that of a person committing a momentary "serious" crime ?

Gummuluru Murthy
Yadaa sarve pramucyante kaamaa ye'sya hr^di shritaah
atha martyo'mr^to bhavatyatra brahma samashnute   Katha Upanishhad II.3.14

When all the desires that dwell in the heart fall away, then the mortal
becomes immortal, and attains Brahman even here.

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