Tuesday, June 23, 2009

SECTION 4 – More About Value Application

Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita tells us about harmonious action – which is action based on the universal values. Do we have to be taught these values?
You tell me, do have to be taught that you want others to be kind to you? No! You already have the knowledge of what kind of behaviour you want from others towards you –
  • You want others to tell you the truth
  • You want others to respect you
  • You want them to be kind to you
  • You want them to not steal from you
  • You want them to forgive you when you make mistakes or hurt them
  • …………………………The list is long

    You have full knowledge of what you want from others. That knowledge becomes the norm for your interaction with others. So '
    Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You'.When you enjoy yourself at the cost of others, you will only bring pain upon yourself – this follows naturally, because the others are not different from you – they also belong to the Lord's family, as much as you.
Take Responsibility for Your ActionsLord Krishna gives a clear message – 'Take responsibility for your action' and the result will come from the laws that govern actions. These laws are maintained by the law-giver who is the all-knowledge, all-intelligent Lord.
Lord's Krishna tells us a secret which we don't normally know… about the laws governing our deliberate action. The result of a deliberate action is two-fold. One is the SEEN RESULT and the others is an UNSEEN RESULT. The seen result is the result you perceive. For example if you hit a ball with a bat, it will move a particular distance.
The UNSEEN RESULT is the result for a deliberate action, in keeping with its impact on the society. So if your action benefits the society, you earn credits – called as PUNYA – which will translate into a comfortable situation for you now or later. If your action harms society in any way, you earn penalty points – called PAAPA- which will translate itself into a painful situation for you now or later.
ACTIONS based on universal values ALWAYS take into account the impact on society – and so value-based actions will always earn punya for you. And actions which are purely based on your likes and dislikes and which do not take the universal values into account will bring disaster for you in the form of :-
ConflictsUnhappiness and painBroken relationshipsLoss in self-confidenceInstablityWeakness of character – the inability to say 'no' to wrong choicesIncapacity to motivate othersPAAPA – an unseen result which will translate into a painful situation for you
So a value-based decision is always the right decision.
When to apply values?
Now comes the question, when should we apply values? The answer is100% of the time.
Let us understand the criteria for applying values at all times. The basic criteria is that in
every decision the totality or society should not be the loser.You can have good or bad options in every decision. So what are good options?1. Personal Gain and Society Gain (GOOD)
2. Personal Loss and Society Gain (GOOD)
3. Personal Loss and Society Loss (BAD)
Why do we say that no. 2 is a good option even though we may face some kind of personal loss? This is because
we are an integral part of the society in which we live – so if the society gains there is some gain in it for me also. Also because I am a part of the society, if I gain at the cost of society it has to cause loss for me – certainly I will earn penalty points … so no 3. Is a bad option.When Ram was chosen to become the next king, Kaikayee was happy with the decision. She was thinking that Ram is the eldest son/capable son and according to family tradition he should be the next king – (she was thinking what is good for the family).
Then, Manthra gave her opinion that 'you should decide based on what is good for you (personally) and for your son, Bharat; even if it is bad for all other family members including your husband'.
So now Kaikayi was faced with :-1. Personal Loss and Family's gain – if Rama became King
2. Personal Gain and Family's loss – if Bharat became the king
We all know that she chose 2 – bringing untold loss to the entire family. Even today nobody will name their daughter Kaikayi because nobody respects Kaikayi because of her decision.
When two universal values are applicable what should we do ?
We should prioritize the one which brings gain to the society (totality). For example: Your friend repeatedly destroys the school property, because he is angry with the teacher. You advise him not do so. He repeats the action again. When the teacher asks who did it, what should you do? Here the value for friendship is pitted against the value for honesty which will save the school property and help your friend to get out his destructive nature. However if you follow the value for honesty you might lose your friend
.Here it is correct to prioritize the value for honesty over the value for friendship, even though it will bring you a personal loss of friendship, because the school will gain.
For example
a doctor has to cut a tumor in his patient's body – here the doctor is faced with the having to go against the value of ahimsa (non-violence or non-hurtfulness). He looks at the larger gain of the patient's health.
So he prioritizes the value for life over the value for ahimsa. We will not say here that he broke the value of ahimsa. Rather we will say that he priortizes the value for life.
So this is Lord Krishna's message that for your actions to be in harmony with God, Yourself and society, let them be in keeping with the universal values – also called as dharma.
What should be the attitude towards the actions then?Actions can be categorized as
1. Actions for personal material benefits
2. Actions for sake of duty which gives benefits to all
3. Atoning actions
4. Prohibited actions
Lord Krishna says you can do actions for your personal material benefit – no problem – but take care that you follow dharma. Don't take to adharma for your personal benefit because it will bring you much pain.
Lord Krishna points out that the best action is the action which is done as a duty – because you recognize that it is called upon you to do, in the role that you are playing in society – so you simply do it, whether you like it or not. For example, your main role is that of a student. What is expected of you in that role? To study to the best of your ability. Then that is the action you must do…. That is your duty, that is your responsibility … that is your kartavya karma in the given situation and you must do that irrespective of whether you like it or not. It will strengthen your will-power and improve your discriminative capacities and give you punya and keep you away from adharma. Not only that it will benefit others – make your family and teachers happy. If you accept that the Lord exists, then do your daily duty-based actions as a worship unto the Lord, recognizing that it is by the Lord's Grace alone that you have the intelligence and capacity to perform your duties.
Atoning actions are those actions you do to make up for some hurting actions or something wrong that you have done. For example, you may have spread some malicious gossip about a friend out of jealousy. That is himsa (violence) which has caused hurt to your friend. You make up for it. This is must be done. It will remove the feeling of guilt that we have. Religious atoning actions include prayers, charity, bathing in holy waters etc.
Prohibited actions are actions like drinking, smoking and drugs, stealing etc. You don't have to wait for an auspicious moment to stop them!! Stop straight away!!
When you do actions may you do them with sincerity, with full commitment, enjoying the action and let it be for the good of all. Those actions which are your duty, may you perform them without shirking from them or trying to escape from them. Thus your actions will be harmonious with life.
Honesty is telling the truth.
· Honesty is straightforward conduct.
· Honesty is being sincere, truthful, trustworthy, honorable, fair, genuine, and loyal with integrity.
Honest, trusting teenagers:
· Tell the truth despite consequences
· Voice their opinion in a kind, thoughtful way
· "Tell on" someone only when necessary
· Show and share their feelings
· Know their classmates and teachers care and want the best for them
· Feel and react without guilt
· Express themselves positively as well as critically
You are being honest when you ...
· Do your own homework
· Tell a friend the truth
· Explain the real reason you didn't turn in your homework
· Keep your eyes on your own paper
· Clean up your room after making a promise
· Give the cashier the extra money she gave you by mistake
· Write a report in your own words instead of copying
· Admit you made the mistake
· Keep a friend's secret
· Turn in a wallet full of money that you found
Be honest with yourself
Accept responsibility for your own actions; don't blame others.
· Be honest about your feelings.
· Face issues as they arise.
· If you are considering lying, try to think of the consequences.
· When confronted with a situation, think of others.
True / False?
I am truthful, sincere, and straightforward.
I don't lie, cheat, or steal.
I don't intentionally mislead others.
I think I am/am not an honest person because _________________________________

Q. How Many lies do you get to tell before you are a liar?
Q. One girl in the teen discussion said she doesn't count little lies as lies. How do you feel about that idea?
Q. People often rationalize their own dishonesty by saying, "That's the way the world is, so why should I be different?" What do you think of this reasoning?
Om Tat Sat


  1. Nice blog! Do you know about this edition of the Gita?