Presently amongst the youths of the country, it has become quite fashionable to follow the Western culture blindly, without realizing the long-term adverse impact of the same on their physical, mental and emotional health. Here, I would also like to add one more step of evolution of a human being, viz. spiritual health.
There is a basic difference between Western culture and the Vedic culture, which is eternal. In the Indian or Vedic culture, our Rishis and Seers have always advised to have total control over our desire for sense gratification. Instead, it is advised that one should strive to evolve to a higher level of consciousness, where no craving is left for gratification of the senses. In India, we are advised to rise above the senses, as well as the mind and reach a stage where one can realize one’s real identity. As universally accepted at present, the real self in the case of a human being is the Atma or soul and as regard, body, mind and intellect, they are only parts of an apparatus, which is provided to the soul for its present journey of life. Therefore, one has to focus on the basic issues of life, viz :
1. Who am I ?
2. Why I am here on this planet earth ?
3. What would be my destination after the death of the physical body ?
Maharishi Raman who would normally not talk much, would always emphasize to contemplate on the aforesaid queries, so that one could understand real purpose of life and the true value of the external world of Maya.
On the other hand, the Western culture has never risen above the level of gratification of senses. A Westerner believes in maximum sensual enjoyment, which ultimately leads to lot of suffering and unhappiness in the life of the person concerned. It is for this reason that a number of persons from the West, when they do not get mental peace and happiness, in spite of the availability of the facilities and amenities required for the comforts of the body and distraction of the mind, turn to India for real peace and happiness and also in search of the purpose of life. It has always been accepted universally that in the whole of the world, India is the only place which is the citadel of spirituality.
We may now discuss the economic or business model which is being followed in the West. In my view, the U.S. model of sustainable development is failing, because in their zeal for unbridled growth and secularism, they have lost touch with ethics, values and quietly atheism has sneaked into their lives in the garb of the so-called secularism. Ironically, the U.S. is the only country that proclaims ‘In God we trust’, on its currency. However, now they seem to think ‘God is great, but the dollar is greater’. Unfortunately, the same culture has sneaked into the political and business class of our country. In their quest for more and more worldly possessions, they have forgotten God and values, resulting in a rapid decline of the society.
In the present state of total lack of direction and loss of values, one has to realize that the ethics and values cannot be independent of spirituality.
In view of the spread of cultural and spiritual decline, the prayer has vanished from the daily school routine and the education in all the educational institutions is geared towards the maintenance of the body and nothing beyond. It may be emphasized here that we should learn from the U.S. model and understand that secularism and spirituality can co-exist. The education can and should have an ethical base. We can, as a nation, agree on a common set of spiritual ethics and values.
In this context, we may look at some of the past Indian values. The great Chanakya was once asked, what defines an educated person ? He answered that one who looks and treats all women except his wife as his mother, looks and treats other’s wealth as stones on the street and looks and treats others as himself. In the same vein, the Bhagwad Gita advises simplicity, humility, non-violence, as the virtues of a good human being. It also advises renunciation of the objects of sense gratification, detachment, even-mindedness during the pleasant as well as unpleasant situations.
Let us, therefore, clearly understand that if we can learn and teach the ethics and values to our children, then we can have sustainable development for ever. Otherwise, our development model may not even last for a single generation. The choice is ours. In my view, to embrace the principles enshrined in Gita, may lead us towards a better, happy and purposeful life.
Though all human beings, particularly those who are born in India, believe in the law of Karma, yet they are not aware of, or awake, to their Karmas, in the form of thought, speech and deed.
In this context, one has to understand that whatever energy one gives out to the Cosmos, it acts as a seed and accordingly, he reaps the harvest. In other words, whatever happens to us in our lives, is totally dependent upon our Karmas in the form of thought, speech and deed.
In this regard, it is also significant to always remember that we are the creator of our own destiny and no external force decides the course of events taking place in our life. Therefore, we should be totally aware of the fact that the energy which we give out into the Cosmos, by way of thought, speech and deed, should always be positive and constructive and if it is so, then we will attract and receive all good things and incidents in our life.
Thus, we should be aware of the fact that we have to be alert and attentive about what kind of energy we are giving out into the Cosmos by way of thought, speech and deed, instead of worrying about what kind of incidents are getting attracted into our lives, as a result of our Karmas. In other words, we should focus on what we are giving out into the Cosmos and not what we are receiving from the Cosmos, because what we give out into the Cosmos will determine what we receive from the Cosmos.
Mr. S. K. TYAGI, M.Sc., LL.B., Advocate, Ex-Indian Revenue Service and Income-Tax Advisor
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