Updated: Feb 5, 2020
‘Water on a lotus leaf is extremely unsteady, so also is life very unstable. Understand that the entire world, consumed by disease and conceit, is smitten with sorrow’.
Bhaja Govindam, Verse 4
Translation by A Parthasarathy
Loss of money, jobs, lives! Chaos everywhere! Where are we heading towards? What is going to happen to us? Is this a beginning of the end?
These questions trouble all of us. How are we going to face these challenges of life? Just as a disease is cured by treating the root infection and not the symptom, we need to understand the root cause of this crisis. What we see around us (job loss, money loss, loss of lives) are symptoms. The root cause is the loss of fundamental values of life.
Arjuna, the great warrior in the epic Mahabharata thought he could handle any situation in life with the knowledge of archery. However when the situation demanded he buckled under pressure. He was physically paralyzed, emotionally wrecked and intellectually shattered. This is a similar situation that we face today. Countless individuals think that knowledge of science, mathematics, medicine, sports, economics, acting, arts etc. is enough to handle any challenge in life. However they also buckle under pressure in crisis situation like the great warrior Arjuna. Hence the need of the hour is to gain knowledge of fundamental values, develop intellect along with intelligence to face any crisis situation.
Group of nations make the world!
Group of states make a nation!
Group of communities make a state!
Group of families make a community!
Group of individuals make a family!
The responsibility of learning and applying the fundamental values of life falls on every individual, eventually embracing the world. What are these values?
1. Action – all thoughts, deeds and words channelized towards achieving a set goal beyond one’s selfish interest, is action. This goal that individual’s set should be for the welfare of people irrespective of caste, creed, religion, community etc.
2. Direction – such focused action towards the goal gives direction in life. Water flowing in one direction, and wind blowing in one direction, generate power. Similarly our actions gain power and dynamism when directed towards a higher goal.
3. Objectivity – actions emanate either from mind or intellect or a combination of both. Mind consists of feelings and emotions. Intellect reasons, discriminates, judges. An action propelled by mere emotion without intellect’s guidance is impulsive. While an action arising out of reason and judgment, even as emotion supports it, is said to be objective. Objectivity, therefore, is determined by one’s intellectual supervision over the mind’s likes and dislikes.
This objectivity is enhanced by practicing humane values like no hatred, humility, forgiveness, compassion, uprightness, steadfastness, gratitude etc. By gaining knowledge of these values and consistent application of this knowledge, one sets examples for others to follow. The family looks up to such a person. The community, state, nation and the world follow suit.
Reflecting on higher values of life and it's application strengthens the Intellect. This enables a human being to face any crisis situation.
From time immemorial good and evil has existed in this world. All we can do is increase the goodness. Evil cannot be eradicated.
‘Iniquity there shall be in this world; woe unto you if you be the cause’
- Jesus Christ