Ethics is an Outside-in approach like all modern education and schooling where the teacher teaches; whereas Dharma is an Inside-out holistic ideal pregnant with a holistic meaning. Dharma literally means that which supports our inherent nature (of perpetual happiness; ananda; bliss) and so, it is that, by following which, we are assured of perpetual happiness. India that was Bharat was the greatest civilization as long as the ‘good’ were in power because then the leaders had the moral authority to educate and govern.
Ethics is described as moral principles that govern a person’s behaviour or the conducting of an activity. Its Synonyms are moral code, morals, morality, moral stand/principles/values; and morals mean good, right, honest, decent, ideals upright virtuous respectable… Just reflect, what do these words mean? The words are vague and meaningless; they give no explanations on why should we be ethical; they don’t reveal what exactly they really mean and what needs to be done to be ethical!
An ancient history, illustrates the difference between the ‘good’, ‘devata’, ‘sur’ Vs the ‘materialistic, bad’, ‘asur’. Devata and Asur went to learn about the Self from a great sage. They studied with him for a long time, and at last the sage told them, “Thou thyself art the being thou art seeking.” Both of them thought that their bodies were the Self. “We have got everything,” they said, and both of them returned to their people and said, “We have learned everything that is to be learned; eat, drink, and be merry – modern asuric western culture that is our role model.
The nature of the most of us is ignorance. We’re convinced that we are the Self and there is nothing beyond us; we never inquire any further, we’re perfectly satisfied with the idea that by the Self means, the body.
The good, have a purer samskara, nature of mind; they also first committed the mistake of thinking, “I am this body, am Brahman, so keep it strong, healthy, well‑dressed, and give it all sorts of bodily enjoyments.” But, in a few days, the Devata realized that this could not be the meaning of their master; there must be something higher. “Sir, did you teach me that this body is the Self? If so, I see all bodies change, die; the Self cannot change, die. The sage said, “Find it out; thou art That.”. So, the Devata came back again and again first thinking Prana; then the mind; but on reflection he realized they all were ever changing. Sage gave no answers but asked them to reflect, keep practicing inner-governance. The Devata went back, and, at last, discovered that he was the Self, beyond body, Prana, mind; full of Ananda, that we mistakenly seek as happiness in this or that.
If societies are led by the asur, they will easily pick that education, science, technology, that increases the power of sense enjoyment!
Modern education can never produce the good by merely teaching of this or that subject without establishing them in daily self-development practices and letting them discover a healthy holistic worldview of our work and life! Do good, ethical people and great scientists and ethical leaders suddenly, accidentally, miraculously, drop in our midst? Or have they been sincerely trying to be good over a long period of time?
We can imbibe the ideal of being ethical only by daily self-development practices to awaken Vivek and Unselfishness so as to continuously expand our mind to feel oneness with more and more till we experience oneness with the whole Creation to feel total-fulfilment; poorna-ananda.
Western schooling that we’re aping has no to plan to imbibe ethics and become ethical! We know that only a very small percentage of people will really be ethical and that it is not at all easy to first know and then have the ability to act do the right. The first step is to identify those who are really striving to be ethical, nurture them and create systems to ensure they alone are placed in leadership positions.
Only the ethical leaders can have the moral authority to create the environment for Institutional Ethics, i.e., clearly laid down systems, codes of conduct and ethics, standard operating procedures, which can encourage and inspire people to be ethical.
New Education Policy and plans to produce Karma-yogis must provide a regular course and time to reflect and get established in daily self-development practices to become ethical; and methods of evaluation to differentiate between the ‘good’, the ‘sur’, who should be leaders, teachers, and mentors of societies because they alone can direct us towards the highest and best goal and purpose of life.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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