Right And Wrong

May 28, 2013 Comments Off on Right And Wrong

`Right’ and `wrong’ are relative terms. They vary according to time, special circumstances, varna (caste), and asrama (stage of life). Morality is a changing and relative term. The passionate man who molests his wife frequently to gratify his own passion is more immoral than man who visits the house of a woman of ill-fame once in six months. The man who dwells constantly on immoral thoughts is the most immoral man of all.

Do you clearly note the subtle difference? To kill an enemy is right for a king, but a brahmana (priest) or a sanyasin (monk) should not kill anybody, even to protect himself in times of danger. He should practise strict forbearance and forgiveness. To speak an untruth to save the life of a mahatma (holy one), or one’s guru who has been unjustly charged by an unjust officer of state, is right. In this particular case untruth has become truth. To speak a truth which brings harm to many is untruth only. To kill a robber who murders wayfarers is ahimsa only. Himsa (violence) becomes ahimsa (non-violence) under certain circumstances.

Even great sages are bewildered sometimes in finding out what is right and what is wrong. That is why Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita: “What is action and what is inaction? Even the wise are herein perplexed. Therefore I will declare to thee the action by knowing which thou shalt be liberated from evil. It is needful to discriminate action to discriminate unlawful action and to discriminate inaction. Mysterious is the path of action. He who seeth inaction in action, and action in inaction, he is wise among men. He is harmonious even while performing all actions.” (Chapter IV, Verse 16-18).

Rishi Kanada, author of Vaisesika Philosophy, says in the opening verse: “That which brings supreme bliss and exaltation is right. That which elevates and brings you nearer to God, is right. That which brings you down and takes you away from God, is wrong. That which is done in strict accordance with the injunctions of the scriptures is right. That which is done against the injunctions of the scriptures is wrong. To work in accordance with divine will is right. To work in opposition to the divine will is wrong.” This is one way of defining right and wrong. – Swami Sivananda


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