Cardinal Human Values

Cardinal Human Values

by Ac Shambhushivananda Avt

The collective psychology of each age reflects certain values. Values are those psychic projections which form the basis of human thoughts, attitudes, behaviors and actions. They define the range of human expressions and are a key to understanding the status of individuals and the pulse of a collective body (society). A value is a reflection of what we are, of what we live by. It is a kind of unwritten collective agreement or understanding on what is worthwhile and necessary for the well-being of a person, relationship, community and a culture.

The list of values is an endless one but the core values capitulate the trends of events of every age. The values are primarily of two types:

1. Vidya-related: Those which lead us to the realm of Divinity.

2. Avidya-related: Those which keep us tied to the noose of material world.

Our life is a constant effort to maintain a dynamic equilibrium between the forces of vidya and avidya. Neither can we negate the avidya which is the basis of our physical existence nor can we undermine the vidya which propels and inspires us towards the divine stratum. Hence, we need a new paradigm of values which lead us towards a healthy balance between vidya and avidya, between centripetal and centrifugal forces, between introvertial and extrovertial movement. Only such values which may be termed as sadvipran values could be considered truly authentic. These values will remain a perennial source of inspirational energy giving a purpose and meaning to our individual and collective existence. However, sadvipran values are not to be treated as mere visionary ideals, a list of utopian principles. Rather, they are the guiding lights for a successful, happy, positive and peaceful life style. Since they are based on the fundamental Reality of human and social life, they are called Cardinal Human Values. They transcend the narrow definitions of Reality and therefore, do not warp the perception of Reality. As a consequence, the cardinal human values help us face the moments of crisis with courage and confidence, with power and penetrating intellect. Cardinal human values will not bind us to the ego, matter centeredness, dogma centeredness or merely worldly comforts, achievements and aims. They do not describe What I have but What I am. The materialistic values guide us toward accumulation of material things and ultimately create a feeling of alienation, emptiness and the need for constantly stimulating novelties bringing no deep or lasting fulfillment. Cardinal values, on the other hand, free us from the bondages of life. Values, therefore, depend on the definition of perception of Reality. When our perception becomes too narrow, self centered and insensitive, then the result is a crisis. Crisis is a powerful accumulated response to our own misconception and wrong choice. The dysfunctional values ultimately lead us from crisis to chaos. However, crisis can be turned into opportunities and chaos can be transformed into order if our awareness and perception is widened to embrace Reality in its entirety. Such an endeavor is a spiritual transformation. Cardinal human values nurture spiritual understandings, self reflections and leaps of consciousness. From all corners of the world there is a feeling something new is needed, something better; a better mind, a better person, a better world. New perceptions, new visions can propel us into creating a better future, discovering and implementing new ideas, new patterns of action. It is desirable that there is dialogue and consensus about the cardinal human values, which will lead us towards a better world. The mass realization of cardinal values will definitely help to create a better world free from the narrow sentiments, dogmas, superstitions, ethno ego centricisms and pave the way for a genuinely happy world. Since thought is a mother of action, discussion about value will sow the seed of positive thoughts.

The five-core values identified in the Table below are the by product of trifarious aspects of humanity explained by Shrii Shrii Anandamurtiji viz. Tantrika culture (spiritual dimension), Neo-humanistic outlook (psychic dimension) and Proutistic approach (physical dimension). These three legs are the fundaments on which the five faced value content is based. Due to their universal and progressive appeal, these five values are capable of building an ideal society. Each human being desires freedom from disease, poverty and conflicts. Awareness as well as adherence to these five values can create a healthy society with a sweet balance between inner and outer life. The long road to sentient peace cannot be achieved without giving proper credence to these authentic/core/cardinal human values. The five core value dimensions encompass scores of other sub values. Let us reflect on these core values a bit:


This provides the basis for building the entire edifice of spiritual life. Without the fundamental spirit of benevolence, there can be no progress in sadhana (meditation), no true service, no ideology or close proximity to Ista (Goal). Hence, it is the bounden duty of every sadhaka to first of all culture the habit of viewing each and everything with a helpful attitude, ie. with the thought of goodness. It naturally comes when one gets established in cosmic ideation. The easiest, surest way to develop and culture this value is to sincerely practice the first and second lesson of Tantra Sadhana (Sahaja yoga). Those who are not yet initiated can also practice the spirit of benevolence and prepare the foundation for the spiritual path. Use of restraint leads to control and this is another secret of cultivating the selfless nature which lies at the heart of benevolence. Where there will be benevolence, there will be love, amity, trust, loyalty and discipline.


The creativity in nature sends us a loud signal that dexterous hands of prakrtii (the creative force) maintains unity in diversity. The inter relationships among all forms of life, between animate and inanimate, between big and small; between birds and animals, men and women, rich and poor speaks of the veritable unity in creation. What is good for one is good for all and what is good for the collectivity is good for the individual too. Hence, the spirit of coordinated cooperation as opposed to subordinated cooperation is the external expression of an aesthetic sense. The beauty, harmony, sense of proportion maturity of expression, are the product of aesthetic quality. In the introvertial side, the sense of aesthetics leads us to the door of mysticism, an unending endeavor to find the link between the finite and the infinite.


The application of discriminating intellect in every action lies at the root of rational thinking. When decisions are made after collection of all facts, reviewing pros and cons and proper analysis, the result is a rationalistic mentality. The rational approach is the only sure way to engender confidence in others and foster the feelings of justice among one and all. The scientific methods come within the scope of rationalistic approach. Rationality encourages research, benevolent application of results of human thoughts and unbarred expression of mental faculties. Actions based on rationality are always long lasting.


Where there is movement, there is life. System without speed is meaningless and speed without system is dangerous. Hence, dynamicity is the symbol of prosperity and progress. Where there is the spirit of dynamicity, there is absence of lethargy, stagnation and inertia. Dynamicity transforms bureaucratization into missionary zeal. It is the source of dedication. It is quality of mind where the mind is imbued with urgency to act in the spirit of welfare. Dynamicity leads to the progressive utilization of all potentialities in the creation. Where there is dynamicity, there is constant transformation from crude to subtle, from poor to richness, from chaos to order, from many to oneness, from disparities to social equality.


Last but not the least, is the balance in all spheres of life. The farther we go from the natural equipoise of life, the farther we also go from the Cosmic Father. The Supreme Entity that lies in each and every particle of this creation symbolizes the perfect Equipoise. Even behind all clashes and cohesions lies the unfathomable equipoise of the Cosmic Father. It is this transcendental status that is the desired goal of all spiritual aspirants. It is beyond movement and cessation. It is the state of total surrender, total acceptance of the prapativa’da, a realization that even a blade of grass does not move without the wish of the Cosmic Father. The endeavor to maintain prama in physical, psychic and spiritual spheres is the essence of this cardinal human value and it is greatly enhanced through strict adherence to intuitional practices and by fostering ecological balance.

This paradigm of values endeavors to present a framework for creating ideal humans, sadvipras. The day to day cultivation of above mentioned values must begin at home, cultured in the school, enhanced in the social relationships and endorsed through example by the senior members of society. Without the foundation of inner values, without a world of shared common values, there can never be a better world, a world without narrow boundaries. By sharing the spirit of cardinal human values through the practical example of our lives, we increase the stock of wealth of our happiness, peace and prosperity. We can easily bring heaven on earth if we begin to live the cardinal values we hold dearly. By applying values in our lives, those values become eternal. The seed of values is awareness; the awareness that values are the treasures of the human spirit. We are all born with these treasures. We do not come empty handed in this world. We come with the potential to live by the virtues of life and these virtues are the values for a better world. Let us hand over the torch of cardinal values to every child born on this earth and that will probably be the greatest gift we can leave behind. May the future generations remember us not only by the sky scrapers that we have built, not by the space shuttles we have manufactured or by the megacities that we have designed. Let them also remember us as the guardians of cardinal human values handed to us, in trust, in this century by Lord Shrii Shrii Anandamurtijii who was an embodiment, a living example and a veritable fountain of all the five cardinal values: Benevolence, Aesthetics, Rationality, Dynamicity and Equipoise.

In order to initiate a dialogue on sadvipran values the following paradigm is proposed:


Spirit of Benevolence Devotion


Sense of Aesthetics Mysticism Beauty Unity
Rational Thinking Wisdom Justice System
Dynamicity Missionary zeal Progress Speed
Equipoise Inner peace Eco balance Surrender



Acarya Shambhushivananda Avadhuta is the Kulapati or Chancellor of Ananda Marga Gurukula. A monk of Ananda Marga for over 20 years, he holds a Doctorate in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania in the USA. For more information about the Chancellor see his biography.

“Sá vidyá yá vimuktaye - Education is that which liberates”