Moral Dilemmas in the Path of Dharma

A Summary of the
Renaissance Universal Presidential Speech
Delivered by Kulapati, AC. Shambhushivananda Avadhuta
on December 3, 2005 at Rayong DMS, Thailand
Human existence is an ideological flow. It is a movement from crudity to subtlety, from imperfection towards perfection, from limited to unlimited, from unit to cosmic, from animality unto divinity. An endeavour to control our instinctual tendencies and goad our mental faculties through reason, intellect and intuition towards universal welfare is the path of dharma. In this long spiritual journey from human-minimitis to human-maximitis we may encounter many challenges or difficult choices that are called moral dilemmas.Moral dilemmas abound in our personal or collective social lives, irrespective of our area of work or profession. All of us, as a parent, business women, community leader or whatever role we are in, are faced with common daily decisions that have some moral component. Should I do it or shouldn’t I? Should I act now or wait? Should I go ahead or defer? Should I support or oppose? We all face such questions in our minds.Some of our conscious choices affect largely our own-selves or our near ones while others may affect a million others. The gravity of a moral decision varies with the nature of impact of the decision and where we stand on the evolutionary ladder. For a cat, to catch a mouse is an instinctual behaviour and not a moral choice but for a man, to kill a chicken may involve a moral choice. (Yes, in these days of bird flu & ecological disasters, we are being forced to recognize the invisible link and interconnectedness of all life.)When we begin to make decisions based on the intrinsic impact of our decisions on ‘our’ and ‘others’ physical, mental and spiritual well being, it may be surmised that we have begun to tread the path of dharma. The path of dharma is the path of righteousness and if we choose to recognize and follow it, the ‘immediate’ reward is likely to be transcendence into an evolutionary elevated mental status and the ultimate reward, at the least, is an untainted experience of life divine endowed with all its perks like deep inner peace and enjoyment of goodwill and friendship of all fellow creatures who are benefited by our ‘wise choices’.Looking back, about 8000 million years ago (mya), this earth was only a blazing ball of fire; 4000 mya, it consisted of molten lava and volcanoes; 340 mya life existed only in water; 223 mya earth appeared as Gondwanaland; 70 mya birds and mammals appeared; 1 mya human beings appeared on the scene…we should not assume that we have come to an end of this evolutionary ladder. Through physical metamorphosis and psychic transmutations, we seem to continue to move on. The last 15,000 years have seen the emergence of a human civilization. Numerous thought currents have marked our history. It has been an impressive history punctuated both by great discoveries and inventions and marred by ugly wars and bloodshed. In just the past few hundred years, we saw the Copernican revolution that established that earth was not at the centre of this solar system; then we had the Freudian revolution that brought our preoccupation with the unconscious; then came the Darwinian revolution that told us that we are not angels but hairless apes; and among others, in the last twenty years, neuro scientists claim that we are in the midst of another frontier of knowledge about greater understanding of our own brains, the organ which may have caused the earlier revolutions to occur and which also gave birth to all ideas including colonialism, imperialism, war etc. So our journey continues….Not long ago, Shri Prabhat Rainjan Sarkar launched another revolution in thought that might well be called ‘Sarkarian revolution’. He proclaimed that our collective attainments and existence itself lie on the brink of perishing if we fail to create ‘one human society’ on the strong fundaments of spiritual-humanism and practical guidelines of “PROUT’ and Neohumanism.

The idea of Shri P.R.Sarkar was no doubt simple and plain common-sense but is imbued with the power that none of us dare to ignore, unless at our own peril. The Message of Dharma as enunciated by Shri P.R. Sarkar is loud and clear:

• we need to return to connectedness with our common spiritual roots which will drive away the menace of group or religious intolerance;
• we need to take our inner and outer ecology seriously so that we may continue to protect and preserve all bio-diversity of the planet;
• we need to reverse the trends of pseudo-culture and profit maximization that fuel consumerism, violence, addiction and apathy to our own welfare;
• we need to choose our leadership so that we may establish the primacy of service over self-interest whether in politics, economy, religion, education, culture, science or the arts;
• we need to spread the call to remould the socio-economic-political framework so that sustainability initiatives of the minority (like this master unit) can begin to bear fruits and multiply.

In a nutshell, we need to make a moral choice to accept those ideals which will nourish the interest of all rather than a select few. This alone is the cornerstone of moral dilemmas of the modern times. Are we ready to confront our own greed, our own drive for power and control, our own jealousies and temptations, our ignorance and doubts? This moral dilemma is all-pervasive and speaks not only to the leaders of society but to each one of us who willingly or unwillingly ‘choose’ our lifestyles and our leaders. The call of our consciousness is to reflect and act with a “refined moral conscience” in mind.

If we succeed in doing so, we may be laying the foundation of a new world for another first time. This gathering in a glorious setting in Thailand seems an august beginning in this endeavour. It appears to me that our task is three fold:

1. Choose, Follow and Propagate ideas that are in harmony with Dharma.
2. Continue to empower individuals who wish to follow these ideas in their personal life.
3. Build institutions which are open to making dharmic strategic alliances for the establishment of nurturing progressive one human society based on prema (universal love) and prama (dynamic collective equipoise).

Dharma gives inspiration to people in every sphere of their lives. Human life is all-comprehensive. It is not a single flower, but a bouquet. There are various flowers having different colours, shapes, sizes and fragrances; different kinds of sweetness as well. They spread their sweetness, their fragrance, their colour, in all directions. And therein lies their fulfilment, and the meaning of their existence.If a person is dharmic, that person will leave a trace of his or her dharmic nature at every step. In his or her personal life he or she will never perpetrate injustice against anyone, nor tolerate anyone’s perpetrating injustice; and in their collective life they will not allow any social group to perpetrate injustice, nor allow that social group to tolerate its being perpetrated. They will see that everyone is on the right path in their crude-physical, subtle and causal existences; and that arrangements are made for everyone’s food, clothing, education and medical care. Moreover, they will give special attention to see that social life is well-knit.

Shrii P. R. Sarkar