Thursday, July 9, 2015

Need for Moral Laws

“One who has no understanding, whose mind is
unrestrained, cannot control the senses and will be like a person driving the chariot with wicked horses.
But the reverse is the case of that person whose horses are good and well-trained, and when the charioteer is capable of understanding.” ..........Katha Upanishad 3: 5-6

"Long is the night to one who is wakeful; long is (the journey of) one yojana to the traveller who is tired; long is samsara (round of rebirths) to the fool, who is ignorant of the true Dhamma (the Teaching of the Buddha or moral laws)." .............Dhammapada - Verse 60

Dhamma is the moral law about which Buddha constantly stressed. This verse from Dhammapada was composed by Buddha through the illustration of the story of King Pasenadi who is awakened from his lustful desires for his subject's wife and the intention of sending her husband on an impossible task so that he could be killed. He is awakened by the inner voices the king hears and when seeking the advice of Buddha, he is told that those voices crying in anguish are those of four sons of a rich man who had illicit relation with wives of other people and who are now in Lohakumbhi Niraya (hell).

This story also resonates with that of King David  and Bathsheba, wherein King David sends Bathsheba's husband, Uriah the Hittite, to battle and instructs the commander of the army to put Uriah to be put right at the battle front so that he may be killed. After the death of Uriah, David marries Bathsheba and we are told that Yahweh was not pleased.

In the following paragraphs, I use the word "self" to denote the "ego" and the word "Self" (with capital S) to denote the pure consciousness state of the individual.

For pure consciousness to awaken in man, it is necessary to move away from the attachment to the self (ego). In this process he comes into awareness of Self. This is what is meant by "know thyself" which in turn reveals how one can participate and thereby support this evolving process. This is what John the Baptist crying in the wilderness declared "prepare ye the way of the Lord" really meant. It is the way by which man's internal and external behaviour comes under a new law so that a transcendence can emerge.

Few moral laws that are absolutely essential in order for the self to move from a disorderly and chaotic existence to an ordered level of transcendence towards the Self are contained in the teachings of all spiritual traditions. I shall stick to the Judeo-Christian tradition and point out the laws given and their meaning.

A self centred man is consumed with fear, anger, anxiety, lust and hatred and attempts to control all that comes in the ambit of his ego aggregation. This is the real meaning of the eighth law in the Talmud (Ten commandments of Moses) "Thou shall not steal"
By feeding on external objects of desire and power, man violates the seventh and the tenth law "Thou shall not commit adultery" and  "Thou shall not covet thy neighbours wife"
These behaviours continuously feeds the ego and binds us to the world.
By relentlessly focussing our power of life to ego strengthening, we kill our true potential for transcendence. This is the true meaning of the sixth law "Thou shall not kill"

The verse from Katha Upanishad tells us how the non discriminatory mind is like a charioteer who has the reins of wild horses tethered to his chariot and on the contrary a charioteer who has understanding with a set of well trained horses under his control is sure have absolute control.
In order to transcend to higher level of consciousness and lead an orderly life in this evolutionary process towards ending the recurrence of lower level of existence, a set of moral laws are essential within the environs of the world of sensory objects. These laws have been defined by various spiritual masters such as the Vedic Rishis, Moses, Buddha, Christ and the Prophet.

Let us again not attach literal meaning to these laws but look at their inner meaning as road maps and sign posts in the path towards a new order of existence.

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Love to you all

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