Even if we accept one percent truth in recent scams surfaced in India, still it points to value erosion making its irrevocable impact at the societal level. Of course, there was not a period in history of mankind when such scenario was not present and there will be no utopian social structure where corruption can completely absent. This is because the human societies exist on the foundation of duality alone - good and bad, corruption and honesty, and pain and pleasure.
This does not mean that we become helpless, cynic or escapists. To accept the reality and truth helps us to plan our strategy to come out of such predicaments. Many intellectuals, social workers and scientists try to tackle the problem of erosion of values by directing their efforts and energy in improving the outer or external situation in the hope that given the improved surrounding the feeling of insecurity might be overcome and the individual would pursue his innate inclination to lead value oriented life. The idealistic philosophy on the other hand prompts a few others to look within, to realize the source for his/her actions and change his reactions to external perceptions in the hope that such a change would bring about virtues of selflessness and truthfulness. Both these approaches call for conscious and deliberate efforts; and the lack of such effort is the main reason for our drifting with the tide today.
In so far as Upanishads advocate both paths of Abhyudaya (social welfare) andNihshreyasa (renunciation), these two prevailing social currents are welcome. Man must struggle with his own mind, for an undisciplined and uncontrolled mind is the cause of these innumerable problems, both at individual and collective level. At no time in life can one escape the constant bombardment of sense organs with impulses from surrounding sense objects. Visual, auditory, gustatory, and
olfactory senses are constantly being stimulated by the impulses from the various objects, both living and non-living, surrounding us. The mind receives these stimuli and becomes disturbed like a lake. In such a lake, muddled with thousands of shaky waves, the reflection of true Self appears broken and distorted. The sun of Truth cannot be seen in such an agitated lake of mind.
Thus, we feel an intense need to run away from ourselves, which is commonly referred to as alienation. However, where can one run away! Where can the soul take refuge! For, wherever a man tries to hide, and seek some solace, the mind accompanies him. The agitated mind makes a forest dweller, a slum dweller, and a person living in an ivory tower equally restless.
Thence, the concept of 'unity in diversity' and 'karma yoga' surfaces occasionally in the teachings of some great seers who have fully controlled their minds. To see the unifying Self in all the diverse groups and serve the Self in them all is the true meaning of karma yoga. However, the social workers and organizations do not take such broad view in their activities. In fact, there is no absolute need of an organization to carry out yoga of selfless action. In whatever field one has chosen to work, or indeed is forced to work, that activity can be sublimated to the higher position of yoga. A clerk or an officer in an office can think of serving the people in the queue outside his window by effectively attending to their needs and solving their problems; a farmer or a laborer can similarly take the worshipful attitude towards mother earth or temple of the factory. Such a conscious and deliberate attitude towards work as 'worship' is the remedy for the feeling of estrangement and corruption.
Building of such an attitude, and a society, is possible, but it depends upon the will of the people, both holding high offices and ordinary folks without political or economical clout. Of course, the values trickle from the one who has cultivated and stored them in his/her personality. Thus, it is necessary and imperative that everyone struggles to imbibe and express values of selflessness, compassion, truthfulness and generosity in his character in howsoever small degree it may be possible for him. This is essential because unless we see the values as personified in someone else we cannot understand their utility. We see that the value-based life is calm and serene, without agitation and restlessness, pure and respectful, and thus try to seek the same for us also. Hence, it becomes essential to broadcast the beneficial impact of virtues on the individual and the society as a whole. In course of time, the truth is sure to blossom in the life of true karma yogi that all values have their source at the Highest Truth, the Atman, residing in every heart.