Dec 08, 2023
Dec 08, 2023
The problem of value erosion in the present day society cannot be denied. It has become not only a national but also an international issue of immense importance. Many scientists are finding it increasingly difficult to explain the paradox of scientific progress and deteriorating morality. The claim that pure science based on pure reason need not concern itself with its application in the destructive tendencies by the politicians and like requires rethinking. To add faith to reason is not yet accepted as a rational corrective measure. Vedanta tries to answer these issues from time immemorial.
Vedanta philosophy accepts pure Consciousness as the only Reality. This Reality as all pervading Consciousness is also called as Brahman, Atman, and even God. It is of the nature of absolute Truth, Knowledge, and Bliss. It is obvious that reason being a part of this Reality cannot fully comprehend pure conscious state, the whole. It follows that ultimate reality is beyond the grasp of human efforts that are restricted to perceptions through the five sense organs and their extensions in the form of scientific discoveries and their applications. (For example microscope is an extension of eye.) Only way we can understand, to some extent, the Ultimate to some extent is when it manifests itself in and through the matter.
According to Vedanta, progress in evolution is evolution of matter (name and form) with increasing manifestation of Consciousness within. Pure consciousness has no modifications, but the forms do evolve. Thus the matter evolves as atoms, molecules, plants, animals, and human beings and so on. Consciousness, however, within each one of these forms remains the same. It varies not in quality, but in degree of expression alone.
Only in the human phase of evolution, reality can be comprehended as an Idea. Now, in stead of nature man himself has become the "Trusty" of further evolutionary progress. He can effect rapid changes in the organic development much faster than the nature could do as a result of highly developed nervous system. The need of organic evolution is replaced by psycho-spiritual evolution. This calls for conscious and deliberate efforts to develop qualities like altruism and selflessness. Thus the role of value-system emerges as necessary precondition for further human progress.
As senses become finer and finer, expression of Consciousness also increases in degree. There is a spiritual dimension to the human fulfillment. With efforts, then, human consciousness can be transcended to experience ultimate Reality. Hence it is possible that occasional human being is born with the capacity to reflect the true nature of Consciousness. Sri Krishna, Jesus Christ, Buddha, and in recent past Sri Ramakrishna are but a few examples to cite. They come to preach the truth that 'to attempt to transcend the petty human consciousness to reach the Universal Consciousness is the only goal of human birth.'
In this attempt to express the Divinity values are born. One may not become as great as the above mentioned great souls, but even a little manifestation of the divinity is sufficient to the human being fearless and unselfish. The person becomes calm and collected, and love, compassion, and selfless service become his/her second nature. He begins to feel the same divinity in him and all others around him. He can't harm, hate, or be jealous of anybody. Depending upon the refinement of senses these wonderful qualities begin to manifest in his heart by degree. The barrier of "selfish genes" is at last broken and the person becomes free. True nature of pure Consciousness gradually reflects through him, which is all love, bliss, and truth. True religion is said to begin with the attempt to manifest this value-system in daily life.
Swami Ranganathanandaji emphasizes these points in his wonderful book - Practical Vedanta and the science of values:
"...If we depend upon the genes, i.e. The body, we will only be selfish, self-centered and no dharma or value-system can come out of us, nor can we understand dharma or science of values from that position. But, once, we detach ourselves a little from this genetic system, we expand our sense of self-hood, we achieve Atma Vikasa(spiritual growth) as Vedanta puts it, and we enter into the science of values, into our journey on the long spiritual road of happy and fruitful and peaceful inter human relationship. ... The sooner humanity understands this truth, the sooner will it be able to direct evolution in the right direction."
More by : Dr. C.S. Shah