Saturday, 17 March 2012

What are we becoming?

Swami Gulagulaananda heard:
"Ethics is how you are as a person, when nobody is looking"

Imagine that life is a video that is constantly playing... For a moment pick up your remote control, and hit the pause button. Then, float out of your body, turn around and look at your frozen body stuck in the same position, reading this post... Now let's begin floating and looking around. Oh, and also, leave your ideas, opinions, prejudice and such behind.

We, as people, have evolved over a period of time. I am not talking about the biological evolution and loss of tail. I am talking about society. Just today, one of my uncles had come over and was talking about his grandfather's grandfather who walked all the way to Tirupathi from some town close to Mangalore, and back. He said, "Those were the days of 'Athiti Devo Bhava' and it was customary for people to stay in other people's houses, mind you, not relatives, and partake food as well, which would be gladly served." Today, do you think you would welcome some stranger into your house? Let alone spending the night, you probably wouldn't even consider allowing him to loiter in your compound. Food, probably you may give him, but you would ask him to be on his way... Why? Is it that we are bad people now? Not really. It's because the world today has become one where people take advantage of other people's kindness. Have a look at how seemingly poor hapless pregnant women or those with children are conning you.

Alright, let that go. Let's float to some traffic junction and hit the play button the remote control... See how many people flout traffic rules. What kind of traffic rules? Well, one type is  - two wheelers riding on the pavement at signals. Second, jumping red signals. Third, continuing to ride/drive in spite of the signal transitioning from green to red. There are more, but let's just see what's common in this three? Urgency, rather, impatience - I don't want to wait.

Why do you reckon this happens? It is most likely that the population has increased to such a great extent that you are going to be infinitely delayed if you keep following every single rule. Is that true? No. The reason is that there are several other cities in the world which are greatly populated, more so than any Indian city, and yet the traffic violations are certainly not like this. Why then? Is it that traffic rules are not stringent enough? No, they are. Just the other day, I was waiting at a red signal at a busy crossroad junction. A guy riding an Activa with a pillion rider came and stopped next to me. The girl had a vacant expression. The guy then asked her to get off, and to check if there was a traffic policeman around the corner. After she checked and confirmed the absence of one, he zoomed away. I read a very interesting quote the other day "Ethics is how you are as a person, when nobody is looking" and this was what I remembered at that moment.

You may become a very wealthy man. You may be popular among your friends. You could be anything. But if you are not a person with ethics, you are nothing. I really hope there is Yama and Chitragupta recording everything that's happening and storing it. When the time is right, Chitragupta will fire an SQL query and let Yama pass the judgement.

No, think about it. What motivates a person to be unethical? Forget big-time scams. Look at the small ones, like traffic violations. You may be a nice guy. But then you look around and you see people cheating. You will think that they are bad people, and that you should be good. The people who cheated didn't get caught - but heck, what just happened? He succeeded in doing what you have been struggling to do for such a long time. Maybe you studied all night for a whole week, while the guy next to you brought chits to the exam. And he copied and got more marks than you. You were the good guy, but he got that seat you had had your eye on. What went wrong? Or maybe he passed an interview and got the job, while you couldn't clear the written round in spite of being better than him. You feel this is all unfair. The guy who jumped the signal must, by now, have cleared the next two signals while you are still rotting there in the heat, breathing the hot fumes of the truck next to you. Hell, I should have followed that guy, you think. The next time YOU do it. You don't get caught, and you realise that there is a thrill. Meanwhile, another loser is thinking that he should have just jumped the signal... Notice, he is you, just behind by delta t. The vicious cycle has now been established.

Ok, enough of traffic violations. Let's look at the food we eat. Indians have always been the community to eat wholesome food every morning. But now, people are moving towards cornflakes. Incidentally, corn flakes are not even good - but wait, what's that? In India, they are awfully expensive. In reality, they should cost nothing, very similar to soft drinks. And corn is much cheaper compared to rice or wheat. And still people buy cornflakes. Why? More often than not, you are eating corn flakes because it sounds awesome when you tell others "I had corn flakes". Think about it honestly. Do you really enjoy eating corn flakes? Or would you prefer hot Idli Vada, Masala Dosa or Upma? Before you jump to "Who's going to make it for me in the morning?" answer that question. Don't you enjoy that as against corn flakes? But you rather eat it because it makes you feel awesome, cool... in sync with America. And don't give me the "Who's going to make it for me in the morning?" because there are hundreds of restaurants every where around you. If there is no restaurant which serves good breakfast around your place, let me know - I will start one there, because it is an awesome business opportunity :-) You see what I am saying here, don't you?

Very often, we don't think of what we are doing. We don't worry about repercussions. In many ways, the old customs and beliefs such "If you do bad, Karma will ensure you will get bad, if not in this birth, then the next" or "God is watching what you are doing" or "Santa is going to give you coal for being naughty this year" are great because you would have some fear before venturing out to do something bad. But in today's so called "science era" where most people are agnostic or atheists, they don't have the fear of repercussions except that of law (which is not so efficient) and thus we are becoming what we are becoming. Don't forget, every action of yours might influence somebody else. If you are not ruining an impressionable child's mindset, you are screwing that guy who was left breathing fumes of that lorry or eating your dust... YOU are the one who is setting examples, and YOU ought to be the one who cleans up his act. Ok, go back to your body and hit the play button, but remember, "Ethics is how you are as a person, when nobody is looking"

You may also like to read:
Neighbourhoodwink
Yes we can... Or can we?

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Comments from Facebook


Anish Bhandarkar:
cantt do much for those already grown up with such ideas.. but there is hope 4 the current gen kids..
a tried n tested option is C Rajagopalachari's RAMAYANA N MAHABHARATA.

3 comments:

Anil Kulkarni said...

Nik, Well said. Its reminds of 'Follow what you preach'. When i was floating around seeing myself, a 360 degree view - Oh Holy crap.. i have not been that ethical.We always have been taught to do big big things in life. Rather thats what is loaded into our minds. Traffic violation looks small in front of that. It all comes down to one question: Are we going to be ethical only if we there's an eye? Time to act!!

Nik said...

Chandramouli (who faced problems and couldn't post here, so I did the posting for him) said:

i enjoyed reading it... but i would love to bring something to your notice.
"one of my uncles had come over and was talking about his grandfather's grandfather
who walked all the way to Tirupathi from some town close to Mangalore,
and back. He said, "Those were the days of 'Athiti Devo Bhava'
..genuine people used to visit holy spots for genuine reasons in those days(low population)
..but today you have cut throat guys inside the temple and outside too.
temple is a big business today ..... because no taxes are taken by the temple authorities
from past ten or fifteen years most of the temples that i saw has less of god and more
of money....

tell me something...what is the necessity to pay money to see god from a closer distance...
what difference does it make in ones life.... the more money one shells out in a temple the
better he is treated and he's invited close to the idol and the "layman" that poor guy gets
to spectate god from from a long distance and carries on with his bussiness....
thats why they say "work i worship"
there are a lot of such questions that has lead to the birth of atheism in people....
as far as i know they are perfectly right.... they dont believe in what the society does...
at least a major (society)... but they believe in themselves.... thats the most important and prior
belief that one must have.... else one cannot do anything in life...

i have a friend of mine whoo keeps boasting to me that i know this person , i know that person
this gut is great, he's rich , he's powerful, she's beautiful and blah blah blah.......
but there is one beautiful question that another friend o mine put forth to contradict....
he said " ask him if he knows himself ?" .. mind you , the answer to this question is the answer to life
its a crack with a catch... i doubt how many even introspect on that...
there is no point in trying to know a lot about people and stuff and crap
when one has no idea about himself..(strengths and weakness and limitations)

and there is no point being too good in this world... one should be able to balance good and bad to lead a happy life
after all its all bout balance in life... this is a world of opposites.. you try to be too good, you'll
definitely find the bad and vice versa.... you got conned because someone else was
intelligent enough to conn you... as long as there are fools in this world there will be rulers too...

Nik said...

Chandramouli (who faced problems and couldn't post here, so I did the posting for him) said:

if you'd ask me about the guy in activa,.. i'd say whatever he did was completely right as far as he's
catious when he's doing it.... people commit bad only when there is a room for that ...
our minds work in a weird way.... dont know whom to blame it on.... the moment one realises freedom for a while
exploring the limit is the next thought that hits the mind....

"The next time YOU do it. You don't get caught, and you realise that there is a thrill. Meanwhile,
another loser is thinking that he should have just jumped the signal... Notice, he is you,
just behind by delta t. The vicious cycle has now been established."

here i'd like to say something.... you should consider this.. there are one set people in this world
who dont care no matter that people do in the society... be it good or bad... as long as it doesnt hit them
...they have strong minds.... nothing can influence them,.... they are by themselves ....
and that is the true ethics... they are unchanged no matter what... if one is so susceptable to a bad change
god bless him then

"But in today's so called "science era" where most people are agnostic or atheists,
they don't have the fear of repercussions except that of law (which is not so efficient)"

they dont have fear of repercussions cause they know for sure that god and evil are both
reflections coming from the same mind
if they are doing what they want to do and if you think thats not right then they'd ask you
what is right and wrong ??? who decides it for me and you??? its totally perception oriented...

i'd like to conclude this with one line for you ......

when the end result is good (perception again), it doesnt matter
if you have chosen the right or the wrong path....