Religion is predicated on Belief. Dharma is predicated on Search.
Former assumes and takes a stance. One that has to be defended, come hell or high water. And they come. The higher the water, the deeper the hell, the more tenacious is the defense of Belief. An Arbitrary belief – never experienced, never lived.
Search doesn’t look for arbitrary sign posts. It seeks the finale. Either you get there or you are moving. There is no make-believe ends to this journey.
Morals are the only way a believer can have a semblance of being a human. They are as much of a make-believe as the rest of the Believer’s mindset. Just as he has rested in a place and made that sign-post the grand finale of his spiritual life, morals somehow help him feel better at the “goodness” of his stationary and fruitless existence. The Believer is not moving. He is sitting on the signpost. But he has to keep himself busy in a way that he feels he is moving. In his stationary existence, moralistic gradation provides ample excitement. He is moving up. Nay, down. He is elated at his moving up the ramp, despairs moving down the ramp. All in the bogie of his stationary train. The train isn’t moving, but he is. And that is enough.
The one who wants to move, this ramp-play has no meaning. To one who has become awakened, doesn’t need to be told to love his neighbor. He simply does.
When Angulimaal – the dacoit who killed by hundreds and wore garlands of his victims’ fingers (Angulis – so the name) – approached Buddha, the Enlightened One didn’t give him a lesson in morals. “Why he shouldn’t kill… why killing may take him to hell.. et al”. He raised his consciousness. Angulimaal was never the same again.
When a dacoit approached some Sages, they didn’t give him a bucket full of morals. They gave him a mantra and made him Valmiki. One of the Greatest Enlightened Beings to have walked the planet.
Morals are for Believers. Those who like to live in a fantasy world of stationary trains and playing on ramps. Spiritual Awakening is what the Seeker is looking for. That’s what Dharma is for.
Krishna’s main goal in his life was to establish the primacy of living as per Dharma. He wasn’t about belief nor was he about Morals. Establishing Dharma is not to establish another belief system. It is to establish the primacy of Humility in a person who wants to Search, Seek and Experience. It is the journey from a dacoit to Valmiki. It is not easy to establish. But Krishna was no ordinary being. Rarely has such a being walked this planet.
Often well meaning Hindus – professed Dharmic people (albeit without Spiritual foundation) – declare how Bhagwad Gita (Song of the God – Krishna) teaches one “good morals” and primarily about “how to do good”.
And nothing… nothing.. could be farther from Truth. The central precept of Bhagwad Gita argues the exact opposite!
When one says “I want to do Good”, he is primarily announcing “I want to do an Action which will yield a Good Result”.
Good, please notice, is not an adjective of the Action, but of the Result.
So, when one says “I want to do Good”, one is declaring his obsession with the Result. Otherwise, how will this “Do Gooder” ever be aligned to the “Good Result”? Every action of his is calibrated. Carefully calibrated to get to a certain result.
Unfortunately, no matter what you do, how much you plan, you can never ever fully predict a result. NEVER.
So, how does this “Do Gooder” redeem himself? By using his arbitrary benchmarks called Morals. He already has a great “ramp in the bogie”. He has documented the mechanics of it. Now, all he has to do is declare its Universalism. Whether his mechanics works outside of his bogie or not, in another time or not – is not his concern. At least within his bogie and other bogies he can get access to, he will ensure his mechanics are considered true.
- One, you can never predict the result 100%
- Two, you do you actions pre-qualified as ones which necessarily yield certain narrow results.
- Third, whether they yield those results or no, he has a useful magic wand – called Morals, which make him believe they do.
That is a Life of a Neurotic. Just like those who consult an astrologer for every minute of their life. What should they eat. When should they leave house, enter the house, sleep, wash.. etc. They are also calibrating their lives. So is “Do Gooder”. But unlike the Astrology-crazy Neurotic, Do Gooder has a better – Holier than Thou – scale. Yes, Morals.
But Krishna saw through this game and deception very clearly. So, he declared emphatically – Your control is only on your action. Not on the result of your action. So, do not attach yourself to the results.
If that action meant leaving Mathura to go to Dwarka en masse, to escape Jarasandha, then so be it. If that action meant Arjun fighting Drona (his Guru), then so be it. However the situation presented, Krishna did and mentored others to do what was required, as opposed to what, as per some arbitrary scale – would yield a certain result.
A “Do Gooder” is always attached to his result. A Dharmic person doesn’t care about the predetermined scales. For these scales don’t work in a world which is moving. Unlike the “Do Gooder”, Dharmic Seeker is Living.
For, only that Flows Lives. That which has stalled or paused or extinguished is dragging death. Gita teaches you to do what is required, not what some scale says may “be good”.
(Lyrics by Gulzar for the 1969 movie “Khamoshi”)