Moral and Spiritual Regeneration of the World
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MORAL AND SPIRITUAL
REGENERATION OF THE WORLD
by Swami Sivananda
Table of Contents
India’s Ancient Culture
Free India’s Role in the World
Role of Religion in the Regeneration of Free India
The Role of University Students in the Current Cultural Pattern of the World
Section I: Glaring Moral Lapses1. The Need for Spiritual Regeneration
Section II: Problem of Sociology14. The Moral Sense in Labour Welfare
Section IV: Ethics: Domestic and Professional26. Domestic Ethics
Section V: The Mission of Sadhus and Sannyasins32. Sannyasins and Social Welfare
Our forefathers would be considerably amused at many of the maladies that afflict humanity today, e.g., inflation, black-marketing, bootlegging, gun-running, ethoe genus omne. These Frankestein monsters, threatening to destroy us before long, are our creation as they are merely the inescapable effects of our lapse from a spiritual outlook upon life and the adoption of a purely materialistic philosophy of living. These and myriads of other similar problems have their origin in a love of luxurious living and are the products of a foolish mania on the part of every nation to raise its so-called standard of living over that of its neighbours. The economic blockades, the armament races and the atom-bomb imbroglios are the resultants of human vanity, greed, jealousy, mutual suspicion and hatred; and as each nation wants to be on the safe side by multiplying its power of destruction, there is a regular scramble and competition for becoming the most ruthless and the most destructive power! ‘Is there no remedy for this’ has been on every one’s lips for over a generation now; but no one has the courage and the faith for taking the practical steps necessary for stopping the rot, irrespective of the cost or the consequences. Each nation wants the other nations, each man all other men, to take the initiative; and so the merry game goes on unabated. The vicious circle has to be broken by some one: and why not let it be done by ourselves rather than by others? The minimum essentials of the change that has to be brought about should be clearly visualised and consciously and conscientiously pursued by everyone according to his capacity.
The first step to be taken is to change the angle of vision of life. All materialistic ways of thinking and living should be abandoned. A simple, spiritual sense of the values of life should be carefully inculcated in all countries, in all societies. There should be an immediate return to the motto of ‘Plain Living and High Thinking,’ so successfully followed by our ancient forefathers, who understood well that the practice of the sine qua non for the thorough eradication of greed and fear, which lie at the root of all the troubles of the world.
As a supplement to this, the spirit of selfless service should be infused into every man from his childhood days. This is the point at which Religion meets Ethics and Sociology; for the first posits that the One Self alone pervades all Existence. Hence, every piece of service done to others amounts to a benefit conferred on ourselves. The more this sublime basis of human actions is recognised and adopted, the more rapid will be man’s evolution towards perfection and divinisation.
The emphasis in human relations should be shifted from rights to duties. Communalism, Racialism, Nationalism–all ‘isms’ are only the different hoods of the same hydra-headed monster of selfishness and insistence upon rights and disregard of duties, and should therefore give place to one all-embracing Universalism. National borders should gradually lose their artificial significance and importance; and one by one, all differences of religion and language, social and moral codes, cultural and political institutions–should vanish and be replaced by the greatest common measure of uniformity of outlook, interests and conduct.
Let other nations wait for this ‘consummation devoutly to be wished’. Why should we not have the proud distinction of being the first country courageously to declare her borders as Conterminous with the boundaries of the Universe itself? Let us begin with ourselves and get all dross be completely eliminated from our composition. Let us take down all narrow barriers and let our heart expand till it beats in sympathy with the whole world. Let us prove by our actions and their results that we are the inheritors of the ancient practical Wisdom of the Upanishads and let our Punya Bhoomi lead the way, as of old, towards a better, freer and fuller life bringing sweetness and Light to the whole world.
The revival of our ancient culture through instilling in the minds and hearts of the masses a sense of honesty, truthfulness and morality is the paramount social duty in our country. Something more than mere inscription on Stupas should be done to tackle this stupendous problem. The modern mind should be attacked with the help of modern methods. Stupas are good but only as monuments for posterity to know that we strove towards these good ends–not so much as solutions to the problem that immediately faces us.
Dissemination of the knowledge of the glory and need of a strictly moral life throughout the medium of books and leaflets is one method of awakening the moral consciousness in the masses. But this by itself will not have enduring results unless we quickly follow it up with other methods.
The most effective approach is through schools and colleges. Moral instruction should be made compulsory in school. Teachers too should receive special training in this regard and they should be made to understand that modern student will expect to find such standards of morality in the daily life of the teacher and not merely in his class-lectures. I would very much like to see every school introducing a half-hour class both morning and afternoon of such moral instruction: this is not too much to expect as this forms the fundamental part of the student’s curriculum and as his entire future, and the future of the world depends on what sort of citizen the boy turns out to be. Some sort of_ common prayer (non-sectarian) might also be introduced to begin and end the morning and afternoon sessions of the school.
This reformation at school forms one third of our work with the youth. The impressions that he receives at his home, and in the wide world which he freely roams about outside the school-hours are equally important. We can keep his mind clean and ensure that he has learnt his moral lessons at school well, only if we shun from our book-stalls all trash and filthy literature with which, I now see our book-stalls are at present flooded. Obscene (even to the least degree) pictures and posters should be banished from our fair shores. Something drastic should be made with most of the cinema films, which, I understand, contain much that produces a deep immoral impression on the mind of our youth. The producers should be induced and helped to produce good social films or Puranic stories. By gradual stages, tobacco, tea, coffee and other such stimulants which merely excite the nerves, should be given a thorough and sustained discouragement. Prohibition of liquor is, I feel, only the first though most important step in this direction.
Then we come to the home. The middle-aged man whose mind has already been moulded, needs perhaps even more careful and delicate handling, as he will resent all radical changes. Through regular propaganda, evening classes and morning study-gatherings we would gradually be able to wean his mind away from evil.
The Sadhus and Sannyasins, and the preaching class generally and the social leaders in particular, can do a lot to effecting the much-needed transformation and cooperate with the Government. Their organisation should be approached by the appropriate authorities for their cooperation–All these people should of course have to be trained first before they can train others or spread the message of morality, which must have the basis of personal example.
I have no doubt whatsoever that, however complex the problem and whatever be its magnitude, the Lord is sure to bring about this moral and spiritual transformation in the heart of the peoples of this country. Our essential nature is spiritual; the Indian is fundamentally a man-of-the Spirit. Evil and its manifestations are only superficial superimpositions on his Purity, and they are bound to disappear.
Fear knocked at the door,
Courage opened it.
Lo! fear was not there.
Ignorance knocked at the door,
Wisdom opened it.
Lo! ignorance was not there.
Passion knocked at the door,
Discrimination opened it.
Lo! passion was not there.