Moral Law And World Peace
SRI SWAMI SIVANANDA
Lack of Sincerity
From the very beginning of the history of mankind, the necessity for the establishment of the moral law has been keenly evident. At the root of all religions, civic laws or any kind of idealism there is a pronounced objective that pertains to the peace, happiness and progress of the individual, and harmony, welfare and evolution of the community and society. These can be ensured only through the construction of a sound ethical foundation.
At no time has the world been free from the stresses of conflict and disharmony: at no time has man felt the absence of the need for peace and amity. There is an eternal struggle between his higher self and the lower appetites, the interaction between the material and the spiritual always keeping the human spirit in a state of ferment. Man cannot do without his material needs, and he can never have peace or happiness without spiritual integration and realisation.
The primary necessity of life is, therefore, the cultivation of a right perspective which will refuse to be distorted by the rigors of circumstances. The idealism of man should be adapted to his practical needs–of his body as well as his sprit.
A spiritual perspective which neglects the material welfare of society, cannot realise its values in a substantial measure or inculcate them in the life of the community: likewise, preoccupation with material considerations alone without any spiritual idealism will corrode all the good graces of life and foster disharmony and war.
There are so many international conventions, governing and upholding various codes of moral law, to which many of the nations of the world are supposed to owe allegiance at least by virtue of being signatories. The question is how far the spirit of the moral law is fulfilled in international relationship.
The world is divided into major power blocks, each trying to extend its influence into wherever there is a political vacuum, or wherever there is a possibility of gaining such an objective through whatever means that might be feasible.
At lower tiers the same thing is found in the stronger trying to overawe the weaker–either nations, communities or individuals. Any international moral code by itself, therefore, cannot be of much use, except having the benefit of a statute value, unless the spiritual conscience of mankind is awakened–on the individual level to begin with.
The individuals constitute the community and the nation. Man must inculcate the spirit of moral law in his heart first, for without this inner light all his endeavours will ultimately be barren.
There has been no dearth of moral codes in all the scriptures of the world. Practically, in every Constitution of every nation moral idealism is the ringing note. But the misfortune of the human race is that it professes one thing and does another.
Religious teachings thrive on the base of ethics; political creeds draw inspiration from ethical idealism and justice for the common man; social principles flourish on the moral code to ensure harmony in the community. If these were effective, even to a small extent, life would really be blessed, and the world a paradise.
The endeavour of man, therefore, should be to regenerate himself first and practise the basic steps in religion. No one can be religious without being ethics-minded or moral in his practical life.
There is no Christianity without the Sermon on the Mount; there is no Buddhism without the Noble Eight-Fold Path; there is no Hinduism without the Yama-Niyama or the Sadhana-Chatushtaya.
Take care of the base; the super-structure will take care of itself. Take care of what you are today; tomorrow will take care of itself.