Value Education and Spirituality 3 – The Spiritual Foundation of Values 1 – The end is not the end

by Chaitanya Charan dasMay 8, 2014

Lecture Podcast

Value Education and Spirituality 3 – The Spiritual Foundation of Values 1 – The end is not the end

 Earlier, we discussed about how values can jeopardize our lives and how everybody has some set of values. So now, what is the foundation of values? Why should one act according to values. One could say that is the decent way to act. You know as there is the golden rule, do unto others as you would want others to do unto you. That because we would not like others to exploit us in unscrupulous ways. So, we should not exploit others in unscrupulous ways. So that could be basic human decency in civility could one reason for falling values. Of course, maintaining decency in civility helps in maintaining order in society and that is how social order can function. Now, not all people necessarily feel that way. Some people will naturally, I mean by their lower nature want to exploit others and get ahead in life. For example, we have greed. Those you are greedy they want wealth and property and possessions even if it means that there will be others who will starve and die because of not having even the basic necessities of life. So now, there are surely such people who are so utterly insensitive, desensitize to sufferings of others, sensitized only to their craving within their own hearts for more and more that they do not care of the suffering of fellow humans. Now, just the urge to be good, live good is that enough as a foundation for morals, for values, for ethics. So, there are some people who do feel that way, but there are others who will not feel that way. Now if we move forward, another could be consequentialist argument. So, consequentialist means that we have a legal system in order that if people do not act according to values they will be punished. So, those who exploit others in illegal ways they will be punished and that is why to avoid the punishment by the law one should be valuecentive that could be another motive also and again it is said fear is the beginning of wisdom. So for children how do they learn I should not put my hand in the fire. They go near that, the parents may tell, they may not listen. When they put the hand in the fire they feel a burning sense and they will say I will not do it. So, consequentialism is also one fact of nature that many things which are undesirable when you try to them a little bit we see how detrimental they are and thereafter we decide that we will not do them anymore that is consequentialism. Now apart from consequentialism, there can also be another argument. The problem with consequentialism is that often the consequences do not come because of a legal system, because of the flaws and the fallacies of the legal system. So sometimes, the wealthy commit crimes they may use their contacts, their influence, their wealth to hire expert lawyers and get away even after committing terrible crimes and sometimes the innocent may get framed and punished just because they do not have the contacts and the finances to get assistance, to get legal support properly. So these are all real-life problems and they have to be dealt with. What we are looking at is? Is there any foundation for laws in general, for value-based living. We saw that how everybody has values and whether the values are going to raise us up or going to drag us down, whether the values are going to be a part of helping others or be a part of exploiting others, we do not see. Normally if somebody has negative behavioral traits, we do not call them values. If somebody is greedy or exploitative, we do not call that values normally, but that is some kind of system where what the person values is, they idea that my own happiness is important and for my happiness whatever is required to be given up I will give up. So a greedy person values once own pleasure so much that the pain of another has no value for that person. Of course, I am talking here of people who are excessively brutally greedy. Now, there could be another reason for values. That is based ontology. Ontology means the nature of truth, nature of reality. So can there be the idea that we should act according to values because that is how we are meant to act. That is the best way of acting for us, that is in our interest, that is in the interest of others, everyone’s interest and the consequences as we discussed with our legal system, the consequences may or may not come. Now, if we look broadly at the Indian wisdom tradition. So, we will be discussing value education and spirituality, that is our topic and we are going discuss the values that are demonstrated in the Indian wisdom literature, like the Mahabharata, the Ramayan and the Bhagavata purana. So when we discuss based on these books, we will have to understand their underlying world view to convey what kind of values are being taught and whether those values still hold true and how they can be of some guidance for us in today’s life. So, I said could the values be based on reality that means if we act according to value that is truly for our good and others good and if act contrary to higher values that is truly to our determent and to others determent. So for that, we will have to look at the spiritual foundation. Why do we need a spiritual foundation because the alternative, there are two broad world view used. There can be many subdivisions within these, but there are two broad world view used, there is the materialistic world view and there is the spiritual world view. So in the materialistic world view, the ultimate goal is material enjoyment. That material enjoyment can be in terms of material positions, material power, material possessions, material prestige and material sensual enjoyment. So, these are the goal of life and in materialism the underlying assumption is that we are materialistic creatures and material fulfillment or material enjoyment is what we are meant to live for. Now with such a world view, values become highly unsustainable and often undesirable. Why, because if I am a materialistic creature, that means I am just the physical body and material enjoyment is all that I have got to enjoy. Then, why let any values check me in the pursuit of my pleasure, if one life is all that I have that is the inevitable confusion in materialism. If I am a materialistic creature, then when the material body is destroyed at the time of death, I will be destroyed and if I am destroyed then there is no point in trying to check myself from any enjoyment, this one life is all that I have and all the enjoyment that I am ever going to it is in this life, so let me make the best of this life. So, now if we start with this attitude the result will be that we will end up without any incentive or long-term beneficial behavior. That means that okay if earning money and enjoying the senses is the goal of life, eat, drink and be merry that is the idea, because afterwards one will be in the grave, then to eat, drink and be merry one needs money and then whether one gets money by ethical means or unethical means how does it make a difference. If I am clever enough, if I am influential enough to not get caught, then if I act wrongly what is wrong is not acting wrongly, what is wrong is getting caught while acting wrongly that becomes the world view underlying many people and in such a world view people just cannot sustain whatever they are doing, in a value-based become very difficult, because in a honest way how much can a person earn. Yes, a person can work hard and surely grow in life, but ultimately there is limitation and when opportunities for gratification through dishonest ways come up it becomes difficult to resist that temptation because there is very little impetus. To give a simple example, if a person is driving a vehicle, now while driving a vehicle that there are rules. The rules while driving a vehicle do they impede or restrict freedom. Now, some drivers may think like that, but especially if you drive on the roads in India where people often do not follow rules where people come, take turns anywhere and traffic is often maddening, so then when people do not follow rules, we realize that driving becomes not just disconcerting, but also dangerous, so the rules that are there they facilitate smooth traveling, say everybody should travel from the left in some countries or right from some countries, whichever it is, but people traveling in a particular direction should take the particular side of the road and then if one is going to turn right then one should signal in a particular and may show hand or may be have rear-light turn on, there is a red light one has to stop. All these rules they facilitate smooth travel, and once a person was going a longer road and then they saw a red signal and the person stopped at the red signal, then the person saw that there is a buffalo and the buffalo just walked right from the red signal and then the buffalo walked through the red signal and seeing the buffalo not stopping this person also was driving and going out the red signal. Immediately, the RTO officer stopped; blow the whistle and stop and charged him with a breach of the traffic rule and asked him, gave him a ticket, you have to pay a fine, he said the buffalo went along you did not charge anything to the buffalo. Why are you charging me? Because you are a bigger buffalo, now bigger buffalo means the buffalo does not have the intelligence to understand that laws are meant to be followed. He does not understand red signal, green signal, we humans can understand and we are meant to understand, so that we can cooperate and function in an orderly way. So, laws are for our own good and to the extent that we follow these laws to that extent we can move forward steadily in our life. Than means, to the extent we follow laws to the extent there is smooth order and then there can be comfortable driving experience. Now, of course we follow rules of traffic not just so that we have a comfortable driving experience, but ultimately we want to go somewhere, we want to reach a particular destination. If by purpose of following the rules was just to go along and there is no ultimate destination, then after sometime I may just get bored following the rules. Why should I follow the rules, what is the point. Okay, I want to go in order, but for what, if my excitement comes in doing driving stunts, then I might do the driving stunts, but if driving is not an end for me, but a means to an end. I have to drive, so that I get to a particular destination. Then, yes if I get pleasure in driving experience that is fine, but that is not my goal. My goal is something long-term, so that is I have to get home or I have to get work and there I have important things to do. So, showing off my driving skills, doing stunts on the road is not my primary business. So like that, when there is an ultimate goal to what one is to the drive, then the rules make greater sense and have a stronger force, persuasive force on people. Similarly, when we talk about values, the values as I said there is cooperation that results if people follow values and there is punishment that results when people do not follow values. We discussed both these ideas and cooperation I do unto others as you do unto me as we would want others to do unto us and punishment “As you sow, so shall you reap,” so people and lawbreakers are punished, same is _______, we do not want other person to cut us, we do not want another person to make our driving miserable, and we would not to pay a fine, so we should drive, but these alone are not necessary enough impetuses for driving according to rules or for the very existence of driving the rules. Ultimately, the purpose of driving is to get to a destination. So, similarly for values to be founded to have solid persuasive force, have they founded in reality and that reality takes us to the question of what is the ultimate value, what is the purpose of life. Now what is it that we are ultimately living for. So, now the Indianism tradition offers us a world view that is different from the mainstream materialistic world view that is prevalent in the world today. So, this spiritual world view. The alternative of materialism is the spiritual world. It accepts the fact that there is a material dimension to our life, but it does not limit our existence only to the material damage. So beyond the material dimension is the spiritual dimension and it is that spiritual dimension that we actually belong and this spiritual sight of ours continues after death and whatever actions we do we get reactions to it either in this life or next life. Now, this is as most of us know called the principle of karma. So before we go into the details of the principle of karma, let us focus on the fundamentals of it first what is this world means. Now, when we talk about future life, when we talk about something beyond this life, then immediately the question comes ups, is this real, how do we know what is real. So, who has seen what happens after death. Yes, it is true that we do not have people who have died and come back literally speaking and telling us what has happened there, but there are pointers in that direction. So, here when we talk about spiritual world view we will look at whether it is scientifically enable. Many people think that to be scientific means to be materialistic, to be scientific means to be subscribing to any idea of postpartum existence. Postpartum means after this life that we continue to live after this life to subscribe to any idea like that means to be unscientific; however, this is far from the reality because there can be body of knowledge which is scientific, which incorporates science within it and it which is also having a spiritual dimension to it. So, this science has to necessarily materialistic, no not necessarily. There are strong scientific pointers to survival after death, to life after death. Now, this is we are not going to go into the scientific evidence for that in detail, but suffice it to say here that there is significant body of research in these fields, which do indicate that a persuasive scientific case can be made for the existence of life after death. This involves three primary evidences, the evidence from past life memories, the evidence from _______ experiences and the evidence from consciousness studies. So, past life memories, what does that mean? It means that all of us have memories, but we have memories of this life and partial memories of this life. We do not remember entirely what we did yesterday or day before yesterday or for that matter definitely we do not remember what we did six months ago or one year ago. Memories are usually related with something which we have done and which we are able to recollect, but some people have memories which extend beyond anything that they have experienced in this life, which extend beyond the things that they have happened before they were born. That means there are cases where there is say a child A who is born say at time T0 and then this child A as the child starts growing up, usually between the ages of 4 to 6, child starts remembering what happened before and the child says okay I was somebody else, I was X and I lived over here and I was killed and then I am now here. So, Dr. Ian Stevenson who was a pioneer in the scientific study of past life memories has done many many studies in this field and he has documented over three thousand cases of children with past life memories and this cases are extremely well researched, well documented and his works have been published in many eminent scientific journals. So, this children who remember the past lives, children do not have the means or the motives to construct elaborate ________. Children not only tell stories about how was killed, but along with that they give so many other details, which add to the credibility of what they are saying. For example, there is the case of Kitu. This Kitu was a boy who was born in North India and from his childhood he had birth marks on both sides, so Kitu as he grew up he started saying that I am Suresh Verma and I have an electrical shop and I have a wife Uma. Now, this is a small 4-5-year-old body and he is saying I have a wife and then he insisted that I want to go that town and I want to meet my family. His parents were shocked. Some parents their son telling them that I have somebody else is my father, you are not my father, it is quite shocking. So anyway, when he insisted repeatedly they said we will tell him there and when he got down in Lucknow that was Kanpur, so they took them to Kanpur and when he got there he had never been there Kanpur in one’s life, but he just got there down and started moving in that direction and as if he knew the way and he let the straight to a particular shop and when they reached there they found that there was a women who was widow and she was running an electrical shop and he had said I own an electrical shop whose name is Verma electrical shop and it was the exact name an then he went to her and started asking looking at her shop and saying oh you are changed the structure over here. Now, this was here you have changed it over here, changed it over here _______. Who is this, what is his saying and then the parents told, she was quite bewildered then asked to come her home and when they went home yes _______ side like the husband and wife would be together ________ although the small child, then they later went home and then they went to the grandmother and he went to her legs and embarrassed her legs ___________ get another role are you my grandson. He was annoyed, he said I am your son, do not you recognize me and then he told so many details including details of some private conversions that the diseased husband and his wife had and some fare they had gone to and what they had done over there and in this way he told many details and then because Suresh Verma had murdered in his previous life he had just come home from his office and ________ and bullet had been shot in his head, gun had been shot, the bullet had entered from one temple and come out from the other temple. So, there was a postpartum done because this is a murder case and the reports were there and when they diagnosed they found that actually the exact spots where that the entry and exit wounds were there in the body of Suresh Verma that were the exact spots were Kitu had birth marks. So, this whole story was broadcast on BBC on the program 40 minutes and it was called double birth marks. Because the legal documentation on the murder was there and lawyers were involved and ________ science took up this investigation, it is a very fairly well-documented case and this is the not just one I said there are thousands of cases like this. So now how do we explain this child’s memory of some person living somewhere else that he has never gone and knowing the map of the area, knowing the names of the people over there and knowing personal family details that could not have been know by any other means. So, researches investigate various options and find out whether there has been a contact between the two families some way consciously, unconsciously whether the parents would have said up a fraud like this and one by one after exploring all the options when nothing works out, then they come to the conclusion that this is suggestive of reincarnation. So now in one case or two case there may just be negligible, but when there are not just one or two, but cases after cases like this, then the evidence becomes so persuasive that neglecting it becomes no longer enable scientifically that is what is happening in reincarnation. So of course we are not talking about sensationalist cases where people claim to be some famous film star or politician in the previous life that people may get media publicity by that, somebody claims that I am Rajiv Gandhi incarnated or I am ________ incarnated or I am this and that, then there is some credit to be got in that, but in this case there is no publicity, no credit. For example, there was one Hindu boy who claimed to have been a Muslim in his previous life and _________ been killed and who was born this also happened in North India. The parents because of the tension that often were there __________ two communities. The parents do not want to acknowledge. The son was saying like this, but eventually they found that the child insisted and the child went to the parents place. The Hindu boy went to the Muslims place. They found that actually whatever details he was telling were true. So, the point which I am making over here is that often the parents have reasons to discourage their children _______ still they cannot. So, this is past life memories. We are not going to make an elaborate case on this. Those of you interested more can read Dr. Iva Stevenson’s books. There are also nearer experiences. Nearer experiences means people who because of a heart attack or because of some accident were very close to death and there are extremely close to death at that time their whole body stopped functioning and at that time their brain also stops functioning and then even at that time when they remember they are aware and they describe the events that are happened. So somebody when the heart has stopped beating, the brain has also stopped functioning. So, physically there is no ______ conscious and yet they describe later on that okay I was overhead and from that overhead perspective I saw things, I saw that this doctor was speaking like this, this surgeon was speaking like this and this was the discussion they had and accurate details they described. So, there is most famous case of Pam Reynolds, so she had aneurysm _________ bottom of her brain. So, aneurysm is a sort of swelling and the only way to do surgery was through operation called standstill that means was given an artificial cardiac arrest, so that the heart stops pumping blood and then when the body is de-freezed the blood circulation to the brain is stopped and then the blood drained from the brain and then the brain is lifted up practically outside the skull and then the swelling at the bottom of the brain is accessed and then it is cut off and then after that the brain is put back, then the cardiac arrest stopped, blood circulation is allowed and then the person is brought back to consciousness. It is extremely dangerous surgery, but in this situation everything is extremely well documented ____________ standstill surgery. So, he did the surgery for Pam Reynolds and he found that at the time when the complete unconsciousness had been brought about. At that time, she was consciousness, not that she was speaking while her brain was been operated, but she observed from overhead perspective and she later on recollected and she told that it was supposed to be a brain surgery, but I found that there was a lady surgeon who was operating on my leg and I was perplexed and then I heard the conversation between the two, the main surgeon was going to operate on the brain and then the other surgeon who was going do the cardiac arrest, so that the brain surgery could be done. So then whatever comes in they had accurately ________. So how is it possible if we were just materialistic creatures and consciousness were just coming from the brain and the brain has completely stopped brain. There is no blood going to the brain, then how can at such a time a person be conscious. So, the explanation is that consciousness does not originate in the brain. One explanation is that the soul is _____________ spiritual side of us is the source of consciousness and normally it functions through the brain, but when the brain is dysfunctional, then that is separation between the spiritual side of us, which could be called the source of consciousness of the soul and then that is able to perceive from overhead. So, just as a person when operating airplanes, normally the person who is operating, the pilot, uses the pilot sensory devices to sense the atmosphere around. The pilot has his or her own eyes also, through which the pilot can see, but normally _________ pilot will use the external instruments for sensing. Similarly, the soul is the source of consciousness normally trapped within the body and it is in the body perception, but that is not necessary all the time. It can use its own sense capacity for perception whenever it is required and that how there can be consciousness even when there is no consciousness, there can be consciousness when there is no consciousness, that means that there can be a person who is aware of things around oneself even when the brain is not functioning and at a material level no consciousness.   So, the nearest experience and the past life experience suggest that there can be a part of us, which exists which functions even when our physical body is either dysfunctional or is destroyed and that part is the soul and that part continues to exist after this life and this gives stronger foundation from ethical values.

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Chaitanya Charan das

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