Friday, November 25, 2011

THE FOUNDATIONAL PRINCIPLES OF HINDU ETHICS

~by Sri Swami Sivananda

The ethics of the Hindus is subtle, sublime and profound. All religions have taught ethical precepts such as: “Do not kill, do not injure others, love your neighbor as yourself,” but they have not given the reason. The basis of Hindu ethics is this: “There is one all-pervading Atman. It is the innermost soul of all beings. This is the common, pure consciousness. If you injure your neighbor, you really injure yourself. If you injure any other creature, you really injure yourself, because the whole world is nothing but your own Self.” This is Hindu ethics. This is the basic metaphysical truth that underlies all Hindu ethical codes.

The Atman or Self is one. One life vibrates in all beings. Life is common in animals, birds and human beings. Existence is common. This is the emphatic declaration of the Upanishads or Srutis. This primary truth of religion is the foundation of ethics or morality or science of right conduct. Morality has Vedanta as its basis.

The first thing you learn from religion is the unity of all selves. The Upanishads says: “The neighbor is, in truth, the very Self and what separates you from him is mere illusion.” One Atman or Self abides in all beings. Universal love is the expression of the unity. Universal brotherhood has its basis in the unity of Self. All human relations exist because of this unity. 

Yajnavalkya said to his wife Maitreyi: “Behold, my dear, not indeed for the love of the husband is the husband dear, for the love of the Self is the husband dear.” And so with wife, sons, property, friends, worlds and even the Devas themselves, All Are Dear, because the one Self is in all. If you injure another man, you injure yourself. If you help another person, you help yourself. There is one life, one common consciousness in all beings. This is the foundation of right conduct. This is the foundation of ethics.

~by Sri Swami Sivananda - Publication: All About Hinduism

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