What is good and what is bad


So what is good and what is bad? How are we to decide? Even the scriptures can contradict each other. There is a scriptural injunction to loyalty which Bhishma, the general, followed. But supposing the king has become a villain. There’s another scriptural injunction not to take part in adharma, unrighteousness. Now should he fulfil his loyal part, his pledge of loyalty to the king or should he walk out?

It can only be solved, Shri Dada says, by inspiration, when there’s a rise above the limitations of the body consciousness. He says, “Every man must be able to go into voluntary nervous and mental relaxation and in that silence concentrate on a symbol of God. It is this prolonged silence of the soul which will bring before him the architypes of what he is to create both within and externally.” So that finally these virtues given by the Gita are to produce inspiration, and that’s why so few of them contain definite instructions, “Do this, do that!” They are to transform the whole inner essence and make it transparent to the divine will and then he will know – there won’t be endless arguments about what is right and what is wrong and looking to consequences and trying to balance them.

Looking back then, we can see that the ones which come in all the four places are those three. Self-control, and our teacher said that self-control is not simply a holding back, but it’s also a freeing. Edward Blake, who was a general, had never been to sea and Cromwell said to him, “You are to be the admiral of the fleet.” Now, if he’d been a slave he would have said, “I have been appointed the admiral of the fleet” and he would have gone down and simply acted on his likes and dislikes – and the result would have been disastrous, because he knew nothing. But if he’d been a slave he would have simply done what he had been told. But he was a servant. A servant is not a slave – a servant co-operates. If the master has made a mistake, the servant brings it to his notice. He doesn’t simply do what he is told. Blake became a brilliant admiral, he is one of the greatest lights in British naval history. He developed new tactics. Perhaps that was why he was so successful, because he’d never been to sea before. He didn’t listen to them when they said “Oh. We’ve always done it this way.” No, he developed new tactics, and he wrote the books and they were followed for a century. He was a servant, not a slave, and because he was a puritan and his mind was at least relatively pure, he received some inspiration through this.

Well then, the instructions of the Gita are to follow the Shastra, follow the scriptural injunctions. But when we look at what those scriptural injunctions are, they are for self-purification. To make the self upright and not make, what our teacher called, insincere arguments. And then the third one is purity or transparency. I’ll finish with the quotation from the Shri Dada Sanghita: “It is this prolonged silence of the soul which will bring before him the architypes of what he is to create in the internal and external world.”

© Trevor Leggett

Talks in this series are:

Part 1: Tradition and Inspiration

Part 2: Bhagavad Gita morality is self-training

Part 3: Seeking for something to worship

Part 4: Arguments for good and bad are endless

Part 5: What is good and what is bad


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