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Recently there was an important judgement delivered by the Supreme Court of India, relating to an alleged case of malpractice by a leading politician. The Court while acquitting the politician made certain remarks and commenting on all this, a leading newspaper wrote that it was a "mixed verdict - comprehensive legal acquittal in the main combining with emphatic moral disapproval…" In other words what the Honourable Court said that while no binding law had been violated, the person involved ought to "atone by answering her Conscience…". Naturally there has been widespread comments on this most unusual judgement and one reader of a newspaper writing to the Editor has quoted French philosopher Jacques Saurin who observed, "The law often permits what honour forbids; instead of asking 'is it legal', more people should be asking 'is it honourable?' These are the matters I would like to reflect on presently.

I started off with the above developments just to draw attention to how far mankind has moved away from the values it once cherished. Once upon a time, the principle is what mattered rather than the dry letter of the law but today it is the other way around. In fact dodging the law has been perfected into a fine art, especially where taxes are concerned. It is supposed to be a crime to avoid payment of taxes. Yet, the law allows some concessions and clever tax consultants as they are known, are all the time busy advising rich clients how to avoid paying taxes. In the end, as people complain in many countries, it is the low-income group that pays most of the taxes while the rich get away exploiting various legal loopholes.

 MASSACRE AT JALIANWALABAGH LEGAL BUT NOT MORALGandhi often said that there is a Moral Law governing the Universe but today few acknowledge the existence of such a law. Law is just what is in the Statute Book and anything that is supposed to be in conformity with is claimed to be right. People may wax eloquent about the Rule of Law and all that but one must examine carefully the entire issue, starting with the question: Which Law? Is it Moral Law or the Law as written down in the books by some legislators, who think they have got it right? We have for example the case of slavery which was for a long time absolutely legal but morally the worst atrocity possible. As late as the eighties of the twentieth century, blatant racial discrimination was considered legal in South Africa; there were just some cosmetic sanctions by the affluent countries, even as they cried hoarse about human rights violations elsewhere. But how many were actually disturbed in their Hearts? I wonder how many of you saw the Attenborough's film on Gandhi. If you did, I am sure you would not have forgotten that terrible scene depicting the famous Jalianwala Bagh massacre where about one thousand five hundred defenceless people, young and old, were simply and mercilessly gunned down in one single afternoon. Whatever happened to that General who ordered that shooting? He was supposed to be legally right because he was "defending the Empire" as it was described, but morally?

I do not want to preach or pontificate on these types of issues but raised them mainly to draw attention to an important point often made by Swami, a Spiritual point in fact. It has got to do with what He refers to as ATMA DHARMA. Baba repeatedly stresses that no one, from a king to a pauper is exempt from Atma Dharma.

What does this Atma Dharma mean and imply? Very simple: "Thou shalt not do anything that goes against thy True nature which is that of the Eternal Atma." In simple terms, again due to Baba, "Follow your Conscience for your Conscience is your Master." Shakespeare said the same thing when he observed [in Hamlet]: "Above all, to thine own Self be True!"

Half the problems in the world, perhaps even a higher fraction, problems personal and global, would disappear if people acted according to this simple rule. There is a son for bringing up whom a mother has made immense sacrifice. When the son grows up, he leaves his mother stranded and goes abroad seeking greener pastures. The mother is alone, old and helpless. At times, this boy feels guilty and tries to make up by sending money, Conscience money as some refer to it. The son has violated no law of any land and yet is he not guilty of the greatest crime of all, sheer ingratitude? But nobody cares because all the time we are only interested in legal crimes.

Take the recent rash of corporate frauds. People immediately started talking of stricter laws and stricter enforcement. Hardly anyone paused to ask why there is a massive absence of Morality in Society? Swami has given the answer but I wonder how many would be able to recall it off the cuff. Anyway, here it is, Swami's recipe: First, there must be Love for God. Then there must be fear of sin [I would say mortal fear]. If these two are guaranteed, then Morality would automatically prevail in Society.

Yes, this seemingly simple three-point formula is the sure answer to everything from terrorism to corporate fraud to the terrible spectacle created by AIDS, even as we go around searching for all kinds fixes for the numerous problems facing us.

Think about it! Jai Sai Ram.



Volume 01: PDS / 08 Date : DEC 15 2003