The purpose of religion is certainly to make us a better human being. It helps us manifest the god or goodness within us for the benefit of oneself and the world.
The Three Disciplines
The basic tenets of Hinduism highlight three qualities to groom the physical, mental and intellectual facets of your personality. The most fundamental of the eternal values can be classified into these three disciplines:
- Self control (Brahmacharya) — Regulates the physical personality
- Non-injury (Ahimsa) — Regulates the mental personality
- Truthfulness (Satyam) — Regulates the intellectual personality
Lessons from the Gita
The Bhagavad Gita has clearly defined the ascetic simplicities that every individual should aim at — the austerity of body, speech and mind:
- “Worship of the Gods, the twice born, the teachers and the ‘wise’; purity, straightforwardness, celibacy, and non-injury; these are called the ‘austerity of the body’.” (The Gita, Chapter XVII, 14)
- “Speech which causes no excitement, and is truthful, pleasant and beneficial, and the practice of the study of the Vedas, these constitute the ‘austerity of speech’.” (The Gita, Chapter XVII, 15)
- “Serenity of mind, good heartedness, silence, self-control, purity of nature — these are called the ‘mental austerity’.” (The Gita, Chapter XVII, 16)
Assimilating the Eternal Values
The above verses show us the ways in which we can inculcate and assimilate these fundamental eternal values. Here’re eight things we can do diligently to emerge as better persons:
- Worship the God of your heart
- Maintain external cleanliness — Physical and Environmental
- Practice straightforwardness in dealing with others
- Live a life of self-control with respect to all your sense enjoyments
- Avoid acts of injuring others from your emotional and intellectual realms
- Speak only to express agreeable ideas of permanent value. When the truth is disagreeable to others, maintain a discreet silence.
- Maintain pure and serene motives
- Maintain a relationship of understanding, tolerance and love with the world at large.
People who follow this steadily and with no desire of quick results will attain eternal goodness. This is what the Gita says about goodness: “This threefold austerity practiced by steadfast men with utmost faith desiring no fruit, is called austerity of goodness.” (The Gita, Chapter XVII, 17) And the good are those who refuse to worry about the future because they know that the “future is the resultant of the total path modified by the present.”
~ by Dr. Sunil Jaiman