The world of no good

wanna have a fun life, travel, and see different cultures.

Sunday, June 04, 2006


Here is a refreshing quote from (Swami) Vivekananda:

'The Vedanta recognizes no sin it only recognizes error. And the greatest error, says the Vedanta is to say that you are weak, that you are a sinner, a miserable creature, and that you have no power and you cannot do this and that.'

It is refereshing because it doesn't say the coarse 'if u are a good boy, u will go to heaven; if u are a bad boy, u will go to hell.' which most religious teachings (including many in the Hindu tradition) teach/lecture on.

It is refereshing because his thoughts treat each individual like a higher being capable of thought - it doesn't denigrate human beings to being things running to do good for selfish motives related to the after-life.


Blogger pagala'k' said...

So you mean to say intelligence alone will be enough to choose the right path.

Intelligence is a double edged sword. You have the Harshad Mehta's and you also have the Warren Buffet's. You have a Naryan Murthy and you also have a host of executives from Enron.

I do identify with what the Swami says, but at times throwing a rule book called religion works better.

1:14 AM  
Blogger karthik durvasula said...

I am not sure I completely understand how the issue u have raised connects to what I claim to like about what Vivekananda said (at least, in the quote).

I will connect the two as I understand it:

The issue here as Vivekananda points out is not about what is 'ethically' right and what is 'ethically' wrong - it is about striving for something (whatever it may be) and not letting inertia getting in the way.

The issue of 'rules' is different (but, related) - religious literature partly deals with laying down the law and phrasing it in terms of being affected in the after-life if the laws aren't followed - however, what needs to be observed is that laws are independent of morals - they are what a society decides. That stealing is seen to be bad is something set forth by law - and laws change over time - this is not because 'morals' are malleable, but because different things affect societies to different degrees at different points in time. The idea of 'affect' is crucial in law - stealing 10 rupees and stealing a million rupees are surely treated different - though morally the offence is the same (morality deals with qualitative differences, and not quantitative differences as I see it).

So how does what I like about what Vivekananda said connect with the issue you raised?

I still am not completely sure! but here goes -

If we realise the need for laws and set them consciously based solely on social needs and not on some vague moral values, then there is no need to invoke an absolutely vague concept of 'sin'.

Harshad Mehta can do as he pleases (this is an absolute right of every human being - to do exactly as he pleases) with the knowledge that if he gets caught he is gonna get into trouble. And he will get into trouble not because he is 'morally wrong' (I am not sure I know who sets these 'principles'), but because society, at the relevant point in time, does not find his actions acceptable.

Vivekanda (from what I have understood from his other works) has always emphasised that life is not about 'sinning' and 'not sinning', or of 'god' or 'no god' (in fact, if you read, he finds atheism to perfectly to be compatible with Vedanta principles). Life is about the quest for truth or knowledge.

The moment we accept 'old notions' of right/wrong, god/evil to be true without trying to improve on these notions, that moment we have stopped thinking, that moment we have stopped 'trying' and that moment we would have, crucially, erred.

2:37 AM  
Blogger pagala'k' said...

well put!

May be you can start one of these spiritual courses and make some fast money :;

12:28 AM  
Blogger karthik durvasula said...

uuh, that will be a 100 dollars please - check / cash (no credit cards, adefinitely no bank tranfers - I will end up losing 20 dollars!)

1:27 AM  

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