“Try not to become a person of success, but rather try to become a person of value.” — Albert Einstein.
There’s nothing wrong with success, but oftentimes it’s easy to lose sight of who you are when you’re successful. If you keep your eyes on your own values, you’ll end up both successful and a good person, which is a pretty good combination. The moral values in life hold great importance from the point of personal, social, and spiritual development. Values, morals, and ethics are inextricably tied together. Values are what we learn from childhood; the ‘stuff’ we acquired from our parents and immediate surroundings. Values are the motive power behind purposeful action. Moral values are meant for making the quest to find the higher self easier. Unfortunately, many amongst us may find it difficult to follow values such as truthfulness, honesty, forgiveness in our lives because we have not perceived the subtle gains that come to us by following these values. Or, maybe, we are careless to realize the importance of values in life. Ethics, on the other hand, are how we actually do behave in the face of difficult situations that test our moral fiber. Ethics are the code or principles on which one’s character depends.
Ethics and character are closely related. Values are essential to ethics develop at an early age and can be instrumental to building character. The quality of our lives is not determined by the chance of genetics or by the influence of the environment; it is not measured in material possessions or in the trappings of youth; it is not dependent on personality or social acclaim. On the contrary, the intrinsic value of the lives we lead reflects the strength of a single trait: our personal character.
We Indians are very religious and we lavishly spend on religious celebrations and pray for our well-being. But we rarely bother for ethics without which we cannot move even an inch towards true religion or get any favour from God. In daily life, we conveniently forget the real spirit of religion and work for petty personal gains. Every religion prescribes high ethical standards and values, but few followers pay any heed.
Spirituality can help us become better human beings if we follow the general moral codes with devotion. It prepares our body and mind, to receive God’s inspiration. It also transforms our thinking, speech, and our actions that form virtuous habits that determine our moral character. One cannot be spiritual without good character. Character is a combination of qualities that make an individual ethically admirable.
Mahatma Gandhi laid down some rules for students so as to ensure that morality and righteousness always be considered as an essential part of education so that every student shall gain in terms of knowledge and spirituality. He said that, on the one hand, where students should gain education under the strict regimen of high morals, self-control, and right thinking; on the other, they should also be expected to provide service to the society in general. This includes their respect towards parents, teachers and elders, love for children, following of social traditions and constant awareness towards their duties and responsibilities.
I can say that when we live our lives according to moral values that are based on honesty, compassion, courage, modesty, and forgiveness, then we can also form positive bonds with people around us.
By Mr. Sachin M. Bhelkar