Moral Integrity

In every country in the world, in every nation and race in the human family, we see today lack of integrity and of true morals in daily life. Every human heart is in conflict with the head; thought and speech are hardly in harmony; and this inner disintegration manifests itself in wrong types of outward actions, in low standards of morality and selfish interests on the physical plane. Theosophy stresses the importance of a change in the inner life and being, in the causal aspect of all our activities, so that the effects produced may be harmonious and beneficial to all. The Voice of the Silence instructs: "Teach to eschew all causes; the ripple of effect, as the great tidal wave, thou shalt let run its course." The effect will turn out right only if right causes are set in motion. The divine virtue of Shila, harmony in word and act, can restore the needed equilibrium only if it is practised daily, and then, instead of being disintegrated, the character will become integrated.

Humata-Hukhta-Huvarshta, the trinity of good thoughts, good words and good deeds, is the basic principle behind Lord Zoroaster's teachings, which, if applied in daily life, would keep one free from all antagonism and conflicts, individually and collectively. Thoughts are the seeds of all actions, and if the right beginning is made on the plane of the mind, the first step is taken towards self-purification. So what the world needs today for its moral order is not abundance of wealth and material possessions for which there is so much craving, not even scientific knowledge which has advanced out of proportion to the practice of ethical precepts, but a right basis for living the life. Theosophy, the ancient Wisdom-Religion, was reproclaimed to awaken the Buddhic faculty in man. The Divine Parent, Atma-Buddhi, is immortal on its own plane, but it is the self-conscious thinker, the reincarnating ego, who has to acquire immortality by becoming a pure channel of the divine Avalokiteshwara. In this important task, moral disintegration is a very great obstruction.

Sri Krishna says in the Ninth Discourse of the Gita: "I am the cause unseen and the visible effect." Herein lies the clue to understanding all the chaos and confusion in the world. The majority of human beings entirely disregard the cause and form their opinions, utter words or perform deeds on the basis of effects and from a personal point of view. So there is greater need to begin to think rightly on the basis of truth and the right principles given to us by all the great teachers. This would enable us to make beneficent use of our power of speech, and then our deeds would be performed in a disinterested manner, for the good of all. Again in the Ninth Discourse of the Bhagavad-Gita Sri Krishna states: "I am the origin and the dissolution, the receptacle, the storehouse, and the eternal seed." A quiet reflection on this would help us to understand the correct concept of the source of all life and the unity of life. Then it would not be possible to think of injuring a brother, killing an animal or bird, destroying a shrub, lest we prevent the tiniest creature from moving onward and forward in its evolutionary march. It is because the unity of the One Life is not understood that the harmony of the One Divine Law cannot be preserved. Once the harmony is disturbed, the price needs must be paid through suffering and sorrow, and thus disintegration on all planes follows. If the seeds of pure thoughts are sown in the well-prepared, clean and clear soil of the mind, if thedy are sown with a pure and unselfish motive, for the good of all, and nourished with the life-giving waters of wisdom, then the impetus is given in the right direction in terms of the Law, and all works naturally end in harmony and integration. The objective, physical aspect, whether of the universe or of man, is considered so important that most people are not even aware of the invisible aspects. An individual may not really care about smoking or drinking alcohol, but to conform to the social habits of the day he indulges in one or another or both. He has not the moral power of remaining true to his own convictions, but succumbs to the temptations thoughtlessly, without realizing the consequences.

It is only the second divine Paramita—Shila, the key of Harmony in word and act—that, when practised, would restore peace and contentment in the world. Integrated character is only the result of right thinking. It is this key which counterbalances the cause and the effect, and leaves no further room for Karmic action. The law which is just brings about the necessary adjustment, and slowly, as right causes are generated and altruism is practised to greater and greater extent, one wins one's freedom from the bondage of life and death.

The method of becoming integrated is also prescribed in The Voice of the Silence (p. 39) :

Follow the wheel of life; follow the wheel of duty to race and kin, to friend and foe, and close thy mind to pleasures as to pain. Exhaust the law of karmic retribution. Gain Siddhis for thy future birth.

The last, the gaining of Siddhis, is the natural outcome of the daily practice of the first four steps. What is meant by following the wheel of life? The life and the law move in a rotatory motion, in a circular motion; therefore we are asked to work in harmony with the law of cycles. Just as it is wrong to swim against the tide, so also it is necessary to watch the movement of the wheel of life. Human beings must learn to give up their wrong habits and inclinations, and to understand the stage of life they have reached. Vice and wickedness are abnormal at this stage of our evolution. We are on the upward arc of the circle, and must act in a manner befitting our manasic condition—in communion with our Divine Parent. If the wheel of life is moving upward and human beings choose to take a downward course, then naturally disintegration is the result. In the scheme of evolution we must take the right course.

The next step is to follow the wheel of duty to race and kin, to friend and foe. How are we going to do this? By purifying ourselves of the race tendencies and elevating ourselves to a higher level. Though hast and hurry and restlessness are among the common race tendencies, we can try to be calm and mentally balanced. Though ceaseless chase after evanescent and perishable things is another wrong trait, such passions can be subdued. We have inherited the wrong traits belonging to our particular family, community nation and race. Once we begin to get rid of them, begin to think and live on a higher level, we shall be following the wheel of duty to our fellow beings. By conquering our hatred and following the path of love we shall have no foes, but all alike will be our fellow pilgrims. This wheel of duty is to be followed without any self-interest.

Next, we are asked to close our mind to pleasures as to pain. That, in other words implies equal-mindedness. The mind should be equipoised at all times, and not swayed by the pairs of opposites—pleasure and pain, success and failure, fame and ignominy, etc. Under the influence of any of them, the mind cannot be steady, but fluctuates one way or another. An unsteady mind cannot bring about integration of character; it cannot help us. It is this lower mind that is the slayer of the Real, and so we are asked to slay the slayer. This can only be done by keeping the mind busy at a higher level. It must begin to think less and less of the self of matter and more and more of the life of the Spirit, of the Self of the Spirit. Once that firm position is assumed, the direction being changed, integration of character will be the result. It is attachment to pleasure or pain that is the obstructive factor. When that attachment is removed and detachment is practised in daily life, one becomes indifferent to one's own pleasure or pain, and begins to conquer one's own illusions. Thus, the disintegrating factor being removed, peace and contentment and inner joy can be established within oneself. Each individual, as he becomes integrated, expresses truth and non-violence, unity and harmony and self-reliance, all of which are needed so much in the world today. Pure thoughts, pure words, pure deeds have no barriers. Anyone, at any time, in any place, under any circumstance, can practise this divine trinity, leading to integration of character. Falsehood, dishonesty, selfishness, will all disappear as the light of truth shines forth through every thought, word and deed.

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