Quote 9: Our guide to duties, and the standards for evaluating actions

“Krishna explains to us the grammar of life, and provides us certain firm norms for judging the propriety of actions whatever be their spheres. He casts a great burden of responsibility on the humans, and makes them wholly accountable for their own actions or inactions. The edict to govern human actions and the criteria to assess their propriety can be gathered from the following four short extracts from Tilak’s Gita Rahasya:

(i) “The chief object of the Gita is not to show what would be the proper arrangement for the maintenance of society. The summary of the Gita is that, whatever the arrangement of society may be, one should enthusiastically perform all the duties which have come to one’s share, according to one’s status in life…..”

(ii) “…one has necessarily to consider, in the first instance, the Reason ( buddhi) of the doer, that is to say, the motive with which he did the act, and whether or not he had realized the consequences of the act, when one is determining the righteousness or the unrighteousness of the doer.”

(iii) “Whether Bhisma will die or Drona will die as a result of the carrying on the war, is a minor consideration; the principal question is with what frame of Reason you are going to enter the fight; ….[Y]ou will incur no sin if Bhisma and Drone are killed while you are performing your duty with the pure and untarnished Reason.”

(iv) “Therefore, in order to find out whether or not Reason is pure and equable, one must in the first instance consider the external Actions of the man; otherwise, a man will by his mouth say that his Reason is pure and equable, and by his hands do whatever he likes.”

The great Hindi Poet ‘Dinkar’ makes Bhishma tell the remorseful Yudhisthira, when the latter called on him in the battlefield of Kurukshetra, that the most important thing in one’s actions is the motive and attitude of the person acting : ……….

(God Himself said this: what matters most is one’s attitudes to what
one does. The most important point is how much detached
one is from what one is doing.)

 Shiva Kant Jha’s ON THE LOOM OF TIME The Portrait of My Life and Times Chapt. 20 at pp. 268


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