Daily Readings from the Works of Swami Venkatesananda

Insights & Inspirations (Venkatesa Daily Readings Vol 2) — Right Action

August 16, 2023

Right Action

Vidya travelsQuestion: There are times when the boundary between right and wrong is obliterated. There seems to be no such thing, except for honesty and sincerity that is within oneself.

Swami Venkatesananda: we cannot course, the line and nothing else. While living in society we have to obey social laws and norms or face the consequences. Obedience to authority is not even obedience, let alone wise or right action. In every concept of obedience there is inner resistance, fragmentation of the personality, and therefore violence, which is bound to spill over sooner or later as disobedience.

      In love there is no obedience. There is total harmony, individual and social, enhancement resistance. There is direct action. But such love (not of someone or of something) is extremely rare. It is of God, it is God. While this love is not there and willing obedience is seen to be lacking in the spirit one has to turn to what is prestigiously (in the right sense of the word — deceptively) called conscience. However when this word is called into the service of action, it is usually qualified by 'my' conscience. 'My' conscience is the handmaid of 'me' which is 'memory'. The conscience is therefore an unsuitable arbiter of wisdom in action. It is not difficult to see that such conscience is basically egotistic, selfish and hence untrustworthy.

      Therefore, he who rejects 'quote external' (spiritual, parental or guru’s) guidance should be careful enough to avoid the 'promptings of the conscience’ and probe deeper to come face-to-face with the innermost springs of action. If your heart is pure in mind transparent, this is immediately realized. In most of us, however neither of these may be in an enlightened state. The state of confusion prevails.

      While there is no clarity, there is also an anxiety not to do the wrong thing. What is right action? The essential factor in right action, say the greatest of scriptures, is 'not to hurt anyone'. This is righteous in essence, according to Sage Vyasa. But,  is it enough not to hurt intentionally? Or, is it necessary also to consider possible consequences and avoid even unintentionally hurting another? Also, is it possible that everything that we do may directly or indirectly hurt someone, even when this was not intended? Can one ask oneself, "Have I looked at the problem from all possible angles to ensure that all foreseeable factors have been taken care of?" This inquiry is endless, unfathomable and pathless.


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