The Contours of Law and Morality in Indian Society – Aurangabad, Dec 2, 2018

 

Situated in the Deccan heartland, Aurangabad is a vibrant city of over a million inhabitants, with a history that can be traced back a thousand years. It is a well known tourism hub.

Aurangabad is also the seat of a permanent bench of the Bombay High Court, with over 18 judges and  1000 practising advocates.

This December, Swami Chidananda as the Chief Guest, delivered the Late Adv. Vishnupant Adwant Memorial endowment lecture. Held at an auditorium in the MP Law College, the jampacked audience of members of the judiciary, the Police Commissioner, senior office bearers of the municipal corporation including the Mayor’s office, and the staff and students of the college paid rapt and absorbed attention.

Swamiji, in his inimitable and lucid way, discussed ‘The Contours of Law and Morality in Indian Society’, drawing the attention of the august audience to the fact that while ‘laws’ may be of professional interest to those involved in the legal profession, ‘laws’ were made by lawmakers, who were in fact entrusted by society –  and that, ultimately both law and morality was of interest to all humanity.

Over time and throughout history, there was always a divergence and a difference of opinion in the interpretation of laws. Taking the example of Bhagat Singh, Swamiji pointed out that while we Indians saw him as a freedom fighter, the British saw him as a terrorist –  it appeared as if the eyes of morality and the eyes of law tended to go in opposite directions. In the name of religions, the world had seen bloodshed. Divisions drove strife between nations, between religions,  and even between families and human beings.

Swamiji quoted Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese Zen Master who has said that miracles were not in flying or in walking on water. The real miracle was in walking on earth with peace in the heart.

On an earlier evening, Swamiji met and interacted with a select gathering of the elite professionals of Aurangabad, where he spoke a few words on ‘Wisdom for Right Action’. In  spite of increasing comforts, of modern science and technology, we were divided by strife and conflicts. In a world of ever increasing knowledge, there was a shortage apparently, of wisdom. Drawing an analogy with a tree, Swamiji showed that the beauty and life of the tree was to be found both in its new shoots and leaves (the new technologies of the world), and in the old roots (the ancient, time-tested wisdom). Wisdom was to be found in all schools of thought across religions, be it Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Sufi traditions.

Swamiji suggested that we dig deeper, even into wisdom, and make note that all thoughts, words, actions and indeed, wisdom, stemmed from Consciousness.

And advanced spirituality was when we could take a second look at ourselves, in the spirit of self-inquiry. Only when we would be free of all biases – religious, regional, political; when we would not expend all our energies on the ‘outside’ senses, would we be able to see all humanity as one.

Quoting Sri Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita: swadharme nidhanam shreyaha paradharmo bhayawaha (3/35)…  Swamiji asked that we discover where our true skills lie. To find out our true temperament, and not get carried away by fancies or passing fads.

The erudite and well-read Police Commissioner of Aurangabad, Chiranjeev Prasad later appreciatively commented that he was very happy to hear Swamiji’s interpretation of the shloka, since it has often been misrepresented in a narrow manner that suggests one should follow only one’s own religion, and stay away from other religions.

The AUPA event was extremely well received and covered extensively across local newspapers at Aurangabad. The links to the talks can be found on Swamiji’s FaceBook that is run by the AUPA team.

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