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Moral and Ethics in Everyday Life

As Mahakavi Kalidasa has depicted in this Sanskrit shloka -For people of character when in a dilemma whether a particular conduct or deed is good or bad their own voice or conscience is final arbiter. What Kalidasa tries to explain is that the 'Ethical values operates as an inner voice to give a proper direction and decision to life'. By definition, Ethics is study of questions of morality, search to understand what is right, wrong, good, bad. Ethics is derived from Greek word 'ethikos' meaning character. The word itself depicts its significance as 'Anything in abundance without a character is useless'. While Moral is from Latin word 'more'. Though these two terms are often used interchangeably, morality has evolved to mean social norms that people are taught and conditioned to follow while ethics has come to refer to rational investigating and questioning of these norms. Thus view of ethics is normative.

In everyday life, from viewpoint of spiritual, social, personal and overall development, moral values are of great importance. Values, morals and ethics are inextricably tied together. To differentiate, values are what we learn from childhood inhabit from society and surrounding. They are power behind any action. Moral values are meant for making quest to find higher self in an easier way. Ethics on the other hand are how we actually behave in face of difficult situations that test our moral caliber. Quality of our lives is not determined by happenstance of genetics or by influence of environment and is not dependent on personality or social acclaim. On contrary, the intrinsic value of lives we lead reflects the strength of a single trait- Our personal character.

In The Ethics of Everyday Life, Michael Banner argues that moral theology must reconceive its nature and tasks if it is not only to articulate its own account of human being, but also to enter into constructive contention with other accounts. In particular, it must be willing to learn from and engage with social anthropology if it is to offer powerful and plausible portrayals of the moral life and answers to the questions which trouble modernity.

In some recent years the issues of ethics and morality has sprung up in every walk of life. This is because of the evil and cruel events happening all over the world. The massive destruction of mankind and property in Iraq, Syria, hcrimes, corruptions, murders, rapes, religious fights - all this is a sign of the diminishing ethics and morality from human lives.

Terrorists or jihadists fighting on the basis of protection of religion are not aware of the fact that every religion itself prescribes high ethical standards and values. In fact Ethical conduct is the foundation stone of every religion. As per Sikhism- there are seven basic elements of Ethics-wisdom, truth, temperance, humility, courage, justice and contentment. Buddhism depicts the eight fold path which is all about ethical conduct. Chapter 13 of Bhagvat Gita elaborates 20 values that Lord Krishna taught Arjuna.

One incident describes in deep about what actually religion is and how it is connected to ethics. Guru Nanak JI was asked once, as to which was greatest of the religions prevalent in India? He replied that without morality both will be losers. If such principles are properly incorporated in our lives, we will definitely have a peaceful society. No doubt Spirituality is important. But if we follow general modes of devotion it can help us to become a better human being. The issues like destruction and devastation of social life will be eradicated completely only if fought with the weapons of Ethics and morality. In every walk of life we should ethically think about our actions and do as what our internal values say.

According to me ethics and morality should come from the soul. If everyone thinks like this and if morality comes from one's self ten our society will emerge as a power. As famous Scientist Albert Einstein has said- 'Try not to become a person of success but rather try to become a person of value', let's try to become one.

Rajashree Ravindra Bhirud

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