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Re: Morality

From: sampath kumar (
Date: Wed Jan 26 2000 - 06:23:42 PST

--- Jayanthi Raghavan <> wrote:
My> question to all of you bhagavathas is what role
does> morality play in> our lives and our faith?  In
terms of morality i> mean like drinking> alcohol,
pre-martial sex and so on.  I kind of think> this
question is> important especially today and for us
younger> generation kids. From my> understanding if
the idea of good and evil are only> relative while
one> is in samsara then how does a absolute idea of>
morality fit in.  Is not> morality a personal thing?  

Dear SriMukunda Vijayaraghvan,
Adiyen holds morality is not "a personal thing".

If man lived alone, he could live as he pleased. But
man doesn't live alone; he lives in society. And every
society lays down a set of minimum standards of
behaviour every member must comply with. Such "minimum
standards" constitute morality or civilised behaviour.
It's the only way civilization can survive and grow.
No morality, no civilization. 

In Vedic societies, the concept of "dharma" determines
what is "civilized behaviour" or "moral conduct". What
is "dharma" is described in "smriti", "purANa" and

Is morality "relative"? Yes. 

The "minimum standards of behavior" society imposes
can vary from time to time, from place to place, from
culture to culture, from people to people. (e.g.
Monogamy is virtue in some countries; polyandry is
perfectly acceptable in some other societies. The
monogamy of Sita in the "trEta-yuga" was celebrated as
highest "dharma" in one "purANa", the Ramayana. The
polyandry of Draupadi in another "purANa" of the
"dvApara-yuga" i.e. the Mahabharatha, was regarded no
less virtuous than Sita's. Similarly, in the olden
days, Vedic morality remained neutral towards "sati"
or "sahagamana"; but in modern Indian society, "sati"
is considered to have no Vedic sanction at all.)

>    My second question comes in this form.  How
> liberal or universal is> our Shree Vaishnava faith? 
I am asking this> question because i have> this faith
that our shree vaishnavite beliefs are> universal and
are the> eternal vedic truths but sometimes some very>
conservative beliefs creep> up and sadden me.  Thank
you for your time and> please excuse any of my>
mistakes or wrongdoings.
> -Mukunda Vijaya Raghavan

"Liberal" and "universal" are very difficult, very
loose phrases to define. They mean different things to
different people. If you can elaborate exactly what
the words mean to you, then perhaps answers to your
questions can be attempted.

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