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Is there such a thing as right or wrong


Published by Penguin Books India

The Book of Wisdom
Chapter #24
Chapter title: Bring in the New Man
6 March 1979 am in Buddha Hall
Archive code: 7903060
ShortTitle: WISDOM24
Audio: Yes
Video: No
Length: 92 mins

Is there such a thing as right or wrong?
Akam, there There is no such thing as right or wrong, because something may be right this moment and it may not be right the next moment. Something may be wrong today and may not be wrong tomorrow.
Right and wrong are not fixed entities, they are not labels that you can put on things, This is right and This is wrong. But this has been done up to now. Right and wrong have been decided by people. And because people have decided right and wrong, they have misguided the whole humanity.
Manu decides in one way: what he thinks is right becomes right for millions and millions of Hindus for thousands of years. It is so stupid, it is unbelievable! How can people go on following Manu for five thousand years? Everything else has changed. If Manu comes back he will not be able to recognize the world at all; everything has changed. But the Hindu mind goes on following the categories that Manu has fixed.
Still, after five thousand years, there are millions of people in India who are not treated like people. What to say, that they are not treated like people they are not even treated like cattle. Even cows are far more important than alive people. Cows are worshipped, cows are holy, and the untouchables, the s Sudras, the rejected people rejected by Manu, five thousand years ago are burned.
And even a man like Vinoba Bhave is ready to go on fasting if cow slaughter is not completely stopped in the country, totally stopped. But he is completely silent, he does not say a single word, that the untouchables are being killed, burned alive, their women raped, their children murdered, butchered. Villages of untouchables, whole villages are being effaced from the earth, and Vinoba Bhave is not thinking of going on a fast. Who bothers about these untouchables? They are not part of humanity, they are not human beings. Cows have to be saved, because Manu worships the cow.
It may have been right at that moment, ; I am not against Manu, I am against the foolish followers of Manu. It may have been right at that time, because the cow was very very important, it was the center of the whole economy; particularly the Indian economy was based on the cow. It was an agricultural society, and the cow was the source of many things: of the bulls, the bullocks, the manure, the milk it was immensely important, it was perfectly right to save it. But now the world is living in a totally different way. Manu had a very small world; now we have the whole earth to think of, it is not only a question of a small sect. But once right has been fixed, people go on following blindly; it has been like that up to now.
For example, in the t Ten c Commandments Moses says, Do not worship any other god than the true God. Don’t make idols of the true God and don’t worship any other gods. It was a totally different world; three thousand years have passed. In fact, in those ten commandments there is not a single commandment which says anything about atheists. It says, Don’t worship any other god. It does not say, Don’t disbelieve in God, because there was no disbeliever. Atheism was not at all in the air.
Now the most fundamental thing will be to teach people how not to be atheists, because atheism is very prevalent. Almost half of the earth has gone communist, it is atheist, and the remaining half is only formally theist. Now the most fundamental commandment should be, Don’t be atheists, don’t be disbelievers, don’t be doubters. Now trust should be the most fundamental teaching to be given to people.
As time changes, rights change, wrongs change. And you can see it in your own life every day things are different, and you go on clinging to your fixed ideas. The man who lives with fixed ideas lives a dead life. He is never spontaneous and he is never in a right relationship with the situation that exists. He is never response-able; he functions out of his old conclusions which are no longer relevant, he does not look at the situation itself.
So, Akam, according to me there is no such thing as right and no such thing as wrong. Then what do I teach? I teach awareness — not labeling, not categorizing. I teach awareness. I teach you to be fully aware in every situation, and act out of your awareness. Or, in different words I can say: Any action that happens through awareness is right; any action that happens through unawareness is wrong.
But see the emphasis. The emphasis is not on the action itself, the emphasis is on the source awareness or unawareness. If you act fully aware, then whatsoever you do is right. If you move mechanically and do things unconsciously as if you are a sleepwalker, a somnambulist, then whatsoever you do is wrong.
Awareness is right, unawareness is wrong.
But if you go to the priests, they will teach you what is right and what is wrong. They will not give you insight, they will give you dead categories. They will not give you light, so that you can see in every situation what to do and what not to do; they want you to depend on them. They don’t give you insight into things, so you have to remain dependent forever. They give you crutches, but they don’t make you stand on your own feet.
Avoid the priests. Whenever you go to any kind of experts, their whole effort in fact is how to make you dependent on them.
The star of a Broadway hit was visiting friends when the talk got around, turn, as usual, to psychiatry. I must say, said the hostess, I think my analyst is the best in the world, ! Y you can’t imagine what he has done for me. You ought to try him.
But I don’t need analysis, said the star. I could not be more normal, there is nothing wrong with me.
But he is absolutely great, insisted her friend. He will find something wrong.
There are people who live on finding something wrong with you, . T their whole trade secret is to find something wrong with you. They cannot accept you as you are; they will give you ideals, ideas, ideologies, and they will make you feel guilty and they will make you feel worthless, dirt. In your own eyes, they will make you feel so condemned that you will forget all about freedom.
In fact you will become afraid of freedom, because you will see how bad you are, how wrong you are and if you are free, you are going to do something wrong, so follow somebody. The priest depends on it, the politician depends on it. They give you right and wrong, fixed ideas, and then you will remain guilty forever.
I say to you: There is nothing right and nothing wrong. I don’t want you to depend on me, and I don’t give you any fixed ideas. I simply give you indications, hints, which have to be worked out by you. And the hint that I give to you is awareness. Become more aware, and it is a miracle….
If you are angry, the priest will say anger is wrong, don’t be angry. What will you do? You can repress anger, you can sit upon it, you can swallow it, literally, but it will go into you, into your system. Swallow anger and you will have ulcers in the stomach, swallow anger and sooner or later you will have cancer. Swallow anger and you will have a thousand and one problems arising out of it, because anger is poison. But what will you do? If anger is wrong, you have to swallow it.
I don’t say anger is wrong, I say anger is energy, pure energy, beautiful energy. When anger arises, be aware of it, and see the miracle happen. When anger arises, be aware of it, and if you are aware you will be surprised; you are in for a surprise maybe the greatest surprise of your life that as you become aware, anger disappears. Anger is transformed. Anger becomes pure energy; anger becomes compassion, anger becomes forgiveness, anger becomes love. And you need not repress, so you are not burdened by some poison. And you are not being angry, so you are not hurting anybody. Both are saved: the other, the object of your anger, is saved, and you are saved. In the past, either the object was to suffer, or you were to suffer.
What I am saying is that there is no need for anybody to suffer. Just be aware, let awareness be there. Anger will arise and will be consumed by awareness. One cannot be angry with awareness and one cannot be greedy with awareness and one cannot be jealous with awareness. Awareness is the golden key.
–From The Book of Wisdom, Discourse 24



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