The derivative meaning of the [Sanskrit] word niiti (morality) is “that which contains the principle of leading”. It is the starting point on the path of spiritual practices. But this is not the only significance of morality. If morality fails to provide human beings with adequate guidance about how to move towards perfection, it does not deserve to be called morality. As morality is distinguished by its capacity to lead and inspire human beings, it cannot afford to lose its dynamic nature by limiting itself to a specific time, place and person. Morality is a living force, the practice of which makes the mind increasingly contemplative, thereby establishing it in supreme subtlety, in supreme cognition. There is a state from which human beings cannot be led to some other state – the question does not arise. Morality is only worthy of the name if it can inspire human beings to reach that state.
Moralism [“a natural system of morality” according to the Oxford English Dictionary] is not the unrealistic dream of the idealist, nor is it the means of fulfilling the mundane needs of the materialist. Rather it is something that provides people with the possibility of merging their mundane objectivity into supramundane Cognition.
The spirit of morality will have to be instilled in human beings from the moment that they first start to learn the lessons of interaction. By interaction I mean social interaction. Viewed from this perspective, the mind of a child is the best receptacle for morality.
But who will impart moral training or education? Parents find fault with teachers, and teachers in turn argue that they cannot give personal attention to an individual child in a crowd of two or three hundred children. Although it is true that most parents are either uneducated or semi-educated, and while it is not unreasonable to expect that teachers will be well-educated, it is not proper to place the sole responsibility for children’s moral education on the shoulders of their teachers. Increasing the number of teachers in educational institutions may partially solve the problem of moral education, but the key to the solution lies with the parents themselves. In cases where the parents are unfit to shoulder this responsibility, the teachers and well-wishers of society will have to come forward and demonstrate their greater sense of responsibility.
Remember, humanity’s very existence is based on morality; when morality leads human beings to the fullest expression of their finer human qualities, then alone is its practical value fully realized. The concerted effort to bridge the gap between the first expression of morality and establishment in universal humanism is called “social progress”. And the collective body of those who are engaged in the concerted effort to conquer this gap, I call “society”.
From Human Society Part 1
Copyright Ananda Marga Publications 2011