'Text-days' are for delving into the words and theory of Advaita Vedanta.
On Wings and Wheels is the publication we are delving into currently. It takes the form of a series of Q&As from devotees to HH Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda. There are many sections and subsections to this book - not all will be given, but it is hoped that the general thought-flow will not be broken for those omissions.
We read last week that Gurudev considered that we could judge the value of an action (good or bad) by the effect it left in our conscience. This prompts a series of enquiries into the psychological reaction within us.
Q - what brings about this reaction?
A - the past experience. It is called wisdom
Q- What about the first experience; with what wisdom does a man judge his action?
A - The first experience is judged by instinct only. There is only the impulse of the moment in that first experience - remember that Man is no more than an animal in this biological form. After that first experience, he trains himself to become more adept as a member of community and a cultured society. Morality is not one law everywhere. There are some fundamentals, though, which are common to all.
Q - Morality become a trial and error thing then? To know morality one must be able to asses before an action is taken...
A - No. Each one will have to learn it for himself through experience and learning means remembering and applying knowledge in the next event.
Q - But there are endless 'first experiences' in life… does it mean every time one faces such, we cannot know if there is a mistake in our approach until after the event?
A - No - by the time of several events, albeit they are different, there is also a 'sixth sense' growing; an understanding of how each one historically has reacted to any type of new situation and therefore an assessment and reasonable judgement can be made from previous experience without it being directly related to the current event.
Q - One cannot say outright that an act is good or bad? What matters is how I react to it through my own experience?
A - Correct! In the final analysis though, there are morally some instructions given because all of us are not on the same level of evolution. Guidelines are set by the external society in order to ensure a balance.
Q - Are certain standards put forth by religion, other by society and also by the individual?
A - No. They are all common.
The conversation continues for quite some more but leads to a final question in this section which brings up the concept of motive behind action. The next section of Q&A will explore this. To obtain the full picture and essence of the discussions, do consider attempting to purchase the text from the link above; it is currently only available from India.