'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.
WHAT IS MORALITY?
Q - Swami-ji, how would you interpret the words 'ethics' and 'morality'?
A - The right and healthy values of life that you preserve in yourself comprise ethics; morality is manifest in your behaviour vis-a-vis the outer world. Immoral thoughts are not possible. There are either unethical thoughts, or ethical thoughts. There is no ethical action, but moral and immoral activity. The two words are used in this sense - one is for the discipline of one's behaviour in the outer world and in ones relationships, the other is subjective. Ethical values and moral behaviour. So, unless you have got healthy ethical values you cannot live a healthy moral life.
Q - Would you say that ethics is the theoretical aspect then?
A - No, the subjective. Ethics is more subjective, something you have to cultivate in yourself. The its expression in the world outside becomes morality. A bad man ethically cannot be morally good. A moral man springs from the ethical values he preserves in himself.
Q - what is the criterion that makes an action right or wrong? How do we judge its moral worth?
A - Having performed an action, its reaction in the form of agitation, disturbance, self-criticism, or an accusation, shows that the action was wrong. That action which in its perpetration brings peace, contentment or self-congratulation to the mind is a good action. According to Hinduism, that which gives you sorrow do not give to others; but do unto others as you would do to yourself. It says much the same in the Bible. It is well known. Therefore a morally good or morally bad act depends upon whether the action gives you regret or joy.