We Indians are very religious and we lavishly spend on religious celebrations and pray for our well-being. But we rarely bother for ethics without which we cannot move even an inch towards true religion or get any favour from God. In daily life, we conveniently forget the real spirit of religion and work for petty personal gains.
Every religion prescribes high ethical standards and values. But few followers pay any heed. We are deviating from true religion and focusing more on external rituals.
Ethical conduct is the foundation-stone of every religion. Four of the eightfold path of Buddhism — right speech, right action, right livelihood and right effort —are all about ethical conduct. Yoga aphorisms of Maharshi Patanjali prescribe Yama and Niyama as the stepping stones for further practice of Yoga. Yama consists of truthfulness, non-violence, non-stealing, non-covetousness and sexual restraint. Niyama consists of purity, contentment, austerity, spiritual study and surrender to divine will. These are the rudimentary requisites for proper practice of any religion. Ironically our concern for religion is conveniently oblivious of these elementary requisites.
In the West, people are not very religious, but by and large, they are honest in daily life. They have a high sense of integrity and they take pride in that. Due to adequate integrity, sincerity, devotion to duty and serving attitude, they have improved community life where we are lagging far behind.
We have lost faith in politicians who are only after power and position without any patriotism. We have lost faith in our religious leaders who are only after gaining prominence and luxurious living without divine realisation. Should we lose faith in ourselves also and be carried away by the stream of unethical practices or stand upright? Let us remember that unselfishness, honesty and purity are more paying regarding contentment and spiritual fulfilment. If we follow this path that represents the true spirit of any religion, then we can serve our nation in a better way.