A value is a value for me only when I see the value of the value as valuable to me.
This is how Swami Dayanand of Arsha Vidya Gurukulum, Coimbatore, defines value. Many among us may find it difficult to follow values such as truthfulness, non-injury, honesty in our lives because we have not perceived the subtle gains that come to us by following these values. Or, maybe, we are too careless to realise the importance of values in life.
Chapter 13 of the Bhagwat Gita elaborates the 20 values that Lord Krishna teaches Arjuna. These values are fundamentally necessary for a seeker to prepare the mind for the knowledge of the Self. One of these values is “Arjavam” which means straightness.
Used as a value “Arjavam” or straightness is like the English word rectitude (from the Latin word Rects, Straight) which means conducting oneself in accordance with one’s ethical standard.
“Arjavam” means an alignment of thought, word and deed. What is non-alignment of thought, word and act? When I think one thing and say another, or when I say one thing and do another, that constitutes non-alignment on my part. The avoidance of this gap, that is division between word and action, word and thought and action and thought, is “Arjavam”.
Of course, no need to ask if there is any importance of alignment of thought, word and deed?
The answer is an affirmative yes. With non-alignment, I would be disintegrated. I would be no longer a complete person. If there is a gulf between me and the thinker, the speaker or the actor, the result will be a restless mind. It will be troubled by guilt and conflicts.
This kind of mind is not quite a receptive instrument ready for learning anything. For such a mind, self knowledge is a far cry. The mind needs to be together, not a split one in order to prepare itself for the teaching of Vedanta. Therefore, “Arjavam”, the alignment of thought, word and deed is included as one of the values of Jnanam (Self knowledge).