Ethical Teachings 1

Ethical teachings


Ram Manohar Lohiya

Ram Manohar Lohia (1910 – 1967) divides his views into three parts. In the first part, Lohia’s conception of international society is discussed. Lohia agrees with Gandhi and Nehru that the international society is basically composed of the nation-states. They are the dominant actors. They create order in international society. However, Lohia was thoroughly dissatisfied with that order as he perceives that the society is highly stratified between the hegemon (powers) and the peripheral powers. In order to rectify that order, Lohia suggests a strategy. The second part discusses that strategy. Being an idealist, Lohia wants to do away with unjust order c-.nd suggests long term strategy to transcend that order. So that the society of states can be transformed into a society of men. This strategy elaborated by Lohia for the global order and peace.

Lohia was firmly convinced that the approximation (full development of human personality) of human race was not possible with the existing concept of international relationship. He, therefore, favoured a new idea of people to people relationship in place of government to government relationship which dominates the international affairs today. Every one has been striving for the unity of mankind. This strivings have been expressed through the need of one God, or one world or even onenesB of all animal life. According to Lohia, aspiration for unity of Godhead was intimately connected with the aspiration for the political unity of mankind.

Justice even in world order can not be achieved without the establishment of equality of man in that society. He writes that all those who desire for world peace through the world government must aspire to achieve a world view of equality against class or caste or regional inequalities. Lohia conceives equality not only within a nation but also among nations and that such equality must not be limited to the field of law. The concept of equality must embrace economic, political and social and other areas also. Material equality among nations appears more difficult to achieve than material equality within the nations. No nation can for long remain equal within its frontiers-if it is unequal against other nations. As water finds its level, human society tends to approximate to its lowest  levels, provided these levels are otherwise not raised.

Lohia views equality in four aspects, viz., inward and outward as well as spiritual and material, he pleads for an integrated approach. He advocated, “Equality must therefore, be grasped in all its four meanings. Material equality must mean the outward approximation among nations as well as the inward approximation within the nation. Spiritual equality must mean outward kinship as much as it means inward equanimity, kinship, material equality within the nation and among nations is worthy to become a supreme  aim of life and its purpose.

Lohia’s concept of justice also implies an urge to end all forms of colonialism and political rule of one nation over another. He considers colonialism as a shame to mankind and a serious impediment to the growth of an equal world. In the preface to Marx, Gandhi and socialism, Lohia writes, “National freedom is on the way to becoming men’s irremovable property… No people shall now be allowed to exercise direct rule over another. Indirect control, oppressions may continue and their fate shall be part of the wider fate of the total fight against injustice. But direct political  rule of one nation over another belongs to the irrevocable past.

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

Radhakrishnan’s appeal to intuition underlies his vision for an ethical Hinduism, a Hinduism free from ascetic excesses. The ethical potency of intuition affirms the validity of the world. “Asceticism,” Radhakrishnan emphasizes, “is an excess indulged in by those who exaggerate the transcendent aspect of reality.” Instead, the rational mystic “does not recognize any antithesis between the secular and the sacred. Nothing is to be rejected; everything is to be raised”.

Radhakrishnan’s ethical mystic does not simply see the inherent value of the world and engage in its affairs. Rather, the ethical individual is guided by an intuitive initiative to move the world forward creatively, challenging convention and established patterns of social interaction. For Radhakrishnan, this ethically integrated mode of being presents a positive challenge to moral dogmatism. The positive challenge to moral convention, according to Radhakrishnan, is the creative promotion of social tolerance and accommodation. Just as Radhakrishnan’s Hinduism rejects absolute claims to truth and the validity of external authority, so too has Hinduism “developed an attitude of comprehensive charity instead of a fanatic faith in an inflexible creed”.

Radhakrishnan gave a spiritual interpretation to the modern theory of evolution. The growth of human beings have led to their spiritual development. The human self is conscious of its limitations and purpose. He believed that the existence of the soul can be proved through our spiritual consciousness. However, the noble men are better able to listen to voice of this inner self. But, misuse of our rational faculties can lead to a deterioration of our spiritual self. This human spirit develops through love and worship. That is why, all the religions emphasize on the element of love and worship.

He believed that humans exist in the world for a higher cause. Hindu thought has laid a belief in the power of the human mind. It puts faith in the capability of human beings. The idealist tradition has always asserted the supremacy of the spirit in humans. This spirituality is essential to the dignity and identity of the man. It is the source of our values and principles. The values bind the individual in a harmonious relationship with the society.

Radhakrishnan also believed that a training is necessary to direct our mental vision to the right objects. He carefully mentions that intuition should not be confused with anti-intellectualism. Intuition which ignores the intellect is useless. The two are deeply interlinked.  Human nature changes in two ways: First, there are natural and mechanical changes which are inevitable. Second, there are ethical and spiritual changes which are linked to our conscience.

Morality enables a person to rise above to a higher level. His conception of religion transcends the religious dogmas. It is more of a universal religion, fulfilling the aspirations of humanity. Radhakrishnan’s philosophy is the philosophy of growth and progress of human’s spiritual personality. Our total liberation is possible only when we are truly free.

Development of our moral nature can be ensured only by loving other fellow beings. One should control the ego. This is the foundation of all ethical process. A moral person follows his inner spirit, and not his external senses. Our destiny is to expand our humanity, and make it more spiritual and understanding. Matter, life and mind evolve only when their respective conditions are met.


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