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Towards a Universal Morality


Transliteration :
Kalabeda, Kolabeda, Husiya nudiyalu beda,
Muniyabeda, Anyarige asahya padabeda
Tanna bannisabeda, Idira haliyalubeda
Ide antaranga shuddhi, Ide bahiranga shuddhi
Ide namma Kudala Sangama Deveranolisuva pari.

Translation :
You shall not steal nor kill,
Nor speak a lie,
Be angry with no one,
Neither scorn another man;
And never glorify thyself and insult others
These are the means to inward purity
These are the means to outward purity
This is the way to please our Lord Kudala Sangama Deva.

Commentary :
Basavanna was aware that being a saint or a realised soul was not enough for the whole humanity. Like all the great spiritual instructors of humanity whose concern was for the welfare of one and all, he was also a law-giver.

When Moses ascended Mount Sinaï, he knew that the Hebrew people were in dire confusion of values, still worshipping the Golden Calf. He did not encounter God only for the sake of his own salvation, instead he came down with the sacred tables of the Ten Commandments to redeem his people from the pangs of decadent behaviour. Buddha is known to be the first Indian sage to have preached an individualistic approach to spiritual enlightenment, yet his compassion for all his suffering fellow beings was so great that he gave mankind the Path of the Eight Noble Virtues, the ashtha shuddhi. Because his love for his brethren was unlimited, Jesus did not make any particular lawful statement. “Love thy neighbour as thyself” was enough for him to summarise the most profound expectations he had for mankind. In spite of the most ancient injunctions directed towards the welfare of all living beings, man has again and again to be reminded of the basic virtues which can make him live in harmony with his fellow-men, the world as well as with himself.

Human history is made of devastating wars. Killing and plundering have been the ruthless occupation of thousands of human herds all over the world, leaving in their trail only desolation and sadness. Because of uncontrollable greed and covetousness, man has invaded prosperous civilisations and enslaved their people to their insatiate selfishness.

1- Not stealing;
2- Not killing;
3- Not lying;
4- Not being angry;
5- Not scorning others;
6- Restraining oneself from glorification ;
7- Avoiding to insult others;
8- Purity, both outward and inward.

Though the majority of human beings will theoretically agree that these eight ethical means (Sadhana) are the foundation of harmonious living, the historical events of yesterday and today teach us that there is an urgent need for every single human being to put them daily into practice. These are the stepping-stone to spiritual attainment. The grace of God is not going to shower on us miraculously without our preparing the existential ground to receive it. One cannot achieve anything spiritual without moral purification. Mere worship, meditation etc. , will not succeed to achieve God’s grace if they are not resting on moral purity.

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