What is Right and What is Wrong?– Article 7.

12 JUNE 2023


If you want to see what happens if you disconnect Super Systems from the role you are playing to decide what is right and what is wrong, read the book “The Difficulty of being good” 8 by Gurcharan Singh. I strongly disagree with Gurcharan Singh, that the words dharma and adharma are subtle and vague! Yes, if you disconnect the role and the end for a given role, there will be a confusion of what is right and what is wrong. Without consideration of the correct Super System for the role, dharma and adharma become vague but certainly, not when you consider the Super System for the role you are in. Mr. Gurcharan Singh, in his book ‘The Difficulty of being Good’ mentions the word ‘role’ just a couple of times in the entire book but sadly misses the role-based dharma and adharma concept, that is the essence of Mahabharat which unfortunately he quotes.

I disagree with the contents of ‘The Difficulty of being Good’ for its failure to link the role and the end, when deciding what is right and what is wrong. Unfortunately, the author takes Mahabharat to elucidate his point of how difficult it is to be good. He dedicates one chapter for every key character in the Mahabharat to drive home his point. I have been taking the same characters in Mahabharat for years as examples to tell my management audiences how easy it is to be right and good!

The author starts off questionably when he describes an incident involving his boss, who the author says had a fantastic sense of values and was his inspiration. His boss found, after he took over as CEO, that a great remedy one of his factories was making in the UK was being exported to Germany and had great sales there.

But people in Germany were receiving bribes for the export order with his company. Being a very upright man, this boss stopped this practice altogether. But the results were disastrous. The UK factory employing 1,000 people had to be closed. What is the correct Super System SS1 as CEO for a pharmacy company or for any doctor prescribing a drug? The SS1 is the external customer, the patient. Let us remember “The medicine is for the patient.” In this one act, he made thousands of Germans not being able to get the drug of exceptionally beneficial effect on the maintenance of their health, clearly giving minus to SS1 of the role he was in. The SS2 for the role he was in, CEO, is the company. He got such a huge minus to his SS2, such a huge pecuniary loss to the company that a whole unit of 1000 people had to be closed. Mindlessness sets in when you do not think of Super Systems of the role you are in; this is particularly true when you disconnect SS1 for the role you are in and simultaneously have the power with you to act. Look at most of the politicians and some of the bureaucrats of today.

I would have admired this gentleman had he quit as CEO and protested the practice of corruption, like Anna Hazare does in India. Had he done this, his role would have been a social reformer for which the correct Super System is the people at large (not just the customers of the pharmacy company alone), i.e., the society at large. In doing what he did i.e., stopping corruption, I would even say that he was giving (+) to his conscience only and so only to himself and not to his company or his customers. A red signal ought to have come for going ahead in his decision matrix as both SS1 and SS2 were getting a clear minus with this decision. But a so-called profound sense of value prevented the red signal from coming on. He gave (+) to his own conscience SS5 but minus to all the other higher level Super Systems. May we say that he was catering to his own conscience and therefore was highly selfish in maintaining peace with his own conscience? Is it for doing this to himself, he was appointed CEO of the company? Was it fair for him to achieve what he did achieve as the end for the role he was in?

His conscience would have kept mum and would not have asked any question he could not answer, if he had performed dharma of the role, he was in. Even if the inner voice asks him a question how he is permitting such a bad practice like corruption to get business for his company, the simple answer from him that he did not do this for the benefit of himself (‘I’ had not been his SS) but for all the higher-level Super Systems of the role he was in, would have shut up his inner voice.

Unfortunately, the author of the book ‘the Difficulty of being good’ 8 continues with the same thought-process throughout his book, judging each key character in Mahabharat, unrelated to the role he was in and forgetting the right end- giving plus to the people at large for a ruler. Just as you read this book, do have the thought of the relevant Super System for the role the character was playing, example by example, and you will never conclude, like the author does, namely it is difficult to be good. You will come to the exact opposite conclusion: No, no, it is quite easy to be good, if you get the end for the role, you are in correctly!

Moreover, the author of the book confuses the role played by SS5 the conscience:

After all what is conscience? Conscience is a bundle or collection of values recorded strongly in our mind from early childhood, our ancestry, education, and experience. Because early childhood experiences, ancestry, education, and experience are different for each one of us, our sense of values dictated by our conscience are also different. It is not infrequent to meet people who feel the opposite of what we feel ‘right’ as ‘wrong’ and vice versa. We should be clear that our ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ that emanate from our conscience may be different from anybody else’s ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ that emanate from their conscience. When we feel something is ‘right,’ or ‘wrong,’ the feeling comes from our conscience, that is, at that point in time, our Super System is our conscience that is only SS5 and not SS1. And my SS5 is different from yours, unlike our aathma or soul, where yours and mine and all other people’s aathma are the same. That is why I say there is no absolute ‘right’ and absolute ‘wrong.’ Our conscience is not soul or aathma! Because the recording in our mind is extraordinarily strong, we follow it without questioning and we feel we do the ‘right’ thing when we follow our conscience and are incredibly happy to be a slave to our own conscience. When we are placed in a situation where we must do the opposite of what we think is right, we are very unhappy, and we get paralyzed.

So, following our conscience SS5 in roles where the Super System SS1 must get a (+) may be okay only in cases where following our conscience gives (+) to SS1, and that is why we call it dharma. But following our conscience slavishly in cases where such following gives (-) to SS1 is not okay, and it is adharma. Similarly, if we do something other than ‘right’ as dictated by our conscience and in the process, you give (+) to SS1 in the role we are playing it is okay and is dharma. If we do something ‘right’ as dictated by our conscience and in the process, we give minus to SS1 in the role we are playing, that ‘right’ is not okay and is adharma and wrong. This is the clarity that comes through Mahabharat and not any other literature I know. This enables us to reject slavery that a fixed right and wrong, and dos and don’ts are blindly dictating to us and enables us to take charge and become a master instead of being a slave. Before we say bye to conscience, let us be clear that a murderer is a murderer because his conscience approved the murder. That is where the conscience stops and that is why we have called it SS5 and not SS 4,3,2 or 1.

Yudhishter’s Super System:

One’s preferred sense of value coming in the way of giving (+) to the appropriate Super System for the role one is in, chronically, is the case of Yudhishter, the eldest brother of the Pandavas and the Pandava king. Throughout his life he has followed the ‘right’ means. Truth being the highest of all values, of course Yudhishter had never told a lie. He was so truthful that one could say that he was a slave to such an excellent value as Truth. To prove that even the highest of all values namely truth is also subservient to the end of the role one is in, Krishna calls Yudhishter and makes him tell a lie that Aswathama, Drona’s only son is killed in the war when indeed Aswathama was not killed at all. This happened when Drona was the commander-in-chief of the Kaurava army, and he was slaughtering the Pandava army. By releasing Yudhishter from the clutches of one value, one absolute, ‘right’ means, Krishna enables him to give unconditional (+) to his correct end namely the people of Indraprastha of which he was the king, subjugating conscience of Yudhishter, to its rightful place- the fifth in the hierarchy of Super Systems. This also made sure that Krishna made sure that ‘I’ did not become the Super System of Yudhishter in that critical moment and made sure that Yudhishter, out of all people, told a lie against his own conscience to eliminate Drona from the scene- an action that gave (+) to SS1, the people at large of Hasthinapur and Indraprashta .

Now what is right end and means and what is wrong end and means, in the 21 st century and beyond should hopefully be clear.

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