Why Be Moral

Once a father took his son to Master for blessings. The son, a lad of 19, having fallen in bad company had taken to thieving.

“May your sins be true but your virtues be truer” Master Blessed.

Son was confused as was the congregation. What was master saying? Should we sin or should we follow a righteous path?

“You can only be 100% moral if you were born a saint” The master elaborated. “Most other morality is a matter of learning to do what is right by trial and error, over a lifetime. So in time you are learning, you will end up with some deeds which will be erroneous. My blessing was may you have a short learning curve for setting up your morality practice.”

“So Master, why should one be moral. What’s wrong with wanting to make a quick buck?” The lad wanted to know.

“Morality or enlightened self-interest entails first clarifying your values and then adhering to them under all situations. It is hard but a better strategy for playing game of life because as a moral person you are widely respected, less confused and more fulfilled. Respected because when you stand your ground amidst chaos it is a higher order behavior, less confused because in bewildering diversity of life situations, you are able to locate your path and fulfilled as in final analysis, your life would amount to something.

Immorality or selfishness, the other way of operating, does sometimes give you situational short term advantages and is convenient, but when used repeatedly over long term, leaves you lonely, exposed & unhappy. It makes you lonely because people do not trust you, exposed because cheaters attract cheaters and unhappy because it often leads to loss of freedom and property.”

“So Master, wouldn’t using a mixed strategy be the best life approach. Say mostly selfless ( 80% times) and sometimes selfish ( 20% times) when it is really advantageous ?” A disciple chimed in.

“Remember human beings are creatures of habit. Once our minds settle on a way, change is very hard to do. So theoretically what you say, confers a worldly advantage, practically it requires a superman or a con-man to execute. Life is hard anyways, why be silly about it as well. Instead of calculating small wins why not focus on winning the bigger trophy”

“Master other day you told us that virtue is necessary for a life of spirit and today you explained it only in terms of life advantages” another disciple wanted to know in private, once the assembly was over.

“Yes, virtuous living is a pre-condition for spirituality, as it puts you in sync with universal laws of spirit, however today I was not addressing a monk or a person looking for meaning of life. My audience was a young man wanting to get ahead in the material world. Hopefully a day will come when he will also need a spiritual answer to his “why be moral” question.” the master concluded.

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