Three adjacent piles of coins forming a simple graph.

Value of Values

For every gain, we need to know the loss

Having understood that we cannot rub against the moral order without being rubbed in the process, it takes even more understanding to know exactly how much we lose by performing certain actions. It becomes a matter of self–esteem. What kind of self–esteem can there be when a division has been created between the thinker and the doer? Sooner than later, you will conclude that you are worthless.

This process can be seen when you make a very simple resolution, such as, “Tomorrow I am going to get up early in the morning, at six o'clock, and I am going to meditate for half an hour.” You have decided that to begin the day with some kind of meditation is good and this is what you want to do. Therefore, you are going to get up half an hour earlier than usual and meditate.

Whose decision is this? It is not someone else's; it is yours. You even set your alarm clock to ring at six o'clock—and it does. In fact, it never stops. It goes on beeping, beeping, beeping. Then what do you do? Annoyed, you turn the alarm off and go back to sleep!

Do you know why? Because the one who made the decision last night to get up half an hour earlier did not consult the one who had to wake up the next morning. This is like a husband making a decision to go on a weekend family trip without informing or consulting his wife! The decision to wake up earlier was made by someone who thinks and figures things out, whereas I am the one who has to get up. Therefore, you had better consult me before you decide anything!

Between husband and wife, there can be some consultation. But when I am thinking that I will get up a half an hour earlier, the waker is not there to be consulted. Here is a real problem because the waker is also me. While this plight looks very simple, it is actually a very complex issue. The split between the one who thinks and knows and the one who does is a very self–detrimental split, one that eventually and naturally leads to self–condemnation.

If you tell me to do something and I decide not to do it, it is quite different from when I tell myself to do something and I cannot do it. Once, twice, or thrice is not a problem, but when I cannot conform to my own decisions more times than not, what self–esteem will I have? If it happens only once, I can always justify not having done something, but if I do it consistently, then I cannot have any self–esteem. And, without self–esteem, no one can really help me. Even the Lord cannot boost me up because, intrinsically, I have a problem. Therefore, I am the loser.

If I am together as a person, I can enjoy sports and a variety of other situations that do not cost money. I can even enjoy myself, which also does not cost money. Whereas, if in the process of gaining money, I lose myself, the transaction is definitely a bad bargain. To know this about myself is education; it is growing up. Who, then, can afford not to have such knowledge?

Because I have a faculty of choice, I must necessarily exercise that choice. I must know the norms which are the basis upon which I choose. These norms are known to us by our own common sense. The only education needed with regard to them is an understanding of what I lose when I gain something. In a so–called gain, I should be able to see how much I lose. If I do not lose, then the gain is truly a gain and is worthwhile. Whereas, if I lose, the gain is not worthwhile. Therefore, the means that one follows in gaining one's ends are very important.

'Bhagavad Gita Home Study Course' vol 1, pp71–77,
Swami Dayananda © Copyright Arsha Vidya 2024

A value is a value only if the value of the value is valuable to me.

Swami Dayananda © Copyright 2024 Arsha Vidya

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The Value of Values

Swami Dayananda's book is available from Arsha Vidya Research & Publication Trust.