Yesterday I was reading a commentary on the Ten Commandments and the
Beatitudes. After reading all that, still I wondered if we need to have
the concept of God to support morality. Can morality stand by itself
without any theories of God and Heaven?
Suppose a rank atheist comes to me and asks me for some basic tenets
for a good living, what will I tell him? Is it possible for an atheist
to lead a fulfilled life? I feel it should be possible. The tenets should
be practical and small in number.
Thinking deep, these are the four tenets I came up with.
1. Discriminate. Think what is good and what is bad.
Think what is permanent and what is transitory. Develop a sense of value
to things. Choose people over material assets. Choose cooperation over
confrontation. Anything that brings people together is good. Anything
that creates division is bad. Choose mental values over physical values.
Choose moral values over mental values.
Now, it is also understood that you always keep your head above your
shoulders. Anything that makes you lose your power of discrimination
has to be avoided. This includes intoxicants, anger, lust, elation,
depression, etc. You have to be fully alert at all times.
This also means that you spend time with yourself silently to understand
yourself and your motives. You need to review your reaction to the
world outside and the incidents that happen. You need to correct your
thought process to keep your sword of discrimination in perfect condition.
2. Be stern. Be ready give your life for what you think is right.
Once you have discriminated and come to an idea of what is right and what
is wrong, stick to it. The only way to move you from your position has to
be to reason with you and make you discriminate again based on a new set
3. Be open. Let your life be an open book.
Be transparent. Have no secret agenda. Be open, trustworthy and friendly
to all. Speak what you think. Do what you say. Let there be no secrets
in your life. Let the person whom you are be the person people know you
This has two important implications: Don’t do anything that you cannot
proudly tell you mother that you did it. Don’t tell anything about a
person that you cannot tell him that you told it.
4. Give. Let there always be an outflow.
Give physical work. Give money in charity. Teach people what you know.
Give emotional support. Give, give, give. You will never lose by giving.
Nature has its balance. If you don’t give, you will be robbed. If you give
willingly, you will be rewarded. Give happiliy and willingly.
This also means that you should not be idle. Always be doing something
constructive – physically or mentally – for yourself or for others.
I feel that if a person lives these four tenets, it will be a fulfilling life.
In fact, these are the values I am striving to live by.