We all keep hearing and reading the word ‘values.’ What does it mean? Values are our fundamental beliefs. From those beliefs, arise our attitudes. These attitudes influence our final, actual behaviour –action and inaction.
What is the core value, the most important belief of Rāma Rājya? It is dharma, variously translated as Duty, Ethics, Justice or Fairness. It is all of these, and more. You may recall some definitions and assertions about dharma.
Dhārayati iti Dharmah. That which upholds an individual, family, organisation, society, nation, and the world is dharma. Another truth is, dharmo rakṣati rakṣitaḥ. If we uphold dharma, then dharma protects us.
What elements, together, constitute dharma? Some of the main elements, from ancient times, to the present, are–Satya, Truth, ahiṁsā, non-violence, nyāya, justice, etc. There is sāmānya dharma, basic duties for all. In addition, there is viśeṣa dharma, special duties, depending on the role of an individual, in specific contexts. For example, there are dharmas for different stages of life: Brahmacarya, gṛhastha, vānaprastha, and saññyāsa stages.
For leaders at all levels, there is an exciting value challenge. Leaders of the nation, any state, all institutions should all aim at being ‘maryādā puruṣottamas’, noble among humans, worthy of respect.
This gives a clue to a ladder of Self-Development and Leadership Development. Evolve into an uttama, an acknowledged eminent person, in your relevant circle. Then, earn the respect of all. Become an example; role model; icon. Not only for knowledge and skills. But also, for values, attitudes and conduct.
What are the Values of Governance in Rāma Rājya? How should the higher authorities in government or any organisation conduct themselves? An important value is sevā bhāva, a feeling of service.
The higher they are, the more effective should be their sevā. It is not a vantage point of power, privilege and monopoly of resources. Their core duty is rakṣā–care, protection and safety of the people.
They should show karuṇā, compassion towards the poor, old and disabled. Other such values are dayā, mercy; Prema bhāva, affection. Even in Rāma Rājya, there will be some persons with capacity and inclination for a crime.
So, the government should not be seen as totally soft. It should have daṇḍa nīti, law for appropriate punishments. The aim is not vindictive punishment, but appropriate, corrective daṇḍa.
Values of Citizenship
On the other side, what are the Values of Citizenship in Rāma Rājya? Each citizen should be a patriot, with deśa bhakti, devotion to the country. She/he should perform one’s svadharma. This is sometimes inherited from parents, if the family is in viable agriculture, trade, manufacturing, exports, etc. If not, it is based on one’s chosen profession like medicine, law, administration, technology, management, etc.
Whatever the career is chosen, the Rāma Rājya citizen will follow the dharma of that profession. Not reluctantly, for fear of backlash. Not marginally. But, to be a role model.
Another citizen value is self-discipline, ātma saṃyama. Do not wait for disciplinary rules, codes of conduct, audits and punishments from above. Make these less necessary, rarely used, by creating a personal and team culture of self-control.
Most citizens are either employee of organisations; or self-employed. Approach work as worship. From an initial karmacārī, worker, evolve towards becoming a karmayogī.
There are two key values of karma yoga. One is kauśalam, excellence. Do work of high quality and productivity. The second is samatva, equanimity, through the fluctuating conditions of the external environment and internal climate.
Let us conclude with your Rāma Rājya Values Action Plan. First, internalise, by conscious abhyāsa, practice, the values of a responsible citizen. Second, as you become a supervisor or equivalent, guide all members under your supervision to further improve their values, to be more like Rāma Rājya citizens.
Third, as you rise to the organisational leadership team, develop and refine in yourself the Leadership Values of Rāma Rājya. Do not wait for other organisations, and your colleagues to start this ascent. You begin. They will join you. “Be the change that you want in the world,” as Mahātmā Gāndhī said, himself a leading modern advocate of Rāma Rājya.
Originally Published in Tattvāloka of November 2019
For further details on the ‘Onward March to Rama Rajya’, visit the Campaign Website