Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev
Right and wrong are social concepts. They have no existential relevance.
I have spent many many days and nights thinking and reading about what is right and what is wrong ? I had thousands of questions about it and I think you also have. But many, just ignore the question because even after years and years they might not arrive at an agreeable answer.
Before answering, let me tell you a story from Upanishads which has opened me up.
It goes like this –
One day a milkmaid was carrying milk to distribute it to the houses. She was a very poor, she had one old milk container which she uses to carry and distribute milk. The container did not have a cap to it, so she used to cover the container with a nice banana leaf and take it. One morning while she was out distributing milk, from house to house, and she was about to just finish the last house, at the time while she was going, the wind blew away the banana leaf, at the same time a poisonous snake was passing by and an eagle saw the snake and attacked and killed it and while it was carrying the snake, few drops of venom from the mouth of the snake fell into the milk container and the milkmaid did not notice it as she was trying to catch the banana leaf.
Not knowing what has happened to her milk she gave it to the last house and on that day there were many guests in that house, the housewife prepared nice badam(almond) milk and served it to all the guests, as there were many guests in the house, no milk was left for her, so she did not even taste it.
After some time everyone in the house started falling down and housewife got really scared like hell and by the time she called for the help everyone fell dead.
Neighboring house lady who was sneak-peaking saw this incident and spread this news all over saying ‘the housewife killed everyone’.
And she added some more to it, saying that she killed all intentionally and she weaved stories how she did not like her husband and those relatives etc.
Looking at all these, some heavenly creatures (called Devas) started a debate on who should be punished?
First they decided to Punish the housewife, because she served the venomous milk to all and went to punish her.
The housewife said I am innocent, I did not know there was venom in the milk, I take milk from this milkmaid from many years and I never thought she would serve me poisonous milk. It is our tradition that first, we serve others and we consume hence I did not even taste it. Otherwise, I would have known it.
Then Devas go to milkmaid –
Milkmaid said I did not even know there was venom in my milk. If I knew, I would have never served it. I don’t know who put the venom in my milk.
Then as Devas were observing these, they knew it was Snake and went to it.
Snake said I was trying to defend myself from the eagle. It is eagle which should be punished.
Then Devas went to the Eagle –
Eagle said, see I was hungry and nature has made me to hunt and eat snakes and when I see my food, I attack. It is not my fault.
Then Devas think deep and say it is wind which should be punished as it is the main reason for making the banana leaf flew away –
The Wind God (Vayu) says, see my nature is keep moving, and I it was not my intention to blow off the leaf.
Then they will not be able to figure out whom to be blamed and punished, so they call upon the ultimate judge the highest God and asks Him .
All Devas asks Him, solve this riddle for us. Who is to be punished ?
He says, it is simple, look at the intentions of all the ones who were involved. Who has the wrong intention has to be punished and all the karma of killing all the guests goes to that person/animal/thing.
So when they start seeing everyone’s intention. No one had bad intention except the neighboring lady who spread the rumor that the housewife killed everyone. Instead of helping her in the distress, she used it as an opportunity over her to make her miserable.
So all the punishments and karma related to killing all the guests went to the neighboring lady.
This story, really made me think and see life in a very different way.
“It is not the action, it is the intention of the action which matters.”
My take on right and wrong is this –
Whenever I take any decision or action to do something, I check, why am I doing it? For some of the toughest decisions I have made, I have the whys strong, even though my decisions failed me many times, it opens up something else (inside) when I truly work towards my decisions.
Any action which is taken with an intention of inclusion is right and exclusion is wrong.
This is statement is not simple, live on it, try applying it in everyday things, you will see a new dimension opening up.
With this, I let you dwell deep into what is right and what is wrong.
I also like to hear what you felt after reading this or after trying this out in your day to day life. email me – firstname.lastname@example.org