Friday, April 24, 2009

The hardship of virtuous living

When I was a young boy, I had always felt that to be a good student entailed hardship. It was no fun. You will have to be punctual, attend school all the days without playing truant, do homework without fail, be attentive in class without chatting with other mates, score good marks and be obedient. It was fun for others who had no desire to be a good student-they did what pleased them, chatting while classes are on, playing all the time without doing home work copying during tests and making fun of teachers behind their backs. To be good entailed suffering it seemed to the young mind.
Like wise to be virtuous, we are to suffer in life. While people who are not driven by the desire to be virtuous adopt various means, fair and foul, to enjoy life. They lie, deceive, and perform less than what they promise, they are corrupt, are self centred without consideration for others and so on. Life to them seems a bed of roses, all luxury, convenience and comfort. The virtuous often lead a humdrum life , mostly in want and pass through life amidst misery. Despite this our elders constantly preached to us when we were children that we must lead a virtuous and straight life no matter the hardship it may cause. We were told stories of Raja Harischndra who underwent great hardship to stick to his principle of truth or Prahladha to pursue the path of devotion. Even the stories of Ramayana and Mahabharata extolled the virtues of their heroes and decried the faults in others..We were told that sinners were punished by God in this or subsequent births and virtue was rewarded likewise later.The punishment or reward did not always visit immediately in this life itself. We were told an account was maintained for future dispensation of justice..Even the sages and saints underwent severe pain by renunciation of all comforts and led a secluded life often in hostile conditions.Virtuos life is always accompanied by pain we were told for the ultimate distant reward of a life in heaven while sinful life though gave immediate pleasures was always followed by long periods in hell. The distant incentive of a place in Swarg does not appeal to most of us as much as the alluring immediate pleasures in this life with only a threat of suffering in hell.
In his article Mr.S.H Venkataramani has argued notwithstanding the “divine dispensation of justice or not, virtue is its own happy and fulfilling reward, and vice carries within itself the seeds of its own punishment. He adds that “The way out of suffering inherent in sin is to make ourselves fully and deeply attentive to the nature of what we imagine, in our delusion, to be the stimulus for our happiness. We will then perceive the real cost of our selfish striving for sensual pleasure, and the inevitable but futile craving to perpetuate it when it is fundamentally transient”.


  1. A thought-provoking article. There is no harm in accepting some amount of comfort, in my opinion. What is wrong, is, getting addicted to a high degree of comfort and identifying oneself with it.

    Best wishes.

  2. ehem..
    just wondering if i should think that it s from your life!
    given your style of writing and the power of imagination you have, well, it couldnt be you!

    nevertheless, i would go by the second category of students ...

    i think we have come to a stage where we belive body and its needs are as important as that of soul ..negelecting its comfort is no wise thing!
    i could be wrong ...but you know better than others why i can say this!

  3. A real thought provoking post!Thanks

  4. Being virtuos is ideal.. but tough!! especially when it leaves one frustrated while trying 2 be virtuos.. certain things should be enjoyed but not at the cost of harming another.

  5. you read I read this post again and it me back to the day when I had spoken the truth but was shouted it badly...but by the end of it I felt great, it was a good feeling:)and gave a lesson forever.A single truth is better than a hundred lie:)it makes ur system lighter..have tried it!