The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.
Question (Q): How do I know whether I am right or wrong?’ Against what benchmarks and standards do I determine whether I am right or wrong? I am confused.
Acharya Prashant (AP): How does anybody know whether he is right or wrong? After all, you are of a particular age, you are grown up. To this date, how have you known whether you are right or wrong? Often you have declared yourself to be ‘right’ and often you have felt that you are ‘wrong’. How have you known that? How?
Go into it and you will find that you have been told what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’. It’s a funny thing. Our benchmarks are all borrowed ones, our sense of right and wrong, moral and immoral, ethical and unethical, all come from the outside.
Is there anything that is absolutely right and absolutely wrong, and you have known it for yourself? Do you see firstly, that what you even call ‘your own’ judgment or the voice of ‘your’ conscious, even that is a borrowed entity? You stick to it and you stand by it as if it is something sacred. “This is my own judgment, my heart tells me this.” But if you go closely into the matter, you will find out that this is not yours, this has come to you from somebody else.
That is the reason what is right in one culture is wrong in another culture. People of one culture think that it is absolutely right. They do not even know that it is because of the conditioning of this culture that they are taking this to be right. Had they been born in another culture, they would have not considered this to be right.
What is wrong in one country is right in another country. What is right in one age is wrong in another age. What is right for one individual today becomes wrong for the same individual tomorrow. Getting it?
Because all this sense of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ that we presently carry, is man-made. Man’s mind has decided that “I will call this as right and I will call this as wrong.” And man’s mind keeps changing. Even today, what is right in one religion is wrong in another religion, man’s mind. What is wrong in one house is right in another house, man’s mind. There is nothing absolute…