India is among the oldest civilization in the world. Its value systems are as old as the origin of society itself. From ancient times, a religious bent of mind, with regular worship, charity, moral discipline, non-violence, sympathy for others, respect for elders hospitality, self-control and contentment have been the values dear to our forefathers. Many of these codes of conduct, if we may call them so, are enshrined in our scriptures and gospels.
However, as the time has changed, these values are yielding place to new priorities. Thought most of our people are still religious, the old fervor, passion and blind faith are missing in our religious pursuits. The youngsters are especially critical of most rituals which they find useless.
The biggest change that has transformed the mindset of people now is perhaps unbridled materialism. Whereas renunciation was the hallmark of our people centuries ago, an intense desire to amass wealth, belongings and materials of comfort is the inherent characteristic of our people today. Money, they feel is the most important factor that determines one’s state of living, whether happy or miserable. Possession of money brings joy while its absence gives woes of misery and sadness. With such an ideology, the general conduct and behaviors of people has changed lot. A rich person with poor morals is more respectful than a poor person with honesty and virtues. Earning money at whatever cost or by whichever means is an ideal to he followed. In old times, the means of earning were considered more important than the earning itself.
Avarice, greed and jealousy were considered to be avowed enemies of one’s goal of achieving salvation. People were, by and large, contented with what God almighty gave them. They prayed to get more but seldom complained if they did not get enough. Today, people are always complaining. No amount of wealth satisfies them. The more they get, the greedier they become. Jealousy is something that we have been unable to overcome. If our friend, relative or neighbor is conferred with something, we do not have or cannot afford, we became ill at ease.
A very big virtue of our people in ancient societies was tolerance, social and religious and a remarkable control of anger. They treated other human brings as fellow brothers all creatures of one God. People lost their temper very rarely. Today’s people are enraged at slightest provocation. Road rage, which has taken the lives of many is a case is example.
As old virtues and values are receding, and new priorities, steeped in materialism are taking over, disorder and chaos are creeping in. We need to go back to our scriptures, gospels and saints to find the noble path.