>Can a man not lead a good, virtuous life, be charitable, truthful and noble, work for the welfare of the community and die a good man, without aspiring for anything beyond this life?
Swami Sivananda, “If you lead a virtuous life and die, you will die as a good man, not as a saint. You will not attain Moksha (liberation).
“You have hundreds of good men. But, how many saints have you got ? Even real aspirants are rare in the world now. Even in you category of “good men”, there are grades. How many good men have you got of Gandhiji’s type?
“What do your good men do ? They may be truthful and noble; they may be charitable and pious. But, even they will be selfish at the core. They will hoard wealth and look after their own wife and children. Will they feel that all children are theirs ? When they bring sweetmeats from the bazaar, will they give to other people’s children first ? No, no. Because they have no knowledge of the truth that the One Self dwells in all beings. Unless this understanding of the Truth dawns on them, unless they meditate upon this Supreme Reality and strive to realize It, how can they develop renunciation and the true spirit of selfless service ?
“To be a good man is no doubt a better ideal than to be merely a human animal, full of vicious qualities. But it is only a means to an end; it is only a step nearer the goal, not the end or the goal itself. The goal is Self-realization or Moksha. In order to achieve that, you must be good and do good; and you must do more – you must cultivate discrimination, dispassion and a correct attitude to life; you must meditate, do Japa (remembrance of the Lord’s name) and Kirtan (singing devotional songs), study scriptures. Then, by the grace of God, you will attain the goal!
An excerpt from “May I Answer That?”