Once a disciple asked Buddha “what is a good life”.
In one word Buddha replied – ‘Harmony’.
Disciple again asked -”How to acheive it”?
Buddha smilingly replied “through wisdom”.
Disciple curiously asked again “How to acheive wisdom”, is it the knowledge of scriptures”?
Buddha contently replied “Good life through is lived through means of knowledge and motivation of
Question that what is a Good life has been the starting point of many philosophical speculations and psychological analysis. Two dominant and ever present theme found in majority of these is love and knowledge. The essay brings out the analysis by expanding notion of Good Life, including notion of Good life for individual, institution and nation. It answers the questions- How Love and knowledge form core essence of it? and how absence of either one of them derail individual, Institution and even nations from path of good life. Firstly, let us see what is the notion of good life.
Notion of Good Life :The Essence
In Indian Philosophy, we find notion of Good Life for an individual consists in harmony of 4 Purusharthas i.e; Dharma (Following one’s duty), Artha (Secure ones livelihood by right means), Kama (Fulfilling one’s material needs) and attain Moksha through Penance. When an individual according to their age fulfill their duties throughout their life, then that a Good life lived.
Extrapolating the idea of Good life for an “Institution” Political, Economic or of legal-judiciary nature includes the institution having a robust democratic structure with fine balance of autonomy and accountability. The institution must be gender- sensitive, transparent in its dealing. It should be more of processes and structure driven than personality – driven.
On the other hand, Good Life for a nation includes having Citizens wih feeling of Patriotism and pride in nation’s legacy, peace and prosperity of society reflected in good human development indicators, a good healthy ecological ecosystem, participative decision making, and Harmonious International Relation.
In all above scenario of good life, we will see how Inspiration of love and Guidance of Knowledge form core of it.
Love and Knowledge : Core of Good Life
“Vaishnav Jan…” the favorite song of Mahatma Gandhi that “God is like a man who understands the pain and sorrow of the others. It is the love which brings the value of empathy, compassion in an individual not only towards his fellow beings but also towards nature, other living being etc. It is the love which inspires an individual to perform his/her Dharma (Duty) towards his/her family like taking care of his/her parent when they need, towards Society by making our social conduct that let other people also give opportunity to lead good life and towards our nation by contributing economically through honest tax payments and perform our fundamental duties.
In addition to love, it is knowledge i.e.; education and awareness about thing that matter help us achieve goal of Artha i.e; Right Livelihood for example Vocational education to get skill and get employment. Similarly, the knowledge of sustainable lifestyle help us to fulfill our materialist and physical desire without going into grab of Greed and Lust and finally knowledge of path of Spirituality help individual to find solace in life, a sense of oneness with divine leading to a good Harmonious life.
Examples from life of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, show that love for Downtrodden, Vulnerable and Voiceless, guided by knowledge of Constitutionality, Dr. Ambedkar worked for justice to community,making him truly the bharat ratna. Similarly, Dr. Kalam’s love for nation and knowledge of technologies made him the one of revered person in India.
In contrast to above, in absence of either love or knowledge in one’s life, individual derail from good life and bring multifold issues for Society and nation. For Example Dr. AQ Khan from Pakistan similar to academic acumen like Dr. Kalam but in absence of love for values like Integrity, Honesty etc. lead to proliferation of nuclear technology in Black market making whole world vulnerable to nuclear catastrophe. Similarly example of Harshal Mehta, Ramalinga Raju etc. with knowledge of high altitude with poor moral attitude brought disagree to India through Economic Scam.
Similarly individual driven by Love but with absence of knowledge or corresponding skill is also not lead to Good life. Hence a Good Life for an individual is where he/she live a Harmonious life with Emotional Interference i.e; guided by knowledge and inspired by Love. In Second Phase, for Institution love for Citizen Centric Process, a serving attitude of employees, Love for a Good Governance structure along Knowledge is form of Expertise, Merit-based decision-making, research based evolving structure make a good life for Institution. For Example : Institution like ISRO
and companies like TATA distinguish themselves from other public and private institutions respectively because of their focus on both aforementioned qualities of love and knowledge simultaneously.
However, we have examples of many institution which derail from “Good Life” characterizes which ruins one of 2 ingredient. For example: In recent time we have witnessed Judicial Overreach wherein love for doing justice is not accompanied by knowledge of actual realities has made some negative consequences like recent Alcohol ban on Highway, the requirement of standing up to National Anthem etc.
Similarly, the scenario of AFSPA, problem of left wing extremism showcase the application of knowledge i.e; Security forces in apparently absence of love i.e; respect for human right, Citizen – Centricity has led to undesired discontent among people and frequent protests.
Hence for a Institution to remain a Robust, Resilient and Respectable, it needs to be driven by love for Citizen- Friendliness and guided by knowledge of merit and needs of present time.
In addition to above two, in third place the Good life for a nation as mentioned before also needs motivation of love for conflict management due to diversity of citizen and their concern,love to take care of vulnerable section, and ensure Inclusive Development. For India, policies Tribal Panchsheel, INDC, Ujjawal Scheme for cleaner fuel, Gujaral Doctrine and Panchsheel in International Dimension highlight India’s love for its Citizen Development, and harmonious relation with environment and other countries.