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Pujya Dr. K.C. Varadachari - Volume -2



The modern conception of religion has veered towards considering all from the value-conception. Value is an economic concept in the main and it is something that is considered to be valuable firstly because it satisfies a basic or non-basic need. Therefore in the modern language religion also is considered from the standpoint of its value.

A thing is valuable is so far as it satisfies or fulfils a basic need. It is defined as something 'actually liked, prized, esteemed, desired, approved and enjoyed by any one at any time'. It is an object of any interest according to some.Value also is linked up to its use or utility.

Usually values are considered to fall into two groups: the intrinsic or that which is valuable in and for itself, and that is valuable in so far as it helps that realization of that which is valuable in itself. The former is called intrinsic value and the latter instrumental. The intrinsic value is found to be always so. Another distinction is made between potential (future utility), and immediate or actual value.

The value of a thing thus has to be determined from its immediate and instrumental use and for its potential and ultimate or intrinsic nature.

There is always a tendency to make instrumental values ultimate by emphasizing their necessity for attaining ultimate value. Thus arise confusions between ultimate and instrumental values.

There are certain writers who have made value tables too. They think of purely instrumental values, which include the natural the economic, and the lower intrinsic and high intrinsic values which include the bodily needs and social and other needs. But this is an unfortunate division or classification for it is clear that the body itself is treated to be an intrinsic value albeit lower than the higher which includes again social values which do not surely lead to any intrinsical realisation.

The classification is pragmatic in  approach, rather than from the real value approach wherein a value is intrinsic in so far as every other value is surrendered or subordinate to it.

This will create a pyramid of values rather than a table of values.

Purely instrumental    Lower intrinsic          Higher intrinsic

i)    Natural     :   Life,      i.      Bodily health    a)  Social life,

                           Light     ii.     Recreation       b)  Character

                           etc.       iii.    Property           c)   Aesthetic

                                        iv.    Work                d)  Intellectual

                                                                         e)  Religious

ii)   Economic: Money Exchange

The above table is adapted from Brightman. It is as he would say, taken from our actual valuations. But it is certainly clear that a different view of reality will produce quite a different type of table.

Indian Ethics has produced a different table: It recognizes the two sets of values, instrumental and intrinsic. The intrinsic value is that which is what all other values gain by being instrumental to it. Thus it recognizes that artha (or wealth, power) are purely instrumental. They are instrumental to kama (or desire) objects of material desire or need. Thus bodily ends are lower intrinsic so to speak. But kama is itself shown to be instrumental to what we may call the feeling of liberation or self-realisation. What fulfillment of a need produces is the fitness to proceed forward to the real end. The body itself is held to be an instrument for realizing dharma or the Good. (Sariram adyam khalu dharma sadhanam). Thus the lower intrinsic values are lower because they are in turn instrumental to the final or ultimate end or value – liberation which is attained through dharma. The misuse of bodily values or attainments come in when the dharma is not adhered to and liberation is barred. The end towards which money is to further to be instrumental is development of social and individual dharma or duties that one has to perform towards the five large areas of human existence – gods, fathers, (manes), guests or other fellow human beings, to creatures domestic and dependent on man and serving him, and elements of nature itself which have to be kept pure, like water, air and earth, fire and sound (akasa) or space. We are in a world where in the interests of society all sources of power from nature like our atomic power and nuclear power have to be used for the welfare of all – gods, fathers, men and creatures of the earth.

 Dharma or duty becomes instrumental in turn to freedom or liberation (moksa). The discover of duty itself is due to the awkening intelligence when misuse of instrumental values takes place. There is aright way and a wrong way of use of economic and other power, of desire and even conflicting duties provoke the search for a still more ultimate value. The seers of India discovered that karma (or even duty performed) produces results which tend to bind man. Character of a man once formed becomes so difficult to develop higher lines of realization. Thus morality itself becomes religion the ultimate. Thus we also find that knowledge for its own sake becomes the goal, just as art for its own sake becomes pursued.

Liberation is the liberation from all bondage, all that tend to bind. The main secret of liberation lay in its emphasizing a free life that does not produce a bond-life. A return to bondage has been stated to be the destiny of most men who have not found a way out of it except by cutting at the root of birth or rebirth.

The conception of rebirth is not held by some theologians and therefore liberation does not features at all in such religions and philosophies. . But Indian Philosophy and Religion empahasize this goal as the parama-purusartha. It is however true that some have held that beyond liberation there is the goal of God-service irrespective of its being for man or not.

Moksa as the parama-purusartha has been the intrinsic goal. Religion as the expression of this
parama-purusartha thus becomes the regulative principle of all other values.

Religious value  reveals the following unique featues: (1) It reveals the unique sense of dependence on the ground of the universe. (2) mystical experience of that ground and the spontaneous outburst of prayer, (3) awareness of illumination, (4) consciousness or awareness of the Divine mind back of all things,
(5) acknowledgement that God does for man what man cannot do for himself or rather the experience of Grace, and (6) Consciousness or imperative of submission to the Cosmic Being or will of God which directs the Cosmic purpose. All these recognizions could be together or coalesce but religion is interested in finding that all these values impinge on each individual and thus possesses uniqueness of impact, a friendliness in God, the Ground of all Reality.