Set your own Values; donít let the System steal your life
We delude ourselves into believing that we are free-agents, living a life according to standards set by us. Unfortunately, this is not true and the sorry state of affairs is not due to Fate. From birth, we are dictated to by a societal system that gives us a narrow slate of values to choose from and we tend to believe that therefore we are free. As Swami Dayananda has observed in his book "The Value of Values", Values to be truly valuable must be discovered by us through knowledge and not simply be impressed from without. The following extract from his book is relevant in this context: http://paathshala.net/Value_of_Values.html
For values to be personally valuable they must be discovered through knowledge(seen as valuable by the value holder) and not simply impressed from without. Therefore, the term 'jnanam' is quite appropriate. The list of values constituting jnanam is long but the qualities are interrelated, defining a harmonious frame of mind in which knowledge can occur. Each of the terms used by Lord Krishna highlights a certain attitude, the value for which must be discovered personally in order that the attitude becomes a natural aspect of the seeker's frame of mind.
Although the primary purpose of jnanam values (as told by Lord Krishna to Arjuna) is to prepare the mind for self-knowledge, when the total value of these values is understood one sees that these attitudes have the highest personal values for everyone. The jnanam values, impartially, bless and make more effective both the mind of the everyday struggler who seeks fullness in the pursuit of artha (securities) and kama (pleasures) and the mind of the mumuksu-jijnyasu (the seeker of the knowledge for the sake of liberation) who, having discerned the futility of limited ends and means, seeks fullnessthrough the gain of Self-knowledge - through the study of Vedanta.
The article reproduced below emphasizes the need to resisting the impulse to adopt standards set by powerful members of the society & the media, and to educate ourselves to determine what is important to us. We live in an age when the system/the media pre-packages and standardizes our lives in attractive packages and ultimately steal our life from us. A powerful message and warning has been communicated in these words:
Doní let them steal your Life
The Greatest Danger Before You --Granny D
http://tow.charityfocus.org/ Nov 19, 2007In the end -- and it will end -- your life will seem to have sped by like a fleeting dream. Much of your story will be the age-old but ever joyful human experience: romance, family, satisfying work, and happy completion. I wish you a great fountain of successes. You will also be provided with all the failures and tragedies necessary to deepen and widen your soul -- sufficient, I hope, to make you wise and forgiving of all human frailties. I pray that these necessary troubles will never long crush your optimism nor your love for this magical life. Hold against all temptation.
The greatest danger before you is this: you live in an age when people would package and standardize your life for you -- steal it from you and sell it back to you at a price. That price is very high.
You have already been selected for this program. You have its credit cards and designer labels already expensively around you. In the months ahead, you will find yourselves working long hours, too exhausted for community life or even good friendships -- too compromised to take a stand against the abuses of the system you serve. A great treadmill has been devised for you, and its operators do not care much if it wears you out or kills you. A system is in place to steal your life from you, if you will let it. Don't let it.
Read, study, meditate and think for yourself. Let your most serious education now commence, if it has not already done so. Refine and hold your own values, and pay the high price necessary to live those values. Decide what is important to you, and hold your ground against all temptations and tortures. From the pink granite of your own values, build a fortress against the world's ethical compromises, or you will soon be among those dead of eye who stand next to you in elevators but who are not alive. Don't let them steal your life. This is the only warning you will receive.