Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
– The Golden Rule
Why is there a timeless universal acknowledgement of the profound truth as stated in the Golden Rule? Most people resonate with this statement and recognize the deep significance. In various ways references to this run through the world religions:
Judge not, that ye be not judged…
Do not do to others what you would not like yourself. Then there will be no resentment against you, either in the family or in the state.
Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.
This is the sum of duty; do naught onto others what you would not have them do unto you.
No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.
What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellowman. This is the entire Law; all the rest iscommentary.
Talmud, Shabbat 3id
Regard your neighbor’s gain as your gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.
Tai Shang Kan Yin P’ien
That nature alone is good which refrains from doing another whatsoever is not good for itself.
This is more than a moral or ethical principle of reciprocity: it is an unfailing law.
There are several layers to understanding the karmic principle from the mundane to the mystical.
At a basic level, following this law provides stability and harmony when a culture holds this truth as a goal. If not, then we see societies where ‘I, Me, Mine’ become the mantra and ‘every man for himself’ is the guiding principle. The consequence of this type of thinking is always the same: self-serving, eventually leading to greed, manipulation and oppression, the downfall of a balanced and caring society.
Aside from the fundamental karmic fact of ‘as ye sow, so shall ye reap’, there is a more profound and significant basis here. Science and mysticism are merging and giving us clues now to what is really happening in, and as, the world we live in.
A quote from Prof. Rudolf Tanzi of Harvard Medical School, co-author of ‘Super Brain’:
“…countless top scientists have now concluded, it is consciousness that creates matter, not the other way around.”
In fact, matter is not matter at all – but waves and these waves are consciousness – intelligence!
And…from French physicist Bernard d’Espagnat:
“The doctrine that the world is made up of objects whose existence is independent of human consciousness turns out to be in conflict with the facts established by experiment.”
Science is now confirming the message of enlightened seers, saints and sages – this world is not as it appears to our unawakened senses. And it is possible to awaken our spiritual senses and see through to Reality, but a laboratory is not necessary – the real laboratory is in our own consciousness, accessible through meditative disciplines. For when we awake we apprehend the interconnectedness of everything; we understand the enigmatic statement expounded in the Vedas thousands of years ago, ‘Seeing, the seer, and that which is seen are one’.
We then grasp the real meaning of the Golden Rule. Following the Golden Rule is in essence putting into practice the fundamental merger of science and mysticism: what appears as ‘other’: people, things, externals, is, in truth, YOU. It is all your innermost consciousness appearing to be different and separate from you. We are fooled by our ‘separate’ physical bodies and seeing the world through our physical eyes. We falsely interpret this and believe we are confined and localized to our bodies and that our identity lies within these bodies. We identify with the body and appear to live ‘in them’ and everything and everyone is ‘out there’. Yes, these physical bodies are our vehicles, temples, and serve as our reference point in this world, but enlightened mystics (and now science) tell us something that is difficult to believe, and almost incomprehensible to our limited view. The lofty mystical statements that sometimes sound cliché, make some of us wince or at least seem way over our head, now have a real practical application and reality. The real meaning of the golden rule, therefore, pertains to the reality of our existence – what we call ‘others’ is not entirely accurate. What you ‘do unto others’ you are in truth doing to yourself. We are playing what appears to be separate parts. But in truth, in the essence of our being, we are one divine Self playing all the roles.
The ego self, the personality or the sense of individuality, does not particularly like this – it is the primary obstacle to Self-realization. In Sanskrit it is called Ahamkara:
Ahamkara – the making of the limited egoic self or ‘I’ with its twin delusions of ownership and agency. That which makes us think of ourselves as (a) independent ‘subjects’ of consciousness whose awareness is ‘our own’ private property rather than a portion of the universal or divine awareness and (b) makes us believe that our ego or ‘I’ is an independent subject or agent of action separate and apart from action, rather than a part of the power of action immanent with the divine awareness.
The ‘I, me, mine’ objects to the dissolution (crucifixion) of what is perceived as individual identity/ego. This is the illusion though, the personality-ego is a transitory and temporary reference point, built by culture, education and storehouse of memory. We always have been and always will be one with divine being, we are not the ego, we are not the mind, we are not the body. This awareness and its realization puts us to the test because we can no longer hold the same notions of life, the world and success. Name, fame, ego, wealth, power all melt away under the light of truth here. We are not here to serve ego, but to serve our larger real Self and kindness to all, service to all, respect to all, is the culmination of the realization of one-ness.
Humility is then the natural state, not a goal because nothing is higher or lower, no one better or worse, no one more and no one less ‘God’, and this pertains to the animal kingdom as well. Ancient Vedic scriptures say that the dawning of the next enlightened age will be evidenced by two things: 1. Human will stop killing human, 2. Humans will stop killing our companion beings on this planet (animals).