We are taught good conduct. It is the need of the society, it is a social necessity. But society has no interest in your own individuality, in your bare individuality. In that area, even if you don’t exist it is of no consequence to society. You become important to society only the moment you relate with someone or something. It is not you but your behavior that is valuable to the society. It is not you but your behavior that is meaningful to the society. So it is not surprising if good conduct is the teaching of society. To the society, man is nothing more than his conduct.
But this teaching of good conduct, this commandment of morality by the society creates a fallacy. It has given birth to a very fundamental fallacy. Naturally those eager to realize God and religion believe that it is necessary to become virtuous for this attainment of truth. They believe that the realization of God is only possible through right conduct and that one must acquire virtue before the advent of truth. They believe that the realization of religion will develop only out of a life of morality, that morality is the basis and religion will be its peak, that morality is the seed and religion will be its fruit, that morality is the cause and religion will be the effect. This line of thinking seems to be clear and correct. But I want to say to you that this apparently simple and clear line of thinking is totally false and sees reality in an upside down posture. The truth of the matter is something quite different.
The way of morality doesn’t even really make a man moral, let alone religious. It merely makes a man social, and being social is wrongly taken for being moral. Mere good behavior does not make a man really moral. That revolution requires an inner purification. Without transforming your inner being you cannot change your conduct. To try to change the periphery without changing the center is hoping in vain. The effort is not only futile, it is fatal. It is a violence to oneself. It is nothing but forcing affliction on oneself.
No doubt this suppression fulfills the needs of society, but the individual cracks under it and is shattered. It creates a rift, a duality in him. His being loses its naturalness and simplicity, and this turns into an inner conflict. It becomes a continuous struggle, an endless internal fight that can never become a victory. This is satisfying the needs of society at the cost of the individual. I call this social violence.
Whatever manifests itself in man’s behavior is unimportant. The important things are the inner causes due to whom they are manifesting. Behavior is an indication of the inner, it is not the root. Behavior is only an outer manifestation of the inner being. Only ignorant people try to change the manifestation without changing the manifester.