Our history of gaining independence from the shackles of the British has made heroes of people who have defied the institution or administration. Generally, defying rules results in hero-worship in social circles. Disobedience is hailed as a virtue not a vice. A waiting queue in the train station or movie theaters for example should be in a straight line with only one person talking to the representative behind the counter. However, you will find many people hovering near the window trying to make their case with the counter representative.
This results in a slowdown of the process and creates frustration within those who are eagerly waiting for their turn and motivates them to break rules. On the contrary the persons who cluttered around the counter and purchased the ticket without following rules are lauded in their friend circles. The lack of patience in the general public and the scant regard to follow rules gives a very negative perception of the quality of our society to others.
Defying the rule of the law is ingrained in some people’s habits and old habits die hard. When there is a lockdown during the 2020 pandemic, it is expected that people maintain distance from each other so that the virus does not spread. When a person wears a face mask, mostly he is taking a small step to protect others. In this simple action, he is thinking about others. By wearing a face mask he is not spreading viruses from himself to others.
For instance, in Bhagavad Gita Chapter 4 verse 2 – Lord Krishna says “evam paramparā-prāptam” which means the knowledge of spiritual science is received through disciplic (paramparā) succession. Knowledge is transferred from a person A or a teacher to another person B or student via a chain of lineage. Everything in our life is driven by rules. A game of cricket or soccer becomes interesting if the players play within the rules of the game.
Otherwise neither the spectator nor the players stay enthused. Anywhere there is a broken chain during the knowledge acquisition process; it leads to a lack of quality in the essence of education, rules, and finally the outcome. If knowledge is acquired without instruction handed from one to another in the chain, it is short-lived, speculative, and erratic.
In a chaotic society, no one follows anyone or rules. In the walls of banks and shops, you will find plenty of betel (pāān) stains in spite of the writing on the wall that says “Please do not spit here”. Considering the citizens don’t listen, the authorities had put pictures of Lord Shiva or Lord Ganesh on the wall tiles. The establishment thinks the visitors won’t disfigure the walls with their betel spits as people are fearful of the personalities from the spiritual world.
This acts as a deterrent to spit as they are respectful to the demigods. But still you will find a few red marks on the walls. Common sense is not so common. It is all about appreciating the law of the land and following it for the betterment for everyone including the follower. Even the supreme personality of godhead Krishna was diligently following rules from his teacher Sandipani Muni.
When humans don’t follow rules, they transform themselves from being social animals to real animals. Everyone should inculcate the habit of gaining an understanding of the rules and express a sincere desire to follow and adhere to the rules for suitable co-existence in society. Likewise authorities should take care of simplifying rules and showcase them through signage, media outlets, and billboards so that it catches everyone’s positive attention and motivates citizens to follow suit.
(Hemanta Panda is a Technologist who lives in New Jersey, USA)