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Values, morals and ethics

Explanations > Values > Values, morals and ethics

Values | Morals | Ethics | So what?

What are the differences between values, morals and ethics? They all provide behavioral
rules, after all. It may seem like splitting hairs, but the differences can be important when
persuading others.

Values are the rules by which we make decisions about right and wrong, should and
shouldn't, good and bad. They also tell us which are more or less important, which is useful
when we have to trade off meeting one value over another. defines values as:

n : beliefs of a person or social group in which they have an emotional investment

(either for or against something); "he has very conservatives values"

Morals have a greater social element to values and tend to have a very broad acceptance.
Morals are far more about good and bad than other values. We thus judge others more
strongly on morals than values. A person can be described as immoral, yet there is no word
for them not following values. defines morals as:
n : motivation based on ideas of right and wrong

You can have professional ethics, but you seldom hear about professional morals. Ethics
tend to be codified into a formal system or set of rules which are explicitly adopted by a
group of people. Thus you have medical ethics. Ethics are thus internally defined and
adopted, whilst morals tend to be externally imposed on other people.
If you accuse someone of being unethical, it is equivalent of calling them unprofessional
and may well be taken as a significant insult and perceived more personally than if you
called them immoral (which of course they may also not like). defines ethics as:
A theory or a system of moral values: An ethic of service is at war with a craving
for gain"
The rules or standards governing the conduct of a person or the members of a
Ethics of principled conviction asserts that intent is the most important factor. If you have
good principles, then you will act ethically.
Ethics of responsibility challenges this, saying that you must understand the consequences
of your decisions and actions and answer to these, not just your high-minded principles.
The medical maxim 'do no harm', for example, is based in the outcome-oriented ethics of

So what?
Understand the differences between the values, morals and ethics of the other person. If
there is conflict between these, then they probably have it hidden from themselves and you
may carefully use these as a lever.
Beware of transgressing the other person's morals, as this is particularly how they will
judge you.
Talking about professional ethics puts you on a high moral platform and
encourages the other person to either join you or look up to you.

Association executives typically want the answers to two key questions about ethics in
their association offices: How do workplace ethics apply to the practical goals of my
organization and the work of my employees? and Can you show me reliable data that
support your assertions? In this article, we address those questions as we present
findings from the Ethics Resource Centers2000 National Business Ethics Survey (2000
NBES) - a rigorous telephone survey of 1,500 U.S. employees - and discuss what these
findings mean for association executives.
One caveat first - we focus on issues relevant to an associations internal staff and to
ethics programs designed for them, not for association members whose relationships
with their organization are often very different from those of staff. In the 2000 NBES, we
gathered information on three key elements of an ethics program: written ethics
standards, ethics training, and means for employees to get ethics advice (e.g., a
telephone help line or ethics office).
Ethics Trends

Studies show that formal ethics programs are becoming increasingly common in U.S.
organizations across the nonprofit, for-profit, and government sectors. Compared to the
1994 survey, the 2000 NBES finds dramatic increases in the percentage of employees
who report that their organizations have ethics programs. In the nonprofit sector
specifically, the 2000 NBES finds that nearly 90 percent of employees say their
organizations have written standards of ethical conduct. In addition, 65 percent say their
organizations provide some form of training about these standards, and more than 40
percent say a dedicated telephone line or office is available for ethics advice. Not
surprisingly, the percentages are consistently higher among larger nonprofits - those with
more than 500 employees - as compared to smaller ones.
These percentages suggest that many nonprofit executives are seeing value in actively
promoting ethics within their organizations. The list of potential benefits linked to an
effective ethics program includes the following:

Recruiting and retaining top-quality people;

Fostering a more satisfying and productive working environment;
Building and sustaining your associations reputation within the communities in
which you operate;
Maintaining the trust of members to ensure continued self-regulation;
Legitimizing open discussion of ethical issues;

Providing ethical guidance and resources for employees prior to making difficult
decisions; and
Aligning the work efforts of staff with the associations broader mission and vision.
Like most leaders, association executives would likely agree that high ethical standards

are important in their organizations. But what does this mean in practice? What are the
basic functions of an ethics program, and how can these programs lead to the kinds of
benefits described above?
The Function of an Ethics Program

Essentially, ethics programs are meant to affect how people think about and address
ethical issues that arise on the job. Gretchen Winter, vice president of business practices
at Baxter International, puts it this way: By providing employees with ethics standards,
training, and resources to get advice, organizations seek to create a work environment
where (1) its okay for employees to acknowledge that they have an ethical dilemma, and
(2) resources are readily available to guide employees in working through such
dilemmas before making decisions.
Its fine to have a structure that tells people they need to report it when someone does
something wrong, says Winter. But thats not the main reason to have an ethics
program. Winter believes that ethical guidelines, in the form of policies and practices,
give employees the basic tools they need to take informed risks on behalf of their
organizations. Her language is intentional. At a time when many organizations are
embracing risk-taking, she points out that all executives should view ethics as more
than a way to simply reduce risks. Rather, ethical guidelines benefit organizations by
steering employees away from ethical risk-taking and into more productive and
appropriate kinds of risk-taking.
Winter notes that busy association executives have a choice: They can either have
employees come to them with every ethical decision, or they can give employees a
framework to make many of these decisions themselves. Executives who can trust their
employees to do the latter will have more time and energy for other work.
Ethics programs cannot prevent all misconduct from occurring, says Ken Johnson, an
ethics consultant and colleague at the Ethics Resource Center. Even in the best-run and
most ethical organizations, there are always a few employees who willfully break the

In such cases, there is no substitute for clear procedures and sanctions. But the real
function of an ethics program is to allow basically good people to do the right thing and
succeed. According to Johnson, this is the essence of a healthy work environment.
People need to be sensitive to ethical issues on the job, but they also must trust their
organizations enough to raise them.
Encouraging Findings

The 2000 NBES finds much that is encouraging for organizations that are putting their
efforts into workplace ethics. For example, employees have high expectations for ethics
within their organizations. More than nine in 10 respondents say that they expect their
organizations to do what is right, not just what is profitable. This finding suggests that
most employees are not so cynical about ethics at work. This should be encouraging
news for all executives pursuing ethics initiatives. Most recognize that the long-term
success of any program requires the active support of employees.
Findings from the NBES also show that both formal ethics programs and informal ethics
practices are related to key outcomes. Employees who work in organizations with ethics
programs, who see their leaders and supervisors modeling ethical behavior, and who
see values such as honesty, respect, and trust applied frequently at work generally
report more positive experiences regarding a range of ethics outcomes that include the
Less pressure on employees to compromise ethics standards;
Less observed misconduct at work;
Greater willingness to report misconduct;
Greater satisfaction with their organizations response to misconduct they report;
Greater overall satisfaction with their organizations; and
Greater likelihood of feeling valued by their organizations.
These findings tell executives that a more positive ethical environment is strongly linked
to a focus on ethics programs, to ethical modeling by leaders and supervisors, and to the
frequent practice of key values such as honesty, respect, and trust.
Importantly for association executives, the relationships described above are even
stronger among employees in transitioning organizations - those that have undergone a
merger, acquisition, or restructuring within the last two years. The findings suggest that
organizations and employees may draw the greatest benefits of ethics programs when
times are toughest. However, this also means that the foundations for an ethics program

need to be laid in good economic times when, ironically, some of the most valuable
benefits of these programs may be least apparent.
Earlier, we highlighted a list of potential benefits of ethics programs. Now we focus on
two particular areas of interest to association executives: attracting and keeping good
people, and building and sustaining your associations reputation. It may come as a
surprise that some organizations are able to use their ethics programs as a recruiting
tool, but it shouldnt. In many cases, the top-quality people you want to hire are those
who are looking for more than a job - they want to feel good about their work and about
the integrity of the organization they work for. In a recent conversation, Winter relayed a
story about a strong candidate that her company successfully recruited and hired. At the
start of a day of interviews, the candidates would-be manager took the time to talk in
detail about the companys business practices. When Winter met with the employee
several weeks after the hiring, he told her, I didnt need to meet another person at
Baxter that day. I was hooked in the first 20 minutes. In a tight, competitive job market,
association executives shouldnt underestimate the potential impact of a good ethics
program on attracting high-quality candidates.
The good reputation that an association maintains within its key communities is an
immeasurable asset that executives naturally want to protect. Winter notes that a strong
reputation is, in many ways, a natural outcome of a strong commitment to ethics at all
organizational levels. Executives generally recognize that employees can either enhance
or diminish that reputation through their daily decisions and interactions. They may not
fully appreciate how an ethics program can give employees the tools to enhance that
Findings of Concern

Association leaders should pay particular attention to findings in the 2000 NBES that
raise serious concerns. One consistent finding is that senior and middle managers in all
types of organizations are more positive about workplace ethics than are lower-level
employees. This suggests that executives may underestimate the importance of specific
ethics issues and concerns facing employees. As a result, they also may fail to address
these issues adequately within their organizations ethics programs. Thus, it is important
for executives to include input from employees at lower levels in the development of
ethics programs and to continue to solicit their input and feedback on a regular basis.
Another finding from the 2000 NBES strongly links pressures to compromise an
organizations ethics standards with employee observations of misconduct. Among

employees who did not feel pressured, about one in four observed misconduct at work
within the last year. In contrast, among employees who did feel pressure to compromise
an organizations ethics standards, nearly three in four observed misconduct during the
same period. This link suggests that ethical pressure on employees can be an important
warning sign of potential or ongoing misconduct in your organization. As part of broader
discussions or surveys relating to workplace ethics, executives may want to ask
employees about perceived pressures to compromise ethics standards.
Finally, the 2000 NBES finds that more than two in five employees who observe
misconduct at work say they did not report it. There are many reasons why employees
may decide not to raise ethical concerns or report misconduct they observe at work.
During the last decade, studies have consistently shown that one of the main reasons is
employees fear of retaliation for speaking up. Employees often know what is right but
believe they will be penalized for reporting it. This is not news to many managers - they
already see the value of reducing such fears in the workplace. But to take proper action,
managers should be aware that employees are as likely to fear retaliation from
coworkers as they are from management.
The 2000 NBES finds that one in three employees believe that coworkers will see them
as snitches if they report misconduct. This is roughly the same proportion of employees
who believe that management will see them as troublemakers for reporting ethical
concerns. A key takeaway for executives is that they need to address and eliminate
retaliation systemically, at the management and peer group levels throughout their
Returning to our initial two questions, there are a variety of practical reasons for
association executives to focus on workplace ethics and reliable data that support their
efforts. The survey findings consistently link ethics programs and practices to more
positive organizational outcomes (e.g., less pressure to compromise organizational
standards and less frequently observed misconduct) and greater employee satisfaction.
These data have direct implications for sustaining a productive work environment,
attracting and keeping good employees, and maintaining your associations reputation
among key stakeholders.
In addition, findings from the 2000 NBES identify ethics areas where organizations
commonly encounter problems and suggest preventative actions. It would be naive to
suggest that an emphasis on ethics will improve your work environment and solve your
associations problems overnight. But in many cases, a thoughtful and organized effort to

target key ethics issues sends an important message. It tells employees that your
association is heading in a positive direction, one that is positive for them as individuals.
Defining Ethics
Organizational ethics: Sets of formal and informal standards of conduct that people
use to guide their behavior at work. These standards are partly based on core values
such as honesty, respect, and trust, but they also can be learned directly from the
actions of others. For example, what people see their organizational leaders, managers,
and coworkers do on the job can influence their own views of what is acceptable or
unacceptable behavior.
Ethics program: The formal policies, practices, and processes that organizations
develop to deal with their own ethical issues.

Tips on Establishing an Ethics Program

Establishing an ethics program is not an exact science. As with the development of other
organizational programs, it involves the input, interaction, cooperation, decision-making,
and ongoing commitment of many people. Proper planning is important, but the
effectiveness of any associations approach also depends on characteristics that are
unique to its culture, the leadership style of the executive director and executive team,
the associations relationship with its board of directors, and so on. In addition,
discussion of workplace ethics can raise sensitive issues. Some people in your
organization may have difficulty or be uncomfortable discussing these issues. Given
these caveats, a valuable exercise for association executives is to first ask, consider, and
answer seven key questions:

Why might good people in this organization do unethical things?

What are our organizations values?
Have we adequately articulated these values internally and externally?
Does our organization have written ethics policies, procedures, or structures?
To whom is our organization accountable?
What do we mean by success?
Does the leadership of our organization support the idea of an ethical workplace?

Morality deals with that which is regarded as right or wrong. Morality stems from an individual's
conscience and from the values of a given society, which might be based on religious tradition or on
political principles such as democracy or socialism. Moral conduct would be that which is considered
'right' based on people's consciences and society's shared values. Morality is one way for a
community to define appropriate activity.

Ethics (from the Ancient Greek word ethikos meaning 'theory of living'), is a type of philosophy which
attempts to figure out that right versus wrong in any given situation or scenario. In general terms,
ethics are practical moral standards that distinguish right from wrong, and give us a guide to living
'moral' lives. These standards might include duties that we should follow, such as fidelity in marriage,
or the consequences of our behaviour on others. The act of embezzling money from a company, for
example, is not only a legal wrongdoing against the company but also an action that could result in
people losing their jobs. In more specific terms, some of the more difficult ethical questions on which a
government might legislate could include issues relating to abortion, euthanasia and animal rights.

morality is both a foundation and an ultimate aim of society, and ethics is a practical way of
discovering how to implement and preserve moral standards. The concept of 'public morality' is often
used to justify the regulation of sexual matters, including pornography, prostitution and homosexuality,
as well as issues of dress and nudity. This, however, is a narrower application of the idea of moral
standards, and does not involve ethical issues of the same significance as morality in the more
general sense.
Moral and ethical issues occur at both a local and a global level, and laws and other legal instruments
have been developed at both levels to implement the moral and ethical standards of society. You
might think about the ethical decisions you make when you walk down the street; decisions ranging
from not harassing other pedestrians, to giving money to a homeless person.

In global terms, an important ethical milestone came with the post-World War II development of the
doctrine of 'human rights', which was embodied at first in theUniversal Declaration of Human
Rights (1948) and subsequently in many international conventions, treaties and laws. The doctrine of
human rights has influenced the development of Australia's legal system - for example, in the
adoption of legislation such as the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW).
Law can be seen as a form of 'discourse' that reflects the values and interests of a society. All legal
systems are value-laden - although this is sometimes not readily understood either within the legal
system or by members of the public in general. The rights and duties set out by the law have their
foundation in ethical approaches to decision-making, and are aimed at setting and upholding what are
called 'normative standards', by which is meant the type of behaviour deemed acceptable and
desirable in society.
The fundamental role of 'values' in the legal system has led to some criticism. The readiness amongst
lawyers to view systems of law as rational and neutral has been strongly challenged by legal scholars
from feminist and other backgrounds. They argue that any system of law is inextricably bound up with
political, economic, historical and cultural contexts. The legal system, in the eyes of some critics, often
functions to preserve inequalities in society by upholding them as the desired and natural values
society wishes to protect.

Values are our fundamental beliefs. They are the principles we use to define that which is right, good
and just. Values provide guidance as we determine the right versus the wrong, the good versus the
bad. They are our standards. Consider the word evaluate. When we evaluate something we
compare it to a standard. We determine whether it meets that standard or falls short, comes close or
far exceeds. To evaluate is to determine the merit of a thing or an action as compared to a standard.
Morals are values which we attribute to a system of beliefs, typically a religious system, but it could be
a political system or some other set of beliefs. These values get their authority from something outside
Ethics is about our actions and decisions. When one acts in ways which are consistent with our beliefs
(whether secular or derived from a moral authority) we will characterize that as acting ethically. When
ones actions are not congruent with our values - our sense of right, good and just - we will view that
as acting unethically.

Defining what is ethical is not an individual exercise however. If it were then one could have argued
that what Hitler did was ethical since his actions conformed to his definition of right, fair and good. The
ethics of our decisions and actions is defined societally, not individually. If society is dominated by a
single religious or cultural belief system, as is the case in some countries, then what is ethical and
what is moral may be defined as the same thing. In societies where there is not a monolithic belief
system there can be very wide differences in opinion in society as to whether a given action is ethical
(or moral).

Consider several of the long-standing national debates that are going on in the United States. Often

the controversy is the result of people coming to a question from different moral positions or from
different values. Culturally we also see differences as to how values are defined. In US society we
stand against nepotism. We believe that a concern for fairness to all employees demands that large
businesses protect their employees from the unfairness inherent in the situation where an individual
supervisors a member of his or her immediate family. The concern is for the inevitability of preferential
treatment and/or the inappropriate sharing of personal/confidential information about others in the
In the Arab world, nepotism is often viewed as an illogical concern. The cultural obligation to look after
ones family outweighs other concerns. Of course one would favor family. That is what family does.
That is the right thing to do. While I am not arguing that ethics is situational I am arguing that while
we may agree on values, we may disagree as to which values apply or which actions best satisfy
those values. Is it fair to treat each employee identically (equality) or is it fair to treat each employee
according to his or her needs (equity)? In our society we argue both. And of course we have ethical
dilemmas, where the choice is not between what we believe to be right and what we believe to be
wrong, but between competing rights. The classic case: Is it ethical to steal a loaf of bread to feed a
starving child. The answer, It depends.

This is where laws come in.

Law is an enactment made by the state. It is backed by physical coercion. Its breach is punishable
by the courts. It represents the will of the state and realizes its purpose.
Laws reflect the political, social and economic relationships in the society. It determines rights
and duties of the citizens towards one another and towards the state.
It is through law that the government fulfils its promises to the people. It reflects the sociological
need of society.
Law and morality are intimately related to each other. Laws are generally based on the moral
principles of society. Both regulate the conduct of the individual in society.
They influence each other to a great extent. Laws, to be effective, must represent the moral ideas
of the people. But good laws sometimes serve to rouse the moral conscience of the people and
create and maintain such conditions as may encourage the growth of morality.
Laws regarding prohibition and spread of primary education are examples of this nature.Morality
cannot, as a matter of fact, be divorced from politics. The ultimate end of a state is the promotion
of general welfare and moral perfection of man.
It is the duty of the state to formulate such laws as will elevate the moral standard of the people.
The laws of a state thus conform to the prevailing standard of morality. Earlier writers on
Political Science never made any distinction between law and morality.
Plato's Republic is as good a treatise on politics as on ethics. In ancient India, the term Dharma
connoted both law and morality. Law, it is pointed out, is not merely the command of the
sovereign, it represents the idea of right or wrong based on the prevalent morality of the people.
Moreover, obedience to law depends upon the active support of the moral sentiments of the
people. Laws which are not supported by the moral conscience of the people are liable to become
dead letters.
For example laws regarding Prohibition in India have not succeeded on account of the fact that
full moral conscience of the people has not been aroused in favor of such laws.
As Green put it, "In attempting to enforce an unpopular law, a government may be doing more
harm than good by creating and spreading the habit of disobedience to law. The total cost of such
an attempt may well be greater than the social gain."
Although law and morality arc interdependent yet they differ from each other in their content,
definiteness and sanction.
Some points of distinction between law and morality may be brought out as follows:


1. Law regulates and controls the external human conduct. It is not concerned with inner
motives. A person may be having an evil intention in his or her mind but law does not care for it.

Law will move into action only when this evil intention is translated into action and some harm is
actually done to another person.
2. Law is universal in a particular society. All the individuals are equally subjected to it. It does
not change from man to man.
3. Political laws are precise and definite as there is a regular organ in every state for the
formulation of laws.
4. Law is framed and enforced by a determinate political authority. It enjoys the sanction of the
state. Disobedience of law is generally followed by physical punishment.
The fear of punishment acts as a deterrent to the breach of political law.
5. Law falls within the purview of a subject known as Jurisprudence.

1. Morality regulates and controls both the inner motives and the external actions. It is concerned
with the whole life of man.
The province of law is thus limited as compared with that of morality because law is simply
concerned with external actions and docs not take into its fold the inner motives.
Morality condemns a person if he or she has some evil intentions but laws are not applicable
unless these intentions are manifested externally.
2. Morality is variable. It changes from man to man and from age to age. Every man has his own
moral principles.
3. Moral laws lack precision and definiteness as there is no authority to make and enforce them.
4. Morality is neither framed nor enforced by any political authority. It does not enjoy the
support of the state. Breach of moral principles is not accompanied by any physical punishment.
The only check against the breach of morality is social condemnation or individual conscience.
'Moral actions are a matter of choice of inner conscience of the individual, laws are a matter of
5. Morality is studied under a separate branch of knowledge known as Ethics.

We may conclude the discussion in the words of Gilchrist, "The individual moral life manifests
itself in manifold ways. The state is the supreme condition of the individual moral life, for
without the state no moral life is possible.
The state, therefore, regulates other organizations in the common interest. The state, however,
has a direct function in relation to morality."

Points to Remember
Laws may be defined as external rules of human conduct backed by the sovereign political
authority. Law and morality are intimately related to each other.
Laws are generally based on the moral principles of a particular society. Some points of
distinction may be brought out as follows:
(a) Laws regulate external human conduct whereas morality mainly regulates internal conduct.
(b) Laws are universal; morality is variable.
(c) Laws are definite and precise while morality is variable.
(d) Laws are upheld by the coercive power of the state; morality simply enjoys the support of
public opinion or individual conscience.
(e) Laws are studied under Jurisprudence but morality is studied under Ethics.

For a proper understanding of the subject, the terms

culture, ethics and Indian need to be defined. Culture has
been defined in numerous ways and the one given by the British
anthropologist, Sir Edward Burnett Tylor, seems to be the most
satisfactory, being accepted by modern scientists. He defines it as
that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art,
morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits
acquired by man as a member of society.1 The units of culture,
which include certain characteristic manners and practices of a
group of people, go to form the cultural pattern of a society. A
set of cultural traits adopted by a group to meet its needs and
ensure its survival constitutes its culture. In this sense, culture
could be associated with a nation, town, village or a tribe. In
terms of Tylors definition, man acquires culture or becomes
cultured by being a member of a society or a group and there are
various elements in that complex whole called culture. Ethics is
one of them.

Ethics is concerned with the norms of human social

behaviour. It is that study of human behaviour which propounds
the supreme good or the summum bonum of human life, and
which formulates the judgments of right and wrong and good and
evil.2 It is also called moral philosophy. The word ethics itself is
derived from the Greek ethos, meaning customs, usages or
habits, or more comprehensively, character. The word right
has a Latin origin (rectus) which means straight or according
to rule. Ethics is thus specifically concerned with the principles or
rules which make our conduct right or straight. The Latin word
mores, from which is derived the English moral, is not much
different from the Greek ethos which means habits or customs
(as stated earlier). The word good comes of the German gut,
meaning anything useful or serviceable for some end or purpose.

Ethics as a science or body of knowledge is not so much

concerned with what an individual considers as good for himself
as with the ultimate good of the society as a whole. It is a science

of a values as distinguished from a science of facts such as

physics or chemistry. It is by applying these values that
judgments of human conduct are formed. According to ethics,
good conduct is an intrinsic value.

The term value needs to be understood in this context. It is

defined as that which is desired. It is always associated with a
feeling of pleasure, owing to the past experience of the valuing
subject and it is that feeling which awakens a desire for realising
the value in question.3 Thus, which in fact is apprehended, a
value is realised. While some values are realized, some values
are used as the means to realise them. The distinction is,
therefore, made of instrumental and intrinsic values. The
realisation of an intrinsic value begins with an idea of value which,
being tinged with a feeling of pleasure, arouses a desire for it; and
that desire by prompting, in its turn, appropriate activity
culminates in the realisation of the value. Hence all the three
aspects of the mind cognition, feeling and will are involved in
the process of value realisation, and they operate in succession. 4

knowledge), or more precisely, viveka, which is defined as
reason inspired, guided and controlled by intuition, 5 seeks both
higher and lower ends he has a footing in nature as well as a
winging in the sky. He seeks satisfaction not merely in temporal
and transient ends but spiritual and eternal ends. The right and
the true are the two higher values which he pursues in seeking
the final ideal of life via self-perfection. The right and the true
belong to the sphere of morals or moral action which leads to the
attainment of the spiritual ideal (or value) of self-realisation.

Has India a culture of her own? Given the complexity

introduced by differences of race, religion, language, customs and
tradition, it is not easy to identify the elements of Indian culture.
Sardar K. M. Panikkar observes: That India has a life-view of her

own, a special outlook on essential problems which has persisted

throughout her history would hardly be denied by anyone ... T. S.
Eliot, in his 0bservation on culture, argues that the basis of
culture is religious beliefs. It is undeniably true that it is
Christianity that forms the basis of European culture, in the same
way that it is the pre-eminence of Hinduism in India that gives to
Indian culture its special characteristics.6

Sardar Panikkar identifies what he calls, Outstanding Facts

of Indian Culture. These are:


Tradition of tolerance, aiding to the richness and variety

of Indian life.


Sense of synthesis reflected in racial harmony, the

primary institutions of the village and the family,
sculpture, architecture, music and painting, modes of
worship, faith in democratic institutions. Etc.


Universal outlook as reflected in views such as The

world is one family and the world as one nest.


Philosophical outlook with its basis in the belief in the

unity of creation.


Respect for the individual based on the philosophical

equation of Atman and Brahman, the soul and the


Though we feel it in our bones as it were the distinction

between good and bad, virtue and vice, right and wrong, or
specifically that between what is moral, and immoral, critics have
not been wanting in raising an accusing finger at India. Farquhar
pointed out long ago that there is practically no ethical

philosophy within the frontiers of Hindu thinking. 7 Prof. McKenzie

declared that the ethics of India is defective, illogical, and antisocial, lacking any philosophical foundation, nullified by abhorrent
ideas of asceticism and ritual, and altogether inferior to the
higher spirituality of Europe. 8 Dr. Albert Schweitzer makes a
distinction between the old Brahminic thought void of ethics,
with its life and world negation and the modern thought that
integrates ethics with life and world affirmation Hinduism is so
much under the influence of Brahminic thought that it abandons
the world and life affirmation which originally belonged to the
religion of the people. So it dares not stand for the view that the
universe in some way has a meaning and that human activity can
set itself a task in the world. It nowhere makes the demand, which
is such a matter of course to Christianity, that love of God shall be
actively realised in love to man. Like the Brahmins it requires no
other activity beyond what is imposed by the obligations of
caste. 9

Competent scholars have rebutted the views of the Western

critics with force and clarity. Dr. Radhakrishnan affirms that The
actual content of the moral life in Hinduism is comparable to
others. Hopkins writes a whole book to show that truthfulness,
generosity, kindness of heart, purity of soul, forgiveness and
compassion were taught in India as everyday precepts long
before the Christian era. Raghunathan deals point-by-point with
Schweitzers charges and clinches his argument thus:
Schweitzers plea for a world-view based on ethical world
affirmation boils down to approval of progress, science and uplift,
leavened by a sentimental-romantic humanitarianism which, in
being active, feels good and concludes that it must, therefore, be
doing good. 10

It needs, however, to be kept in mind that, as Dr. R. N.

Dandekar has said, the traditional Hindu thought cannot be said
to have developed any system of ethics as such. He adds: Its
main concern is in individual practical morality. The emphasis is

always put on practice rather than on theory. That is why we

hardly come across any doctrinaire texts dealing with ethics.
There are ethical codes all right but there is no regular
metaphysic of ethics. 11 The Hindu conception of ethics or code of
morality is derived from or influenced by the Supreme value of
Moksha or self-liberation; it is both perfection and freedom
bondage of Samsara or the miseries of ephemeral life.


The moral principles that govern human conduct in the

ambience of Indian culture may be traced to the comprehensive
view of human ends called the Purusharthas Dharma, Artha,
Kama and Moksha.12 Of the four ends, the first three are
instrumental values and the last is an intrinsic value. While
wealth satisfies desire, the satisfaction needs to be sought in
terms of Dharma (or virtue, which is value translated into action).
Temporal satisfaction realised in a spirit of detachment prepares
one for the final satisfaction or the realisation of supreme value of
self-perfection. The four values could be paired: Artha subserves
Kama and Dharma subserves Moksha. The doctrines of Karma
(the law of as you sow, so you reap). Re-birth (so long as one
bears the load of sin), Varna (functional division of people based
on nature and nurture) and Ashrama (stages in ones life the
student, the householder, the ageing man preparing himself to
renounce the world and the renunciate) have also a great deal to
do with the development of the moral code.

The value (which may be called secondary to the primary

value of Moksha) that lndian culture cherishes may be traced
through (1) the Vedas; (2) the Vedanta or the Upanishads; (3) the
Smritis or the Codes of Law; (4) the epics and the Puranas and,
specifically, the Bhagavad Gita in the Mahabharata; and (4) the
literary works in Sanskrit.

The two great concepts, which have a bearing on ethics,

contained in the Vedas are the Rita, the law of God or the Eternal
Law, and Satya, truth. God is Ritavaan, the upholder of the
Eternal Order, and He is Satya-dharman, the One for whom truth
is the law of being. 13 Anyone who acts in accordance with the law
of truth, and the law of Eternal Order is good. Dr. Radhakrishnan
sums up the Vedic idea of moral life thus:

Prayers are to be offered to the gods. Rites are to be

performed ... The life of man has to be led under the very eye of
God. Apart from the duties owed to gods there are also duties to
man. Kindness to all is enjoined; hospitality is reckoned a great
virtue. The riches of one who gives do not diminish. He who
possessed of food hardens his heart against the feeble man
craving nourishment, against the sufferer coming to him (for
help), and pursues (his own enjoyment even) before him, that
man finds no consoler. Sorcery, witchcraft, seduction and
adultery are condemned as vicious. Gambling is denounced.
Virtue is conformity to the law of God, which includes love of man,
Vice is disobedience to this law 14

The Upanishads presuppose ethical excellence on the part of

the student set on a study of spiritual knowledge. They do not,
therefore, discuss elaborately the principles of ethics though, here
and there, they do contain teachings about morals. The
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad sums up a whole ethical philosophy in
words: daamyata,
datta and dayadhvam self-control,
charity and compassion. (These are the three, Ds which T. S Eliot
uses in his The Wasteland as the message from the ancient
world to the conflict ridden modern world.) In the Taittiriya
Upanishad, the teacher exhorts the pupil to speak the truth,
practise virtue, not to be negligent of virtue, welfare and
prosperity to honour the parents and the teacher and so on. The
Chandogya instructs the spiritual aspirant not to cause injury to

any living creature. It stresses austerities, charity, truth-speaking,

and straightforwardness, among others. The Maitri Upanishad,
one of the minor Upanishads, speaks of anger, jealousy,
meanness, cruelty and rashness, among others, as vices to be
avoided. The Upanishads also stress virtues such as chastity,
austerity and silence.

Manu and Yajnavalkya, among the Hindu law-givers, the

Smriti-karakas, stress the importance of Achara or good
conduct. Dharma, which is traceable to the Vedic Rita, is
exalted. Manusmriti proclaims:

Self-possession, patience, self-control, Integrity, purity,

restraint, intelligence, truthfulness, absence of anger these ten
are the marks of Dharma.

Manu points out that non-injury to other beings and truthfulness, among others. represent the essence of Dharma.

The whole of Dharma, says Yajnavalkya, consists of truthfulness, non-stealing, absence of anger, modesty, purity,
intelligence, self-possession, self-control, restraint of the senses
and learning.

Manu lists the virtues expected of the student, the

householder, the renunciate, the priestly class and the ruling
class. Respect for elders as one of the cardinal virtues is held up
by him, Women, be says, must be honoured and mutual fidelity
between the husband and wife must continue till death (of both).

The epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, illustrate

the highest moral principles enunciated in the scriptures, the Sruti

and the Smriti. The Ramayana projects the ideal man, the ideal
wife, the ideal brother and the ideal servant, and Rama himself is
held up as the very image of Dharma.

The Mahabharata is a veritable treasure of moral maxims

which characters like Bhishma and Vidura expound on occasions.
Subtle is morality, says Bhishma to Yudhishtira. I instruct thee
not by the Veda interpreted by wisdom and experience ... She
alone is wife that speaketh pleasantly. He alone is a son that
maketh his sire happy. He alone is a friend who may be safely
trusted. That, verily, is the motherland wherein living is earned.
He alone is a king who ruleth without oppression, in whose
territories the righteous have no fear, who cherisheth the poor
and punisheth the wicked.16 To give joy to another is
righteousness: to give pain is sin. Let no man do to another
what is not good for himself. Virtues are forms of Truth as Truth
is that which is Real, the Eternal Brahman.

The Bhagavad Gita, the gem set in the jewel of

Mahabharata, is explicit about moral principles and makes the
supreme Lord Himself expound them. Distinguishing between the
virtues of the children of Light (Devas) and the vices of the
children of Darkness (Asuras), the Lord of the Gita enumerates
them as follows (selective).


Fearlessness, purity of mind, charity, self-control and

sacrifice, austerity and uprightness, non-violence, truth, freedom
from anger, renunciation, aversion to fault-finding, compassion,
freedom from covetousness, gentleness, modesty, steadiness,
forgiveness, fortitude, freedom from malice and excessive pride.


Lust, anger, greed, self-conceit, stubbornness, ostentation,

arrogance, excessive pride, harshness, ignorance and force.
Bhagavad Gita, Ch. XVI

Adi Sankara, Patanjali and Bhartrihari are among the others

who have laid down moral principles the observance of which
takes man along the path of righteousness to godhead. 17

Indian culture is a culture of religion and morality. And

morality is bound up with the realisation of the spiritual ideal of
self-realisation, the oneness with Truth, the Real, the Infinite that
is Satchidananda. On a mundane level, morality expresses itself in
truth, goodness and beauty, Satyam, Sivam, Sundaram, not ends
in themselves but steps leading to the final goal of Perfection,

Ethics and morals relate to right and wrong conduct. While

they are sometimes used interchangeably, they are
different: ethics refer to rules provided by an external source, e.g.,
codes of conduct in workplaces or or principles in
religions. Morals refer to an individuals own principles regarding
right and wrong.

Comparison chart


The rules of conduct recognized in

respect to a particular class of human
actions or a particular group or

Principles or habits with

respect to right or wrong
conduct. While morals also
prescribe dos and don'ts,
morality is ultimately a
personal compass of right and

Social system - External

Individual - Internal

Because society says it is the right

thing to do.

Because we believe in
something being right or


Ethics are dependent on others for

definition. They tend to be consistent
within a certain context, but can vary
between contexts.

Usually consistent, although

can change if an individuals
beliefs change.

The "Gray"

A person strictly following Ethical

Principles may not have any Morals at
all. Likewise, one could violate Ethical
Principles within a given system of
rules in order to maintain Moral

A Moral Person although

perhaps bound by a higher
covenant, may choose to follow
a code of ethics as it would
apply to a system. "Make it fit"

Greek word "ethos"


Latin word "mos" meaning


What are

Where do
they come
Why we do





Ethics are governed by professional

and legal guidelines within a particular
time and place

Morality transcends cultural


Source of Principles
Ethics are external standards that are provided by institutions, groups,
or culture to which an individual belongs. For example, lawyers, policemen,
and doctors all have to follow an ethical code laid down by their profession,
regardless of their own feelings or preferences. Ethics can also be considered
a social system or a framework for acceptable behavior.
Morals are also influenced by culture or society, but they are
personal principlescreated and upheld by individuals themselves.

Consistency and Flexibility

Ethics are very consistent within a certain context, but can vary greatly
between contexts. example, the ethics of the medical profession in the 21st
century are generally consistent and do not change from hospital to hospital,
but they are different from the ethics of the 21st century legal profession.
An individuals moral code is usually unchanging and consistent across all
contexts, but it is also possible for certain events to radically change an
individual's personal beliefs and values.

Conflicts Between Ethics and Morals

One professional example of ethics conflicting with morals is the work of a

defense attorney. A lawyers morals may tell her that murder is reprehensible
and that murderers should be punished, but her ethics as a professional
lawyer, require her to defend her client to the best of her abilities, even if she
knows that the client is guilty.

Another example can be found in the medical field. In most parts of the
world, a doctor may not euthanize a patient, even at the patient's request, as
per ethical standards for health professionals. However, the same doctor
may personally believe in a patient's right to die, as per the doctor's own

Much of the confusion between these two words can be traced back to their
origins. For example, the word "ethic" comes from Old French (etique), Late
Latin (ethica), and Greek (ethos) and referred to customs or moral
philosophies. "Morals" comes from Late Latin's moralis, which referred to
appropriate behavior and manners in society. So, the two have very similar, if
not synonymous, meanings originally.
The idea of ethics being principles which are set and applied to a group, and
can be philosophically studied, is relatively new, primarily dating back to the
1600s. The distinction between ethics and morals is particularly important
for philosophicalethicists.

Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about
moralitythat is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice, etc.

Morality (from the Latin moralitas manner, character, proper behavior) is a sense of
behavioral conduct that differentiates intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are
good (or right) and bad (or wrong). A moral code is a system of morality (for example, according
to a particular philosophy, religion, culture, etc.) and a moral is any one practice or teaching
within a moral code. Immorality is the active opposition to morality, while amorality is variously
defined as an unawareness of, indifference toward, or disbelief in any set of moral standards or
Morality has two principal meanings:
In its descriptive sense, morality refers to personal or cultural values, codes of conduct or social
mores that distinguish between right and wrong in the human society. Describing morality in this
way is not making a claim about what is objectively right or wrong, but only referring to what is
considered right or wrong by an individual or some group of people (such as a religion). This sense
of the term is addressed by descriptive ethics.
In its normative sense, morality refers directly to what is right and wrong, regardless of what
specific individuals think. It could be defined as the conduct of the ideal moral person in a
certain situation. This usage of the term is characterized by definitive statements such as That
person is morally responsible rather than descriptive statements like Many people believe that
person is morally responsible. These ideas are explored in normative ethics. The normative sense
of morality is often challenged by moral nihilism (which rejects the existence of any moral truths)
and supported by moral realism (which supports the existence of moral truths).

Lawful, permissible, just, etc.

Business or professional ethics are standards or codes of conduct set by people in a specific
profession. A code of ethics is a part of the expectations of those involved in many different types
of professions. People in a profession don't want to condone bad, dishonest or irresponsible
behavior if it does occur by someone in their field. By setting out expected behaviors in the form
of professional ethics, professionals work together to try to uphold a good reputation.
Professional ethics are commonly known as ethical business practices.
Respect and honesty are the two main components of professional ethics. All employees are
expected to represent a business ethically as they are a part of it. This is why businesspeople
traditionally speak of "we" or "us" rather than the more personal "I" for the most part. For
instance, if an employee must mention company policy to a customer, he or she may say "I'm
sorry, but this is our company policy in these situations." Policies are another type of preferred
standards in how business is done, and everyone in a company is expected to represent them.
It should be noted that people within each profession are expected to be respectful and honest in
their personal dealings as well. For instance, it would be unethical for law
enforcement professionals to also be criminals in their time off the job. Professionals are also
expected to uphold professional ethics by not getting involved in any type of conflict of interest. A
conflict of interest situation may occur when an individual tries to accomplish personal goals as a
result of being in a certain profession. For example, a politician who uses government resources
to get work done on his personal home could be seen as being involved in a conflict of interest.
Professional ethics training is often included in career education programs. For instance, medical
assistants are trained on the many ethics issues regarding patient confidentiality. It is both
unethical and unlawful to discuss a patient's health records with others who are not involved in
the medical care of the individual.
Engineering, journalism, religious organizations and many other professions have professional
ethics. These ethical codes or rules must never go against laws, but rather often coordinate with
them as in the case of medical record confidentiality. In general, professional ethics always
include upholding honesty and respect in the profession over personal needs, conflicts or biases.
A bias is a personal belief such as prejudice toward a certain group of people.

Professional Ethics
In the first section, we gave a brief definition of what is meant by professional ethics. In this section, we
will briefly present some concepts and suggest some readings that take a look at the history of what is
meant by a profession, some differing ways to think about professional ethics, and a brief analysis of
what is meant by professional responsibility. We will then offer some preliminary thoughts on how to
identify ethics issues in what you teach, and offer some beginning ideas of how to begin emphasizing
these issues in the classroom. Finally we will go back to the "Catalyst B" case study that you read earlier,
and look at it in conjunction with a code of ethics to see how your (or your students) concept of the case
may change when looking at it from the point of view of a professional.

I. What is a Profession?


1. "Profess": a public declaration, vow on entering a religious order. a commitment (vows) to

serve for a good end.

2. 16th century: commitment to learned pursuits (three learned professions are divinity, law, and
medicine, then the military); being an authority on a body of knowledge, belonging to an
occupation; being skilled, being a fractioned, not an amateur.

3. 19th century (late): "New professions have come into existence, and the old professions are
more esteemed" Oxford English Dictionary) (1)

An Occupational Group...

1. Delivers important services

2. Makes a commitment to serve the public

3. Claims a special relationship to the marketplace, not merely in the rough and tumble;
distinguished from a trade.

An Occupation Becomes a Profession...

1. When group of individuals sharing the same occupation organize to work in a morally
permissible way, or to work to support a moral ideal. (i.e. Doctors organize to cure the sick,
librarians organize to promote access to information, etc.) (2)

2. Members set and follow special standards for carrying on their occupational work.

* At least one of these standards must go beyond what law, the marketplace, ordinary morality
(what a ordinary moral person must do) and public opinion demand. (i.e. a good mercenary only
needs to fulfill the terms of his contract, a good, professional soldier must serve his country
honorably, even when ordinary morality, law, and public opinion do not require it.) (3)

* These special standards are morally binding to professed members of the profession. If a member
freely declares (or professes) herself to be part of a profession, she is voluntarily implying that she will
follow these special moral codes. If the majority of members of a profession follow the standards, the
profession will have a good reputation and members will generally benefit; if the majority of members
violate these voluntary standards, professed members of a profession will be at a disadvantage or at the
least receive no benefit from declaring a profession. (4)

A Professional Is...

A member of an occupational group (characterized above) who:

1. Sees other members, including those employed elsewhere, as peers/colleagues

2. Exercises judgment in the performance of occupational tasks and follows relevant professional

3. Accepts the profession's agreement to work in a morally permissible way (often expressed as a code
of ethics) as determining in part the obligations of the role.

Professional Codes of Ethics

A code of ethics...prescribes how professionals are to pursue their common ideal so that each may do
the best she can at a minimal cost to herself and those she cares about (including the public...). The
code is to protect each professional from certain pressures (for example, the pressure to cut corners to
save money) by making it reasonably likely (and more likely then otherwise) that most other members
of the profession will not take advantage of her good conduct...A code is a solution to a coordination
problem. (Davis, Michael. Thinking Like an Engineer pp.153-4).

(For the next section, it may be helpful to look at a code of ethics. Take a look at the National
Association for Professional Engineers Code of Ethics. What sections of the code mention the following

Individual Professional Obligations:

1. An individuals professional obligations are derived from the profession and its code, tradition,
society's expectations, contracts, laws, and rules of ordinary morality

2. A professional has obligations to his/her

Other Professionals- relations of collegiality, specific expectations of reciprocity
Profession as a collectivity
Society - responsibility to serve the public interest

Upshot: A professional is not a mere hired gun; responsibilities go with knowledge and position.

Individual Responsibility:

1. Sphere of tasks daily/regular responsibilities

2. For outcome caused by ones actions or decisions

3. Liability = answerability for ones actions or decisions

4. Capacity - to appreciate, to control one's behavior

5. Moral responsibility - looking ahead to and caring about what happens to oneself and others.

Levels of failing to meet ones individual responsibility:

Negligence failure to meet the appropriate standards of care (or that level or quality of service
ordinarily provided by other normally competent practitioners of good standing in that field,
contemporaneously providing similar services in the same locality and under the same circumstances).

Gross negligence falling way below the standard of care

Deliberate wrongdoing.

Professional Ethics:

1. Define the profession's special relation to the market place.

Members earn livelihood in professional roles, accepting certain standards.

2. In the form of:

a. Codes
b. Other measures

c. Continuing Education
d. Support mechanisms for members

Professional Competence/Autonomy


Entails knowledge and responsibility i.e. meeting an appropriate standard of care. (6)


Individual- governs his or her own conduct, often using moral rules as a basis, and exercises a
considerable degree of discretionary judgment within her daily work, but accepts the limits within a
cooperative practice.

Profession- Prescribes standards for itself. Is accountable to the public.

When Obligations Conflict, important questions to ask:

What seems to be the primary obligation?

Which violation will cause more harm?
Knowledge/consent of those affected?
Is there a way to make these obligations compatible?

Tension Between Professional Standards and Moral Rules

e.g. Judge foreclosing on a widow. Look for alternative that does the least harm.

Ethics as a Context of Professional Work (and identifying ethical issues in what you teach)

I. Ethics and other professional standards: some similarities

A. Same purpose as other standards, namely

1. Standardize profession's work

2. Protect public, serve client, support other standards, etc.

B. Similar development

1. Begins with common sense

2. Modified based on experience of profession

3. Never final (since experience continues)

C. Needs practical context to make sense

1. Each profession is defined by a certain sort of judgment, not merely by the knowledge
such judgment presupposes:

e.g. you are not an engineer because you know what engineers know but because you can
and generally doshow the good judgment characteristic of engineers.

2. Judgment can only be exercised in a context.

A large part of what makes a professional's judgment useful is its ability to appreciate certain
features of certain contexts

e.g. engineer sees hoisting of a large beam as an engineering problem (what forces are at work,
etc.), while lawyer sees it as a legal problem (what liability might arise).

II. Once you begin thinking about the ethical issues professionals in your field encounter on a day-to-day
basis, it becomes relatively easy to identify ethical issues in what you teach. What follows are a few
suggestions of how to begin to do this, and how to focus students attention on these issues without
greatly changing your class syllabus.

A. Read your profession's code of ethicswhat issues?

If it's in the code, it probably comes up.

B. Draw on your practical experiencewhat bothered you?

C. Ask practitioners what comes up in their work?

D. Collect newspaper stories, novels, short stories, web sites, and the like that deal with your
professionwhat comes up there?

E. Look through texts on your profession's ethics. (For example, see the Codes of Ethics
Collection, divided by professional category link)

F. Ask your students to write up problems (based on their work experience or on the work
experience of someone they interview) (For engineering instructions, you can see examples of
cases developed by graduate students in the Ethics-in-Basket link)

G. Think about writing a report on research, design work, or evaluation of the material covered in
course: what problems arise in reporting technical results?

H. Ask: how the activity in which such technical judgment is relevant could harm someone or
embarrass members of your profession?

II. Ethics in the classroom: Strategymake room for judgment by adding context. E.g.

A. Rewrite problems to include more information;

e.g. instead of liquid emptying into a basin, why not a specific highly toxic chemical emptying
into a specific river? Did students notice how much was going in? Why didn't they flag the
problem? How many people might die as result? Responsibility beyond particular technical

Not just safety, also utility (e.g. specs not suitable to locale), cost (e.g. unnecessarily expensive
materials), and so on.

B. Create mini-design problems: group similar problems, ask students to do the usual
calculations, then give enough context so that what has been calculated are various solutions to
same practical problem and ask for a recommendation. Which approach should we take and why?
One approach could be cheaper in the short run, another cheaper in long run, another safer, and
so on. What is professional responsibility here?

C. Forensics: Assign students to study report of some disaster (or scandal) relevant to material of
course: How do we avoid such a disaster next time?

Disasters are effective in teaching ethics because they are both real and dramatic.

Students develop a sense for how easy it is to mess up (that is, add to their moral imagination),
how important professional standards really are.

Tip: Don't use too many disasters. If you only use cases studies in your class that show failures
to exercise ethical judgment, students may become cynical about the very possibility of
professionals behaving ethically. (7)

D. Investigate technical standard (relevant to course)

e.g. How was this table developed? Why do we record lab observations in ink, at time, in books
that cannot leave lab? (What disasters led us to draw line here?) Stories.

E. Assign responsibilities now.

e.g. treat lab rules as professional standards, explaining rationale for these standards (safety,
preserving immediacy to catch small clues, making it possible for others to pick up where you left
off, protecting against suspicion, and so on)or (as in D) make students figure out their

e.g. do work with real world effects (sampling river for EPA)


(1) "Profession" II (7) a. Oxford English Dictionary. June, 2007.

(2) Davis, Michael Is Engineering a Profession in Japan? pp.7-8

(3) Davis, Is Engineering a Profession Everywhere? pp. 8.

(4) Davis, Is Engineering a Profession in Everywhere? pp. 8-9.

(5) Definition from case, Paxton v. County of Alameda (1953) 119 C. A. 2d 393, 398, 259 P. 2d 934)

(6) From Glossary Standards of Care Online Ethics Center for Engineering & Science. 1/31/2006
6:57:46 PM National Academy of Engineering Accessed: Tuesday, October 21, The standard of care is the degree of care that a
reasonably prudent person would exercise in some particular circumstances. In negligence law, if
someones conduct falls below such a standard, then the person may be liable in tort for injuries or
damages resulting from his or her conduct. In professional malpractice cases, a standard of care is
applied to measure the competence as well of the degree of care shown by a professionals actions.

(7) Davis, Michael. Developing and Using Cases to Teach Practical Ethics. Teaching Philosophy20:4
(December 1997) p.364.

Recommended Reading:

Andre, Judith. Role Morality as a Complex Instance of Ordinary Morality. American Philosophical
Quarterly 28:1 (January 1991) 73-80.

This article looks at how the role an individual assumes in society (such as engineer or physician,
when it is a voluntary role, or grandmother when it is not) oftentimes has a corresponding moral
value, or moral obligations that can go beyond or differ from what is seen as ordinary morality. For
example, lawyers have a moral obligation to help the client they are representing go free, regardless of

that clients innocence or guilt. We can old many roles simultaneously in society, and these roles are
constantly shifting and being negotiated by society and by ourselves.

Davis, Michael. Thinking Like an Engineer: The Place of a Code of Ethics in the Practice of a Profession,
Princeton University Press, 1991.

In Thinking Like an Engineer: T author Michael Davis argues that codes of ethics are central to advising
professionals on how to conduct themselves, how to judge the conduct of others, and how to
understand their occupation as a profession. Using engineering as an example, Davis looks at the
history of the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster, and shows the importance of professional codes of
ethics and how it could have served as a guide for engineers involved in that incident.

Davis, Michael Is Engineering a Profession Everywhere? Philosophia Published online March 12, 2008.

In order to show how the concept of a profession can exist in almost any country, Davis explains the
connection between profession (in his sense of the term) to the hard-to-translate term code of

Act with integrity

Be honest and straightforward in all that you do. This is the five professional
and ethical standards.
This standard includes, but is not limited to, the following behaviours or actions:
Being trustworthy in all that you do
Being open and transparent in the way you work. Sharing appropriate and
necessary information with your clients and/or others to conduct business
and doing so in a way so they can understand that information
Respecting confidential information of your clients and potential clients.
Dont divulge information to others unless it is appropriate to do so
Not taking advantage of a client, a colleague, a third party or anyone to
whom you owe a duty of care
Not allowing bias, conflict of interest or the undue influence of others to
override your professional or business judgements and obligations
Making clear to all interested parties where a conflict of interest, or even a
potential conflict of interest, arises between you or your employer and your
Not offering or accepting gifts, hospitality or services, which might suggest
an improper obligation
Acting consistently in the public interest when it comes to making decisions
or providing advice

Some of the key questions that you could ask yourself include:
What would an independent person think of my actions?
Would I be happy to read about my actions in the press?
How would my actions look to RICS?
How would my actions look to my peers?
Do people trust me? If not, why not?

How often do I question what I do, not just in relation to meeting technical
requirements but also in terms of acting professionally and ethically?
Is this in the interest of my client, or my interest, or the interest of someone
Would I like to be treated in this way if I were a client?
Do I promote professional and ethical standards in all that I do?
Do I say "show me where it says I can't" or do I say "is this ethical"?

Always provide a high standard of service

Always ensure your client, or others to whom you have a professional
receive the best possible advice, support or performance of the terms of
engagement you
have agreed to. This is one of our five professional and ethical standards.
This standard includes, but is not limited to, the following behaviours or actions:
Be clear about what service your client wants and the service you are
Act within your scope of competence. If it appears that services are required
outside that
scope then be prepared to do something about it, for example, make it known to
client, obtain expert input or consultation, or if it's the case that you are unable
to meet
the service requirements, explain that you are not best placed to act for the
Be transparent about fees and any other costs or payments such as referral fees
Communicate with your client in a way that will allow them to make informed

If you use the services of others then ensure that you pay for those services
within the
timescale agreed
Encourage your firm or the organisation you work for to put the fair treatment of
clients at
the centre of its business culture.
Some of the key questions that you could ask yourself include:
Do I explain clearly what I promise to do and do I keep to that promise?
Do I look at ways to improve the service I provide to my clients?
How can I help my clients better understand the surveying services that I am
Am I providing a professional service for a professional fee?
Would the client still employ me if they knew more about me and the workload I
have? If
not, why not?
Do I put undue pressure on myself and colleagues (especially junior colleagues)
to do
more than we actually can?

Act in a way that promotes trust in the profession

Act in a manner, both in your professional life and private life, to promote you,
firm or the organisation you work for in a professional and positive way. This is
one of
our five professional and ethical standards.
This standard includes, but is not limited to, the following behaviours or actions:
Promoting what you and the profession stand for - the highest standards
Understanding that being a professional is more than just about how you
behave at work; it's also about how you behave in your private life

Understanding how your actions affect others and the environment and, if
appropriate, questioning or amending that behaviour
Fulfilling your obligations. Doing what you say you will
Always trying to meet the spirit of your professional standards and not just
the letter of the standards
Some of the key questions that you could ask yourself include:
Do my actions promote the profession in the best light possible?
What is the best way for me to promote trust in myself, my firm and the
Do I explain and promote the benefits, the checks and balances that exist
with the professional services that I provide?


Treat everyone with courtesy, politeness and respect and consider cultural
sensitivities and business practices.
This standard includes, but is not limited to, the following behaviours or actions:
Always being courteous, polite and considerate to clients, potential clients
and everyone else you come into contact with
Never discriminate against anyone for whatever reason. Always ensure that
issues of race, gender, sexual orientation, age, size, religion, country of
origin or disability have no place in the way you deal with other people or do
As much as you are able, encourage the firm or organisation you work for to
put the fair and respectful treatment of clients at the centre of its business
Some of the key questions that you could ask yourself include:
Would I allow my behaviour or the way I make my decisions to be publicly

scrutinised? If not, why not? If so, what would the public think?
Are my personal feelings, views, prejudices or preferences influencing my
business decisions?
How would I feel if somebody treated me this way?
Do I treat each person as an individual?

Take responsibility
Be accountable for all your actions - don't blame others if things go wrong, and if
suspect something isn't right, be prepared to take action.
This standard includes, but is not limited to the following behaviours or actions:
Always act with skill, care and diligence
If someone makes a complaint about something that you have done, then
respond in an appropriate and professional manner and aim to resolve the
matter to the satisfaction of the complainant as far as you can
If you think something is not right, be prepared to question it and raise the
matter as appropriate with your colleagues, within your firm or the
organisation that you work for, with RICS or with any other appropriate body
or organisation
Some of the key questions that you could ask yourself include:
Am I approachable?
Does my firm or organisation have a clear complaints handling procedure?
Do I learn from complaints?
Do I take complaints seriously?
Am I clear about what the process is within my firm or the organisation that I
work for about raising concerns?
Have I considered asking for advice from RICS?

Study Guide

The Bhaktivedanta

hagavad-gita As It Is Lectures
They are described in the Bhagavad-gt, brhmaa qualification.
Lecture on BG 1.12 -- London, July 13, 1973:
They are described in the Bhagavad-gt, brhmaa qualification, katriya qualification,
vaiya qualification, dra qualification. So... Very nice arrangement, Vedic civilization.
Everyone is guided by the superior. The brhmaa guides the katriyas, the katriya
guides the vaiyas, and the vaiya employs the dras. Ctur-varya may sa
gua-karma-vibhgaa (BG 4.13). In this way, four divisions of brhmaa, katriya,
vaiya, they manage the whole society so nicely. The katriyas, as the katriya's business
was to give protection to the citizens, similarly, vaiya's duty was to give protection to
the animals. Ki-go-rakya-vijya vaiya-karma svabhva-jam (BG 18.44).
A brhmaa, if he thinks that "Now I have brahminical qualifications, I am now
educated, I am very cleansed, I am very controlled"these things are
brhmaa qualification"I know what is what," jna vijnam, but he does
not try for becoming immortal, then that kind of thinking is also bondage, that
"I am this, I am that.".
Lecture on BG 2.16 -- London, August 22, 1973:
The whole human life is meant for purification. Yasmt uddhyet sattvam. Sattvam.
Sattvam means existence. uddhyet. uddhyet means becomes purified. Just like a
diseased man, contaminated by some disease. The medical treatment means he has to
be purified from the contamination. Similarly, we are impure in this material existence,
by contamination of the three modes of material nature: sattva-gua, rajo-gua, tamoguagoodness, passion and ignorance. So even if we are contaminated by the quality
of goodness of this material world, that is also contaminated. That is also cause of our
entanglement. Goodness... A brhmaa, if he thinks that "Now I have brahminical
qualifications, I am now educated, I am very cleansed, I am very controlled"these
things are brhmaa qualification"I know what is what," jna vijnam, but he does
not try for becoming immortal, then that kind of thinking is also bondage, that "I am this,
I am that." Even though he is very learned, sattva amo damas titik uci, all these good
qualities are there. But if he does not try to be, go further ahead, how to become
immortal, so this type of fine entanglement is also entanglement.
A brhmaa's qualification is stated in the Bhagavad-gt.
Lecture on BG 4.12 -- Bombay, April 1, 1974:

The Vedas are divided into three kas, or division: karma-ka, jna-ka,
upsan-ka. Therefore the other name of Veda is tray. Tray na ruti-gocar. Strdra-dvijabandhn tray na ruti-gocar (SB 1.4.25). That is stated in the Vedic
literature. Str, dra and dvija-bandhu.... Dvija-bandhu means born in brhmaa,
katriya, vaiya family, especially brhmaa family, but he is not possessing the qualities
of brhmaa or katriya, as now it is going on. Everyone is presenting himself as a
brhmaa, katriya, vaiya, but he hasn't got the necessary qualification. A brhmaa's
qualification is stated in the Bhagavad-gt, satya auca amo damas titik rjava
jna vijnam stikya brahma-karma svabhva-jam (BG 18.42). Similarly, katriya.
aurya vrya tejo yuddhe cpy apalyanam, vara-bhva ca. In this way there are
katriya's qualification.
One who is aware of Ka, what is Ka, he is above brhmaa. Brhmaa
qualification is already there.
Lecture on BG 4.15 -- Bombay, April 4, 1974:
One must know what is Ka. Para brahma para dhma pavitra para... (BG 10.12).
Brahma. Brahma jntti brhmaa. One who is aware of Ka, what is Ka, he is
above brhmaa. Brhmaa qualification is already there. Because a brhmaa means
one who knows Ka, Parabrahman. That is brhmaa. Brahma jntti brhmaa.
Veda-phd bhaved vipro brahma jntti brhmaa. Janman jyate dra
saskrd bhaved dvija, veda-phd bhaved vipro brahma jntti brhmaa. This is
the process.
Brhmaa's qualification, a-karma, pahana phana yajana yjana dna
Lecture on BG 7.1 -- Ahmedabad, December 13, 1972:
So still, brhmaa's qualification, a-karma, pahana phana yajana yjana dna
pratigraha. So stra says that a-karma-nipuo vipra. If one vipra is quite expert in
executing the six kinds of business, and mantra-tantra-virada, and very well known in
the Vedic mantras and hymns and everything complete, but if he is avaiava, if he is not
Vaiava, he does not know viu-tattva, or ka-tattva, then he cannot become
spiritual master. Avaiavo gurur na syd vaiava va-paco guru. But if a Vaiava,
one who knows viu-tattva, ka-tattva, even if he's born in the family of va-paca, the
dog-eaters, cala, he can be accepted as guru. So the real test is whether the guru is a
Vaiava, whether he know the science of Ka.

If you do not work as a human being to be promoted to the qualification of a

brhmaa and then surpass the brhmaa qualification and become a
Vaiava, then your life is not perfect.
Lecture on BG 13.5 -- Bombay, September 28, 1973:
Human life is meant for tapasya. Tapo divya putrak yena uddhyet sattvam (SB 5.5.1).
Unfortunately, the modern civilization does not care for all these things, and... It is very
risky civilization. Because nature's process is that as you create your mentality, you get
next life a similar body. Karma daiva-netrea jantor dehopapattaye (SB 3.31.1). You, in
this body you have to work because this material world means one has to work. So by
your karma, if your karma is not adjusted, if you do not work as a human being to be
promoted to the qualification of a brhmaa and then surpass the brhmaa
qualification and become a Vaiava, then your life is not perfect. Na te vidu svrthagati hi vium (SB 7.5.31). When our aim of life will be to understand our relationship
with Viu... Na te vidu. But we do not know it. We are so much captivated by the
external energy, my, that the whole program is how to forget Viu, the Supreme
Personality of Godhead. But our real aim of life is to know our relationship with the
Supreme Personality of Godhead Viu.

Srimad-Bhagavatam Lectures
They are instructed, satya amo damas titik rjava jna vijnam
stikya brahma-karma svabhva-jam. This is brhmaa's qualification. They
will train the brahmacrs and the ghasthas how to become perfect, discipline.
First discipline is truthfulness. A brhmaa will never speak lies. That is the
first qualification.
Lecture on SB 1.7.13-14 -- Vrndavana, September 12, 1976:
A brhmaa became a servant of katriya, that is degradation. A brhmaa cannot
become servant. Nobody can become servant. Only the dras can become servant.
Brhmaa never becomes servant. They are instructed, satya amo damas titik
rjava jna vijnam stikya brahma-karma svabhva-jam (BG 18.42). This
isbrhmaa's qualification. They will train the brahmacrs and the ghasthas how to
become perfect, discipline. First discipline is truthfulness. A brhmaa will never speak
lies. That is the first qualification. So who is going to take training in that way? Nobody is
interested. This is Kali-yuga. We are trying to train people "No illicit sex, no meat-eating,
no gambling, no intoxication." Still, there are some failures. And if we teach in our
institution, "Please do not speak lies," people will laugh: "What is this nonsense?
Nowadays is it possible to remain in this society without speaking lies?" This is the
position. This is called Kali-yuga. Nobody is interested to be trained up as a brhmaa.

Nobody is interested to be trained up as a katriya, neither as a vaiya. They are all

dras. Therefore it is said, kalau dra-sambhava. There is no training. It is very very
difficult to train them to become purified by training. These statuses of life were different
status of training so that ultimately one can become brhmaa, and when he's fully
trained up as a brhmaa then he transcends the brhmaa's position, and he becomes
a Vaiava.
Brahma-bandhu, or katra-bandhu, a person born in the family of a brhmaa
but has no brhmaa qualifications, he is called brahma-bandhu, "friend of a
brhmaa." Bandhu means friend. A person, a man, his father is high-court
judge. So there is no harm that he belongs to the family of such and such highcourt judgebut that does not mean he is high-court judge. This should be
Lecture on SB 1.7.16 -- Vrndavana, September 14, 1976:
So yad brahma-bandho. Brahma-bandhu, or katra-bandhu, a person born in the family
of a brhmaa but has no brhmaa qualifications, he is called brahma-bandhu, "friend
of a brhmaa." Bandhu means friend. A person, a man, his father is high-court judge. So
there is no harm that he belongs to the family of such and such high-court judgebut
that does not mean he is high-court judge. This should be noted. That is the difference,
brhmaa and brahma-bandhu. Brhmaa means gua-karma-vibhgaa (BG 4.13). He
must have the quality, amo dama auca titik rjavam, jna vijnam stikya
brahma-karma svabhva-jam (BG 18.42). He must be self-controlled, controlling the mind
and the senses. Then very clean, aucam. Satya aucam. Then titik, tolerant;
rjavam, very simple. No duplicity. Simple. rjavam. Jnam, full knowledge; vijnam,
knowledge applied in practical life. This is vijnam. Just like we call science. Science
means to know the thing correctly, and by practical experiment to understand the things
correctly, that is vijnam. Jnam means theoretical knowledge, and vijnam means
practical application of the knowledge. Simply if I know "This is the qualification of
brhmaa," but there is no practical application, that will not do. One must pass the
engineering examination and work as engineer; then he's called an engineer. One has
passed the law examination and is practicing in the court, then he's lawyer. Two things
required. Similarly, all these vara-vibhga, divisions of varas... Gua-karmavibhgaa. Gua means he must have the necessary quality, at the same time he must
work with that quality. Then he is... Ctur-varya may sa gua-karma-vibhgaa
(BG 4.13).
So sdhu, they are very titikava, rjavam. Similarly, brhmaa qualification
is also. Satya auca samo damas titik. Titik, tolerant, rjava, simplicity,
jna vijnam stikya brahma-karma svabhva-jam.

Lecture on SB 3.25.20 -- Bombay, November 20, 1974:

So Ka says, "Those who are very, very low-born, even they can come and take to
Ka consciousness and become elevated for liberation. And what to speak of pious
persons who have taken birth in the brhmaa family." Ki punar brhma puy. To
take birth in brhmaa family requires puya. To take birth in rich family requires puya.
ucn rmat gehe (BG 6.41). ucnm means very, mean, elevated, first-class,
exalted brhmaa, uci. ucn rmat gehe. So these are, those who have taken
birth in high-grade brhmaa family or rich family, they are not ordinary men. The best
thing: one who has taken birth in brhmaa family. But who cares for it? They misuse this
chance. Ka says, ki punar brhma puy. "You have taken birth in brhmaa
family. Why don't you take shelter of Me?" So because the..., why? The sdhu. Brhmaa
means sdhu. Brh..., Vaiava means sdhu. Sannys means sdhu. Titikava
kruik..., ajta-atrava nt sdhava sdhu-bha (SB 3.25.21). This is a
sdhu. So sdhu, they are very titikava, rjavam. Similarly, brhmaa qualification is
also... Satya auca samo damas titik. Titik, tolerant, rjava, simplicity, jna
vijnam stikya brahma-karma svabhva-jam (BG 18.42). So similarly, sdhu. There
must be a class of men in the society, first-class sdhu. Then the society will improve. If
everyone is debauch and dra, then how the society will be peaceful? There is...
Therefore, to organize the society, Ka recommends, ctur-varya may sa
gua-karma-vibhgaa (BG 4.13). There must be ideal brhmaa. There must be ideal
katriya, ideal vaiya. And balance, all dras. But nobody's caring that
And when you come to that stage, not that completely pure, almost pure, by
nitya bhgavata-sevay, and increasing your devotional service, then you
immediately be situated in the brhmaa qualification.
Lecture on SB 5.5.23 -- Vrndavana, November 10, 1976:
Naa-pryeu abhadreu. By developing Ka consciousness whose sinful life is almost
nil, not completely nil but almost nil, pryeu. How? Nitya bhgavata-sevay. If you
engage yourself to serve, to hear rmad-Bhgavatam and to serve the person
bhgavatam. Nityam bhgavata-sevay. Bhakti, uttama-loke bhaktir bhavati naihik.
Then your bhakti will increase uttama-loke, to the Supreme. Uttama-loka means the
Supreme Personality of Godhead. And when you come to that stage, not that completely
pure, almost pure, by nitya bhgavata-sevay (SB 1.2.18), and increasing your
devotional service, then you immediately be situated in the brhmaa qualification. As
soon as you increase your devotional service by serving person Bhgavatam and hearing
rmad-Bhgavatam, immediately you become situated on the sattva-gua. Tato rjastamo-bhv kma-lobhdaya ca ye, ceta etair anviddham (SB 1.2.19). Then this rajo-

gua, tamo-gua, cannot touch your heart. The whole process is purification of the heart.
Ceto-darpaa-mrjanam (CC Antya 20.12). Everything is there. Ka-bhakti is there. It is
not an artificial thing. Nitya siddha ka bhakti. It is our natural relationship with Ka
because we are part and parcel.
The six kinds of activities are pahana-phana yajana-yjana dna-pratigraha.
Pahana means he must be very much serious in understanding the Vedic
literatures. That is brhmaa's qualification, very much studious, high-class
scholar in Vedic literature, pahana. And phana, he must teach the Vedic
Lecture on SB 6.1.41-42 -- Surat, December 23, 1970:
A brhmaa may be qualified in so many ways, but if he is not a Vaiava, then he
cannot be a spiritual master. That is also stated in the stra: a-karma-nipuo vipra. A
brhmaa is very qualified, a-karma. a-karma, six kinds of activities. The six kinds of
activities are pahana-phana yajana-yjana dna-pratigraha. Pahana means he must
be very much serious in understanding the Vedic literatures. That is brhmaa's
qualification, very much studious, high-class scholar in Vedic literature, pahana. And
phana, he must teach the Vedic knowledge.
Formerly, therefore, you know, everyone, that in every village the brhmaa had a
catuph. The brhmaa had no other business. He would sit down in his cottage, and
he would teach Vedic literature. Even in Muhammadan, the, what is called, maulanas,
they also teach Koran. That is brahminical quality, pahana-phana, not that "I am very
much learned; I will not distribute it. I shall..." That is called jna-khala, envious even he
has knowledge. The spiritual knowledge must be distributed. That is the system of our
Vaiava philosophy. ravaa krtanam (SB 7.5.23). The ravaam is pahana, to learn
from the spiritual master. That is called ravaam. And then krtanam, then distribute the
knowledge. Whatever you have learned from your spiritual master, you must distribute.
ravaa krtanam. So pahana-phana yajana-yjana. Yajana means worshiping the
Lord, the Deity. And yjana, and inducing others to engage in that worshiping. This is
going on. You kindly mark in this society, we are allowing the students, giving them
volumes of books for reading, pahana. Then phana, then teach others. And they are
worshiping the Lord, and they are inviting others to come here and learn how to worship
Lord. Pahana-phana yajana-yjana dna-pratigraha. They are exacting money: "Give
us some money. Become our member." But what is that membership fee? That is not
being used for their sense gratification. For dna, for distributing knowledge. "You give us
some money as membership fee. We give you whatever we have got. We have got this
book. Take it." Dna-pratigraha. So this is brahminical business. Pahana-phana yajanayjana dna-pratigraha.

Brhmaa's qualification is amo damo tapo satyam. Cleanliness. So this is

also trained up, how to become clean, to rise early in the morning, take bath,
wash mouth, feet. Gua-sampanna. Then take to magala-ratika.
Lecture on SB 6.1.56-57 -- Bombay, August 14, 1975:
Because brhmaa's qualification is amo damo satam. What is that? amo damo... Tapo
satyam. Cleanliness. So this is also trained up, how to become clean, to rise early in the
morning, take bath, wash mouth, feet. Gua-sampanna. Then take to magala-ratika.
In this he was also trained up. Aya hi ruta-sampanna la-vtta-gulaya. Gua
means sad-gua, this amo damo titika rjava, jna vijnam stikyam. These are
gulaya, reservoir of all good qualities. Dhta-vrata. These things not occasionally but
regularly, dhta-vrata. "I must rise early in the morning"that is called dhta-vrata, vow.
"I must do it." Dhta-vrato mdu, mild, gentleness. This is human life, not to live like cats
and dogs. That is not human life. Real human life, the picture is here. One must be
trained up to all these qualifications. Just like nowadays we send our boys to school,
college, for being trained up as a technician, formerly the boys were sent for education...
These are the effects of education. Education means to become human being. Cakya
Paita, he also, although he was a politician, but brhmaa, he also says who is
educated, paita. The brhmaa is known as paita.
ruta-sampanna means well studied in Vedas. That is a brhmaa's
qualification. Veda-phd bhaved vipra. Vipra, brhmaa, without any
knowledge of the Vedas, that is not a brhmaa.
Lecture on SB 6.1.56-62 -- Surat, January 3, 1971, at Adubhai Patel's House:
So the point is here that Ajmila was so qualified just as a brhmaa, perfect brhmaa,
born of a brhmaa father and educated, qualified, and acquired the qualities. All the
qualities are mentioned, that ruta-sampanna. ruta-sampanna means well studied in
Vedas. That is a brhmaa's qualification. Veda-phd bhaved vipra. Vipra, brhmaa,
without any knowledge of the Vedas, (laughs) that is not a brhmaa. So he was actually
brhmaa, ruta-sampanna. And after... Simply reading of Vedas as a scholar is useless.
Just like foreign Western scholar... (aside:) Now stop. One must practically apply the
knowledge, not like armchair politician or armchair Vedantist, smoking cigarette and
reading Vednta. This kind of study of Vedas is useless. Now, we have seen so many
sannyss, so-called sannyss, talking on Vednta and smoking at the same time. You
see? So Ajmila was not like that. He was a scholar in the Vedic literature. Aya hi rutasampanna la-vtta-gulaya. And he was very well behaved and reservoir of all good
qualities. Gulaya. Dhta-vrata, and avowed to follow the regulative principles.

Nectar of Devotion Lectures

Actually, we should become on the platform of brhmaa, qualified brhmaa,

qualification Vaiava so that others may not criticize. That is our special
The Nectar of Devotion -- Vrndavana, October 24, 1972:
rla Jva Gosvm has commented on this line, vdo 'pi sadya, that a dog-eater, after
becoming a devotee, immediately he becomes a qualified brhmaa, so much so that he
becomes competent to become a priest in the matter of offering sacrifices. But Jva
Gosvm says that even a person is born in brhmaa family, he awaits the qualification
of performing sacrifices. He has to be initiated. He has to be advanced in education, so
many things. But one dog-eater, if he takes to Ka consciousness, immediately, without
waiting for reformatory method, he becomes immediately competent to act as priest in
performing sacrifices. But we should not take advantage of this. Actually, we should
become on the platform of brhmaa, qualified brhmaa, qualification Vaiava so that
others may not criticize. That is our special request. That chance is there, everyone. This
path of Ka consciousness is open to everyone. It does not matter. My position is very

Initiation Lectures
So brhmaa qualification is truthfulness, cleanliness, satya aucam. Sama,
equilibrium of the mind, without any disturbance, without any anxiety. Satya
aucam amo dama. Dama means controlling the senses. amo dama titika.
Titika means tolerance.
Brahmana Initiation Lecture -- New Vrindaban, May 25, 1969:
So brhmaa qualification is truthfulness, cleanliness, satya aucam. Sama,
equilibrium of the mind, without any disturbance, without any anxiety. Satya aucam
amo dama. Dama means controlling the senses. amo dama titika. Titika means
tolerance. So many things in the material world will happen. We have to practice to
tolerate. Ts titikasva bhrata. Ka says, "You have to learn tolerance. The sukhadukha, happiness, distress, they will come like seasonal changes." Just like there is
sometimes rain, there is sometimes snowfall, sometimes scorching heat. How you can
fight? It is not possible. Try to tolerate. That's all. Satya auca amo dama titika
rjavam. rjavam means simplicity, no duplicity. Simplicity, rjavam. Jna vijnam,
knowledge and practical application in life. Jna vijnam stikyam. stikyam means
to believe firmly in the scriptures. Just like Bhagavad-gt we are studying, or rmadBhgavatam. We should firmly believe what Ka says, not interpretation. This is called
stikyam. And nstikyam means not firm belief, atheism. Just like Lord Buddha. Lord
Buddha simply said that "I don't believe in the Vedas." Therefore he is immediately

calculated as atheist, nstikyam. Caitanya Mahprabhu says, veda n mniy bauddha

haila nstika: "The followers of Buddha, they did not accept Vedic, I mean to say,
direction; therefore they are nstika." What is that Vedic direction? In the Dsavatrastotra by Jayadeva Gosvm, he says, nindasi yaja-vidher ahaha ruti-jtam. In the ruti,
in the Vedas, there is prescription of sacrifice, and in some of the sacrifice there is
recommendation for sacrifice of some animals, goats. So that is... But Lord Buddha says,
"No. I want to introduce nonviolence, no animal killing. So even there is Veda,
prescription, I don't accept Vedas." Therefore he became nstika. So Caitanya
Mahprabhu says that veda n mniy bauddha haila nstika: "Because Lord Buddha did
not accept the authority of the Veda, therefore he was considered nstika, atheist." He
was Indian. He was Hindu. His forefathers were katriyas, Vedic. He revolted. So therefore
he was called nstika. But a brhmaa should not be nstika; he should be stik.
stikyam: "He must believe in the scriptural injunction." These are brahminical

Purports to Songs
These are the brhmaa's qualification. He must be truthful, so much so
truthful that even to his enemy he will not keep any secret. That is called
truthfulness. And ama. ama means controlling the senses. Dama. ama
means controlling the mind.
Purport to Parama Koruna -- Los Angeles, January 4, 1969:
Everyone is interested how to eat, how to sleep, how to have sex and how to defend.
That is going on, nationwide, worldwide. Therefore our Ka consciousness movement is
interested to make a section of the people brhmaa, brain. They can guide. It is not that
everyone requires; neither it is possible. Unless one is very intelligent, he cannot become
brhmaa. Brhmaa means the most intellectual class of the society. That is brhmaa.
Satya ama dama titika rjava, jna vijnam stikya brahma-karma svabhvajam (BG 18.42). These are the brhmaa's qualification. He must be truthful, so much so
truthful that even to his enemy he will not keep any secret. That is called truthfulness.
And ama. ama means controlling the senses. Dama. ama means controlling the
mind. Mind is our enemy; mind is our friend. So if we can control the mind, the mind can
act as very good friend. And if we do not control the mind, then he acts as enemy.
Therefore the yoga system means controlling the mind, controlling the senses so they
can act as my friend. Otherwise they will act as my enemy. Kma krodha lobha moha. So
there is necessity of a class of men who will act as the brain of the society. That is called

Conversations and Morning Walks

1973 Conversations and Morning Walks
A brhmaa's qualification is titika. amo dama auca titika, toleration.
They're not very much bothered with the bodily pains and pleasure. They come
and go. They're engaged in real business, how to realize Brahman.
Room Conversation -- September 2, 1973, London:
Prabhupda: So Ka is advising, ts titikasva bhrata. Therefore a brhmaa's
qualification is titika. amo dama auca titika, toleration. They're not very much
bothered with the bodily pains and pleasure. They come and go. They're engaged in real
business, how to realize Brahman. So if one is engaged in the prime business of life,
Brahman understanding, athto brahma jijs, for him these bodily pains and pleasure
becomes minor things.

1974 Conversations and Morning Walks

One is trying to associate with the goodness, brhmaa, brhmaa
qualification, he'll be promoted.
Morning Walk -- June 6, 1974, Geneva:
Prabhupda: The standard of living should be one: plain living and God consciousness.
That is the disease. Everyone wants to enjoy this material world to his best capacity.
Therefore we divide. They don't want to live in Ka consciousness. Material
consciousness. Enjoyment of the senses. And that is the cause of their suffering. Only on
account of this sense gratification, they're creating different mentality, and, after death,
they're getting different body. That they do not know. Kraa gua-saga asya sadasad-janma-yoniu. One is trying to associate with the goodness, brhmaa, brhmaa
qualification, he'll be promoted, and one who is trying to imitate, "I shall be as powerful
as the tiger," he'll be degraded. It is nature's law.

1975 Conversations and Morning Walks

We have been training them to, how to acquire the brhmaa qualification.
Room Conversation with Yogi Bhajan -- June 7, 1975, Honolulu:
Prabhupda: This is classification of the human being. This is not caste system. Just like
we are making this American boy a brhmaa. So this is a brhmaa caste?
Yogi Bhajan: No, but that is only...

Prabhupda: We have been training them to, how to acquire the brhmaa qualification.
It doesn't matter whether he is coming from Christian family or Mohammedan family,
this... No. Just like if you train one how to become engineer, it doesn't matter from which
family he comes. It doesn't matter. Any family, he can come. He can be trained how to
speak truthfulness. Satyam. What is that? So...
Devotee: The verse is...
Prabhupda: Satya ama dama titika. You don't find?
Devotee: I thought it was the verse about the qualities of a brhmaa.
Prabhupda: Yes, yes, what is that?
Devotee: "Peacefulness, self..."
Prabhupda: No, no, what is the Sanskrit verse?
Devotee: The one I have is text forty-two of Chapter Eighteen, but I don't think that's the
one you're quoting from.
Prabhupda: What is the verse? You cannot read?
Devotee: amo damas tapa...
Prabhupda: Ah, amo dama, that's it. Read.
Devotee: amo damas tapa aucam kntir rjavam eva ca, jnam vijnam
stikya... (BG 18.42).
Prabhupda: Brahma-karma svabhva... this is first-class man. ama. ama means
controlling the sense or controlling the mind. And dama, controlling the sense.
Brhmaa's qualification is thereama, dama, titika, rjavam and jnam,
vijnam, stikyam.
Morning Walk -- November 2, 1975, Nairobi:
Prabhupda: Brhmaa's qualification is thereama, dama, titika, rjavam and
jnam, vijnam, stikyam, brahma-karma... (BG 18.42). Everything is there, the
symptoms. So you are doing business, the occupation of the vaiyas or dras, and how
you are claiming to become brhmaa? The... Who is a brhmaa, that symptoms is

there in the stra. And not only the symptoms, Nrada Muni has said, "If these
symptoms are found elsewhere, then he should be accepted according to the symptom."
There is no question of birth. Yasya hi ya lakanm prokta varbhivyanjaka yady
anytrpi dyeta tat tenaiva viniriset. This is Nrada's vision. So it is the symptom. Just
like a doctor, medical man. He diagnoses according to the symptom. He finds out the
cause. So symptom is required, not that a man has become diseased or healthy by birth.
No. By birth he is born. Then again, when he develops certain types of symptom, so one
has to take him in that way. That is stra. We are accepting, or giving them sacred
thread, brhmaa, after seeing that they are actually acting as a brhmaa, not
superficially. Therefore we take some time to see whether he can develop brahminical
symptom. That is our process, not that anyone comes, and we give him a sacred thread
and he becomes immediately brhmaa. We don't do this. First of all give him chance.
Let him chant Hare Ka, follows the rules and regulations. Then let us see. If he is
actually serious, he has developed the symptom, then... This is the proper way. Even one
comes from the brhmaa familyhe wants initiationwe don't give immediately, even
if he is coming from a brhmaa... That is a good facility, that he is born in a brhmaa
family, but the symptom is the first necessity. Either you are born in a brhmaa family
or dra family, it doesn't matter.

1976 Conversations and Morning Walks

If you actually have the brhmaa's qualification, you must act as a brhmaa.
Otherwise, what is the use of claiming that "I am a brhmaa"? That is not
Evening Darsana -- July 8, 1976, Washington, D.C.:
Prabhupda: If you work as a brhmaa, if you are thinking yourself as a brhmaa, then
you act as brhmaa. You cannot act as a dra. As a brhmaa you cannot accept
anyone's service, then you become dra. You deviate from your own position.
Brhmaa, katriya, vaiya, they'll never accept anyone's service, only the dra.
Paricarytmaka karma dra-karma svabhva-jam (BG 18.44). When you live at the
mercy of others, this is called dog's business. Just like a dog lives at the mercy of the
master. So it is strictly prohibited for the brhmaas. Even in very difficult position, you
can act as a katriya, you can act as a vaiya, but never accept the position of a dog, a
dra. This is the injunction. Sve sve karmai, you stick to your own business. If you
claim as a brhmaa, then you must act as a brhmaa. Then you'll become successful.
You cannot remain a brhmaa and accept the business of a dog, that is not sve sve
karmai. So everything, what is stated there in the Bhagavad-gt, that is perfect. People
at the present moment, they are living at the mercy of others. That is dog's business.

Therefore (in) the stra it is said kalau dra-sambhava. In the Kali-yuga everyone is a
dra. There is no brhmaa, no katriya, no vaiya. That is generally accepted. Because
at the present moment education means to get some service. What is the value of that
education? If you become dependent on others, then what is the value of this education?
Therefore kalau dra-sambhava. Everyone is a dra. But this Ka consciousness
movement says striyo vaiys tath dr: (BG 9.32) never mind, even if you are dra,
take to Ka consciousness, you'll become perfect. Either you become woman or vaiya
or dra, it doesn't matter, or any other ppa-yoni, m hi prtha vyapritya ye 'pi
syu ppa-yonaya, te 'pi ynti parm (BG 9.32). So this is the most liberal movement,
that it doesn't matter what you are, if you take to Ka consciousness then you become
perfect. Sa gun samattyaitn brahma-bhyya kalpate (BG 14.26). He's on the
Brahman platform, above all these different modes of material nature. These brhmaa,
katriya, vaiya, dra, these are differences on the material platform. But when you
come to the spiritual platform, there is no such difference. Pait sama-darina (BG
5.18). So we are trying to bring everyone to that spiritual platform. Therefore they cannot
understand. They vision everything from materialistic point of view. They have no idea of
spiritual life, therefore they misunderstand. But if we read thoroughly Bhagavad-gt,
then everything is clear. Sve sve karmai means he must act according to his position. If
he claims to become a brhmaa, he must act as brhmaa. Gua-karma. If you actually
have the brhmaa's qualification, you must act as a brhmaa. Otherwise, what is the
use of claiming that "I am a brhmaa"? That is not accepted.