Vedantic Wednesday: The trade of duties and rights!

The concepts of rights and duties are heavily discussed and debated. This is particularly misunderstood and misused in the 800px-Balancebarea of leadership and governance.  What are rights and what are duties?

Rights are those we feel morally and legally entitled to by some unknown decree. Duties are those that we ought to do.  The beauty of the relationship between these two concepts is that they are not equal and opposite forces. Infact one is the cause and the other the effect.

If one does his duties that which he ought to do, he enables or bestows the right that is due on another person. Doing one’s duty does not earn or bestow any rights for the doer, as is understood in general. On the contrary doing one’s duty bestows rights on another. Following are some examples that clarify this concept:

  • When the king does his duties, the subject enjoys their rights
  • When the husband does his duties, the family enjoys their rights
  • When the citizens do their duties, the government enjoys its rights
  • When government does its duties, the citizens enjoy their rights

The misunderstanding of the above concept has led people to attempt doing duties to trade rights for themselves. Infact in recent times the degradation is so sharp that people are demanding their rights and trading duties.  It is difficult to teach this to others. That is why Vedanta insists that knowledge is for oneself to change.  And this is why Vedanta talks about one’s duties and not one’s right!

Think about it!

 

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