Character is cultivated. Character is always taken from the outside. We behave in a specific manner. We walk in a particular style. We follow a specific religious ideology. We laugh in a certain way.
Have you seen the difference between a child who goes to a public school and the one who goes to a catholic school? Have you seen the difference in how they sit, walk, talk, eat?
I am not pinpointing a particular child.
A group of 100 children who study in a catholic school will behave differently to 100 children who study in a public school. But if you compare two children within the same group, then you won’t find much difference in their style, their attitude, their behavior.
Why does this happen?
It happens because all the students in the Catholic school are brought up in a particular manner. On the other hand, all the students in the public school are brought up in a way that is radically different from those studying in the Catholic school.
The school lays a blueprint. It applies a set of morals and conduct and cultivates the minds of the students accordingly. But since it measures every student from the same yardstick, all the children behave similarly.
The same principle extends to other areas as well. Hindus are cultured in a particular fashion. Muslims in another. Christians in yet another. A Muslim fights with a Hindu because a Hindu doesn’t fit according to his yardstick. The same goes for the Hindu and the Christian.
Character is always cultivated. Personality is always cultivated. Both of them are formed by the impressions we receive from the outside. They are not ours. They can never be ours. Because all of us are unique individuals. Only individuality can be ours.
Culture allows us to put a mask upon our animalistic nature. It masquerades our anger, our ego, our pride, our arrogance. It is like a doorstop that controls our animalistic tendencies. It doesn’t allow us to be who we are.
A little anger is alright. A little pain is okay. A small fight is alright. But culture hides it. Culture suppresses it, and all the destructive emotions keep on collecting. They keep on piling, and one day, they burst—the lava bursts. The person goes insane. The culture loses its control. It loses its charm. And then that person will not punch but stab you. He will not kick but shoot you.
Culture is man-made. Nature has been existing since time immemorial. Culture is false. Nature is the truth.
My understanding is this: One who lives according to his nature, conscious and aware, is a saint. Whatever he does is holy. Whether he throws a garland at you or he shoots a bullet at you, in both cases, he is helping the world to move ahead. He is doing a good job—for example, Lord Krishna. A common man would say he had done a lot of good and bad deeds. But a realized soul; a Christ, a Buddha, will tell you that he only performed good deeds. Even though he killed many people, he is worshipped across the country. This is because he never used culture to hide his face. He lived as he was. He didn’t copy anyone. He wasn’t a manufactured product. He was original.
On the other hand, one who lives according to culture, unconscious and unaware, is a sinner. Whatever he does is a sin. If he shoots you, he is committing a sin. Even If he throws a garland on you, he is performing an evil act.
Your actions don’t prove whether what you do is right or wrong. Instead, it depends on how you do it. If you do something with your eyes closed, in a sleepy mode, in unawareness, unconsciously, then whatever you do is wrong. But if you do something with open eyes, in awake mode, in full awareness, consciously; then whatever you do is right.