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Theosophical Encyclopedia

Golden Rule

The name, in English, of what seems to have been, and still is, the ultimate ethical rule of behavior; “So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them.” (N.T., Matt. 7.12; Luke 6.31). The rule is encountered, not only in the Bible, but in various forms in PLATO, ARISTOTLE, Seneca, and CONFUCIUS. Lest there be doubt about this rule it is found as a variant in Mark 12.31, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Apart from Western texts, the Rule is found in many Eastern scriptures and writings. In the Indian epic the Mahabharata, Vyasa says,

Do not to others what ye do not wish
Done to yourself; and wish for others too
What ye desire and long for, for yourself
This is the whole of Dharma, heed it well.

In the Hadis (Sayings of the Prophet Mohammed) the Rule is stated as; “Noblest religion this — that thou shouldest like for others what thou likest for thyself; And what thou feelest painful for thyself, hold that as painful for all others too.”

An additional injunction is found in al-Qur’an (The Koran); “Noblest religion this — that others may feel safe from thee; the loftiest Islam — that all may feel safe from thy tongue and hands.”

Confucius imparted the Golden Rule in Analects; “. . . Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself. . .” (15.23)

The first object of the Theosophical Society (TS) may be said to have grown out of the golden rule in its recognition of a universal brotherhood. The dominant ethical injunction in RAJA-YOGA puts the rule in its most succinct form as ahimsa, a Sanskrit word which means “harmlessness” or “non-injury.”

P.S.H.

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