Values are imperative to life. That is why; analysis and discussion about the worth and significance of values has been there right from the beginning. A life without values is considered as useless, meaningless and baseless. In such a situation, i.e. indispensability of values in life, the first and foremost question that emerges in mind is: How to define values?
“Let us work together, let us speak together, let our minds and hearts be united for a great cause.” –The Rig-Veda
Value or Mulya (the Indian term), is one of the most important subjects that has the pride of place in the oldest Vedic-Hindu scriptures including the Rig-Veda. Value is the word used in English for Mulya and it originates from Valere of Latin; also from Valoir of the old French, which means the cost or the worth. In its basic spirit this word most cogently reflects man’s quality and ability; in other words, a man’s perfection and core competence in life. Along with this, it clearly reveals the truth that a life based on values alone could be best, honourable, just and exemplary.
Values accord positive strength to a man’s life; it makes a person identify one’s reality, and by developing one’s own virtues they enable all-round growth of mankind. Indeed, values give worth, glory and baseline to life.
No doubt, the importance of values in leading a person to his/her true identity and reality, and develop virtues that he/she already possesses; and thereby making his/her life meaningful and successful on the path of truth, is too obvious to be emphasised. A cryptic line from Mahatma Gandhi, “your values become your destiny”, says it best.
Getting familiar with values, deliberating on them, fine tuning them to present day needs, and approving them for implementation in routine living, is welfaristic necessity for human growth. This is the reality, the truth, not only of the past, but also of the present and for all times to come. There can be no alternative or replacement to this reality.
Having human life as the nuclei it can be said with certainty that values are as necessary for him as air to breathe, water and food to thrive and clothes to separate man from other living beings as the superior of creatures on this planet.
Values are the soul of ethics. They are the central force in making deeds truthful; in other words, it is values that contribute to make acts real and excellent. Further, values are the means of nourishing morality –the fountainhead of justice and good governance at all levels, from individual to universal. Values make man responsible. They make situations conducive for him as per the demand of time and space. They bring him within the domain of truth and lead him to all-round progress.
As values are the subject of contemplation and discourse; they are intrinsically connected to human nature and actions; they are not, therefore, beyond the reality of the eternal law of change. Values are no exception to the law of change. True acts for the large scale human welfare and unity, is the acid-test of values. It is for this reason that a political thinker like Henry David Thoreau has verily said, “Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me (the value of) truth.”
Institutions imparting education at all levels must take values as their prime responsibility and work meticulously to make them part and parcel of human affairs. Taking this as their core duty and responsibility, they must come forward for character building of students on the basis of values, the value of cooperation, coordination, collation and working together in peace and harmony.