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The Importance of Character-Building Occupies

  • Date Submitted: 09/01/2010 07:13 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 61.3 
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The importance of character-building occupies a vital and central place in spiritual life. Spiritual life sans character-building is like constructing a house without any mortar or cementing agent. Though all mystic traditions speak of moksha or spiritual liberation, a state beyond even the issue of character-building, no one denies that it is character-building which alone can be the guiding principle in all spiritual matters. Through the rigours of character-building the light of spirituality shines forth.

The word character, however, has several connotations.

One meaning is the behaviour of a person. When a person misbehaves or violates some accepted forms of social and moral practices, he is often said to be a man of loose or weak character.
Another meaning of character, in literary circles, is simply the way a person’s personality or life is portrayed in a book or story or article. This means a mixture of his good and bad traits. It is an evaluation of an individual’s moral qualities through the role he or she plays in a story or situation.

 

What I am just at this moment is the effect of the sum total of all the impressions of my past life. This is really what is meant by character...

The word character, hence, could mean both good and bad qualities.

One could be a man (or woman) of good or bad character. Or, as is the case generally, one can be a person with a mixed character. Though this is true, the most striking connotation of character, however, lies in an interesting fact: it is almost always used to mean good. The expression that so-and-so is a man or woman of character invariably means good character. So deep is this identification of the term character with good that if one has to use it to mean differently, one has to use a particular adjective to specify it (bad, evil, mean, etc).

Swami Vivekananda, however, goes a step ahead and gives a most complete definition of the term. He also goes into the dynamics of...

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