A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for human behavior. Principles are seen as fundamental norms, rules, or values that represent what is desirable and positive for a person, group, organization, or community, and they help it in determining the rightfulness or wrongfulness of the group’s actions. Some social scientists further say that principles are fundamental truths that serve as the foundation for a system of belief.  They create space for a chain of reasoning and they govern human interactions.

We can make reference to the principles of various institutions and subject areas – like marxism, capitalism, life and nature, socio-economics, etc.  In the same way, we can make reference to the ten principles of the Arya Samaj.  Initially, there were twenty-eight principles when the Arya Samaj was established in Mumbai on April 10, 1875 by Rishi Dayananda, but later, they were condensed into ten. The ninth principle says that “we should not be content with promoting our good only; on the contrary, we should look for our good in promoting the good of all.”  Essentially, this principle is pointing to the inseparable bond between self and society.

The relation between self and society is irrevocably close.  Society is made up of laws, customs and morals that seek to regulate human behavior, and so, society does not exist independently of the individual self. The individual lives and acts within society.  Without individuals, society is nothing, for society exists principally to serve and provide security to individuals. And so, human life and society exist together.   Social scientists nicely explain that society is the chain and the individual is the chain-link.  The chain is as strong, or weak, as the links put together.  Each link-like individual contributes his specials skills and talents to make up the chain-like society.  So, the ninth principle of the Arya Samaj is saying that we should not be selfish but altruistic, that we should look for our good in the good of the community at large.  Example, if we dump garbage in the community, we are creating space for mosquitoes to breed.  Mosquitoes affect all of us the same way – they bite us and we get sick.  Proper disposal of garbage brings equal benefit to ‘us and them’ alike.  Hence, the social ethic communicated in the ninth principle of the Arya Samaj. 


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