When you do something wrong, often your conscience alerts you and impels you to follow the right action. For what is the conscience but an inner sense of things that are right or wrong that guides a person’s thoughts, motives, behavior and actions. The conscience is commonly referred to as the “inner light” or “voice within” which helps in discerning the right from wrong. When a person commits actions against his moral values his conscience is filled with remorse while good actions lead to feelings of well being and happiness as the actions conform to his moral norms.
According to Swami Shivananda of Divine Life Society, India- Conscience is the inner voice which guides a person when he is in a moral struggle. Conscience is a faculty which silently guides one to distinguish the right from wrong. Conscience may be a silent voice that can be easily stifled but the sound is so clear that one cannot mistake it. Conscience is based on the moral values of truth, goodness, courage and justice. Conscience warns the person of impending misery if he indulges in any wrong action. If a person feels shame, pin-pricks or depression, then he may be indulging in a wrong action. On the other hand if he undertakes a virtuous action he is bound to feel cheerful and exhilarated. In fact the first thoughts of the conscience are bound to be right.
Many religions consider conscience as a God given ability inherent in human beings. But conscience is something that has to be learnt and developed as per the dictates of religion which helps one to distinguish the right from wrong. According to Catholicism, when a child reaches seven, he has enough reason to distinguish sinful acts from virtuous actions. Conscience is rightly called the “the little voice” which nags and dissuades one from a wrong path. The Psychologist Sigmund Freud termed the inner voice as the superego which is the sum of things one learns about actions that are right and wrong and guides him to behave within the limits of acceptable behavior in society.
According to the Bible all good comes from God and this includes good conscience. Consequently a good conscience never performs any acts of offense against God or men. A good conscience is based on love and faith as shown in the daily actions of living. In fact the secret of a person’s joy or happiness is his actions which are rooted in a good conscious. Thus by cultivating a good conscience a person can act Godly in the world of humans.
A man with a clear conscience is pure and serene. He sleeps soundly and wakes up in a spirit of cheer and spreads happiness around. A good conscience easily discerns the evil and shuns it. It thus prevents troubles and the accompanying pain and misery. A good conscience is an indicator of the good health of the soul. A person who is virtuous in his thoughts, words and deeds experiences a feeling of bliss and satisfaction in his conscience. Contrarily, a man with a guilty conscience appears worried and morose. He is restless and seems dead mentally even while living.