- Politics and Social Issues
Corruption - Nature of Goodness and Goodness of Nature
A terrible accident
Today morning Raju called me up. Raju had been involved in an accident a few weeks before and he was being pushed through the corridors of the Indian police, courts and insurance companies. He had in fact lost a few kilos of his rich body in these exercises. Today, he wanted a picture of his mangled car to be shot. "The police and insurance company, both want it.", he said. And so, armed with my Nikon D90, I set out to help out this friend in need.
I reached the car site and ten photographs later, there was this inspector from the RTO. He was to assess the condition of the car and affirm that the unfortunate victim (Raju here) was indeed deserving of the insurance claim.
This inspector casts a cursory glance at the damaged bonnet and says, "This is not an accident with a TVS 50 moped as claimed."
We look at each other surprised that the inspector seemed to display some ESP.
He continues, "I feel that the car has banged some pole. Why? Maybe the driver was drunk? Hey Chinna, can a TVS 50 damage an I10 car so much?"
"No way sir!!" says Chinna as if he had knowledge about some secret titanium being used to reinforce the I-10 cars.
The inspector gives him a you-can-take-a-day-off-for-that look and tells Raju, "Meet me in the police station."
Then pocketing the car keys and Raju's driving license, he set off - to Hindupur! Raju was left high and dry. Little did he realize then that to 'unpocket' the keys and license, he had to ensure that the inspector pocketed something else! How else was he to pay for his son's education?
The deep-rooted problem of corruption
As I rode back, I was in a shock. Everything in the Indian Judicial and Administrative machinery needs greasing it seemed! Where does one begin to clean up? Its like trying to clean a septic tank by diving right into it! You only end up with muck all over yourself. And what was my role as Swami's student? How on earth would a handful of His students (by students I mean anyone who follows Him) wipe out this mess?
As the breeze blew across my face, my mind also seemed to get fresh whiffs of thoughts.
"If I meet that inspector, I will....."
I did not know. But I wanted to make him repent badly. I wanted a situation to arise such that he would want to plead for my help. And then, I would...........
A blaring horn on my right cut this chain of thought and a moment later, it was as if someone had hit the F5 button (refresh) for my mind.
"Wait! If I helped out this guy in such circumstances, then he would never ever trouble me right?"
So in case of a bad luck and me being involved in an accident, he would help me out of it and not become a stumbling block. Correct? He was forced to do what he was doing because of his circumstances. Education was expensive. His salary was not enough. He had responsibilities. And maybe he too had been forced into bribing people to get where he was!"
I changed gears as my thoughts moved furiously now. So the problems were at a higher level. Changing the educational system was the only way to bring in fresh blood that was morally upright too but that is no easy task. And then, there is the whole government to be dealt with. It is we who elect them isn't it? But we just choose the best devil as there is no angel to vote for....................
I was beginning to feel so hopeless. Its all such a spiraling loop and all of us seem to be going down and down. Oh God! What has to be done?
Very often, when we listen to the mind, things seem to be without a solution. Swami always stressed on listening to the heart. The heart sees in a way, the mind cannot!
At that point, an auto rickshaw moves past me. On its back is a big picture of Swami with the words, "Be good, See good, Do good." And something within strikes. I enter the ashram and that itself seems to bring solutions!
Flashback - "If I help out that inspector when he needs it, he will never be bad to me".
In the same vein, if I do good to everyone I meet, they will always do good to me. And what about the bad that still may happen to me? My belief in the karma theory will take care of it! The same belief also convinces me that at some point in time my negative balance will be done with and then it will be goodness always. I just have to take care of what am going to sow from now on.....
Now this will not change the world.....it will change my world and also your's if you decide to do the same. No wonder it is said,
"What we meet in life is destiny. How we meet it is self effort."
Sri Sathya Sai's answer on how a single person's goodness can help...
We often think that the "times are bad" or "It is the Kali Yuga where everything happens in a wicked and corrupt manner. Swami (Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba) begs to defer. He says that it is not the "time period" that determines "goodness" or "Dharma". It is the Dharma the determines what time period one is in. In His magnificent treatise on Dharma, the Dharma Vahini, He puts it so simply:
The Yugas change only with the change in Dharma, not with the mere passage of time. The wicked Hiranyakasipu and the purehearted Prahlada both lived in the selfsame chronological Yuga; the same Yuga saw Dharmaja, the personification of Righteousness and Santhi, as well as the arch-cheat, Duryodhana. So, Dharma is what makes the Yuga for each; one can always be in the Kritha Yuga, if only one has all the four qualities of Dharma. It is the conduct of man that makes or mars history and changes the Golden Age to the Iron Age.
This again highlights the truth that we may not be able to change the world, but we will certainly change our world. Dharma or goodness, Swami says, is like a lamp that we hold in a cluttered and dark room. It will not clear the clutter, but it will ensure that we do not bump against anything and fall.
Now the question comes : Is it practical?
I remember one of my classmates asking the same question of Prof.G.Venkatraman, (a Padma Shri awardee and the director of Radiosai Studios at Prasanthi Nilayam) in an Awarness Class. A young engineer who had fought corruption had paid for it with his life. So, the question was, whether it was worth the effort.
The professor's reply was a simple and straight question,
"There are many soldiers dying on the country's borders for the safety of the country. They are honored and are placed on pedestals for being patriotic. If dying for the country is justified, why not dying for Dharma?"
Yes! Following Dharma is tough but it is definitely practical. And there are many examples of such inspiring lives. One is that of Madurai Collector, Sri Sagayam.
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