BANGALORE : One of the divine qualities of the soul is truthfulness. While the soul lives the path of truth, the mind plays the game of deceitfulness and untruth. To progress spiritually, we need to identify with our soul. This entails exercising the virtue of truthfulness. Mahatma Gandhi is an example of one who practiced the virtue of truth. He valued truthfulness. During one of his periods of nonviolent protest, he was arrested and put in jail. One of the rules of this particular jail was that prisoners were to receive no newspapers or news of the outside world.
One day, a doctor who was friendly with Gandhi ji came to visit him in prison. There was some news that he thought Gandhi ji needed to know, about how the movement for nonviolence was doing. Knowing that the prison rules were that prisoners could not get news of the outside world, the doctor, who had brought a newspaper, pulled out some of his papers and placed them on Gandhi ji’s cot in his prison cell. The doctor proceeded to talk to Gandhi ji about his health and comforts. When it was time for the doctor to leave, he put all the papers from the cot back into his pocket, except he left the newspaper.
When Gandhi ji saw the newspaper lying there, he refused to read it. In fact, he was so honest he did not want to break prison rules by even looking at it. Instead, Gandhi ji turned his back away from the newspaper on the bed and faced the corner of his cell the entire night. The following morning, the doctor returned to visit Gandhi Ji. Seeing the newspaper lying on the cot in the same place he had left it the previous night, the doctor said, “I am sorry, but I left the newspaper here by mistake.”
A smile crossed Mahatma Gandhi’s face and he replied, “Yes, you sentenced me to spend the whole night in a corner!” Such was Gandhi Ji’s honesty that even if no one saw him read the paper, he did not want to be dishonest, because he himself would know he broke his agreement to follow the prison rules while there. How many of us live by such a degree of honesty?
What we do not realize is that we may hide what we do from others, but we cannot hide from God and our own soul. We have to live with the fruits of our actions.
The soul has the virtue of honesty. Whenever we are faced with a choice of being honest or dishonest, we can follow the dictates of our soul or those of our mind. The mind leads us into many excuses to be dishonest. It has a thousand reasons why we should lie, cheat, steal, or deceive. But the soul knows only honesty. If we want to make spiritual progress, we should identify more with our soul.
Getting closer to our true state-the soul within us-means beginning to practice honesty in our own dealings. Is it worth delaying our spiritual progress by a small lie or dishonest act?
Is the little money we may make by deceiving others worth the delay we make in reuniting our soul with the eternal Creator and experiencing the true spiritual riches within?
Those riches are eternal and will stay with us permanently.