All the great Masters have constantly advised seekers to maintain perfect consistency between their thoughts and expressions. – Chinmaya
Intellectual conviction is ‘thought’. Putting it into action and living it is ‘expression’. Knowing is ‘thought’. Doing is ‘expression’.
Consistency is saying what you think, and doing what you say. Hence consistency is to walk the thought and to walk the talk.
Preaching is easy. Practising is always difficult. The path of Truth is compared with the razor’s edge. No wonder why very few are found treading this path.
In the early stages, Mohammad was disliked by the influential Koreish tribe. They sent round word that Mohammad had become mad. Insults were heaped upon Mohammad. Even children ran after him and pelted stones on him.
Abu Talib, Mohammad’s uncle, was an old man. He appealed to Mohammad, “Son! The Koreishites are the strongest tribe. They are dead against you. Why don’t you give up your role as a preacher? Why don’t you become a merchant again?”
Then spoke Mohammad, words wherein lied hidden the fire of a true servant of God, who would not barter with the world, come what may! To his old respected uncle, Mohammad said gently but firmly, “Even if you were to place the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left, I will not swerve from the Truth. God will teach me to stand by Truth. Yes! Truth at any cost – even if the way is covered with flaming fires! Truth and Truth alone – even if the reward is agony, persecution, prison or the scaffold!”
It needs tremendous courage and strength to walk the path of Truth. And this we gain when we surrender unto the Divine.
Gandhiji, with hard work and God’s grace, gradually blossomed into an outstanding lawyer in South Africa. He had a high reputation for his knowledge of the law, laws of evidence, skills to get at facts, and effective presentation to the court. He enjoyed a high reputation among his professional colleagues. The Courts held him in the highest esteem.
Everyone knew Gandhiji’s loyalty to truth. He would never stand up in Court and plead ‘not guilty’ for a man who he knew to be guilty. If at any time during the proceedings he discovered that he had been misled and the client was really guilty, he never hesitated to give up his case and leave the Court.
Even before deciding whether he should accept a case, Gandhiji thoroughly interrogated the client. In one such case, a man charged with stealing wanted Gandhiji to defend him. When Gandhiji interviewed the accused man and interrogated him closely, very soon the man confessed that he had committed the crime.
“But why did you do it?” asked Gandhiji. “You knew you were stealing, and you knew the penalty. Why then did you do it?”
“I had to live,” replied the man with finality.
“You had to live?” echoed Gandhiji softly. “But why?”
This reflected Gandhiji’s view of life – ‘being alive’ is not more important than ‘being truthful’.
Sometimes our own mind, addicted to something lower, justifies the compromise. Here is a classic example of how our own mind cheats us:
Winston Churchill, who was a well-known drunkard, was once asked about his position on whiskey. This was his tactful reply:
“If you mean whiskey, the devil’s brew, the poison scourge, the bloody monster that defiles innocence, dethrones reason, destroys the home, creates misery and poverty, literally takes the bread from the mouths of little children; if you mean that evil drink that topples men and women from the pinnacles of righteous and gracious living into the bottomless pit of degradation, shame, despair, helplessness, and hopelessness, then, my friend, I am opposed to it with every fibre of my being.”
“if by whisky you mean the oil of conversation, the philosophic wine, the elixir of life, the ale that is consumed when good fellows get together, that puts a song in their hearts and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; if you mean good cheer, the stimulating sip that puts a little spring in the step of an elderly gentleman on a frosty morning; if you mean that drink that enables man to magnify his joy, and to forget life’s great tragedies and heartbreaks and sorrow; if you mean that drink the sale of which pours into our treasuries untold millions of dollars each year, that provides tender care for our little crippled children, our blind, our deaf, our dumb, our pitifully aged and infirm, to build the finest highways, hospitals, universities, and community colleges in this nation, then my friend, I am absolutely, unequivocally in favour of it.”
“This is my position, and as always, I refuse to compromise on matters of principle.”
The result? He could never come out of this addiction. He needed drinks even for lunch and for dinner. He died an addict.
When we justify a weakness in us, we hardly come out of it!
There are three types of people in this world: the unintelligent, the moderate and the wise.
The unintelligent people are those who compromise at every step, even for the least material gain. They yield to temptation easily.
The moderate people are those who don’t compromise with values, because they know that to succeed materially one must be credible and trustworthy. Hence they stick to values for a larger material gain.
But the wise ones are those who value only spiritual gain. They are ready to go through any amount of material losses and hardships, but never can they agree to a moral compromise and a subsequent spiritual downfall.
On his death bed, Tom Smith called his children and advised them to follow his footsteps so that they can have peace of mind in all that they do.
His daughter, Sara, said, “Daddy, It is unfortunate you are dying without a penny in your bank. Other fathers that you tag as “being corrupt, thieves of public funds, etc.” left houses and properties for their children; even this house we live in is a rented apartment. Sorry, I can’t emulate you. Leave us alone. Let’s chart our own course…”
A few moments later, their father breathed his last.
Three years later, Sara went for an interview in a prestigious multinational company. At the interview, the Chairman of the committee asked, “Which Smith are you?”
Sara replied, “I am Sara Smith. My dad Tom Smith is now no more.”
Chairman cuts in, “O my God! You are Tom Smith’s daughter?”
He turned to the other members and said, “This Smith was the one who signed my membership form into the Institute of Administrators and his recommendation earned me where I am today. A man of principles, he was considered the most incorruptible man of his times and was revered by all in the entire department for his honesty and integrity.”
He turned to Sara, “I have no questions for you. Consider yourself as selected for this job. Come tomorrow. Your letter will be waiting for you.”
Sara was stunned! She could hardly believe her ears!
Sara Smith became the Corporate Affairs Manager of the company with two cars with drivers, A duplex attached to the office, and a salary of £1,00,000 per month excluding allowances and other costs.
After two years of working in the company, the MD of the company came from America to announce his intention to resign and needed a replacement. A personality with high integrity was sought after. Again the company’s Consultant nominated Sara Smith. This was beyond her wildest dreams!
In an interview, she was asked the secret of her success. Tears welled up in her eyes as she replied, “My dad paved the way for me. It was only after his death that I came to know of his greatness. He was financially poor, but was stinking rich in integrity, discipline, and honesty. He had nothing, but he gave us everything…”
As she said this, her voice choked.
After a few moments of silence she continued, “On his death bed, I insulted my dad for being an honest man of integrity. But today, when I look back, I must admit that left to myself, I am nothing. Riding on his glory, I achieved everything. Whatever I am is the result of his sacrifice…”
At the end of the interview, she was asked, “Will you follow your father’s foot-steps as he requested?”
Wiping her tears, she answered in a clear, confident tone, “I now adore the man, and he will forever remain a role model for me. To follow his footsteps will be my greatest offering of gratitude unto him. May God bless me with strength in living up to his ideals!”
The one who has known the joy of having a clean conscience will never yield to any materialistic temptations; because the joy of the heart is infinitely more fulfilling than the comfort of the flesh.
No wonder why, with an uncompromising attitude, the great ones, even in the face of death, ever remained true to their Self, their God.
O M T A T S A T