Question: What should a spiritual seeker do when he observes dishonesty or corruption among his colleagues?1

Sri Chinmoy: A spiritual seeker can do three things when he observes dishonesty or corruption in a colleague. First, he has to pray to God for at least five minutes a day for about a week for the mental transformation of that particular individual so that person will be able to receive light from Above that will change his nature.

If that fails, then the spiritual seeker must be brave enough to tell his colleague that he is not doing the right thing and that it is absolutely necessary for him to become honest and give up his old style of life. But the seeker should continue praying after he has offered this advice to his colleague. After another week, if the seeker observes that his colleague has no intention of changing his nature, then as a last resort he must be bold enough to report the person to the authorities. He should still continue praying for about a week longer; then he can discontinue his prayer, for his role is over. Now it is up to the authorities.

In the present-day world, people are apt to say that what a colleague does is none of our business. The dishonest person, they say, will meet with the consequences without our intervention. But in the spiritual life, this "none of our business" theory is not the right attitude. Once we accept the spiritual life, we feel that it is our bounden duty to be of service to God the Creator and God the creation. God the Creator created our dishonest colleague, and this individual is part and parcel of God the creation. So we have to pray to both God the Creator and God the creation for the transformation of this particular person's nature.

In the spiritual life it is a mistake to say, "It is none of my business; let him lead his own life." On the other hand, it is also a deplorable mistake to think we have to transform the world singlehandedly. Instead of praying to God for our own perfection, sometimes we feel that it is our bounden duty to show others the light. God alone knows whether we ourselves are in total darkness or whether we have received abundant light from Above that we can offer to the world at large. But still we feel that we know everything and that other people know nothing. We want others to see the world the way we see it, and we want to shape the world according to our own mental ideas. But this is not spreading light; this is only exercising our power or displaying our authority.

If we see something wrong, we have to bring down light from Above or we have to bring to the fore our own inner light through our prayer and meditation. This inner light we can offer to those around us. We may not have enough light to offer the whole world, but we can at least try to deal with the people around us in our own day-to-day life. If it is not a clear-cut question of right and wrong, if it is only a matter of people seeing or doing things differently from the way we feel they should be seen or done, then we have to pray to God and meditate on God for illumination. God Himself will make us see who is right and wrong. If others are wrong, then if it is God's Will, He will give us the needed light to illumine those who are doing the wrong thing around us.

But when it is a question of dishonesty or corruption that we are observing, which is a far more serious matter, the first step is to pray and meditate for the transformation of the culprit's nature. If that fails to succeed, the second step is to advise the person to do the right thing and become the right person. If that, too, fails, then the last resort is to inform the authorities. To the end we should keep goodwill towards that particular person and continue to pray for his transformation. We should not look down upon him or in any way create more disharmony in our office.

  1. MUN 134. 7 February 1992.