Many times, I am unethical. How can I be ethical?
In your business, do not take anything that is not yours and on the day you end up doing so, there will be no substance in your business. God does not meddle in this. In your business the only two things that will help you are your skills and your honesty and ethics. If you are unethical, you will prosper for a year or two but after that you will incur a loss. If you happen to do something wrong, you will still become free of any liability as long as you repent for your actions. Ethics is the essence of worldly dealings. If you are ethical but do not have a lot of money, you will still have peace of mind and if you are unethical but have a lot of money, you will be miserable. Religion without honesty and ethics is no religion. Ethics is the foundation of religion.
It is like this. Be completely ethical if you are able to be so. If not, then at least make a decision to be ethical at least three times a day. The fourth time you may let go and be unethical. It is still ethical to be unethical as long as you set a limit. Maintain honesty in your dishonesty. As a representative of the vitarag Lords, I am telling you that as long as you keep your dishonesty in control, in the bounds of disciplined limits, you are ethical. This discipline will take you to moksha. I am not concerned whether you are honest or dishonest, but keep a discipline and limit over what you do. The whole world has pounded everyone in their worldly interaction with the guilt of ‘thou shall not’ and I am the only one who is saying, ‘go ahead, do not worry, be unethical, but do set a limit and stick to the discipline. You will not be responsible from then on’. Of course the ideal thing is to remain honest and ethical.
I am saying that be unethical if you cannot avoid it but do it within limits. Resolve that you want to be unethical to a certain degree and no more. I will take ten rupees unethically every day in my business. If any more than this sum, say five hundred comes my way, I will not touch it.
This sentence of mine is very profound. If a person were to understand this, his work is done! God too will be happy with him: He wants to graze in someone else’s pasture, but he does so within limits! Otherwise where is the limit when people start grazing in someone else’s pasture?
Do you understand this rule? Practice the principle of limits in dishonesty, do you? What I am saying is, ‘If you are short of money all the time but you do not want to accept bribes, how long can you go on fighting the matter? Further more, you invite more problems when you borrow money from friends. ’So I tell him that he can resort to being dishonest, but within limits. A person who exercises limits in his dishonesty is better than one who is completely honest, because the honest man has an ego about his honesty, whereas this person will not have this disease.
No one would teach you such a thing! To practice dishonesty within limits is a great feat.
The person who sets limits to dishonesty will achieve liberation, but how will the one who never takes bribes or is never dishonest achieve liberation? It is because the latter is intoxicated with the ego of his ethical behavior. God too would dismiss him with the smugness he wears on his face. I am not telling you to accept bribes but I am saying that if you are going to be dishonest, then set a limit when you do so. Set yourself a limit that you will only take five hundred rupees in bribes and no more. Even if a person offers five thousand rupees, you will not accept it. If you are running short of say five hundred rupees to run your household every month, then take only this amount in bribes. Only I take on such a liability by telling you to do this because in this day and age what are poor people to do if they do not take bribes? Cooking oil, ghee and sugar is so expensive nowadays. These people have to pay their children’s school fees! Just look at the price of a can of cooking oil, are they not quoting seventeen rupees for it?
Dadashri: So it is acceptable when a businessman does illegal hoarding and black marketing, but no one will speak up for the servant! That is why I am saying that you can be dishonest but do so within limits. That limit will take you to moksha. Bribes do not obstruct you; it is the lack of limit, it is greed that obstructs.
Questioner: Surely it is wrong to be dishonest?
Dadashri: Generally it is considered wrong but the Lord has a different definition. In the eyes of the Lord the objection is not against honesty or dishonesty but against the ego. Honest people have tremendous ego. They are intoxicated even without drinking alcohol!
Questioner: Now if a limit of five hundred rupees has been set for bribes, is a person free to take more if his needs arise because of inflation or emergencies?
Dadashri: No, once a limit has been set one has to follow it. Five hundred means five hundred and he has to stay within that limit.
How is man to cope with all the difficulties of the present time? And on top of that where is he to get the money he falls short of? He finds himself in a bind because he has nowhere to turn. This way the money comes to him and if he takes the bribe, his problem is solved altogether. Otherwise a man can go on the wrong path altogether and he will continue to take increasing bribes. It is better that he takes this middle path where he will be a little dishonest but he will still maintain honesty. His daily living becomes easy and he will be able to run his household.
If you understand what I am saying from the simple basic perspective, then salvation will be yours. If you understand each of these sentences, then liberation is yours. But what happens if you interpret it according to your own intellect? Everyone has his or her own language and intellect based viewpoint, which prevents him or her from understanding this, ‘discipline in dishonesty’.