Sri Sathya Sai provides Spiritual Guidelines for a Values-Based Manager - Part 2


3. Noble Character

Character can raise an individual from the human plane to Divinity. The lack of it also can cause one to slip to abysmal depths of darkness. Thus, everything depends upon character. Young people entering business or any other walk of life must safeguard their character as the very core of their being. Businesses will genuinely prosper only when people with sterling character are at the helm of affairs. However, it is unfortunate that in India as well as in other countries, cheating, unlawfulness and dishonesty are rampant in the field of business. Hence, emphasis must be laid on ethos and values. 

Indra and Prahlad: A Story

Prahlad was a great devotee. He would perform all his daily chores offering everything to God. He even conquered Indra and earned his title and status. But Indra, who had lost his title, approached his preceptor Brihaspati and prayed, “Master! Enable me to regain my lost title and status somehow or the other”. Brihaspati on account of his favouritism towards demi-Gods advised Indra thus, “Indra! Prahlad is now performing the Vishwajit Yajna. In this Yajna, he is bound to give away anything that is asked. You must now go and ask him for a boon.” Acting upon his advice, Indra disguised himself as a Brahmin and reached the site of sacrifice. Seeing the Brahmin, Prahlad asked him as to what he wanted. Indra replied, “My Lord, I do not require anything material. Just give me your character.” Note that Prahlad was not addressed by his name by Indra, but as ‘My Lord’. This was because Prahlad was now in a position superior to Indra. Character cannot be given away to anybody except God. Character is three-fourths of life. God also desires only character. Not recognising this, Prahlad replied, “O Brahmin! What purpose will my character serve you? Is it enough or do you require anything else? Did you travel all this distance just for fulfilling such a small desire?” Prahlad considered character to be insignificant and was also unaware of the concealed motives of Indra. The Brahmin replied that he would be content with this small boon itself. Prahlad unaware of the entire background story gave away his character as charity to the Brahmin. At that moment, a radiant form emerged from Prahlad and merged into the Brahmin. Prahlad saw the radiant form and asked, “Who are you? Why are you quitting me?” The form replied, “I am your character. You have given me away to the Brahmin. In order to comply with your word, I am leaving you”. After some time, another radiant form emerged from him. Prahlad once again asked, “Who are you? Why are you leaving?” The form replied, “I am your valour. Valour is the servant of character. Since the master has left, I too have to follow him.” Hence, valour survives only as long as character is present. After some more time, another beautiful form emerged from him. Prahlad asked, “Mother! Who are you?” The being answered, “I am the prosperity of your kingship. I follow character. Since character has left, I have to follow it.” At this point of time, Prahlad’s entire kingdom went over to Indra. Prahlada lost his entire kingdom just by giving away his character. Thus, everything depends upon character.
King Prahalad
What is Bhagya (wealth)? Is it the money? Wealth is anything that has been earned. Our physical strength is also a type of Bhagya (wealth). Similarly, education, health and earnings come under the broad categorisation of wealth. It does not matter if you happen to be poor in terms of material wealth. You must possess the wealth of sound character. If you possess good character, you will acquire everything else in life. Character is like a giant magnet which attracts towards its direction all other types of wealth.

4. Good Company

Culture is the way of life. One should lead an ideal life and even after taking up jobs in the business world, one should continue to keep good habits. The human mind does not normally waver of its own accord. The outside environment modifies it into an unsteady state. For example, see the leaves of a tree. They are always steady. But when the winds blow, they flutter. It is not their nature to flutter. It is because of the nature of the wind that they flutter. Human mind, by nature, is not impure and is not supposed to waver. It becomes contaminated because of our interactions with the external environment. 

As is the friendship, so is the outward appearance and also behaviour. So, we should have good friendship. One’s real friend is God. “Tell me your company and I shall tell you what you are”. If a sand particle befriends air, it will fly high. But if it befriends water, it will sink. One should not be in bad company. However one need not treat anyone as one’s enemy. One must consider God as one’s true friend. God is nothing but one’s conscience. Follow the conscience within. External friendships happen to be superficial. Let such friendships be confined to “Hello, hello. Good-bye, good-bye.” 

5. Self-Confidence

What is the meaning of arrogance? It means not bothering about anything or anyone; not giving due respect to elders; not having any humility and behaving in an impolite way. In reality arrogance is nothing but ignorance. Self-confidence, on the other hand, is a highly pure, sacred and peaceful quality. Self-confidence and humility take you closer to Divinity, whereas arrogance is diametrically opposite to this trait and takes you away from Divinity. There is a world of difference between arrogance and modesty. Humility is a quality that is very important for man. Do not give any scope for arrogance to grow in you. Arrogance is an enemy of man. Humility is our friend. Always rely upon your true friend. With arrogance and pride, you cannot hope to acquire any good name or fame. You cannot be successful in any task. But with Self-confidence, you can attain Self-realisation. This can be done as follows. With Self-confidence, you gain Self-satisfaction. This in turn leads to self-sacrifice. When you make self-sacrifice (foregoing individual identity and interests), you automatically attain Self-realisation. Hence Self-confidence is the right-royal path to Self- realisation. But arrogance is a tortuous path, infested with thorns. Nobody would like to approach arrogant people. Since an arrogant person will scantily respect any one, he will get no respect in return. 


How to surmount over-confidence?

Overconfidence (impudence) is sheer ignorance. To overcome this overconfidence, undertake this small exercise. Take a world map. In this, your country appears very small. Locate your state and district in it and you find them even smaller. In your district, your town/city is much smaller. In such a small town/city, how big are you? In this way, if you compare, you realise that in this vast universe, you are an absolutely insignificant entity. You will then understand your silliness of being arrogant, and will on your own give it up in disgust. Another way to get rid of your arrogance is to realise that since God is omnipresent, you are yourself God. In the process, you believe that ‘I’ (the individual) and ‘You’ (the Divine Principle) are one. Then you will develop a broad-minded outlook, and there will be no possibility for egotism.


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