Wednesday, February 08, 2012

The Motivation to Change

Pain is the motivator that forces instant change.

At some point in our lives, we might have endured immense pain-physical or psychological-which left us desperately seeking a remedy: Oh God, I'd do anything to get rid of this, to be out of this terrible experience.

What about those who commit major offences?

Students who get caught cheating in exams, cheating partners, corrupt officials and ministers who get caught, all have their fall from grace, their moments of ignominy. Recently, three ministers in the state of Karnataka (India) were caught on camera viewing porn in the state legislative assembly. They were forced to resign, and their political career and stature would be difficult to redeem.

We read of many officials and ministers around the world getting retribution for their shameful acts. Some of them pay with their lives-like Gaddafi. Others are subjected to disgrace-public inquiries, trials, impeachments, which are worse than death. Lets not make a list of those people here.

If even after such painful experiences, such people do not reform, greater and greater tragedies await them.

Mata Amritanandamayi, modern day renowned mystic and spiritual teacher, relates this story to stress the importance of commitment to duties-worldly and spiritual:

"A corrupt businessman was not willing to pay taxes. According the law of his land, the punishment for not paying taxes was either to drink 10 glasses of salt water or to receive 30 whip lashes. "I'll take the punishment," he said, thinking he could easily drink salt water.

The day of punishment arrived. The officials took him to the public square and put the glasses of salt water before him. He took a sip, and reeled back, nauseated. He was used to dainty dishes and wines, and the taste of the intensely salty water was too much to stomach. "OK, I'll take the whiplashes", he said, still not wanting to part with his money.

As the first blow landed on his back, he cried out, wincing in pain." Oh, I'm going to die", he thought. Never having had done any sort of physical work, his body was like butter.

When the guard raised the whip again, he fell on his knees and begged,"Enough, enough, pleeease! Let me go, I'll pay all my taxes with interest".

He not only drank salt water, but also had to endure blows, and in the end, paid the taxes as well.

If man does not evolve, nature will force him to evolve, even at the point of the bayonet, said Swami Vivekananda, a saint and social reformer of the early 20th century.

So whenever a small inner voice from inside whispers to us: "Don't do is the right thing to do", we better heed it.

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