When we were in school, all of us were taught the proverb ‘honesty is the best policy.’ It is ironic that today this proverb has been reduced to just five words, which decorate walls and a few story books for preschool kids. It is a sad fact that we as a society have become so corrupt and perverted that we fail to understand and incorporate such a simple yet powerful message.
We fail to understand that the meteoric rise in lifestyles and the materialistic luxury that we seek has ruined our ethical and moral values.
In today’s Monday Truclusions, I want to tell you about the rare traits of honesty, self-esteem, and humility exhibited by a legendary writer and philosopher of Kannada literature. These virtues have been forgotten by today’s generation, and it is my proud privilege to write about him and dedicate this week’s write-up to this great man.
The Truth Shall Set You Free
But before I delve into that, I shall narrate a small story about honesty, and it goes like this:
Once upon a time, the CEO of a huge MNC decided to hang up his boots and retire. But he didn’t want any of his sons or his direct subordinates to take over the company that he had nurtured so dearly. He did not believe that any of them deserved the honour or the responsibility.
So, he decided to do something different. He invited all the executive employees of the organisation to his cabin. Then he told them something that blew their minds. He gave each of them a seed and told them that they needed to sow that seed, water it, and nurture it for a year. The one who was able to bring the best plant to the CEO would be given control of the company.
The Honest Man
One of the executives, Jim, also received a seed. He took it home, sowed the seed and tried to take care of it. But the seed did not sprout into a plant. A week passed, then two, and then three. People at work started to talk about their seedlings. Jim had nothing to say. Six months down the line, Jim’s colleagues were talking about how their plants had begun flowering.
Jim felt like such a failure and was sure that he had killed the seed. Finally, the year was over and the day had come for the plants to be showcased. Jim was tempted to buy a fully grown plant and show it to his boss. But a voice within stopped him from doing so. Though he knew it could be the most embarrassing day of his life, he decided to take the honest route.
The Road Less Travelled
He decided to show his empty pot with the dead seed sown in it. Soon all the employees were in the CEO’s cabin. Well-grown plants of all shapes and sizes were on display.
Jim was holding his empty pot, trying to hide it from the CEO. He felt sick. Most of his coworkers were laughing at him, and there were only a few who sympathised with him.
The aged CEO was sharp enough to note the empty pot, he called upon Jim immediately. Jim went up to the CEO expecting a verbal firing, but he made up his mind that he would admit his failure despite his efforts.
The old man smiled at him and addressed the crowd in his office,“Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to your new CEO, Jim.”
Everyone was shocked at what they were hearing. Jim felt like his socks had been knocked off. The CEO then explained that it was impossible for anyone to grow a plant out of the seeds he had distributed to his staff as they were all dead – he had boiled them before handing them out. Only Jim had the courage to bring the original seed without fearing the consequences whereas the others had replaced the original seed with a fresh seed.
Jim’s honest efforts paid off.
The Importance Of Integrity
Now, let me tell you about the legendary writer, philosopher and poet who inspired the world with his literary work about facing life’s challenges with cheerfulness; understanding that everything is a divine play; recognising our own and other’s needs; honouring human aspirations and dreams; working for noble causes, and above all, dissolving our ego.
I am referring to D.V. Gundappa, best known for his literary works in Kannada. Let me tell you about a couple of things that I read about him, which inspired this write-up today.
It so happened that at one point, DVG was going through a very rough financial crisis. He typically lived a simple life, but this crisis was really bad. His friends and well-wishers decided to honour him and gift him some money. But DVG’s self-esteem did not allow him to accept the money, a sum of INR 1 Lakh, a huge amount 43 years ago. Another incident was when DVG didn’t have a day job, and the then Prime Minister of the Mysore dynasty recommended him for the post of Chief Editor of an English daily. But DVG declined the offer.
Some might feel this was an attitude problem, but it wasn’t. DVG was a very staunch follower of certain principles and he felt that accepting favours from anyone would force him to feel obligated to them, which went against his principles.
Imagine such a situation in today’s world. Would any of us adhere to our principles at the expense of our luxuries or growth? Isn’t this food for thought? Think about it!
When one walks in the truth,
He is more often than not, alone.
Never easy to find the fruit,
But can make a mark of his own;
When you are tempted by a pitfall,
That is the true test of character.
If then you stand tall,
You walk out the victor.
Honesty is a thorny crown,
It gives you immense pain;
The world at you will frown,
But your efforts shall never go in vain.
Liked reading this? Then you might also like to read Monday Truclusions – Exploring The Secret Of True Happiness.