Baba says, ‘If your character is not good and you do not remember the Father, you continue to perform one wrong action or another and are therefore unable to do service.‘
This world is a hopeless case, says Baba, don’t engage your intellect in it. It doesn’t take much to see why Baba says this. There’s a lot of compromise in our society, people don’t think twice about being dishonest, making underhanded deals, not keeping their word. Then, they wonder why they’re not getting ahead, it’s because they don’t have honesty and integrity. Integrity is the foundation of character and what a successful life is built on. I might have talent, but if I don’t have integrity, I won’t be able to reach my highest potential.
‘To take something without permission or to eat something without permission is also an incognito sin’, says Baba. A person with integrity does the right thing when no one is watching. I don’t play on the computer when the boss is not around, exaggerate my expense report to try and reap what doesn’t belong to me, work on a project half heartedly because I’m going to get paid anyway. Instead, as a person of integrity, I give it my best whether anyone is watching or not. In the grocery store, when the clerk gives me extra change, I don’t keep it thinking ‘Baba blessed me’, I don’t leave the grocery cart in the middle of the parking lot. I don’t take supplies from the office for my personal use. I don’t show up late to work and have someone else clock in for me. The fact that my employer doesn’t pay me as much as I think I should is not a reason to compromise and slack off. That’s not integrity. When I do the right thing even when the wrong thing is happening, I will see the reward of it in the drama. These little situations are tests to see if I am ready to go higher.
This is the most auspicious confluence age in which you change into elevated beings, Baba reminds me. Pay attention to your character.
At the moment of performing the action, Maya deceives me into thinking that I am reaping a reward and while it might seem to be the case in the short term, in reality, I am effectively trading off God’s blessing in my life. When I leave work early reporting ‘sick’ to go shopping, let me not be surprised when I don’t find anything I want or if the whole experience is poor. That’s because I sowed the wrong seed and nothing good can come off it. If I tell my child to lie to the person at the door saying ‘I’m not home’, then let me not be surprised if my child doesn’t learn to tell the truth. I can preach to them all I want to about the importance of a good character but if they don’t see it modeled to them, they won’t take what I say seriously.
Let me be an honest, trustworthy person, someone who keeps my word. A good name is worth a lot more than great wealth. When someone can trust me as a person that does the right thing, as a person that is the same inside and outside, then that takes me much further than when I cut corners. When I am dishonest, what I’m really doing is staying mediocre and losing with God. ‘Here, you children have to become charitable souls. I love charitable souls and dislike sinful souls‘, He says plainly, ‘the rules are very strict‘. Sometimes, I can be dismissive and think of these every day situations as ordinary, little things but let me realize that when I compromise in the little things, I keep myself from the big things God has in store for me.
It’s like when I’m running, it’s never the big rocks that get me, rather it is the little pebbles that trip me over and cause me to fall behind. If I have to do something that I need to hide, then let me not do it. It’s much better to be open and honest. Let me get out of the ruts where I’ve got comfortable compromising in. Let me be a person without any deceit in me, someone that makes decisions that honor the self and God.
When I become a child of God, I’ve died alive from the old world. Now, God is my Father and everything, including this body, has been given to me in trust by Him. He is now my Teacher and He sets the highest standards for how to live. ‘See and hear no evil‘, He says. Let me pay attention to what I consume through these eyes and ears- they are the windows to the soul and influence my character and thereby, the quality of life I lead. If I’m careless and see whatever gets put in front of me – social media, movies, videos, magazines etc., if I’m listening to gossip, then I’m not just hampering my own progress but I am glorifying Ravan. This is how you lived for half a cycle and look where it got you, Baba points out. Now is the time to become pure from impure. For this, constantly remember Me alone, He tells me. Only by remembering Me, the Purifier Father, will you become pure. There is no other way. In bhakti, it is remembered that the poet-devotee Surdas plucked his eyes out because he thought they distracted him from God. Baba doesn’t ask me to do any such thing but He does ask me to pay attention to how I use my sense organs, my time and thoughts. ‘When you die, the world is dead for you‘, He reminds me. Let me not go back to the world I have died from.
I might be able to fool a lot of people in public with my white clothes, my badge and my ‘om shanti’ but how I live in private will determine how high I go in public. God is waiting to see when He can promote me, take me to higher levels. He can’t do it unless I reform my character. ‘Only good children who have good characters will do good service.‘, says Baba. People are not influenced as much by words as they are by your character, He points out, they would then ask “What happened to you? You said that God was teaching you!” and thus, I inadvertently defame myself, Baba and the family and service becomes slack. Let me look at these little situations that come up in my every day as opportunities to pass the test, to show Him that I am living by the standards that He wants me to live by. This is how I glorify His name, by being like Him, not through appearances or by giving lectures on stage. Sure, I may not be able to watch the kinds of things my family watches, do the kinds of things they do but that’s the tiny price I pay to be what both I and my Father want me to be- an elevated human being, a deity.
When I live such a life of integrity, when I pay attention to my every thought, word and deed, God sees the honesty and helps me in my journey to come up higher. When others try to manipulate me, when they try to lead me down the wrong path, He will guard me and protect me, He will push back and close the door because I’ve shown integrity, because I’m following in His footsteps. When I take the step of courage, when I show Him that I am willing to walk the path, He provides multi-million fold help. ‘You children have to become completely charitable souls. Not the slightest sin should be committed’, He teaches. Let me check today and identify those areas that I need to make a change in and make it. Let me not spend another day in the old world, living the old way and weaken my foundation. Let me not allow the small things keep me from the big destiny that God has in store.