During a weekly meeting of Gujarati Lekhak Mandal (Writers’ Association) in 2009 I received a book by a friend Jagadish Paneri. The chairman Yashwant Mehta giving the book to me said, “There are many good and inspiring books like this one. Still I cannot understand, why is that crimes and evils are on the increase.” “Crimes and evils were there always as part and parcel of our human lives. But in the past not many people knew about them in the society as there were no mass media to defuse the news to the whole world as in our present times. But today on account of mass media any news about crimes and evils quickly reach all people around the world,” I was going to say it but I reframed from it. I felt that apart from the mass media there are other serious factors for the increase in crimes and evils in our society.
Certainly the mass media is an important factor for the increase of crimes and evils. For instance the news about a terrorist’s attack gives them their desired publicity and consequent panic in the society. Such situation is an incentive to the terrorists to frighten the people with further acts of violence! Someone has said that the silence of the good people is a worse crime than the evil deeds of the criminals. So English writer Edmund Burke has said that “only the inactivity of the good people are needed for the victory of the evil.”
You may wonder that in our present context of Diwali and New Year, why am I writing about terrorism, evil and crimes! In fact, we desire to be far away from them. What is their relevance and significance during the feast of Diwali, the feast of light? And of the joyful occasion of the New Year? In the feasts of Diwali and New Year we want to be far away from any evil and crime. As a matter of fact, we desire to be for away from anything that causes pain, suffering and darkness in our lives. But we know that by mere desire nothing is achieved. All the same, desire in not a bad thing. Strong desire goads us to goal and provided the much needed inspiration and encouragement. So we can think about those things which inspire and encourage us in our lives and remove the darkness of evil and pain. I believe that our values and our ideals can certainly inspire us and help us to keep us from darkness, evil and crime from our lives.
True values and ideals are such that they enlighten our lives and throw light on the darker side of our lives like suffering, evil and any undesirable thing. They are everlasting or eternal values and ideals. The evil forces can never overpower such values.
Let me make my point very clear with an example. A submarine was sent to the bottom of the sea a few hours for its final test. The submarine spends a night at the bottom of the sea. Meanwhile there were terrible earthquake and tsunami. When the submarine returned of the dock after a night at see the dock officials asked the captain of the submarine: “How did you manage the terrible tsunami and earthquake last night? There were destructive waves and frightening storms last night due to an earthquake and a tsunami.” The captain of the submarine was surprised by the official’s question. “Tsunami, storms, earthquake! We did not know or experience any such-thing at the bottom of the sea!” The caption said.
The destructive storms and terrible waves at the surface of the sea did not affect the least the submarine at the bottom of the sea. Similarly the dark forces cannot overcome our lives led by eternal values and true ideals. The peace and happiness of an enlightened life led by true values and ideals can never be overcomes by evil factors like suffering, pain and even the death of a dear person.
Here I would like to speak about just on true value or ideal. It is the value of trustworthiness or reliability. There is a story about a writer Lovasik and his friend Constance. I found the story in 100 Motivating Anecdotes by Bishop Percival Fernandez. Once Constance told his friend Lovasik about a guest who came to see him.
“I like to come here. It is the one place I can say anything I want to, knowing it won’t go any farther.”“The compliment really should go to my mother,” said Constance. “One day when I was about eight, I was playing beside an open window while Mrs Brown confided to my mother a serious problem concerning her son. When Mrs Brown had gone, mother, realizing that I had heard everything, said, “If Mrs Brown had left her purse here today, would we give to anyone else?” “Of course not,” I replied.
Mother continued, “Mrs Brown left something more precious than her purse today. She left a storythat could make many people unhappy and spoil her son’s reputation. That story is not ours to give to anyone.It is still hers, even though she left it here. So we shall not give it to anyone. Do you understand?” “I do,” Ireplied. “And I have understood ever since that a confidence or a bit of careless gossip which a friend has left at my house is his or hers-not mine to give to anyone.”
Trustworthiness enlightens our lives and also makes our lives light without any worry. In our lives it is supremely important that we be persons of trustworthiness; and that we see that our friends are only such people who are fully trustworthy and reliable.
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Fr. Varghese Paul © Copyright 2011