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Archive for August 2nd, 2011

Date: Tue, 02 Aug 2011 11:43:52 -0800 (PST)
From: Pradiips Deva
Subject: Difference Between Tip and Bribe
To: am-global@earthlink.net

Baba

“A’mi na’ jene bha’labesichi toma’y, jene dekhi a’cho bahu du’re…” (4318)

Purport:

Baba, to love You is such a liila. Only if I do not think about Your
greatness and grandeur, then by Your grace I can get Your intimate
closeness– I love You. But when I think that You are so vast and that You
are the Supreme Lord of this entire universe, then I feel that You are very
far from me. Baba by Your divine grace I get You in my dreams & I hold You
closely in my dhyana. But when I open my eyes and look around then You are
beyond my reach. Baba, Your liila is unfathomable.
Baba, You are so gracious. Baba, You have bestowed upon me Your
abundant, boundless, and overflowing grace. And with my two small hands
cupped together, I try to catch it all; but it is far more than I can
hold– there is endless waste. Baba Your grace knows no limits. Baba,
still today Your grace is showering upon me.
O’ my dearmost, my world is composed only of You and me. Our love is
everything. Without You, my existence is meaningless. Except You there is
none else in my life. Baba You are my everything. Baba, You have all the
qualities– from the three worlds. But if You forget me then You will lose
You Your attributions, You will lose Your divine qualities.
Baba, when I do not think about Your grand attributions and greatness,
then I feel that You are very close and loving. And when I think about Your
greatness, then You are distant. Baba, Your liila is indescribable…

Note: For there to be love then both the parties involved must be on equal
standing. If, however, one is feeling that the other is high etc, then love
cannot develop.

== DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TIP AND BRIBE ==

Namaskar,
Building a healthy society is an integral component of our Ananda Marga mission. To that end we have to evaluate the effect of all kinds of societal interactions – including bribes and tips. Do they have a place in society?

Many may feel it obvious that bribes should be banned, but what about tips and gratuities. What is our stand on that practice? For instance when you take a taxi should you tip the driver? What if a messenger delivers a package to your doorstep or a porter carries your bag across the train station? Should you tip such professionals for doing their job?

Here we examine – through question and answer – bribes, tips, gifts, and service and what effect they have on the individual and the collective. This is both a societal issue and a moral one.

As disciples of Lord Shrii Shrii Anandamurtiji, we should clearly understand and apply the teachings of Ananda Marga ideology on these critical matters. And we should educate the society as well.

BABA’S TEACHING ON BRIBES

In the first step of this mode of inquiry, let’s examine bribes and then we shall review tips, gifts, and other offerings.

Baba’s teachings on bribes are quite clear-cut. And indeed most every Ananda Margii understands that accepting or giving a bribe is against our moral principles and societal regulations.

Here are Baba’s teachings towards employees of different institutions:

Baba says, “Do not, on any account, accept or offer a bribe.” (Caryacarya, Part 2, Society, Point #23b)

Baba says, “If someone, through pressure of circumstances compels you to offer or accept a bribe, do not forgive that person till he/she is reformed.” (Caryacarya, Part 2, Society, Point #23c)

Baba says, “If, in consideration of the power of your post, anyone offers you a present, that should count as a bribe.” (Caryacarya, Part 2, Society, Point #23d)

Thus, in the workplace, any financial or material gift that is associated with one’s professional standing should be considered a bribe.

Then in respect to householders Baba has given the following teaching:

Baba says, “Do not offer a bribe to anyone. If someone through pressure of circumstances forces you to offer a bribe, do not forgive that person till he/she is reformed.” (Caryacarya – 2, Society, Point #24c)

Thus whether in our professional life or personal life, whether at work or at home, in no such circumstances are we to indulge in any form of bribery – period.

CRITICAL REASONS WHY BRIBES ARE BAD

Here, in this first question and answer section, are some key points about how bribes bring stagnancy in society.

1. Why are bribes bad on the level of personal growth?

Accepting bribes crudifes the mind; a person passes their day strategizing how to garner more bribes. Instead of doing their job and adhering to the slogan – “dignity of the labour” – a person just becomes immersed in scheming how to gain more black money or bribes. This makes one greedy, self-centered, lazy, and small-minded. Such a person becomes totally degenerated.

2. Why are bribes bad on the societal level?

In our collective life, bribes lead to stagnancy, partiality, distrust, and numerous other problems.

For instance, in certain countries judges will not review a case, police will not come to your assistance, government officials will not issue a permit or passport, if a substantial bribe is not given. Not only do such persons become degenerated on the personal level for the reasons mentioned above, but this brings society to a screeching halt. It basically means that people do not do the work that they are paid to do. All these aforementioned professionals – judges, police agents, and government officials – receive a salary. But for that salary they are unwilling to do their alloted work in society. To get such types of persons to do their work, in any professional field or governmental arena, a bribe must be given.

As bad as that may be, that is not the only problem. Workers will actually undermine public utilities in order to make more money via bribes. An official for the electric company will not attend to his normal duties; instead he will personally watch the electrical lines decay, or even destroy them himself. Why? Because when the people’s electrical service is interrupted then they will call upon him and offer a hefty bribe in order to have their electricity restored. As they know that is the only way to get it fixed.

For all these reasons and more, any society becomes a pool of stagnancy where bribes are the name of the game.

3. Who suffers the most in such circumstances?

Tragically, the one who suffers the most in this situation is the common person, i.e. those who cannot afford to give a hefty bribe. They will be passed over and forgotten while those wealthier people will be given preferential treatment – if not VIP status – for giving big bribes.

As we know, our AM ideology is in support of the common mass. Yet bribes totally undermine their status and quality of life.

WHAT ABOUT TIPS – THEY ARE OK RIGHT??

Now we come to the next stage: tips or gratuities.

1. What are tips?

A tip is the more moderate amount of money that common people often give to taxi drivers, waiters in the restaurant, delivery men / women, barbers, hotel staff, and others. Tips are usually given to those doing more physically-oriented work, though not always.

In their defense, those workers who receive tips may think, “I am underpaid so I deserve a little bit extra.”

And indeed, out of sympathy for their plight, many do reward such labourers with a tip. Those who give tips often feel that they are expressing their gratitude and those receiving tips feel the extra-money is well-deserved. Both parties feel that tips are distinctly different from bribes. They feel bribes are illegal and under-the-table while tips are an expression of human feeling done in the open.

2. So then what is the stand of Ananda Marga on tips?

We are 100% against tips. In our view, tips are the same thing as a bribe – no difference in quality or effect.

This may be a shock to your ears as many consider tips to be an innocuous expression of generosity and good cheer, but consider the following.

Let me first say this. I have always tipped staff and workers in ways I thought appropriate. I wanted to be generous. But tipping does not solve their problem, rather it worsens the situation of those workers. So this letter is not about being greedy and not tipping others; rather the aim is to uplift all sectors of society.

3. Why are tips harmful?

Baba does not want extra money given to anyone performing a job as this leads to the degeneration of the individual and the disintegration of society. In that sense, a tip and a bribe are essentially the same exact thing. The one receiving the tip becomes personally degenerated because all day long he is thinking about money instead of doing his job; and the problem in collective life is that tips lead to partiality. Those who give big tips receive preferential treatment, while those who do not have money to give a grand tip are forgotten and labeled as “cheap” or “penniless” or “worthless”.

That is why the common acronym for tips is: To Insure Prompt Service.

Those who tip big get treated with high respect and their every need and wish is satisfied. Those common people who do not have the funds to tip are overlooked and neglected.

In due course, people will only do their job for those who give big tips. Here again Baba’s teaching is that when money is given to a person in consideration of their post, then that is not at all proper; indeed that is a bribe.

Baba says, “If, in consideration of the power of your post, anyone offers you a present, that should count as a bribe.” (Caryacarya, Part 2, Society, Point #23d)

Tips then act in the same way as a bribe. Those who are known to give generous tips get treated differently from others. They are given the “royal treatment.”

Even then some may protest and say, “I give tips out of the goodness of my heart – not to receive preferential treatment.”

The response is: “Would you give that person money if they did not do a particular work for you.”

For instance, if you normally give a waiter (food server) a $10 tip when eating in that restaurant, would you still give that waiter $10 if you went to eat in a different restaurant.

Here the point is that one cannot give freely from the heart if something is done exclusively in consideration of another’s person’s job, or post, or title etc. There is some other motive operating. That is why a tip is not a gift, but rather a bribe. We will talk more about gifts further down in this email.

4. Why tips undermine a worker’s dignity and status?

When an employee does not receive a proper salary and has to rely on tips, then his position is insecure. Such a person essentially must beg, plead, and please in order to garner more and more tips. Just imagine if a nurse or teacher worked on tips only. Then they could not pointedly and confidently attend to their work of nursing or teaching. They would be too worried or concerned with pleasing their patients and students – hoping to receive some coins in a jar when the day is over. In that case the status of a nurse or teacher becomes that of a beggar. Their independent, professional status is lost. This is true of any person or profession who relies on tips. That is why it is far, far better for a person to receive a proper paying salary than rely on tips. Then their dignity and social standing are secure.

5. Why your burning house will not be saved?

Just think how terrible it will be if the police or fire department do not respond to your emergency call since they do not consider you to be a big tipper. That is the reality which even exists today in many countries. Or imagine if you went to the doctor and they refused to see because you were not a big tipper. When we think of the matter in this light, does it not create an unsettling feeling in the mind.

Viewing the situation in this manner, it is very evident that tips will bring injustice and stagnancy in the society, just like bribes. Preferential treatment becomes the rule of the day, not true human feeling.

6. Why people give big tips?

Indeed in this money-driven era, people give big tips for multiple reasons. The first being that giving a big tip is a sign that you have money. In the vaeshyan era, being a moneyed man is everything. Giving a big tip means have plenty-o-extra cash. That means you are better than the common man as well as the person whom you are tipping. People want respect, and people know that one distinct way to garner such respect is to tip big. Those who can afford it, do it. And even some poorer people who do not have a lot of money will give a big tip (when they can) just because it satisfies their egoistic desire to rise above and be respected.

Truly speaking, tipping is a very degenerated approach. It degrades both the one doing the tipping and the one receiving the tip. Money is not the value of one’s worth.

Baba says, “Your ideal is represented by your conduct. Your learning, your social or economic status have nothing to do with your ideal.” (Ananda Vanii #13)

7. Who suffers the most?

The ones who suffer the most are those who cannot afford to give a big tip. So just as with bribes, it is the common person who gets neglected and pushed aside while the “wheelers & dealers” like big business and mafioso types get the best of everything. Thus, where there are tips there is partiality, and where there is partiality it is the “common man” who is left behind. That is what tips do: They alienate and block the regular people from getting what they need. They are the ones who suffer the most.

NEIGHBORHOOD FAVOURS

So that is the situation with tips and bribes – both are bad and act as a curse on society.

Now let’s look at the next phase. Suppose you are going away for a few days and you need someone to watch over your property, feed your animals, or water your plants etc. And suppose you ask one of your neighbors to do one of those things for you. And suppose when you return you give that person a “gift”.

1. According to our AM way of life, is that a gift?

The answer is no. Whenever something is given to someone in exchange for work performed or anything else, then that is a transaction or a form of business. There is a giving and a receiving involved; it is not unilateral.

Baba says, “Business is always mutual. If you want one kilo of sugar you will have to pay for it: you give something and they will give you sugar. So business is mutual, not unilateral.” (Subhasita Samgraha-21, Jaeva Dharma and Bhágavata Dharma)

So this model applies to “neighborly activities” wherein a gift is given to someone who did a favour for you. All such type of neighborly dealing are a form of business.

GIFTS

What is a gift?

A gift is when someone gives freely out of the goodness of their own heart. There is no mutual exchange; there is no consideration of post or privilege. The giving is based purely on one person’s heart-felt feeling for another. That type of feeling is a gift.

Here Baba explains more about it. Baba says that if with the sweetness of their heart someone offers you something, then we should gladly accept it.

Baba says, “If a person wants to feed you out of genuine intimacy, you should take that food happily, even if it is just grains and vegetables.” (Caryacarya-2, Society, Pt #37)

Here the main point is that the person is giving purely out of affection without any ulterior agenda or motive in mind. Actually to truly know if you are giving someone a gift or not, tremendous honesty is needed. One has to look at one’s own motives and intentions very carefully.

One has to ask, “Why am I doing this?”. One must be cent-per-cent sure that there is no underlying motive to gain an advantage in any way, neither professionally, personally, socially, nor economically. Once there is an iota of feeling in the mind that a gift is given for such purposes, then that is no longer a gift. It is a tip or a bribe – or at the very least a business deal. So one must be very strict and honest about their intention.

Generally speaking, one gives gifts to friends and family members – not to anyone else.

SEVA

Having reviewed the points of (a) bribe, (b) tip, (c) neighborly interactions, and (d) gifts, we now reach the point of seva or service.

What is service or seva?

With respect to this current posting, when someone gives something to someone in need, without wanting anything in return, then that is service.

For instance, suppose you see someone on the roadside suffering from malnutrition and you give them food to eat – and you do not want any payment or prestige in return – then that is seva.

Baba says, “Sevá [service] is always unilateral; you give something in sevá but take nothing in return. This is sevá.” (Subhasita Samgraha-21, Jaeva Dharma and Bhágavata Dharma)

Seva indeed is a big part of our AM way of life.

The noted difference between seva and a gift is that seva is performed for those are in need of help – one may or may not know the individual personally; in contrast, a gift is given to a close relation, whether they be a friend or family member, who is not in need of any help at the time.

WHAT IS THE SOLUTION

Now that we have reviewed bribes, tips, neighborhood exchanges, gifts and seva, we have to resolve the matter. In those countries where bribes are a way of life, then our brothers and sisters of the Marga need to know what they should do. Similarly, in those areas, where tipping is looked upon as being obligatory in certain cases, then our brothers and sisters of the Marga need to know how to behave in those regions.

Here then are the recommended solutions:

(1) TIPS: As Ananda Margiis we should refrain from giving tips or gratuities to anyone for their work. Rather we should raise the slogan that such people should be paid more by their employers. No doubt this may feel uncomfortable to forgo giving someone a tip, but this is the work of the pioneer. And society will benefit greatly in the long run.

If people do not want to perform certain works for you because they know you are not going to tip them, then get your work done by other agencies or businesses. Supporting the system of tipping is not at all good as it leads to partiality and injustice for the common people. Those who tip big get special preference and those who do not have the money to tip large sums are overlooked. Plus the one receiving the tip becomes degenerated as they are always thinking about money. This is not the way to build a healthy society.

Indeed just imagine if the tips are extended to teachers in schools. In that case, if you do not give a huge tip, then those teachers will not teach your child. Here the point is that whatever field of life incorporates tips, then that will bring partiality and special treatment for a few wealthy people. That is why as Ananda Margiis we should not be involved in giving tips for work rendered. That is Baba’s strict guideline.

(2) BRIBES: As Ananda Margiis we should refrain from giving or receiving bribes and side by side we should raise awareness that bribes lead to the degradation of society. In that sense it is just like tipping – it is to be wholly avoided and public education is needed.

The only difference between tips and bribes is that in certain countries one cannot get the basic necessities of life (such as electricity, water, heat etc) without bribing local officials and administrators. Or if your house is robbed, the police will not do anything unless you offer a bribe – then they will start their investigation, otherwise not. In such situations – due to pressure of circumstances – one will have to pay a bribe. At the same time it is imperative to take a strong stand.

Baba says, “If someone through pressure of circumstances forces you to offer a bribe, do not forgive that person till he/she is reformed.” (Caryacarya – 2, Society, Point #24c)

PIONEERS OF SOCIETY

It is not at all easy to reverse the prevailing trends in society. Mental force is needed. By taking a samkalpa and standing strong, it is possible to change the ways of society.

Just see how our Marga was instrumental in cracking the age-old caste system in India by creating revolutionary marriages. At first those who had an RM faced huge backlash from the society, but eventually that faded and now getting an RM in India is much more easily done and the dogmatic caste system is losing its grip on society.

So we should take that same type of determination with regards to tips and bribes. Then by Baba’s grace these two poisons will be eliminated from the society.

Baba says, “Those who are the pioneers in such a task, what will they do? They will have to acquire far more strength than average people. The pioneers who want to travel through thick jungles will have to clear part of the jungle and build a road. Once the road is constructed, those who come behind will be able to travel easily through that jungle.” (A Few Problems Solved – 3, The Importance of Society)

Namaskar,
Pradiipa

Note 1: Please write in with your thoughts and experiences.

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Suppression of Mother Tongue Dangerous

Baba says, “For the all-round welfare and development of human beings, society needs to follow some fundamental socio-political principles. Without the firm foundation of such principles, disunity, injustice and exploitation will flourish.”

“No mother tongue should be suppressed. If a mother tongue is suppressed, the consequences are most dangerous. Take the example of Pakistan. When Pakistan was formed, Urdu was declared the national language. But the actual language position of undivided Pakistan — that is, East Pakistan and West Pakistan — was that 60% of the population spoke Bengali and 40% spoke Hindi, Baluchi, Punjabi or Urdu. When Urdu was declared the national language, East Pakistan revolted and this led to the division of Pakistan.” (PNS-16, p. 68 & 71)

Note: We all know that this type of suppression is going on not just in so-called 3rd world countries but also in so-called 1st world countries.

Note 2: Altogether in this chapter Baba puts forth three principles for “individual and collective progress”. Read PNS-16 chapter 10 for a full description.
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