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Archive for March 31st, 2013

What Do You Think About Tips & Bribes
Baba

This letter contains two parts:
1. Posting: What Do You Think About Tips & Bribes
2. Prabhat Samgiita #4112;

== WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT TIPS AND BRIBES ==

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 – the topic of bribes and tips, 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.

Baba’s teachings on bribes are quite clear-cut. 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:

“Do not, on any account, accept or offer a bribe.” (1)

“If someone, through pressure of circumstances compels you to offer or accept a bribe, do not forgive that person till he/she is reformed.” (2)

“If, in consideration of the power of your post, anyone offers you a present, that should count as a bribe.” (3)

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

Regarding householders, Baba has given the following teaching:

“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.” (4)

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 crudifies the mind; a person passes their day strategizing how to garner more bribes. Instead of doing their job and adhering to the righteous 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 extremely 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 allotted 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 – i.e. VIP status – for giving big bribes.

As we know, our AM ideology is in support of the common mass. Yet bribes 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.

Here it should be noted that 99.9% of those taking bribes have the same mind-set as those accepting tips. They think their pay is not enough so they feel justified and deserving of taking bribes. This applies to judges, police chiefs, customs officials, city officials, and many others from all layers and sections of society: From manual labourers to intellectuals etc. They feel that since they are less-paid, accepting a bribe is fine.

While a tip may seem innocuous, the basic mentality and reasoning of those accepting tips is identical to those taking bribes.

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.

“If, in consideration of the power of your post, anyone offers you a present, that should count as a bribe.” (5)

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 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.

“Your ideal is represented by your conduct. Your learning, your social or economic status have nothing to do with your ideal.” (6)

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.

8. What is the role of tipping nowadays in Ananda Marga?

In theory, in Ananda Marga, we do not support or appreciate the tipping system as it undermines the social fabric in many ways. Unfortunately, practically speaking, since 1990, tipping has been a way of life in Ananda Marga. The only way to gain the favour of those in-charge is by tipping. That is they way one gets special status.

To become a tattvika or family acarya, one must give a tip; to get a high posting, one must give a tip; to get a marriage blessing from PP dada, one must give a tip; to get a “spiritual boon” from dadas, then one must give a tip; to be received honourably at a gathering or event, one must give a tip etc.

Indeed, to receive any kind of special services, prestige, support, or regard, then one must tip. That is the way things work these days in Ananda Marga. If you tip dadas, then all kinds of doors will be opened for you and you will be able to receive whatever you wish. That is why many say that nowadays one’s “merit” is based on the size of the tip.

Since 1990, in Ananda Marga, merit has not been based on sadhana, service, or sacrifice; nor has it been based on following yama and niyama or 16 Points. All along since 1990, the all-important tip or financial offering / bribe is what allows one to receive favours, gain recognition, or walk in the upper echelons of Ananda Marga society.

Thus, while in theory our Ananda Marga is wholly against the notion of tipping; tragically, tipping has become the operative factor in getting whatever you want these days in Ananda Marga.

Whatever you call it it – tip or bribe – it is rampant now in AMPS life. To get anything done, or gain prestige, or get a post, or so many things, it all depends upon the tip, or financial offering. This is the very unfortunate state of affairs. And it is this trend which must be halted and ultimately reversed.

WHAT IS THE SOLUTION

Now that we have reviewed bribes and tips we have to resolve the matter. In those countries where bribes are a way of life, then our brothers and sisters of Ananda 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.

“If someone through pressure of circumstances forces you to offer a bribe, do not forgive that person till he/she is reformed.” (7)

MORE OF BABA’S GUIDELINES ON BRIBES AND TIPS

[A] In the below excerpt from His short story, Baba outlines how only depraved people like the ghosts resort to bribes:

His Holiness roared, “I don’t want to hear these things; I know you have eaten them. Vomit them out! I shall eat them.”

There ensued a big scuffle between His Holiness and his disciples. An initial shouting match became a bloody battle.

The police, on being informed, rushed to the spot. They arrested both sides and dragged them to the police station.

Tarun put the lemon lozenge between his lips and teeth so that he and the chief ghost could accompany them.

After giving some hefty tips Bhutanandaji and his disciples were freed and allowed to return home. His Holiness, however, stayed at the police station to try and persuade the sub-inspector ghost that the ministers Bhutananda Singh and Bhutanarayan Sharma were his followers. It would therefore be improper for the sub-inspector ghost to accept a bribe from him. Anyway, the sub-inspector didn’t believe him and he was only released after giving the bribe.

When he returned to the banyan tree his disciples apologized. His Holiness said, “Let bygones be bygones. Let us now engage ourselves in ghost meditation.” (8)

[B] Next Baba reveals how the medical industry has become riddled by bribes.

“Countless complaints can be made against doctors and the medical profession. Although it would take a lot of space to list them all, let me briefly mention a few: patients have to settle for adulterated medicines unless they bribe the pharmacist; sweepers, orderlies and nurses do not take proper care of a patient’s needs unless they are tipped; a patient writhing in pain may be rebuked instead of being given medicine; if one does not call the doctor at least once for a personal consultation so that that doctor can earn some extra money, one may be unable to secure a bed on one’s next visit to the hospital; a medicine that is supposedly out of stock in the hospital can be illegally purchased in a nearby shop at an exorbitant price; without bribing the doctor a sick patient will not be admitted to the hospital; during the compulsory medical examination for a new job, all the medical staff put out their hand for a bribe; the doctor in collusion with the optician fails many people in their eye tests so that they will have to buy glasses; hospital patients are served food which is cheaper and of poorer quality than what they are entitled to; milk and fruits reserved for patients are consumed by the hospital staff; spurious drugs and injections are administered to patients. Such grievances are endless. Some are extremely serious, involving accusations of such irresponsibility that it is difficult to believe that people actually have these experiences.” (9)

[C] Here Baba reveals the negative reactions that come when one takes bribes.

“When people rob others, or indulge in hypocrisy, or cheat people, or indulge in tall talk day after day, they are committing original actions. When a dishonest government employee accepts a bribe it is an original action, and when his son gets sick and has to be rushed to the doctor it is the reactive action (the reaction to the original action). When his son dies he laments, “I haven’t knowingly done anything wrong. Oh, Lord, why have you given me such severe punishment.” But God did not give him any punishment – the deep sorrow he felt at the death of his child was the result of his past original actions.” (10)

[D] Baba guides us that those who indulge in bribery ruin their sadhana by thinking again and again of the bribe they hope to gain next.

“Suppose you are thinking that you will take bribe from that man. While doing sádhaná, what are you doing? “Bribe – bribe – bribe – bribe.” Just see, your propensive propulsions are channelized towards bribe which disturb the “smrti” which you want to develop. Because of coolness of the mind during your sádhaná those undesirable elements create a crowd in your mind.” (11)

[E] Baba also warns us that those involved in taking bribes can never hide – rather their wrong is automatically seen by the Divine Entity.

“Suppose a person commits a wrong by accepting a bribe. While receiving the bribe he or she thinks that no one is watching, but that is impossible. A third entity is watching everything. No one can do anything secretly in this universe. But the bribe-taker thinks the opposite because avidyá shakti has placed a veil between him or her and the Supreme Being. This is a very dangerous situation. It is just like a hare being chased by a hunter: the hare sits down and covers its eyes with its ears and, thinks, “I cannot see anything, so the hunter cannot see anything either. Hence he won’t be able to kill me.” This is a deadly mistake! Wherever one commits a wrong, be it in the depths of the ocean or in a high mountain cave, one cannot escape the consequences: one will certainly be detected one day or another.” (12)

[F] Baba uses those taking bribes to describe depraved beings who have sunk into “seventh hell.”

“There are seven shades of darkness corresponding to the seven worlds below. What are these shades? Tamah [is the first and] means simply “black”, the second is tamasá, third mahátamasá, fourth andhatamasá, fifth tamishrá, sixth mahátamishrá, and seventh andhatamishrá. What is this last, this andhatamishrá? It is the darkness in which it is not possible even to see one’s own hands. When one becomes materialistic – extremely materialistic – one’s intellect and conscience are all lost. One cannot see even the hands by which he or she accepts a bribe or holds a cup of wine. One thinks, “Whatever I do is right.” That is why it is said, Andhaḿ tamah pravishanti [“One who follows the path of avidyá falls into darkness”]. He or she will go down to rasátala. Rasátala is a stage far below even dogs and goats. Dogs and goats never go below bhuvarloka. They are far superior to those in rasátala.” (13)

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 (revolutionary marriage) 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.

“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.” (14)

Now share with us, what is your opinion about tips and bribes.

Namaskar,
In Him
Pradiip

REFERENCES:
1. Caryacarya, Part 2, Society, Point #23b
2. Caryacarya, Part 2, Society, Point #23c
3. Caryacarya, Part 2, Society, Point #23d
4. Caryacarya – 2, Society, Point #24c
5. Caryacarya, Part 2, Society, Point #23d
6. Ananda Vanii #13
7. Caryacarya – 2, Society, Point #24c
8. Under the Fathomless Depths of the Blue Sea
9. Human Society – 1, Various Occupations
10. Ananda Marga Ideology and Way of Life – 8, Sádhaná
11. Ananda Vacanamrtam – 2, Bhavámbodhipotam
12. Ananda Marga Ideology and Way of Life – 10, Vaedhii Bhakti and Shuddhá Bhakti
13. Ananda Vacanamrtam – 30, Self-Realization and Service to Humanity
14. A Few Problems Solved – 3, The Importance of Society

Prabhat Samgiita

“Tiirthe tiirthe ghuriya’ kla’nt hoye esechi dva’re…” (Prabhata Samgiita 4112)

Purport:

O’ Parama Purusa, after wandering around the globe in various holy lands in search of You, I am completely tired. In this exhausted state, I have reached Your alter. Baba, be gracious, please do not turn Your face away; please do not become unhappy, angry, or furious with me. Please open the door and allow me to come inside.

O’ Supreme Entity, look towards me; my whole body is completely tired and exhausted. My feet are full of dust. Wandering around in the sun, my whole body has become completely hot and sweaty. I am totally tired and exhausted.

O’ Parama Purusa, O’ Baba, now I feel in my heart and repent how my whole life has been wasted. I was tied up in the noose of dogma. Just I was performing various rituals, wandering in holy lands, moving from one tiirtha to another tiirtha, from one Baba’s Quarter to another Baba’s Quarter, in search of You. By Your grace, now I understand that You are residing in my heart – smiling.

Baba, I am surrendering to You. Please accept me as Yours. Do not leave me to wander from one dogmatic pilgrimage to another – involved in various rituals. The path which I was traveling was dark & full of hopelessness. I wasted a lot of money, time, and energy; nothing was gained. Now I am too tired. I want Your divine direction.

In spite of moving on the negative path, by Your grace in the garden of my mind some flowers have bloomed for You. I want to offer those flowers at Your lotus feet. The creepers of hope are swinging and the feeling is coming that You will allow me.

Baba, You have graciously given me the longing for You in my heart. Now please grace me by allowing me to come close to You and touch Your feet. Baba, I am Yours and You are mine. I am surrendering everything unto You. Please accept me…

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