is the best policy -- is that practical?
childhood we are taught to
in all our dealings. The word “truth”
is extolled in all great books and forms the core teaching of
every religion. Some great scriptures go the extent of equating
truth with God. My faith in truthfulness was rock solid until I
heard an argument one day. The conversation was between a
businessman and a wise sage. The businessman’s argument was that
if you are truthful in business, you can never make money. You
will land up losing business
of gaining. The sage, in contrast,
argued in favor of truthfulness. His belief was: “Follow dharma
(righteousness) and dharma will protect you.”
still a student when I heard this argument. The sage’s advice
left an indelible impression on my young mind. While the
sounded more profitable, the sage’s advice made more sense. “A
powerful force like dharma protecting
me would be the best
ally in the battle of life,” I thought to myself. I decided to
practice what I had learnt that day. Practicing truthfulness
came easy as I was still a student. Within 2 years I graduated
with an MBA and was put to test in the laboratory of life. I was
now facing “real” life. Would I still
be able to
practice truthfulness? Time was to answer that question.
God’s grace, within 6 months, I was blessed with the opportunity
to start my own business. I was naïve and had no real-world
experience. How was I to
competition and maintain honesty when all my rivals were
generously resorting to
practices? The real challenge was now, and so was the temptation.
While I was never greedy, I did want
to be able to fulfill my responsibilities. With no investment,
experience, or a mentor, I was left with only the best of
assets: character. As time passed, I realized advertising was
expensive and clients were not convinced to buy my services.
“The old man must be stupid,” I thought.
temptation to lie to my very next customer was very strong, but
God’s grace held me in check. Prayers were a great
help; I was not to
become weak. Events
took a sudden turn; my customers were strongly attracted to my
honest disposition. They felt safe in trusting me, as I was in a
profession where clients had to trust me, not only with their
money, but also with their future. My prices were fair and
reflected the nature of work being demanded. What was initially
an illusory hurdle was now my strongest selling point. Every
customer wanted to work with me because they felt they could
trust me. I now started adding the potions of love and care to
the recipe of truth. The result of following good business
practices, though slow in producing results, generated a lot of
referrals and a steady stream of customers via word of mouth
publicity. I was not flaunting ethics to gain sales; truth had
just become a way of life for me and my customers easily
recognized that. My sales increased to a point where I could
safely cut down advertising.
was right; dharma had protected me. I was feeling as if God was
running my business.
a wonderful business
(divine) manager to have on my side.
about it: why do you shop at a particular place or buy a
particular brand or visit a certain doctor? It is because you
trust these people; you know they won’t cheat you (or they are
fair). The same applies to practicing truth in our daily lives.
Most individuals have heard of the name Issac Tigrett, ex-owner
of Hard Rock Café. The man created a multi-million dollar
business empire by practicing simple teachings of Sai Baba:
“Truth” and “Love All, Serve All.” These teachings made a deep
impact on not only his employees and customers, but also on his
competitors. His competitors, though rivals, admired his
truthful business practices. That is the power of truth.
own personal experience I can now proudly say that honesty is
indeed the best policy.
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