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HARNESSING THE HEART - PART 5

…LIVING UP TO THE CHALLENGE OF CONSCIENCE IN DAILY LIFE


Harnessing the Heart
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Dear Reader, in this series, we offer you real life stories from contemporary heroes who have demonstrated the courage to follow their conscience when confronted with difficult dilemmas or challenging circumstances in their daily lives. This segment is an ode to the strength of the brave-hearts who chose to listen to the voice of their conscience, thereby abiding to the values of Right Conduct, Truth, Love, Peace and Non-violence, even if the choice appeared the tougher one to follow.

In our previous issues, we brought you inspiring stories of Mrs. Priya Davis, and of Mr. Dev Taneja, Mr. C. B. S. Mani and Mr. Karthik Ramesh.

In this issue, we carry the thrilling account of Mr. Amar Vivek, a former student of Sri Sathya Sai University, who narrates how he could remain steadfast in his principles and come out triumphant without compromising his values in the complicated world of law where he had to deal with criminals and corrupt officials, by his sheer faith in the power of Truth and Righteousness.

The Love of Pure Law Vs. the Law of Pure Love

By Mr. Amar Vivek

Mr. Amar Vivek joined the Sri Sathya Sai University in 1986 for his Masters in Business Administration. Earlier, he had completed his LLB in Punjab University, Chandigarh. He is currently a lawyer in the High Court of Punjab and Haryana, and also a founder member of Sri Sathya Sai Gramin Jagriti Sewa Sadan, a non-profit organisation committed to rural empowerment and education.

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August 16, 1988. I can never forget this day in my life. It was the saddest, and at the same time, the happiest day of my life. I had to leave the physical Presence of Bhagavan that day after having completed my post graduation. But Bhagavan made that day etched in gold forever in my heart, as He called me inside the interview room as part of the group of boys leaving that day. Inside the interview room, He spoke to me very lovingly, and then holding my hand, He asked, “What will you give Me in return for your education at Swami’s University?”

I was stunned; obviously not prepared for such a straight question. But I did manage to find my voice and blurted out, “Whatever You say, Bhagavan.” He then looked piercingly into my eyes, overwhelming my whole inner being. And then, the Divine conversation continued. “Do you promise you will give Me whatever I ask?” I firmly replied, “Yes, Bhagavan.”

Then, issued from the Divine lips a commandment: “Do not bring a bad name to Sai - that is all I want from you. I do not want someone to tell Me that My ex-student is not living up to My Teachings and Example.”

You can imagine what effect these parting words from Bhagavan had on me – and it continues to influence me till this day. Many are the times when His exhortation comes to my mind, and prompts me to listen to the voice of my conscience. It propels me to try for the highest standards of ethical behaviour.

And just the feeling that He knows my every breath, word and action fills me energy and inspiration. What better encouragement does a man need on entering the complex and sometimes traumatic world of law, where you have to deal with criminals and a multitude of cases of human tragedy? There have been many instances which strenuously have tested my mettle, and I passed through them only by listening to my inner golden voice.

The Bright Light of Truth

While practicing as a lawyer in the High Court of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh, I handled an extremely tough case in 1999. A corrupt policeman had illegally obtained the house of a poor school teacher. Without relying on The Divine, I could not have been able to withstand the tough fight I had to endure, as the police officer was bent upon harming me and even my family. The former lawyer of my client had advised him to make false claims; but, keeping Swami’s words in mind, I told him that he must not lie in the court, and furthermore, we would win our case based on truth, and not on exaggeration and falsehood.

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The case took a long time and a large number of witnesses had to be examined. Finally, after many years, the arguments were concluded, and the Ld. Judge was to pronounce his judgment. I was quite nervous over the impending decision of the case, as it had been rather emotionally draining.

While I was at home, looking at the picture of Bhagavan in my room, I could feel His reassuring Presence around me. I started to remember the moments when it seemed that the Lord was, in fact, looking after me, as we continued to stick to truth and righteousness.

I had handled the case selflessly and fearlessly, relying only on my inner strength and conviction. I had an intuitive feeling that surely, we would be successful in this case as we never deviated from righteousness.

As I ruminated over the events that had unfolded in the previous few days, I recalled how at a critical juncture during the case, a crucial document came to my office from nowhere. A gentleman, whom I did not know, had walked in and handed it to me. His name, he said, was ‘Rishi’ (meaning ‘sage’) and I felt it was surely The Divine at work.

Again, I recollected how when I had cross-examined the police officer, surprisingly, he answered one question after another against himself! I had surely prayed to Bhagavan before commencing, and had never expected such a dramatic turn of events, because the officer, otherwise, was a strong willed man.

And then, I was also buoyed up by the name of the Ld. Judge, who was to deliver the judgment. He was Sri Sant Prakash (which meant ‘light of the saint’). I felt I didn’t have to worry as Light is bound to flow out of a Saint! And finally, it was on a day, none other than Thursday, May 17, 2001, that the verdict of this much awaited case, came in our favour! We were ecstatic, as all the long years of patient adherence to values had finally triumphed over falsehood, forgery and manipulation.

Willing Help

On another occasion, an elderly lady had asked for my help. Let us call her Savitha (for reasons of privacy), who had lost her husband and a grown up son, in a tragic road accident. She had then become entangled in a property dispute with her sister-in-law, who was claiming the rights to the house where Savitha lived. Utterly desperate in her pitiable situation, she showed me a few blank signed papers from her husband and mother-in-law, and asked if I could use them for making a will, which would testify that she had succeeded to the properties left by her husband.

At that point I was shaken. Should I help her by creating forged documents, or should I stick to the righteous path? It was truly a dilemma, as I could, at a stroke, save her from an unjust situation, but it also meant taking recourse to falsehood.

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I asked her to wait for a while, and I went inside my office to be myself for a few minutes. I prayed intensely to Bhagavan, and searched in my inner being for the right path. My emotions were influencing me to help her out at all costs, as she was a defenseless victim. After a short while, the voice of my conscience spoke aloud. The path I had to take was clear.

I went to my client and told her I could not use those papers for scribing a document such as a will, but I could certainly produce those papers before the court, so as to convince the Judges her bonafide as a truthful lady, provided she does not misuse them under any circumstances. I also told her that by sticking to Truth, it may so happen that she might not win the property dispute, but she would be a winner in her own eyes, and that God will surely take care of her.

She readily agreed to my suggestion, and the courage and conviction we derived from this small episode gave us the confidence to adopt only honest means. Then matters took a curious turn, when Savitha’s sister-in-law, produced a purported will on behalf of the late mother-in-law, bequeathing all the properties to her daughter and the sister-in-law! We were taken aback when we saw the very same scheme played out in front of us that we had rejected as unethical and against our principles.

The will had allegedly been executed only a few days before the lady’s death, and during those days she was fighting a battle against cancer. To reach the truth of what had happened, and to establish our suspicions was an arduous and difficult task.

It so happened that a gentleman named Mr. Janardhan (name changed), a practicing advocate, had appeared as a witness in the case. He was alleged to have drafted the said will. In his testimony before the court, he clearly recorded that he had no information that the will was authored by the old mother-in-law of Mrs. Savitha. He said that he had been called to their house by the sister-in-law of Savitha, and upon reaching there he found the old lady lying on the bed.

It was the sister-in-law who then forwarded him the papers – purported to be the will of her mother. He simply signed it without knowing its contents or without checking if it was executed by her or not. The case is still on in the court and the verdict after Mr. Janardhan’s testimony is awaited in the coming months, but intuitively I know, truth alone will triumph. In fact, this belief itself is a victory for me and my client. [And indeed the truth did triumph! We are happy to learn that the ruling did go in favour of brother Amar's client. A beautiful reassurance in his beliefs for the moral standing he chose to take and he inspired his client to follow. - H2H Team]

A Just Witness

I also recollect how merely by undertaking a journey by train to Puttaparthi, I was rescued from a dire situation when someone laid false charges against me. I had conducted a case against a lawyer, who had molested a lady editor of a newspaper. Fired by a sense of indignation, I fought the case relentlessly against the lawyer, and as a result, his anticipatory bail application was dismissed. This greatly antagonized the lawyer and he drew up a clever plan to ruin me.

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He filed a false complaint against me in Saharanpur, UP, alleging serious and demeaning charges pertaining to my character and conduct. The incident cooked up by him, referred to June 14, and the clever strategy about this date was that in the month of June, the High Court remained closed due to summer vacations. Thus, I could not have proved in my defense that on the date of incident, I was present in the court, arguing some case or the other.

However, on June 13, that year, I had boarded the Karnataka Express from New Delhi to Dharmavaram en route to Puttaparthi. And just think of it, the passenger next to me in the train that day was none other than the then Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court, Chandigarh who was also traveling to Puttaparthi!

After returning to Chandigarh, I was served with the nasty court summons of the complaint against me, and rather shocked, I fervently prayed to Bhagavan. Through His inspiration, I straightaway rushed to the chambers of the Hon’ble Chief Justice, and explained everything to him. He immediately rang up his counterpart in the UP High Court and offered to stand as a personal witness in my favour, as he was present with me in train from June 13 to 15. The Chief Justice of UP High Court, made sure that the false case against me stood closed, and thus I was left totally unscathed, with His Grace.

The journey to Sai, is no doubt sure to lead one to the assured destination of Sai Himself. But that train journey to Puttaparthi was a special one, as it proved to make me safe beyond any harm! It was a Masterly planned reservation, to rescue a humble worker who tried to follow the path of Truth to the best of his ability.

Settling in Good Time

I recently conducted a few cases for a personality from the movie world. Her opposite party was a “high socialite” in Chandigarh. With prayers to Bhagavan, I was able to bring the gentleman to the negotiating table, and both parties mutually worked out a settlement. The outstanding twenty cases, which were being bitterly fought over, were closed in a few days.

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The lady client was very satisfied with this outcome, and after a few days, the person from the opposite party too came to my house and thanked me for bringing to an end the bitter litigation. He placed a sum of Rs. 75,000/- on my table and left.

My conscience immediately began to rankle. I thought I should return the money to the person without more ado. But then, a higher impulse gripped me. I thought why not pass this money onto my client, who had suffered huge losses to her assets during the case.

I immediately called her in Mumbai, and after I explained to her everything, she gladly accepted the amount. I also asked her to send an acknowledgment receipt of this amount to the opposite party. Later, she called me to say that until then she had never believed that a lawyer would ever pass on money in such a situation.

It was only because of my behavioral value systems, and the confidence to listen to my conscience, that I have gained from the noble training given at the Sri Sathya Sai University that I was able to act in such a manner. “Honesty in personal and professional life is the first policy”, was an important lesson that we were taught at our cherished Alma Mater, and over the years it has become a deep rooted conviction in my soul. We only need to have the courage and conviction to practice it in real life.

Bhagavan, in His abundant Grace, gives us many moments when we need to be attuned to Him in those tricky situations of morally grey areas. It is very easy to fall into the traps laid by other people’s minds - and our own! But His Love always binds us as long as we follow His Words, to the last letter. A few days before I passed out of the Sri Sathya Sai University, Swami revealed the true meaning of my degrees – LLB and MBA. He said it referred to ‘Live and Love Baba’ and ‘Mind on Baba Always’. Now I know what it really means. When we really live by His ideals, we have truly loved Him. Moreover, His Loving Gaze is always fixed, continuously on us, wherever we are, and whatever we are doing. It only requires a little effort on our part to look inside us, and see the Lord looking at us! His Glance never fails us.

Illustrations: Ms. Lyn Kriegler Elliott, New Zealand



Dear Reader, did you find this article inspiring? Do you have such experiences in our daily life that you would like to share? Please share your thoughts with us at [email protected] mentioning your name and country.  Thank you for your time.


 

 

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Vol 6 Issue 04 - APRIL 2008
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