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158ste Spiritmail


By Karmayogi

Integrity is an inner value unconditioned by outer circumstances. To be good to a person who is good to us is not difficult. To be good to a person who is evil to us is not easily possible. It may not be necessary for the outer life. However, it is necessary for inner integrity. There is a film called Finding Forrester. A famous writer goes into seclusion for years. His first book had become famous, but he stopped writing. Near his apartment is a public basketball court where Black youth play. All the boys take an unhealthy interest in the writer in seclusion, not knowing who he is. One day they challenge one boy to enter his apartment to find out. This boy is 16, and a writer himself. After meeting the writer, they become friends. The writer finds in the boy original talent and wishes to foster it.

The writer initiates the boy into writing, giving him the title and opening paragraph of one of his old essays. The boy writes very well and submits his essay for a class competition. The teacher discovers that the title and first paragraph are not the boy's own. The boy is bound by an oath to the writer to keep their relationship confidential. When the teacher confronts the boy, accusing him of using another person's passages, the boy denies it. The teacher shows the original to the boy, proving him wrong. Still the boy keeps silent. In the class, the boy had been found to be resourceful, intelligent and more informed than the teacher who takes it as an affront to him. He now suspends the boy's scholarship and removes his essay from the competition. On the day when the competition is to be held, the writer, who has heard all about the boy's situation, comes out of his seclusion for the first time in years, enters the class and asks permission to speak. His appearance after prolonged seclusion is a pleasant surprise to address the audience. He tells them what has transpired between him and the boy. The teacher is all appreciation of the writer, but does not relax the punishment of the boy. The famous writer says, ‘‘This youth risked his career to protect me, who did not come forward to protect him in the hour of need. That is integrity.'' The Chairman of the Board overrules the teacher and exonerates the youth, praising him for his integrity.

Integrity is a spiritual value. As soon as the boy got into trouble because of his promise to the writer, the writer should have taken up the matter with the authorities and saved the boy's scholarship. Life is not that GOOD, even in a famous writer in seclusion. Because he honoured a spiritual value, the Spirit in the boy compelled the writer to come to his rescue.

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