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One of the loftiest ambitions to be found in the man of the East is to be a teacher. History and the Shastras report countless experiences where a Guru, or teacher, instills into students noble principles, and then watches with satisfaction as students use these principles to achieve great things for the betterment of mankind. A teacher is held in awe and reverence, and exerts an influence on his chela, even when they’ve achieved fame or position in the world.
Monohar was a teacher, and even more than that the head of a school. As such he had great standing in his community. Students listened with respect when he spoke, parents gave place to him as he walked their streets, and the community at large looked up to him.
Of course there’s always the baser element of society who respect neither man nor God, and one day a certain notable character paid Monohar a visit. He’d heard about a building program the school was planning, and brought with him a small donation to the building fund. He also brought a gift for Monohar’s children and pressed it upon the protesting head as he made his exit. The visitor was a building contractor.
Having made friendly contact the contractor began systematic visits to the headmaster’s house. He left increasingly costly gifts and Monohar’s family took a great liking to their new found friend. Monohar’s protests gradually weakened, and he began to look forward to the contractor’s visit. It was not a surprise to anyone when the time came to select a contractor for the building project. Monohar’s new friend was assigned the job. Gifts increased, but teachers and school board members became alarmed at the apparent plundering of school resources through inflated contractor bills. Protests were silenced by Monohar, and everyone began to look on him with suspicion.
Word began to circulate Monohar was soliciting commissions from other school suppliers as well. No one wanted to make a formal complaint, but respect for the school and noble teaching profession began to break down around town. He became known as Monohar the commission agent. All this eventually became known to Monohar, and fearing eventual exposure he sought to build his fortune quickly before he was caught and fired. He pressed his demands on the village merchants more insistently.
When there’s a hint of impropriety auditors are soon on the trail, and a clever trap was prepared. Soon Monohar was confronted with evidence, admitted his guilt, and was placed in the hands of authorities along with his contractor friends for the recovery of funds misappropriated. The contractors had sufficient friends in high places to escape more than a slap on the wrist. Monohar had no remaining influence or sufficient wealth to escape the ire of the community.
It took many years before the community regained their former respect for the school, and its board members who’d employed Monohar as principal. Monohar’s actions affected not only himself but the reputation of his family and associates. As Monohar looked at his rough uneducated fellow prisoners he realized he’d now spend many years in their company. In the eyes of everyone in the village he was now considered to be on a level with these rough characters to the humiliation of his family.
His assets had been confiscated to repay money misappropriated, and the family moved to a hovel on the village outskirts, Privileges and hopes for a prosperous future had been dashed.
Every decision we make in life affects others, either to their benefit or detriment.
“© Copyright Ian Grice 2013 All rights reserved”