A disciple came to the master and said, “I am in trouble. The trouble is that the richest man of the town is going on a pilgrimage. He has plenty of cash, gold and other valuables in the house, and I have a great reputation because of all the discipline that I have gone through and the character that I have cultivated. I have such a reputation in the town that he wants me to take care of his house and wealth while he is on his pilgrimage. And I am afraid — I know my temptations. And the wealth kept in the house mostly unlocked is really tempting; in fact I have always been infatuated with wealth. I have been avoiding…! This is too much: for six months or nine months I will be responsible for this wealth. I cannot trust myself. What should I do?”
The master said, “I know a man who knows the secret. You go to him.”
And he told him to go to another village where a madman lived. He said, “But what can that madman do? I know about that madman, I have heard much about that madman. He is utterly mad! How can he help me?”
The master said, “You just go, but go very watchfully. Watch everything that is happening there.”
He went to the madman. A very beautiful young girl was pouring wine and the madman was drinking.
This beautiful young girl pouring wine and the madman drinking — this man felt great hatred, condemnation. But because the master had said, “Watch and go and ask him for advice…” he forgot all about his problem.
First he asked, “Please tell me what is happening. What are you doing?” The madman laughed and he said, “This boy is my son. And come close — my glass contains only water. What he is pouring is not wine.”
The man asked, “Then why are you pretending that you are drinking wine? Nobody sips water the way you are sipping. The flask from which he is pouring water is not used for keeping water — then why?”
The madman laughed and said, “So that nobody entrusts his entire wealth and house to me when he goes on a pilgrimage. This is a device!” He must have read the thought, he must have been telepathic. He must have seen this man through and through. “…So that nobody entrusts his entire wealth and house to me, so nobody bothers. So that I am left alone. But please don’t tell my secret to anybody; otherwise I will have to move from this town to another town.
My madness is a rumor created by me. My characterlessness is a rumor created by me. And if YOU really want to work on yourself,” said the madman, “you should do likewise. Go back. Start behaving foolishly, stupidly, madly — at least pretend! — and nobody will bother you.” Thus explains why many spiritual masters and their disciples behave like Madmen so that they are left unbothered and alone to enjoy the spoils of the following they create that at times become a community where they are the leaders or guiding light.
We see many such people behaving in a similar fashion within our community and in particular our clergy inner circle. Is it because such people chose to be selfish, irresponsible or just plain lazy? Do people in the community tell themselves not to get disillusioned after experiencing such behavior; however chances are that they already are? If anything, collective morale starts sliding rapidly. Taking advantage of the disenchantment, some people in the community suddenly wake up from deep slumber and go ballistic with pseudo-socialist slogans and actions against such behavior from the clergy inner circle that are in charge of the church finance and properties.
Take the example of the Archdiocese of Bombay where some community members have put their queries regarding Church & Church institution properties and finances and other issues to the Church authorities a few years ago and are yet waiting for a response despite regular follow-ups as they want to take the community forward in getting these requirements and projects moving that would benefit the community – that hadn’t happened in as many years. But what is more likely to happen – time will tell.
The community needs responsible, energetic, active, honest, attentive and concerned clergy to be put in charge of the properties and finances of the church who will quickly respond to the community’s queries and a host of other things and in particular interact with the government in safeguarding the community’s interest as the present government’s communal wing is desecrating or targeting our Churches, institutions, people, dictating our food habits (beef ban), etc. The community had hoped our present clergy leaders’ policies would create them as there is as much finance and vacant property with the Church in Bombay to support these projects of housing, infrastructure, sports, entrepreneurship, etc. for the community, as well as the clergy leaders’ contacts within the present government and with the outside world to tame the present government to respect our religion, community, food habits, etc.
The community also wants the non transparency in the Church and parish institutions finances and properties to be made transparent. That hasn’t happened either. And why hasn’t this either happen as yet…. is it also because of the clergy’s inner circle fickleness of mind.
There is an ancient story about the fickleness of our Mind…. which plays a major role between the clergy leader and his inner circle against his community that has led all these matters to continue for years without seeing the light at the end of the tunnel which leads to mistrust, hatred, unpleasantness, etc as well as it coming out into the newspaper to the astonishment of the other communities that are waiting to take advantage of such situations and to the saying – “But what is more likely to happen – time will tell”.
A man who has gone out of his town comes back and finds that his house is on fire. It was one of the most beautiful houses in the town, and the man loved the house. Many people were ready to give double price for the house, but he had never agreed for any price, and now it is just burning before his eyes. And thousands of people have gathered, but nothing can be done.
The fire has spread so far that even if you try to put it out, nothing will be saved. So he becomes very sad. His son comes running, and whispers something in his ear:”Don’t be worried. I sold it yesterday, and at a very good price – three times…. The offer was so good I could not wait for you. Forgive me.” But the father said, “Good, if you have sold it for three times more than the original price of the house.”
Then the father is also a watcher, with other watchers. Just a moment before he was not a watcher, he was identified. It is the same house, the same fire, everything is the same – but now he is not concerned. He is enjoying it just as everybody else is enjoying.
Then the second son comes running, and he says to the father,”What are you doing? You are smiling – and the house is on fire?” The father said, “Don’t you know, your brother has sold it.” He said, “He had talked about selling it, but nothing has been settled yet, and the man is not going to purchase it now.”
Again, everything changes. Tears which had disappeared have come back to the father’s eyes, his smile is no more there, and his heart is beating fast. But the watcher is gone. He is again identified.
And then the third son comes, and he says,”That man is a man of his word. I have just come from him. He said, ’It doesn’t matter whether the house is burned or not, it is mine. And I am going to pay the price that I have settled for. Neither you knew, nor did I know that the house would catch on fire.’”
Again the father is a watcher. The identity is no more there. Actually nothing is changing; just the idea that”I am the owner, I am identified somehow with the house,” makes the whole difference. The next moment he feels,”I am not identified. Somebody else has purchased it, I have nothing to do with it; let the house burn.”
Is this what the clergy has been doing over the years going back and forth in becoming the identifier as they are the sole trustees of these immovable and movable property and are very protective of them, suddenly as it suits them they becoming watcher as they are aware that the immovable and movable properties have been donated by their local community members who are no more resulting in the clergy doing whatever suits them after getting the nod of their select finance and property committee members rather than do whatever is beneficial for the community. With this being done nothing dramatic is not actually happening for the benefit of the community, nor is it being attempted. The clergy is competent, there’s clearly a leader at the helm, a desire to provide direction. All this is true, and this is the reason the leader of the clergy continues to be popular, but there is still a significant mismatch between body language and performance.
For someone who’s used symbols masterfully, the clergy leader slipped up badly in making frequent trips abroad. It showed his obvious comfort with the trappings of power and a lack of awareness about how his actions would be perceived. Add that to the anti-community tag that some community members have potentially saddled him with, and one can visualize a storyline about someone too interested in the rich to worry about the poor beginning to emerge. The fear of this perception gaining ground has put the clergy on the defensive, and reduced its room for manoeuvre.
You cannot speak the language of honesty, humbleness, charity, clarity and strength and act in a manner that sends consistently mixed signals. This is what this clergy leader is doing — everyone is a little less certain today about where they stand. To some extent, expectations are being recalibrated, as they need to be, but the clergy leader’s image too needs re-working. Either his actions need to be re-scaled or his communication style needs to become aligned with the actions of his clergy.
Despite these overwhelming odds, our community members are a buoyant lot. In fact, we are pretty amazing when it comes to survival. This is why we are deeply hurt by the clergy leader’s inner circle insensitive comments during their press releases. Sorry to say, the clergy leaders inner circle should never have made such press releases without being sure that it would not further misunderstandings and resentment with any part of OR the entire community against them
Your eminence, our clergy leader in the archdiocese of Bombay we are very proud of being members of our community. But the one thing we do need to be `ashamed’ of is the fact that we keep supporting you and you let us down. Bring on the honest, polite, straight forward communication and action, and ensure that your inner circle & clergy follow them.
For optimists in our community there’s still reason to believe in the archdiocese of Bombay clergy leader led communication and action miracle. But the clergy leader may want to boost our community’s confidence by showing a little less caution and a little more resolve.