Prof. Andrew Wicks of Darden School of Business, University of Virginia, who has years of experience in the subject of business administration, points out that people are often discreet about their religious beliefs in their place of work. Such people believe that talking about or displaying and practicing their religion could stir up controversy amongst their friends or co-workers. Prof. Wick is an academic expert on Faith, Religion and Responsible Decision Making. He adds that; the reality is that it is very important from a business point of view to follow one's religion, to be open about it and to take pride in it. Following one's religion is a hallmark of a person of high character. A person who hides his religion or feels embarrassed about it may not be fully having faith in his religion. He or she feels that following his/her religion could ostracize them by others. But in reality, it is quite the opposite.
King Yudhishthira's kingdom spanned across thousands of villages. All his subjects placed a huge trust in him since he was a deeply religious person. He sincerely tried to adhere to even the most fundamental of religious precepts, since he was treading on the path of truth. Thus, the practice of religion lends a brilliant aura to a person. People are hugely influenced by the sheer impact of such a person's stature and hold him/her in high respect. Even today, there exist such individuals, who are held in high regards by people. Everyone has faith in their every word and consider them as role models since their lives are rooted deeply and morally in true religious values.
One such individual is Indra Nooyi, the CEO of PepsiCo. She has been able to manage it very efficiently, despite the huge global network of the company. She is widely respected in her company as well in the society due to her deep faith in her religion.
Pramukhswami Maharaj was the very embodiment of a true religious personality. He faithfully followed all the rules prescribed in the scriptures. Even if he fell ill, or if there were hard times, or even in adverse circumstances, he never abandoned his religious principles. He has never deviated from observing the most basic of religious precepts. Whether he was travelling within the country or abroad, he always remained faithful in observing every single precept wherever he went. His entire life was immersed in religion. Such was his devotion to religion that even his journey abroad was considered as DharmaYatra. Because, with his every footstep, he was seeding religion throughout the Creation.
In the year 1980, Swamiji was in Boston, where he had to undergo an eye operation since the cataract was in a very advanced stage. The condition of his eyes had deteriorated to such an extent that the doctors were worried that it might lead to glaucoma. According to one of the regulations for sadhus we always have to travel as a pair. Meaning, we can't remain alone when we go out. Swamiji was being taken to the operation theater of one of the leading hospitals in Boston. Since he had to undergo an operation, he had to be taken inside alone according to the hospital rules. No other saint was allowed to enter in there. So Swamiji said to Atmaswarup swami , "Inform them about our sadhu's regulation of traveling in a pair."
Atmaswarup Swami explained the regulation to the doctors and administrators. For the doctors and administrators of a foreign country, the Swaminarayan religion and it's regulations for the saints were equally foreign and unusual. After much persuasion and for the sake of supervision it was decided to permit one saint to accompany Swamiji to the operation theater. So, Atmaswarup Swami went along. He came back to the second floor after overseeing all the arrangements. Thereafter, Yogicharan Swami accompanied Swamiji into the operation theatre.
Swamiji held even a minor regulation for saints, such as always travelling in a pair very highly. All through his life, Swamiji observed every religious dictum with full faith and absolute devotion.
In the year 2006, Swamiji was in Anand. There, during an evening assembly, one devotee came to Swamiji with the ladoos (a type of sweet balls), which were to be distributed as prasad to the haribhaktas. He showed the ladoos to Swamiji. Swamiji was satisfied and pleased to see the sweet scented ladoos. He said, 'Now we will serve these to you as well when you take your meal.' Hearing this, Swamishri expressed his disapproval by gesturing and said: 'There is no need to serve this to me when I take my meal.' Swamiji observed that the ladoos were not prepared as per the rules laid down for the sadhus. Thus he immediately refused to eat them. The devotee realised his mistake and said, 'We will serve you only what has been offered to thakorji in the temple.' Swamiji was satisfied on hearing this.
In the Valmiki Ramayana, Sitaji tells Shri Rama that,
धर्मादर्थः प्रभवति, धर्मात् प्रभवते सुखम्।
धर्मेण लभते सर्वं, धर्मसारमिदं जगत्॥
dharmartah prabhavate sukham.
Dharmen labhate sarva, dharmarsaarmindam jagat.
Religion brings meaning and happiness. Everything comes from religion. This world comes into being through the essence of religion.
A true guru like Swamiji is the flagbearer of Dharma in this age of materialism. Through his pure life and pious leadership, religious values are spreading far and wide across the globe and the entire creation.
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This article is written and submitted to The E Today by Sadhu Amrutvadandas. We thank swamiji for his research and analysis and hope to see the awareness about life and peace being spread ahead to larger mass of our citizens.