These days battle against corruption is taking many parts of the world, including the second most populous country, India, by storm. People come out to the open to expose and fight corruption, and to demand stricter laws to punish the perpetrators. The hitherto silent majority of the ordinary people are fed up of the corrupt practices of their leaders in all spheres which negatively affect the progress of their nations. Corruption leads to the poverty of the masses while a few, holding power and influence, get richer by dubious means. They, in their greed, bend the rules to swell their pockets.
In philosophical, theological, or moral discussions, corruption is spiritual or moral impurity or deviation from an ideal. It's the decaying of a system or even a society as whole, caused by the abuse of power and influence by some. But in common parlance, it refers to the distorted and dishonest practices of some influential people. It leads to a broken system. Today the menace of corruption is eating up the entire society and all its organs in many parts of the world.
Corruption starts in the minds of those who practice it. Jesus had warned his followers: “Nothing that goes into someone from outside can make that person unclean; it is the things that come out of someone that make that person unclean... For it is from within, from the heart, that evil intentions emerge: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, malice, deceit, indecency, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within and make a person unclean.” (Mark's Gospel, Chapter 7, verses 15, 21-23). The evil of corruption, therefore, is rooted and nurtured in the hearts and minds of the people. It happens when we allow the evils such as greed and selfishness, avarice and deceit to take their roots and grow in our lives. It is, therefore, the opposite of the basic teaching of Jesus to 'love and serve one another'.
For this reason, no amount of public demonstrations, or even the enactment of the most stringent laws and judicial apparatus can root out corruption. These can only act as a temporary deterrent. The eradication process begins with the moral and spiritual formation of each person's mind and heart. When one is trained to be honest, sincere, loving and kind, he/she cannot be corrupted by greed, selfishness, avarice and deceit. Children, from a very young age, need to be shown the importance of these virtues, not just by classroom lectures, but first by the exemplary behaviour of their parents, teachers, spiritual leaders, politicians and other public figures. It's only through a total change of our value system, by changing our minds and hearts, can we end corruption and move towards genuine progress.
“Few lions will be better than millions of rats and rabbits. Anna Hazare is a good man and his struggle for a corruption-free India will have some positive impacts. It will also help people to become conscious of this all-pervasive evil. But the solution lies in a spiritual and moral awakening. This is our divine mission.” Swami Sachidananda Bharathi