In the days when I was attending my village school, some of us boys – my cousins and I and a few of our schoolmates – would occasionally rob a nearby mango tree. Of course, we were always absolutely sure that nobody would find out. But I don’t think the owner of the tree was quite in the dark either, and once, exasperated, he went to the extent of complaining to the headmaster of our school. The headmaster became terribly angry. He called all the boys in the class together and interrogated us.
“Raman, who robbed that tree?”
“I did, sir.”
“I robbed it, sir.”
“I did it, sir.”
One by one, each boy said he had stolen the mangoes. Our headmaster was quite sure who the real culprits were, but he couldn’t get any evidence. Finally, at his wits’ end, he told some of the better students, “You boys should at least give a few hints. Why do you all say you did it?”
We said, “We are protecting the honor of the school.” He had to agree with us, and so we managed to escape.
When I got home, however, my Grandmother was waiting. Word gets about quickly in a village, and the first thing she asked me was, “Little Lamp, did you steal those mangoes?”
I kept quiet.
“Were you in the group?”
I still kept quiet.
“Even if none of you tells anybody else,” she said, “there was somebody who saw. Someone inside is watching everything, someone who never misses a thing.”
In the depths of consciousness, beneath the surface of our egocentric personality, dwells our true Self – ever wakeful, eternally alert. [...] When we do something selfish, the little voice inside saying, “Shabby, shabby, shabby,” is the echo of the voice of the Self within, the “internal witness”. And when we feel warm inside because we have helped someone, that is the Self making us feel warm. Continue reading