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15. Bankruptcy

There is a Western sadhak who has been here for many years. He once received a letter from his family that his brother was going to file for bankruptcy. This turn of events in his brother's life made him sad. As his mother only informed him in one sentence about this and had not given any details whatsoever, he was unable to exercise his imagination, and just felt sad.

This sadhak had come to Mother several years before. At the time of joining the Ashram, he gave Mother all the money he had, a few lakhs of rupees. A few years ago his father and mother visited the Ashram and had Mother's Darshan. His brother was a talented man. He had expert knowledge in more than one field. Before joining his father's business, his brother had been in a highly paid job. His father himself was in business. Though it was a small company, by virtue of its quality and nature of service, it had attained nationwide popularity. In the 60s a multinational company was attracted by his father's business and offered to buy the entire company and make it an independent part of their company on very profitable terms to the father. The negotiations for the sale were handled by the father and son. The father attended to the financial aspects of sale and his son concentrated on the legal aspects of transfer to the multinational. The multinational company was so much impressed by the son's ability that they offered to employ him at a very high salary. The son had greater faith in his future prospects and preferred to remain with his father. Years later the father's company was doing so well as one unit of the multinational that they opted to leave the parent company to function on their own. The father was the president of the company and the son, the brother of the sadhak, was vice-president. The company was innovative and introduced new concepts of work in their business. The company rose from height to greater height with every passing year. It is when the company was at its best, with the father and son at the helm, that the other son opted to go to India, join the Ashram and settle down in India permanently. Generally people who are unable to make a success of themselves in life seek out an excuse to hide their weakness and wind up in an Ashram. The brother in business was elder to the sadhak by four years. He surely felt that his younger brother was a fit case to seek asylum in an Ashram. Even when his parents visited the Ashram, the elder brother never showed any interest in the Ashram.

As years passed, the father who had founded the business took it to great heights, made good money and felt it was time for him to retire and leave the helm in the hands of the elder son. He retired and the son became the president of the company. He introduced several improvements, opened a computer division, and made himself a greater success than his father. He was married into a wealthy family. Soon after the father retired and the company became a greater success, differences of opinion began to arise between the son and the parents. The son stopped giving the parents any news of the company, which they were anxious to hear. The parents got little information of how the company was doing, and the sadhak got less information about his brother's affairs. From other sources news came that the company's computer division had a great potential as a money spinner. More information came that the company was shifting to the most prestigious locality in the city. All this reached the sadhak through second hand means months after the actual event.

If news took months to reach the parents, the sadhak brother at Pondicherry, if he ever heard anything, received only a trickle of news many months later. When it did come, it was only one sentence or a hint. After a successive string of positive news, a letter came saying, "He is not doing well, perhaps."  The company began to cut down its staff in big slices. At one point, the sadhak learned there were now only two employees in the company left. Next in line the office was vacated, the brother was working from his home, and he had no employees at all. What happened to the big business the father had built up, the great potential of the computer division, the prestigious office, God knows!  It is at that juncture the final blow came through the letter mentioned in the beginning, that the brother had decided to file for bankruptcy. The sadhak brother was sad, but what was there in his hands except to feel sad. The sadhak was lost in thought, rather, he felt lost.

I ventured to speak to him. "I know you are not in the habit of writing to your brother. Also I know your brother would not take your words seriously. But this is a certain special moment in his life, when he may listen to you and may even consider your words seriously. I don't know what has gone wrong where. All that is immaterial. One thing matters. You are here. That is enough to prevent your brother going bankrupt. If you are bold, conceive of a means of writing to him either directly or through your parents."  He said his sister-in-law wrote to him and she would listen to his words, but he was not sure how far his words would carry any meaning for them, as they all considered him a failure in life.

This was enough. I encouraged him to write to his brother's wife about Mother's way of running a business. He agreed. Together we prepared the contents of the letter. First, the letter said, "Do not file bankruptcy, if you have not already done so."  Then we cited a few examples of broken men finding their feet, rising again when they came to Mother. Lastly we added some principles of Mother's way of running an organisation. I told the sadhak, "What is most important is a token offering from them, but in this precarious relationship, I desist from asking for it."  We ended the letter asking for $10 as an offering. Two weeks later we received a telegram from his parents: "Bankruptcy not filed. Brother will try your ideas. He has sent $20 offering and we add another $100 to it."

Again, for weeks and months there was no news. But we were happy we did not receive the news of his filing bankruptcy. The brother's wife wrote a formal letter of thanks and said they were seriously practicing the ideas given by the sadhak brother. Months passed. The rift between brother and parents became complete. He moved to another town to avoid his family. A few more months passed. Then news came that the rift was vanishing and a rapprochement was building up. Business for the brother was ‘all right.'  After 15 or 18 months we got news suddenly that the brother was doing well, perhaps very well. Still the news was all second hand and in trickles. One month later came a phone call on the father's birthday to exchange greetings. Now we heard that the computer potential had started its initial yield and big customers were after the computer programme. There were signs of the brother making big money. Gone were the days of gloom, rift and bankruptcy.

book | by Dr. Radut