The old scheme of values is now falling into pieces. Looking around a man now easily finds that dishonest and corrupt people are making steady progress and are materially prosperous. Naturally, a question arises for him – what is the necessity of maintaining strict honesty or following an honest course of life?
The answer is, however, not far to seek. Some people may gain some high post or score a spectacular success by questionable means but that is all in the short run. Ultimately, it is the honest and upright man that wins the palm (glory). So Swami Vivekananda used to say – no noble deed can be performed by clever tricks (chalaki). Devotion and diligence are called for to accomplish every work, great or small.
It is this connection the old story is worth recalling. The axe (short iron piece) of a woodcutter fell into the river by chance he was engaged in cutting branches of a tree. The poor fellow began to cry and prayed to God to help him. Then the water-God came out of water with a golden axe and offered it to the distressed woodcutter. But the latter refused to accept it since it was not his own. Next, the Water-God came with a sliver axe and temptingly offered it to woodcutter. Again, the poor fellow declined. At last, the iron axe was offered to him and he gladly and gratefully accepted it. Gandhiji advised Parsi Rustamji, his South-African friend and client, to confess his guilt of smuggling to the Customs officer concerned and pay the full penalty in penance. Rustomji abided by Gandhiji’s advice and honestly pursued his trade thereafter. He made immense fortune then.