Guiding Light: Bringing social change through change in individuals

We all have heard about saint Valmiki, who used to rob passengers that passed his way into the deep forest. One day, he made an attempt to rob some Sadhus or mendicants. The Sadhus told him that he was earning his livelihood in a sinful way and none of his family-members, for whom he robbed, would save him from the punishment for his sins. Valmiki realised this and he resolved firmly not to rob anyone in future. This led him to his inner transformation and this, in turn, awakened many of his good qualities.

Valmiki was now a deeply compassionate man and his mind became highly moved to write about the victory of virtue over vice in the form of the great epic, Ramayana. Similarly, when Buddha saw a sick man, an old man and a dead body, and reflected deeply, he realised that there was suffering in the world and that he should try to identify the cause of sufferings so as to liberate himself and others from sufferings.

This brought in him a great transformation which, later, led to the transformation of many others. Likewise, Ashoka reflected over the great sufferings caused to people as a result of the kalinga war, and realising the futility of wars, he resolved to give up war forever.

When the baggage of Mohanlal Karamchand Gandhi was thrown out of a moving train and he, too, was pushed out on to the platform, he reflected on this sad and humiliating event and realised how degrading it was to be the citizen of a country that was under the yoke of a foreign rule. His self-respect then awakened and he took a vow that he would spend the rest of his life for the political freedom of his mother country. This is how his own transformation brought change in the lives of many others and the dream of free India became a reality. These and such other examples clearly show that inner transformation in great men occurred after deep reflection, realisation and resolve... (To be continued)

(The writer is a spiritual educator and popular columnist for publications across India, Nepal and UK. You can write to him at

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal