This an article we found on the website of one of our favorite yogis, isha.sadhguru.com. All writing credit rest with the original publishers of the article.
Dear Sadhguru, as I move into a position of power, how can I avoid becoming corrupted by it?
Power doesn’t corrupt, people are corrupt. When they get empowered, it becomes super visible. When the microscope is not on them, you don’t see it. But someone who is not corrupt will not become corrupt.
First, let us understand what corruption is. If there is something called “me” and there is something called “you,” corruption has started because what is “me” is more important than what is “you.” Once “me” comes, “what is mine” and “what is not mine” will come. Once “this is mine” and “this is not mine” comes, corruption is deepened. If you get very attached to “what is mine” and “what is not mine” then it becomes well established. Like this it goes on. Essentially, corruption means, with whatever acts of wellbeing a human being commits, he is excluding somebody.
That is why, all these years, I have been saying, “Let us make corruption cosmic!” The nature of who you are is such that you have to identify with something. If you identify with just the body, one level of corruption. When you get married, you identify with two bodies — corruption multiplied. When it becomes two, the corruption becomes a little bit bigger; people can see the conspiracy. Family is the first form of corruption. I am not speaking against it, I am just telling you. Suddenly, “what is ours” and “what is not ours” becomes important. Then comes community, nation, race, religion…different levels of corruption.
Essentially, corruption means, with whatever acts of wellbeing a human being commits, he is excluding somebody. If you have something, you want to give a little more to this person, and a little less to that person. This is corruption. The question is whether it is a socially acceptable form of corruption or not. For example, if something happens to your children, buckets of tears will come. But when other children are on the streets without clothes or food in their bellies, and not even a teardrop comes to you, you are corrupt. If we make you the prime minister, your corruption will be reported in the media. Right now, your corruption is not worth reporting because it is not of much consequence to other people. Anything that you empower gets blown up into a larger dimension of corruption. But don’t wait to become a prime minster and then check out whether you are corrupt or not.
Most of the corruption on the planet is because you are identified with something limited. Limited identity is corruption. If you make your identity yourself, you will rob the person next to you. If you make your identity for your community, you will do things for your community at the cost of some other community. If you are identified with the nation, you will do good things to your nation at the cost of another nation. That is not perceived as corruption, but it is corruption.Corruption is not a lack of morality. Corruption is essentially a limited identity.
The whole spiritual process is just to take an individual from a limited identity to an all inclusive possibility, not just intellectually but experientially. When you say, “I am a devotee,” it means that “I have either dissolved” or “I am willing to dissolve.” There is nothing here that is “me” or “mine.” That is why we are striving so hard to reach the powerful in the world. If one becomes meditative, if one becomes a devotee, they are incapable of being corrupt.