On Transparency


The question of transparency has been debated for centuries.  Everything that a man does has some social relevance.  While the ethics give liberty to man to explore and act according to the best of his ability and intuition, it expects him to present the facts if the need be.  The facts are basically what he felt, what he did and what he got.  It is never that what a man did is always right.  More often, in our quest for truth, we witness certain results which were not totally desirable. The question has never been about what the results were but the intentions and the approach behind so that the entire episode is kept open to the other seekers of truth.  I approach this question of transparency as being a continuous exploration of truth.

The question of transparency literally makes no sense to the one who wants to deceive others.  But it makes a tremendous sense to those who are keen to improve themselves and to all those who really want the truth. There is no point in debating transparency if I am a selfish individual and look at myself as exclusive from everyone else and even willing to take away something that does not belong to me. But for all others the question of transparency is very vital for their development.

One thing that man often becomes forgetful of in this life is that he is here for knowledge.  The very basis of transparency, according to me,  is that I should be in search of knowledge, the truth behind my existence and the truth of what I see outside.  And for those others who are extrovert in nature, for them also it is necessary that they be in search of knowledge in any chosen field of specialization.  But even this comes under a larger purview called life. This is very fundamental.  The whole thing about man is how he approaches his own life – this subjective analysis and learning. This is a continuous process.  I often laugh at people when they say they can not live alone even for 1 day!.  I agree that man is a social animal.  But if I say that I can not live alone for a single day also, it is just a reflection of this terrible dependence on others.  Look at the history of mankind – all great men make friends after becoming great. Two great saints or two great scientists or even two great businessman can easily become friends.  There is a rationale behind such a friendship.  I sincerely believe that all friendship is just a hoax unless the individuals involved are the seekers of truth.  It is just a time pass friendship – none really cared for the other.  I have seen instances where the so called friend has made fun of his dead friend, or a drunken friend.  Yet everyone speaks big things about friendship. It is just not about friendship but also of kinship and also of being a husband, or a wife.  No relationship can be meaningful unless each individual is in his own quest of truth.  It is possible that the truth can be explored collectively also.  But in all cases every life should be driven by an ideal.  This is the necessary thing before we debate anything on transparency.

By transparency, I do not mean that one should stand in the street and speak of all the things that he/she has done.  That would make this world a very chaotic place.  When I speak of transparency, I reveal what my thoughts are and what my experiences are to the people who are concerned in the subject.  This transparency, though necessary in the individual level, becomes an absolute necessity when one is involved in the public affairs.  We should give every individual an opportunity to work out his thoughts, and when it is socially relevant, the individual should give the facts.  This can not happen unless the individual has treated his work as a search for truth, or as a quest for excellency.  Expect nothing good from selfish people. If you approach sincere people like Abdul Kalam, they will tell you the facts because they never played a hide and seek game nor did they want to deceive anyone.  They are all sincere students of life who took life as a lesson.  This basic understanding and approach to life paves way for transparency.  It is not just about being transparent about one’s dealings but also about the satisfaction and knowledge that one derives from leading a life that is not based on speculation, not based on prejudice but on discovering life as it is.  Lord Sri Ramakrishna said, “As long as I live, so long do I learn”.  Involving oneself fully in search of knowledge is the only way to transparency. In this case every question thrown at you, instead of making you run for excuses,  takes you near the truth which was your fundamental goal.  I have seen individuals who live such a life.  Swami Nityasthananda of Sri Ramakrishna Ashrama is one such exceptional individual.


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