Friend of sinners

Friend of sinners
Childhood enculturation teach us to welcome company of virtuous people and to avoid low character people as far as possible. A child is told to embrace the same for whole life. Avoiding bad company lower every kind of risk of being infected with their ill-famed practice or thoughts. There are more possibilities to adopt bad habits in presence of people in resort with those habits. Reason behind this high probability lies deep down to our basic instinct. It is natural to adopt easy and get attracted towards vicious things, human enjoy a different taste in using them. For this very reason, religious books (which can be called as ancient constitutions for guiding people behavior), insisted its followers to monitor people accompanying them.

Every religion has focused immensely on this part of life and described it, as sin and temptation for human beings. Many eastern scriptures say that,

"One should try to be always in the company of noble people, as man is known by the company he keeps. Company is contagious and man changes his colors accordingly eventually. He cannot remain unaffected for long time."

Many verses from Bible using different words, ask for the same.

'Depart from me, you evildoers, that I may keep the commandments of my God.'(Psalm 119:115)

'Do not be deceived, Bad Company ruins good morals.'(Corinthians 15:33)

'Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers.' (Psalm 1:1-4)

Similarly, other religions also stand behind accompanying noble people, need not to mention lines from every religious scripture. Practically it is a fact that, our habits, our words and our thinking will certainly have some impact on others. Such impact can be either good or bad.

Julianna Margulies says that, "Small gestures can have a big impact."

However, spirituality differs amazingly from this practiced and examined path. Spirituality often takes path beyond understanding of common people. In spiritual path, worldly ways have no consideration. Spirituality on other hand encourages good people to join the vicious companies. Spirituality is an optimistic approach. It is a vision for the possible transformation accompanying anything. It does not see affect of bad on good rather it believes in effect of good on bad.

Flow will always be towards downward side. Person with high positive energy has capability to transform a person with low negative energy. Real virtuous need no fear, fear is for hypocrites. They only pose to be good and virtuous, so there is a fine possibility of returning their true nature. A spiritual Buddhist story says much about this fact--
Buddha with disciples

In the days of Buddha, a beautiful prostitute fell in deep love with a Buddhist monk who had gone to beg. The woman had seen many beautiful people, even kings used to queue at her door, and she fell in love with a monk, a beggar.

She had seen many people, but never a man who walked by like this. She touched his feet and asked him to come to her home and stay for this rainy season, for four months. In Buddhist tradition, monks stop moving for four months in the rainy season. The rains were just about to come, and the clouds were gathering, and it was time for them to stay and find shelter for four months.

Therefore, she invites him, "You come to my home. Be my guest for four months."

The monk replied, "I will have to ask the Master. Tomorrow I will come and reply. If he allows, I will stay."

When the young man came back to Buddha, he stood in the assembly and made the request, "A woman, a prostitute has asked me to stay with her for the coming rainy season. I will do whatever you say."

Other disciples and notable people heard it and all stood up and said, “This is wrong. Even to have allowed that woman to touch your feet was wrong. Because Buddha has said, "Don't touch a woman don’t allow a woman to touch you.” You have broken that rule, and now this is something, that you are asking to stay with the woman for four months!"

Buddha then said, "I told you not to touch a woman, not to be touched by a woman because you are not centered. For this person that rule is no more applicable. I can see that he walks alone by himself – I have been watching him – he is no more part of the crowd. You are still part of the crowd. When you go to the market, you go to the, market; he simply passes by there as if he had never gone."

Buddha said, "Yes, you are allowed."

Now, this was too much; never had it been done before, there was no precedent. All were angry, and for four months, thousands of gossips went around exaggerating what was happening there. Everybody was interested, and many rumors were coming that the monk was no more a monk, that he had fallen.

After 4 months the monk came back followed by that prostitute. Buddha looked at her and said, "Woman have you something to say to me?"

She said, "I have come to be initiated by you. I tried to distract your disciple, I failed; this is my first defeat. I have always succeeded with men. This is the first man whom I could not distract - not even an inch. A great desire has arisen in me too – how can I attain this centering. In addition, the more he has been with me these days, the more I have seen how far away he is from the world. He lived with me, I danced before him, sang before him, I tried to allure him in every possible way but he remained silent. He always remained himself. Not for a single moment have I seen any cloud in his mind or any desire in his eyes. I tried to convert him, but he has converted me even without saying a single word. He has not brought me here; I have come on my own. I have known for the first time what dignity is; I would like to learn the art."  She became a disciple of Buddha.

He did all these with his silence, with his inner pious energy. A lighted candle has possibilities to light thousands of other candles. It’s not a very intelligent step to keep a lighted candle away from the unlighted with fear that the lighted will lose its light.

Even Jesus was called as 'the Friend of sinners.' Most part of his life, he spent in teaching and accompanying sinners. A question hung over Jesus, his whole life. Whenever asked, he replied in simple words that,

"It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

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