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145. Carrying out Instructions Precisely in Their Spirit

Instructions are descriptions of work one has in mind to be communicated to another for execution. To have one's own ideas expressed in work by oneself is not always fully possible, as the factors involved in the transition are many. Another mind is a rich resource that can contribute to the work and distort the outcome. Unless the receiver of the instruction is a passive instrument faithful to the instruction, the message ends up differently. When the giver of the instruction is fully clear in his mind, he cannot ensure it will be equally clear in the mind of the receiver.

If the mind that gives the instruction is subjective, the mind that receives the instruction is equally subjective. It gets delivered to a third person. Each of these three men live in their own mental contexts. The message has its own work context. The scout movement which has realised the importance of right communication used to ask a line of some thirty boys to transmit a message of a single line. By the time it passed through thirty minds, the distortions the message underwent underlined the enormity it suffered.

An Iyengar magistrate was sitting with his barber outside his house. An orthodox Iyengar passing through the village picked out this magistrate to secure a piece of pickle. The magistrate asked him to take it from his wife inside. When the traveller, who was resourceful saw the lady decked with rich jewels, he lighted upon an idea and asked her for her jewels instead of the pickle. She shouted from inside, "This man is asking for something," to the husband outside. "Give him what he wants", was the reply. The pickle in the context of the magistrate sitting with the barber underwent a metamorphosis into gold jewels. The jewels were lost.

When the major tragedies of a big company over a long period are listed, at least one of them will qualify as an instruction wrongly delivered. In order for instructions to be passed on rightly, objectivity is required in a free atmosphere. One who trains himself to give or receive instructions is one who endeavours to act through his Spirit.