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Should you bribe?

In certain places and situations, it might seem like doing the so-called wrong thing (just a wee bit off the law) might actually be the right thing. Maybe giving a small bribe to move some papers for the benefit of others. Or jumping a red light to get someone to the hospital for an emergency and so on. Somewhat like a white lie.

But is this alright? What do the scriptures say?

Without getting into specific instances of what is right and wrong, here are some principles from the Gita, my Guru and senior satsangis.

1) Do what is dharmic. This message is clear and consistent. 2) Try to avoid doing what we know is explicitly wrong (adharmic). So if the emergency you are battling is a life or death situation, maybe you could be forgiven – but do you always only encounter life and death situations? Surely not. In fact, cutting a signal to avoid a life and death situation could end up actually making the situation a life and death one! 3) Prayaschittam, such as chanting 16 malas of a mantra, to atone for the error, and seek forgiveness. This is done not for the Lord, but for oneself, so that we register the mistake in our minds and try to avoid in the future.

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