Saving Face

[Listen to Asha read this story]

When it came out that Jeremiah* was using his position as a leader to gain power and privilege for himself, several people angrily confronted him about it. Instead of bravely admitting his faults, Jeremiah insisted, against all reason, that he had done nothing wrong.

Swamiji was out of the country when the situation came to a head. By the time he returned, there was nothing he could do to salvage it.

“What they did,” Swamiji said, referring to those who instigated the angry confrontation, “was like going after a gnat with a baseball bat. Jeremiah is a proud man. He needed a way to extricate himself and still save face. Instead, they humiliated him. It left Jeremiah no recourse except to deny, even to himself, that he had done anything wrong.”

Swamiji did what he could, but it was too late. The only way Jeremiah could save face now was to leave Ananda altogether, blaming the community for all that had gone wrong, rather than accepting blame himself.

“It hurt me to lose him,” Swamiji said. “He had his weaknesses, but he was a good man.”

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