A huge mansion, a well decorated room, a splendid bed, a young lady lying on the bed – pale wrinkled face and an emaciated body.
The lady, daughter of a prosperous man, had been sick for quite sometime. Needless to say that all the remedies the money could buy, had been tried and the best of physicians consulted, but in vain.
Everyone was worried. What to do? How do we cure the young lady?
Search was on in full swing – search for someone who could bring showers of hope to the desert of despair; someone who could lead the way to freedom from the mysterious disease.
A ray of hope appeared. A Mahatma came to the town for a brief sojourn.
A radiant face, glowing eyes, smiling lips, a comforting disposition. The Mahatma, approachable to all, offered solace and solutions to all the seekers who approached him. The problem of the young sick lady was narrated to him. On the request of the parents of the girl, the Mahatma agreed to visit the ailing lady.
After a conversation full of compassion and love, the Mahatma appeared confident of a cure. “Don’t worry my child. Be sure, you will be cured of your illness. Let us go out in the open air. That’s where we will start the cure.”
Accompanied by the mahatma, the lady was driven to slums on the outskirts of the town. The girl was helped to alight from the car and was supported to walk to a battered shack. The girl distributed among the residents of that shack, some fruits, sweets, clothes and groceries etc. which had been brought along on the Mahatma’s instructions. Delight of receiving was evident from the smiling faces of the recipients.
The lady was then helped on to the next house. This time her body seemed to be little more invigorated. After distributing some things there it was time to proceed to the next shack. This time there was a visible difference. The lady preferred to walk herself without support.
The process continued, from one house to the next. The lady was now leading the group, walking herself, ahead of every one else. The group following her had now swelled. Besides her kith and kin she came along with, she was now joined by a crowd of the slum dwellers, mostly children.
Joy appeared on the lady’s face. The children were, by now, fond of the lady distributing sweets. They were now talking to her, freely. She too was enjoying talking and laughing with them. Distributing things to the needy, talking to the children, listening to the plight of the people, she forgot own malady.
Compassion had achieved what the expensive medicines could not.
“Look my child. I have given you your medicine – Love and Service (Seva)”, said the Mahatma, “Continue to use this medicine for ever and ever.”
In fact the medicine suggested by the Mahatma is the remedy for all ills. We know, that in India, traditionally, Daan-Punya (Daan- Donation to the needy; Punya -noble deeds) have been considered apt alternatives to costly medicines.
Money is a medium. It is a medium which can help in establishing a soulful connection with other individuals through Daan-Punya. However, there is a rider here- the Daan-Punya must be performed with total and complete selflessness. It must never be attached with a motive. In the above story, while distributing things, the lady never linked the donation with her cure. She did not give away sweets etc. as barter for her health. She just went on without any motive.
Our problem is that we always expect others to give us something. We virtually turn ourselves into beggars. Even if we give something away to someone, we do it as beggars – expecting something in return. What you expect a beggar to get – only that which is discarded, or leftover. So when we expect- read beg- we only render ourselves open to receiving that which is the discarded, unwanted — misery and disease.
If the urge to give away, is true strong and selfless, it awakens our power within. If our heart is filled with real compassion, of trying to free others from sorrow, then this emotion of compassion, inadvertently empowers us to rise above our sorrows. The emotion of comforting others destroys the Selfishness. The selflessness so achieved, in turn, builds for us, the path which leads us the blissful source the divine power within.