Sunday, September 13, 2009
Generosity of spirit
A few weeks ago I experienced something extraordinary. I was coming out of a temple with a small box full of prasad (food distributed to devotees after offering to the Lord) when I saw a lame beggar. It was past lunch time and I felt he must be hungry. So I offered him a portion of the prasad. He accepted it gratefully and, instead of eating it immediately, I saw him walk over to a couple of small children who were also begging. He then divided the prasad and happily shared it with them.
I was taken aback by his generosity. He clearly was no ordinary person. Even in his poverty and his hunger, he displayed a high level of selfless behaviour. Stephen Covey, in his famous book "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People", has referred to this as having an abundance mentality.
People having this mindset feel that there is enough in this world for everyone. They do not want to rush to satisfy their own needs first. They happily offer things to others and wait for their turn patiently. They are happy to recognise contributions of other people and acknowledge them openly with worrying about themselves. They display a highly evolved and mature mind which puts others before self.
Such people are really rare in this world. Yet, if we want, we can choose to be like that. All it needs is a strong will, conviction and faith. And an eye that sees the same self in all beings...
"The hand of a generous man is like the clouds of heaven which drop upon the earth fruits, herbage and flowers, but the heart of the ungrateful is like a desert of sand, which swalloweth with greediness the showers that fall, and burieth them in its bosom and produceth nothing" – Anon