Volume 7 - Issue 08
August 2009
Other Articles

 

CHARISMATIC KINDNESS

 

These words of Bhagavan Baba touched me when I first came across them: “Do not judge others to decide whether they deserve your service. Find out whether they are distressed – that is sufficient credential. Do not examine how they behave towards others either, for they can certainly be transformed by love. Service should be for you a sacred vow, a Sadhana, a spiritual path. It is the very breath; it can end only when breath takes leave of you.” When I thought about these beautiful words long and hard, it occurred to me that there was someone I knew who lived them.

My grandmother still visits me in my dreams every once in a while. There certainly has to be a reason for this. Why does she still remember me when she’s happily spending time in God’s delightful company? She was my “Living Angel” till she died a few years ago, and now it’s just “My Angel”.

When my beautiful grandmother was in her mid-90s, (her unquestionable intelligence in tact and her sense of humour that just got better with age) she invited her sons to tea and asked them what they wished to keep as memories that she had lovingly preserved to feel her late husband’s presence around her. That my grandfather was near-perfect as a human being is another story.

“Give joy to all. Practicing Selfless Love is the way to achieve this ideal. When Love can bring even God near you, how can it fail where human beings are involved?"

Whilst my uncles took their pick, my father had just one request. That happened to be all the diaries that my grandmother had filled rather religiously over the years. Diaries of a mother in her mid-90s do sound like a treasure now, but who would have thought of it at the right minute! Like any mother who can read her child’s mind, my grandmother knew what my father meant when he requested her for nothing more than her “very long” journal. She knew that her son could get comfort from no other material gift.

“It’s good to be great, but it’s great to be good.”

After my grandmother’s demise and the final rites done, my father returned with his mother’s last gifts - the numerous diaries. My sister and I were moved at what my father held most dear to his heart. It was evident to us where my father’s goodness came from. My father began to read to us from those pages. An account of a certain day in her life just months before she passed away was a revelation. My sister and I found it hard to fight back tears as my misty-eyed father read this chapter to us.

The author's mother
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One page pretty much summed up what my grandmother ‘was about’: the rarest form of goodness that I probably will never get to see again - ever. Among her list of ‘visitors’ were people who needed help with money or jobs or counsel or who popped by for her sheer lovely company.

One woman in particular was a regular who liked to think my granny’s house an extension of hers. This obviously wasn’t terribly pleasant for the rest of the family and there was a reason for it! This face that became a little too familiar came across as a bit annoying; she was rude and insensitive, always spoke ill of people when she opened her mouth to speak, was discourteous and never hesitated when offered a meal or a cup of tea.

Now everyone around my grandmother wondered for years why she never had a bad word about ‘this guest’. Funnier still was the fact that my grandmother served her a meal each time she turned up and chatted to her with the same smile that she had when we were around.

“It’s thankless to be good to people! I can be kind and generous occasionally but to put up with someone’s not-so-brilliant company everyday is no great joy.” Haven’t we all thought to ourselves this way on some days if not everyday?

My father came to the point in the diary that had these golden words: “For years people have asked me why I am nice to this human being. I do know for a fact that she is quite an unpleasant person and has given reasons to people to shun her. She even confessed to me that she thought of herself to be a deplorable character. Instead of judging her, I have thought of how sad and lonely she must be. If I show her the door, which is perhaps the easiest thing to do to someone like her, who would ever befriend her, give her a meal, or even spend five minutes with her?”

My sister and I looked at each other; trying not to show tears. My father noted that we couldn’t believe our ears. He paused for a minute, took a long breath and continued. “I wanted her to know she had my place to come over to whenever she needed anything at all.”   

God dwells in a pure heart; shining in His innate splendour of Wisdom, Power and Love. Start the day with Love. Spend the day with Love. Fill the day with Love. End the day with Love. That is the way to God.”

I now realize why I see my grandmother in my dreams. She’s always telling me never to forget to be good. Like my father tells us: “It’s good to be great, but it’s great to be good.” My grandmother really got one thing right and practised it to perfection: “Love all, serve all; help ever, hurt never.”

She lived all her 99 years on this planet doing the same old good deeds without any hint of boredom or complaints. How did she manage to remember to feed birds and animals, random strangers who showed up at her doorstep, or friends or family, actually anyone and everyone, before her meals and other times of the day – and this, every single day of her long life? It baffles me, it humbles me; my heart swells with pride when I tell myself that she was my granny. Even a candy from her had a special sweetness to it. Her beautiful smile with which she constantly shared made her generosity even more striking.

Bhagavan’s loving words come to mind. “Give joy to all. Practicing Selfless Love is the way to achieve this ideal. When Love can bring even God near you, how can it fail where human beings are involved? God dwells in a pure heart; shining in His innate splendour of Wisdom, Power and Love. Start the day with Love. Spend the day with Love. Fill the day with Love. End the day with Love. That is the way to God.”

 

- By Mrs. Anisha Bordoloi

 

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    - Heart2Heart Team

 

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