Volume 8 - Issue 01
JANUARY 2010
Other Articles

BUILDING A BEAUTIFUL HEART


One day a young man, a stranger, who shone with the vigour of youth, came to the town square, gathered all the people around and proclaimed, “Listen folks! Look at my heart! Isn’t it is the most beautiful heart in this whole valley!”

The large crowd, who was attracted by his charisma and bold words, could not but admire his heart - for it was indeed perfect. There was not a mark or a flaw in it. They just nodded their heads in complete agreement; it truly was the most beautiful heart they had ever seen.

The young man was now swimming in pride; he was over the top with excitement as everyone was praising his personality, and especially his heart. Now he raised his voice even more and asserted, “Dear folks! You are looking at the most beautiful of this entire region!” And the audience vociferously cheered him, except one old man.

This senior gentlemen, slightly bent in the back, but whose face radiated serenity, came near this young man and said,  "Why, your heart is not nearly as beautiful as mine."

At this point, many in the crowd actually started laughing, because the old man’s heart indeed looked very odd. It was beating strongly, no doubt, but was full of scars; it had places where pieces had been removed and other pieces put in here and there, which didn't fit quite right and there were too many jagged edges around the outside of the heart. In fact, in some places there were deep gouges where whole pieces were missing. It was really a pathetic sight to behold, completely contrary to the beautiful one of the young man.

Several in the crowd thought the old man was probably out of his mind, because there was no way one could compare his heart with that of the young man. And now the young man himself laughed sarcastically and said, “Grandpa! I know you are kidding! Just look at my heart, how perfect it is!”

The old man was now quiet for a while, and then smiled and continued, “You know, there have been times when I have given pieces of my heart away, and the other person hasn't returned anything back to me. These are the empty gouges - giving love is taking a chance. Although these deep holes are painful, they stay open, reminding me always of the love I have for these people, and I hope someday they may return and
fill the space I have waiting.”

The old man then gently replied, "Yes, my dear young man, yours is a gorgeous one, however I would never trade mine with you.” Everyone around now became inquisitive; the noise level reduced considerably. When there a semblance of silence, the old man continued in a soft and tempered tone, “You see, every scar in my heart represents a person to whom I have given my love - I tear out a piece of my heart and give it to them, and often they give me a piece of their heart too which fits into the empty place in my heart. But because the pieces aren't exact, I have some rough edges. But I love them and in fact cherish them, because they remind me of the love we shared.”

The old man was now quiet for a while, and then smiled and continued, “You know, there have been times when I have given pieces of my heart away, and the other person hasn't returned anything back to me. These are the empty gouges - giving love is taking a chance. Although these deep holes are painful, they stay open, reminding me always of the love I have for these people, and I hope someday they may return and fill the space I have waiting.”

He now fixed his gaze upon the young man and remarked gravely, “So now do you see what true beauty and love is, dear young man?"

 

The proud youth slowly felt his pride being washed away by the tears running silently down his cheeks. He felt humbled by the simple wisdom that the old teacher had bestowed on him. He now walked up to the old man, and stood in front of him. And then reached into his perfect, young and beautiful heart, and them was heard a loud cry as he ripped a piece out of his precious heart. With trembling hands and teary eyes, he presented it to the old man.

The wise old man accepted his offering, placed it in his heart and then lovingly took a piece from his old and scarred heart and placed it in the newly created wound in the young man's heart. It did fit the place, but not perfectly, as there were some misshapen edges.

After this instant, the young man looked at his heart; it was not perfect anymore, but he was not sad. For, though not of the perfect shape as before, his heart was now more beautiful and more fulfilling than ever since love from the old man's heart now flowed into his. He felt more whole as new life coursed through his soul.

The Sanskrit name for the heart is hrudaya (hru + daya). Daya means compassion. Therefore, for a heart to be called a heart it must be filled with compassion. In fact, by definition, a heart is one which is an ocean of compassion.

The next moment, two men embraced and started to walk quietly side by side. The crowd too was speechless; they just silently made a way of the two. It was too profound and powerful a lesson to sink in easily; everyone who was a witness to this could not but start reflecting about the status of their own hearts…and how they could at least from that moment onwards try to make it more beautiful in the true way.

Bhagavan Baba says that the Sanskrit name for the heart is hrudaya (hru + daya). Daya means compassion. Therefore, for a heart to be called a heart it must be filled with compassion. In fact, by definition, a heart is one which is an ocean of compassion. If we say we have a heart, let it show in small or big but genuine acts of kindness. For, when we do this, whether we are of any substantial help to the other person or not, we would surely have benefited ourselves as we will begin to experience a joy that is absolutely incomparable to anything else in this world. 

Illustrations: Ms. Lyn Kriegler Elliott

Dear Reader, did this article inspire you in any way? Do you have a similar story to share? Please tell us your reflections about this article by writing to [email protected] mentioning your name and country. Thank you for your time.

- Heart2Heart Team

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