[Published in Sadguru's Blessings - March 2012 Issue]
Compassion is the basic quality of the mankind. It is appreciated and adopted by many great souls from the early days of the cognizance evolution. When we meditate on the fact that we are the inseparable part of the universe and each of us are connected, the feeling of compassion will sprouts within us naturally. When we find somebody in a need, our heart will tend to help them; but, our past bitter experiences may inhibit us from helping them. If few people are corrupted, that doesn't mean that the entire mankind is morally deviated from the good. So we need not lose our hope on compassion and other basic human qualities just on the basis that we got betrayed a couple of times.
Nobody can live without the help, support and cooperation from their fellow beings or what we call it as the society. So we are owed to our society for many things like the education, security, love, religion and many more. But there are lots of human beings who are not fortunate enough to get the basic things to lead at least a normal life. If all of us could put our very minimum efforts promptly to leverage their living standards, then probably the whole earth will be prosperous and joyful. Compassion is a universal feeling; one should not be biased towards their kith and kin to show compassion. Here is subhaashita, which describes how the person with great compassion treats all the creatures in the world:
अयं निजः परोवेति गणना लघुचेतसाम |
उदारचरितानान्तु वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम ||
उदारचरितानान्तु वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम ||
Means mean minded people will always count if that person is my men or not. However, generous people treat the entire earth as their family.
Here is a well known story from Mahabharatha about a great personality Shibi. Shibi chakravarthy was the King of Ushinara kingdom. He was famous for his compassionate nature. His glory spread even to the heavens. The Gods wanted to test the compassionate nature of him. So, Yama took the form of a hawk and Indra, a pigeon. Then, that pigeon was chased by the hawk and they both entered his court. Pigeon begged his protection and he granted. Hawk asked the king to give the pigeon to it, arguing that it was the food for the hawk. However, King didn’t handover the Pigeon to it as it was in his protection. Instead he told he will give his own flesh. He arranged a balance, in which one side he kept the pigeon and in the other side he cut his flesh and weighed. It was still imbalanced though he was adding more and more flesh of his. Finally he sat on the other end and it was balanced. And he told the hawk to eat his whole body. By seeing his compassionate nature, even the Gods were stunned, revealed their original form and blessed him. Even today Shibi has a reverent place in the heart of Hidus.
All the great souls like Krishna, Buddha, Mahavira, Jagdguru Adi Shankara, Madhvaacharya, Ramanuja Achaarya, Guru Nanak, Narayana Guru, Swamy Vivekananda and so many others were selflessly strove for the upliftment of the downtrodden and deprived people in different timeframes. It is very hard to imagine the situation of the world without their compassion and contributions. If they were indulged in their own personal things, then we would have missed such divine messages from them, which are helpful to lead a blissful life. They were passionate about God or the ultimate truth, and the well-being of each and every soul. So the great tasks were accomplished by them.
If we help somebody in need, we will be in ecstasy. There is no joy more than what we get after we show compassion towards a needy. So in one way, we are helping ourselves to become much purer and divine by serving others. We heard the famous proverb “As you sow, so shall you reap". That means, if we give the world our best, then the best things will come back to us. This is a cosmic law. So whatever the little good deeds performed by us will never be in vain. Instead they will return to us in thousand fold.
To be compassionate, we need not be rich in wealth. Only the richness in heart is sufficient. If we can provide a ray of hope to a person who is despaired, that is really great! If we can able to share a part our meal with a hungry man, that is good. If we can spend a little part of earning for the one who are really in need, then something is achieved. The compassionate mind can help in achieving the brotherhood globally. If we observe, the more we give, the more we get. Happiness is not in gathering but in sharing.
Prabhuprasad Naduthota, Sringeri