The quality of kindness



September 2014

By Aparna Sharma

When it comes down to brass tacks, all the religions, all the teachings, all the practises, distil into the simple capacity to be kind to the other, says Aparna Sharmaa

 

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“So many gods, so many creeds, So many paths that wind and wind, While just the art of being kind
Is all the sad world needs.”
-Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa had been appointed the priest in the garden temple of Kali in Dakshineshwar in West Bengal. One day, he fed a cat with the food that was to be offered to Goddess Kali. This was too much for the manager of the temple garden, who considered himself responsible for the proper conduct of the worship. He reported Sri Ramakrishna’s insane behaviour to the owner of the property.
Sri Ramakrishna has described the incident: “The Divine Mother revealed to me in the Kali temple that it was She who had become everything. She showed me that everything was full of Consciousness. The image was Consciousness, the altar was Consciousness, the water vessels were Consciousness, the doorsill was Consciousness, the marble floor was consciousness – all was Consciousness. I found everything inside the room soaked, as it were, in Bliss – the Bliss of God. I saw a wicked man in front of the Kali temple; but in him also I saw the power of the Divine Mother vibrating. That was why I fed a cat with the food that was to be offered to the Divine Mother. I clearly perceived that all this was the Divine Mother – even the cat.”

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa found no difference between feeding a cat and offering prasad to the GoddessSri Ramakrishna Paramahansa found no difference between feeding a cat and offering prasad to the Goddess

That is the only state where true compassion, true love, true karuna ever resides. Compassion, kindness, karuna, maitri, metta, empathy, love – they are all different names for the same thing. The thing that caused a drunken, man-killing eleph
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Comments [ 2 ]

Akila Jaikumar

Very well written article


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Purnima

A lovely article. The Tibetan monk's words, "...in danger of getting angry" simply brought tears to my eyes. Is such compassion possible? It must be, when one expands enough to become one with the universe and everything in it. If not why would the sun shine and the rain shower equally and unconditionally on all beings- good, bad, small, large, intelligent, unintelligent, sentient, insentient? Compassion has no such categorisation, that's why. Yes, like Indira Rao, i too have been guilty of pettiness on occasion. Once i did not offer dry fruits to a visiting relative even after she specifically asked me if i had anything to munch on. Mortified and horrified by own behaviour on introspection, i landed at her place at the next opportunity with a basket of the best dry fruits in the market. Only then was i at peace with myself.


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