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  • Writer's pictureMadhusudan

To give is to Live

Remains of my grandmother in cremation ground

This story is from my childhood. As a young boy, I loved spending time with my grandfather in his shop. We lived in a small village which also happen to be famous for an ancient temple. Thousands of pilgrims would often visit out village and they would sustain themselves by taking donations from people. Some of them would come to ask my grandfather also, and every time my grandfather would give whatever he could, either money or food. I would sit next to my grandfather in fascination as he would never say no to any body.

Now sometimes some of these pilgrims or Sadhu (religious men) would take money and in very next moment would sit there smoking tobacco.

Full of doubt because of their behaviour and slightly irritated I would ask my Grandfather, “Why do you give them money ? how would you know if they really need it for their food or pilgrimage and not for their other conveniences?”

My grandfather would generally avoid these questions but then one day with tremendous love and compassion he told me “Imagine a tree full of ripe fruits, waiting for the perfect candidate to share its abundance, waiting for most hungry, needed or holy person. What would happen if it holds for too long without giving? Maybe a time will come when the tree might fall down with the weight of its fruits. So you see to survive the tree needs to give.”

This simple metaphor of our interconnection and to give is to live, stayed with me for a long time. Whenever self doubt overcomes my mind, I remind myself this story, because one day everything will perish with us when we die, the only thing which will remain with us is what we had given away.

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