Monday, June 20, 2011

The Prince and the Pauper

As a kid I had this small little black toy car which pretty much summed up my whole world at that point of time.I played just with that car in spite of the plethora of other toys, I ate with that on table, I danced around it, I slept with the car clenched in my fists.
And one day I  showed my little car to a boy almost my age, [slightly younger than me I reckon]. He was kid of the worker working on a railway track nearby. I was amazed to see how happy the kid was with that car. I gave it to him.

And when I was back mom realized I didnt have the beloved toy in my hand....... she was petrified, thinking the whole house will turn into a pandemonium now. I still remember her shocked look when I told her i gave it away to a roadside kid. When asked why???  I told her I didnt love the car as much as before.I spent more time with my new blue bicycle now. I was sure that car was sad about it. That kid will play with it, love it more.
My car will be happier.

I was invited the day before to the city palace for a dinner. An ultra snob place needless to point out.Strict Silence Zone, absolutely no honking of horn allowed. Now I took my 350 CC Enfield there, and the VRRROOOOMMMMMMMMMMMM of my bike echoed throughout the palace. The guests, the air, the walls of the palace , everything gawked at me with utter dismay. I am sure the king himself was looking for his double edged sword :P
So the guard comes up to me, tells me "Sir, this is a no horn zone"
I look at him with ultra cool straight face biker look :

"Two Things  a) I am just looking for a place to park, didnt blow no horn  b) I'm not horny right now anyways"

And I start speeding the bike in the Palace compound with the guards chasing me on foot, I reached a fountain and was going round and my peak I had four uniformed guards chasing me :)

The bike is a gift to me.From a friend of mine who crossed entire India on the enfield. 6000 Kms. Legendary ...I know.....but wait......I forgot to add.....she's a girl. She crossed the subcontinent alone on that bike. [Now you may shout LEGENDARY ]

It's been raining, and driving the bike in this season is an absoulute delight. The part when u drive looking up and raindrops are falling on your face ?? Its awesome. Often tears of joy gets mixed with the raindrops, nobody notices it, so its all good :)

That's the thing with giving. If you give something away, it automatically gets a legend attached to it.

This is something my dear friend Migule pointed out. I couldn't agree more. Let me introduce you dear reader to Miguel Candillas. A Spaniard, he had a very successful career before he decided to go on that trip to Asia which he always wanted.He's the funniest guy Ive ever met in my life. Amazing sense of humor. He can make you laugh more in 2 hours than u laughed in last two years of your life. An absolute delight to be with!! In Kuala Lumpur, his luggage got stolen. Miguel lost pretty much everything. Just his passport with him, Miguel lived on borrowed money, borrowed clothes...borrowed everything !! And its at this time when he realized the worthlessness of possessions. Speaking to me the other day he tells me he thanks god to have shown him this day. Unlike us who would have hyperventilated in such a situation, Miguel met his enlightenment. He volunteers for the Vipassna course, which is pretty much one of the most difficult tasks an individual can do. One has to wake up at 3AM and work all day.He also volunteered to teach baby little monks English in a monastery in Myanmar.He told me that its at these place he realized that in spite of having no possessions he was able to "give" so much to people !!! It humbled me. What do I have in me to give to others if all my material possessions were stripped off me????
    Miguel is on his way to become a monk.

His words struck me. "Everytime you give something, it gets a legend attached to it.It becomes more awesome"

So when u "give" away something from within yourself, like my friend here, then its not a thing....but rather its "You" who becomes a Legend.

Come to think of it...Buddha, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Lord Jesus.....they became legends not because of material things they give, its just that they shared themselves with others !!!

End of part I

And I was discussing about this concept of "sharing and giving" with a fellow blogger of mine.....[check her blog out at Esoteric World, an absolute delight I assure you !! ] . She points out that there are two aspects to the act of Giving....With and without the expectation to get something back.

This is a view most of you would share with her. We come across too many instances where the act of giving is carried out with a selfish mission in mind.

I disagree.

     Ed and Al Elrick-Fullmetal Alchemist
Touka Koukan - which means "equivalent exchange" in Japanese, forms the guiding philosophy behind the brilliant  anime called Fullmetal Alchemist

The Japanese philosophy goes like this :
 Humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return. To obtain, something of equal value must be lost

The converse to this is true as well. If you lose something, you gain something of equivalent value.

Think about it, even if someone does not expect any kind of materialistic return in lieu of an act of giving & keeps it completely discrete, even then, the person gains spiritually. he experiences that high, that joy of giving.
Thus,  purely selfless giving, as an Utopian concept which does not hold true in the realm of real world.
The self gratification and the absolute delight of giving in fact, can reach the proportions of addiction !!

We all know about Ashoka's transformation after the war of Kalinga. Few know the story of his latter years.
In his later years, Ashoka was desperate to be known as the greatest of all donors to the Faith of the Buddha.
[Source 1 , Source 2 He had, until then, gifted ninety-six crore by building the stupas and chaityas, holding the quinquennial festival, etc. It so happened that Ashoka's health began to fail, and he grew despondent, fearing he would be unable to fulfill his resolve. He therefore began sending gold coins regularly to the monastery.

The state funds started depleting due to Ashoka's charity. Sampadin,his grandson,  thereupon, ordered the treasurer not to disburse state funds. Ashoka, then, began to send the golden plates on which his food was brought to the monastery as offerings. Sampadin extended the ban to this too. Ashoka began to be served on silver dishes. He sent these as well. When silver was replaced by copper and then by clay plates, the king persisted in despatching those to monastery.

A day came when all that Ashoka had left was half of a myrobalan (amlaka) fruit. Taking it in his hand he summoned all his ministers and, very upset, asked them, “Who is now Lord of the earth?” All of them bowed to him and declared it was he. But Ashoka, his eyes clouded with tears, said:
“You lie to humor me. The only thing remaining under my rule is this half of an amlaka. Woe! O woe to sovereignty that is like the flood waters at the river-mouth! My commands are flouted like a river turned back by a cliff. Like an ashoka tree with its flowers plucked, its leaves shriveled and fallen, this king is drying up.”
Ashoka than called a passer-bye and said, “My friend, though I have fallen from power, do this last task for me, out of regard for my past virtues. Take this my half-amlaka, and offer it to the monastery on my behalf, saying, ‘I offer you the present greatness of the king who ruled all of Jambudveepa’ and request to have it so distributed that it is enjoyed by the whole community of monks.”
The citizen faithfully performed his duty and offered the half of the fruit to the monastery saying it was from He who previously ruled the earth. 

Ashoka, being a chakravarti Samrat obviously never expected anything in return. But we can see how the feeling which he got in return made him dependent on it. 

It's a strange thing, this act of giving.You lose something, and gain something at the same time.

The line between the Prince and The Pauper, fades away !!!! 


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