Ekalawya

The Beggar Woman’s Coins

If you turn your face towards sunlight you will not have to see the shadows- Helen Keller

Sebin S Kottaram/Jobin S Kottaram

If you turn your face towards sunlight you will not have to see the shadows- Helen Keller

Sindhubala Mishra has completed a hundred years. There are a lot of people who live for more than a hundred years. What is so special about that?. This hundred year old woman is a beggar. Not just a beggar but a filthy rich beggar. She has property worth 25 lakh rupees in Kolkata. But today she is not known for her wealth. She is known for giving away the toil of her life, the property worth 25 lakh rupees, to construct an orphanage and a park.

The rich might give away crores of rupees as donation. But when Sindhubala, the beggar woman gave away everything that she had to save in her lifetime (around 90 years) without even thinking of her future, it was a gesture of untainted goodness in a selfish world. Let me tell you more about Sindhubala. She was married at the age of 9. Two years later when her husband died she had no one to turn to for help.

When she had no place in her husband’s house or in her parent’s house, she had nowhere to go but turn to the streets. She started begging from the age of eleven and has seen the various faces of India in her lifetime. India’s fight for independence, independence and post independence India- she has seen it all. But none of this brought any changes to her life.

Years went by. In the meantime, she used to save some coins. Each time she saved these coins she had a purpose. She did not keep the coins to secure a better life for herself but to give the coins to someone who deserved it more than her. It was from the money thus earned that she bought the land which she gave away to a club to construct an orphanage and park.

“I have known and experienced what it is to be an orphan and that is why I am giving away my savings for constructing a home and park for orphans”. These were the words that she said while giving away her sole possession in the world. Hers was a supreme sacrifice dedicated to fellow beings without expecting anything and without thinking of the future. This is what distinguished Sindhubala from everyone else in the world.

This story brings to mind the great Stephen Grellet’s words.

I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it for I shall not pass this way again.

How long is your life on earth going to be? In these years, we may have acquired great popularity and earned a lot of money. Tomorrow we will say goodbye to this world. The day after tomorrow, the world will remember you for what you have been and done. It could be good or bad. Bad deeds will haunt even our memories while the good deeds that you have done, is a source of support to the minds of those who remember.

Hitler is well known even today. But what is known about him is his notoriety as a cruel dictator. Today, he is not respected even in Germany, his birthplace. He became despicable to his own people and country and the world due to his misdeeds.

Meanwhile if we look at the life of Mother Teresa; born in a foreign country, she left her homeland far away and came to Kolkata where she served the needy and earned the love, respect and acceptance of the whole world. It is in the same land of Kolkata that Sindhubala too followed in the Mother’s footsteps and opened a new chapter of service.

Mother Teresa and Sindhubala were not wealthy people who gave away a part their wealth to the service of the needy. The coins they collected from nothingness were all that they had to serve others. If we look at our lives now, we will realise that most of the time our salaries are never enough for us. We are forever wanting for more.

Today we are earning much more than we used to earn ten years back. But this is not enough to fulfill all our needs most of the time. This is because, earlier our needs were limited, but today we are trying to imitate others. Our neighbours, those around us, our colleagues, all of them. We are always competing with others in acquiring material comforts. We then become too involved in the race of being the proud owners of everything money can buy and forget the people who cannot afford three proper meals a day. We try to be like the people who have everything and this results in mental pressure, discontent and unhappiness. But if we try to give even a small part of our savings to someone in need, God will intervene in our lives. I have had many experiences when God himself has done things for me without my even knowing of it. Whatever field we are in, we still stand to lose nothing if we do something that we can for a needy person. Instead the good deed will help make your life one of great contentment and happiness.

My talents, my money, my job and all things that I can influence have been given to me by God. God has given me all of this so that I can help other people in need and not just use them for my selfish needs. This philosophy can be understood even from nature. A wind always blows towards a place that is less windy. If you open your windows you can experience the gush of air that suddenly comes in. Similarly our purpose in life is fulfilled only when the breeze of our lives blows from the more to the less windy places. Let us try and be more successful at giving. Tomorrow the world will remember us, not because of the greatness of our names, but due to the greatness of our deeds. Best wishes.

Jobin S Kottaram: 9447259402

February 23, 2017
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