Sunday, 19 June 2011

Karna teaches us Charity

Swami Gulagulaananda said:
"It's human to be fickle... which is why we end up in a pickle"

This is a story from the great epic Mahabharata that I heard when I was a child, and remember it very well.

One morning, Karna was applying oil to his body. He held a golden bowl containing oil in his left hand, and was applying oil with his right hand, when a poor Brahmin came begging for alms. "Please give me something, oh kind Sir" he begged. Karna who was known for his great charity (daana shoora Karna) immediately gave him the golden bowl that he held in his left hand to the Brahmin.

The Brahmin on receiving the bowl, looked a little surprised, and said "One must always hand out things with their right hands. Why are you giving me alms with your left hand?" At which Karna said "By the time I take the bowl from my left hand and transfer it to my right hand, and then give it to you, I might change my mind."

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This is a beautiful story that tells us how fickle human nature is. There are many times when you feel that you want to give something to someone, and if you don't act, with time, you start developing an attitude that "It's my money, I earned it by working hard. Why should I part with it?" And this is human nature indeed. Another SMS that I got was "Rs 100 looks so small when you go shopping, and so big when you have to put it in the hundi of a temple"

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