THERE is a Chinese legend which illustrates the necessity to give before you expect to receive. On a certain street in Shanghai, there was a poor beggar who held out his cup all day begging. One day, the beggar saw a great parade coming down the street headed by the Emperor, riding in his stately coach and handing out gifts to his subjects. The poor beggar was filled with delight as he thought his great opportunity had come and for once his poverty will be removed.
When the Emperor reached him, the beggar held out his cup with great expectation, but instead of handing a gift, the Emperor asked the beggar for a gift. The poor beggar was disappointed and vexed. Grumbling, he handed the Emperor two of the smallest grains of rice from his bowl. The Emperor passed on. All through the day, the beggar fretted and fumed. That night, when the beggar reached his hut and poured out his scant supply of rice, he found, in his cup, two nuggets of gold just the size of the grains of rice he had given to the Emperor!
When you give away something, it comes back multifold, like the sun which lifts the water in the form of vapour and gives abundant rain through clouds.
Mother Teresa said: “Give and give till it hurts.”
There is no pleasure higher than giving to the needy. Ramana Maharshi has interpreted this concept beautifully. He says: “Enlightenment starts when you start to give. The beauty of giving is such that it is like the legendary ‘Akshya Paatra’ which the Sun-God gave to Draupati of ‘Mahabhrata’. It never gets empty till she herself consumes the contents. By giving to others, you don’t become empty; but you become rich!