Guiding Light: Love Is The Key

Guiding Light: Love Is The Key

Dada J. P. VaswaniUpdated: Monday, January 29, 2024, 07:23 PM IST
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Representative Image | Pixabay

There is a beautiful story by Tolstoy entitled “He Who Sees His Neighbour Has Seen God.” It tells us of an old and devout shoemaker, who dreams that Jesus Christ is going to visit him the following day. He gets up early next morning, gets the house spick and span, bakes a fresh loaf of bread and prepares some hot soup to serve God when he comes visiting. His ‘preparations’ for the Divine Guest completed, he sits at the window of his basement dwelling and watches passers-by eagerly, looking for Christ. Being a shoemaker, and seated at his basement window, he keeps looking at people’s shoes and wonders which of them could be God.

However, no passer-by comes knocking at his door. He is hungry, but does not feel like eating, lest he should miss God. He sees a desperate woman with a crying child coming down the street; she is distraught, and the child is obviously hungry. He invites her to come in, comforts her, and gives a bowl of milk for the hungry child; he also offers the mother some soup and bread and helps her as much as he possibly can.

Back at the window, he sees a man at work, shovelling the accumulated snow, even as he shivers in the bitter winter cold. The shoemaker invites him to come and get himself warm and shares his simple meal with him.

Time passes. Day melts into twilight. The shoemaker waits patiently till midnight. He has not seen Jesus, and disappointed as well as exhausted, he prepares to go to bed. As is his custom, he opens the Bible to read a passage from it before retiring for the night, and finds these words: “Whatever you did unto one of these, the least of my brethren, you did it unto Me.”

The old shoemaker’s heart lifts up with joy and love, for he realises that Christ did visit him — not once, but several times in the day — in the person of his needy brothers and sisters.

Dada J P Vaswani is a humanitarian, philosopher, educator, acclaimed writer, powerful orator, messiah of ahimsa, and non-sectarian spiritual leader

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