Guiding Light: The old man who planted mango trees

We live in a wonderful universe in which everyone, everything gives. The trees give... the rivers give... the earth gives... the sun, moon and stars give. Why, then, must thou, O man! be anxious only to take, to receive, to amass, to gather, to hoard, and not to scatter?

Everyone, howsoever poor he be, can give something. He can give a loving thought, a sweet word, a moving song which may bring comfort to a broken heart. More than money, the world needs comfort and solace. And everyone can pray for the relief of the sick and suffering.

There is a little story of a poor, old man who went about planting mango trees. Someone said to him: "Why are you planting trees at this age! Surely, you will not live to eat their fruit!" Quietly, answered the old man: "I have eaten mangoes grown from trees planted by others. Let my trees yield mangoes to those who live after I am gone!" This old man had entered into the secret of giving. True it is, that to live is to give.

I recall the moving words of Sadhu Vaswani. "Your treasure, sons of the sages of the East!" he said, "is not your bank accounts or cash certificates, not your silver, nor your gold! Your treasure is the treasure of your heart, your loving service, the wealth of your dedicated life! For in agony is the world."

Yes, the world is in agony and travail. The rich, no less than the poor, are in agony. And this agony is a challenge and a call to each one of us to give all we can in the service of the suffering ones.

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

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