| Opinion | 1 April 2017 | Asia Samachar |
I sat right across a young man as the train trudged along very early in the morning. My first impressions of him were skewed because he donned a kopiah and he spotted goatie beard. The religious type, I thought to myself reassuringly, and probably totally immersed in his prayers and beliefs to notice anything or anybody around him.
It was when he got up and smilingly offered his seat to an elderly lady, a tad frail looking, that shattered the impression. He gave his comfort away all so willingly.
A few years back, a friend of mine had passed away suffering from cancer. He was very young, a good mate and part of a group of young friends who played football together every day. They were all young enough to be dating bachelors and could afford chatting at the teh tarik stalls into the wee hours of the morning. They were all close and they were all Muslim Malays. I wasn’t really part of the group but I had been playing football with them on a daily basis, too.
When he died, the group was devastated because his death was the first in the young group. But their maturity surprised me. They had bandied together, collected as much money as possible amongst themselves, to be donated to an orphanage in the name of our dearly departed friend. I was bawled over with this gesture of kindness because of how practical it was. They gave away their comfort all so willingly.
When my young family was vacationing in Sabah, my young daughters and their impressionable minds were exposed to beggars for the first time in their lives. During lunch at a fast food joint one day, 2 young girls their age were outside begging. Their appearances disturbed both my girls who pitied them. They wanted to do something, anything to help. Both me and my wife observed quietly with pride when both my girls lifted their plates, walked out and shared their meals with the beggars. This gesture was all they could think of at that time. They gave their comfort away all so willingly.
These lessons are a constant reminder to me of how powerful giving can be. Over the years, we’ve been conditioned by our surroundings and environment to build barriers when ever giving is concerned.
“What if whatever hard earned money we give or donate is used for something else?”
“What if weíre being conned or cheated by those asking or begging?î”
ìWhy should I give or donate if nobody does the same for me?”
“How sure are we this money wonít get into his own pocket for free?”
These questions swirl in our heads when the question or request for donation pops up. Me included. I call them barriers to an opportunity to actually give something in earnest and in sincerity.
An old wise man, a dear friend and a surrogate father to me, once told me as we sat over a cup of chai, ìIf you really believe in God and believe that He will judge you one day, let Him judge you as a kind hearted soul. And let Him judge the person whom you’ve donated the money to accordingly. If that person has cheated you, rest assured He will be judged so.î
He carries on with a sip of the chai, ìIf you believe in the laws of karma, your karma from giving will return in equal or more. The karma of the person who took the donation from you, will receive his karma accordingly as well.î
He pauses and takes a bite of the milk cookie, “The thought of what happens to your hard earned money, should you decide to give or donate, can be a very heavy weight around your neck. That, my friend, is attachment. We can do without it, can’t we?”
And then the punchline, “Banish that thought the minute you’ve decided to give. And move on forgetting it!”
He gave his advice to me all so willingly as well.
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