Faith

Pride in generosity

When Yudhishtra performed Aswamedha yaga, he noticed a mongoose, half of whose body was gold in colour. The rest of its body was its natural colour, said Akkarakkani Srinidhi, in a discourse.

Yudhishtra’s donations were not as significant as what a poor man had given during the Kurukshetra war, said the mongoose, while explaining the reason for the variation in its colour.

A poor man of Kurukshetra and his family lived on the broken grains they obtained through the charity of others. One day, the Lord of Dharma visited the poor family, and asked for food. Usually, the family would divide whatever they had into four portions, so that each of them would get a portion. But when the visitor was offered one portion of food, he kept asking for more, and eventually, everyone’s portions were given to him. Some of the grains spilled from the visitor’s hands, and the mongoose happened to tread on them. The part of its body which came into contact with the grains turned to gold. That was because of the greatness of the poor man, who did not think twice about giving away everything he had to a hungry visitor. The mongoose was told that if it rolled around on the ground where significant gifts were given to the deserving, the other half of its body would turn to gold too. That was why it had come to Yudhishtra’s yaga, hoping that his donations would have an effect on its body.

But Yudhishtra’s donations lacked the sanctity of the poor man of Kurukshetra, because while the latter had given with humility, Yudhishtra was very conscious of the fact that he was a king and was being generous. Thus even in the act of generosity, we must be humble. Pride takes away from the value of our generosity.


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Printable version | Dec 6, 2021 12:57:18 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/religion/pride-in-generosity/article6595759.ece

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