I had read long back somewhere, “What God has given you is His gift to you, and what little you can give him back is your gift to Him.” I read it, thought about it for a while, and then well…. just forgot about it. And the many years down the line, I met a Guruji, and he told me, “Do something for God.” I asked him for the list of offerings I could do. And he smiled and said, “You have got it wrong. God does not need money from you; he himself has given that to you. A prayer from your heart would do. But what actually he needs from you is COMPASSION and EMPATHY for the people lesser than you. Do charity, but not through cheques and cash. Make food with your own hands and give it to the needy. But you must make sure that you don’t give the food packets to simply the poor, it has to be for the really needy people.”
The next weekend (On a Saturday), I prepared 11 food packets, and along with my husband, went to the nearby Shani temple. Being a Saturday, we thought it would be the best place to find the needy. All the way, I kept on wondering, “How do I find the really needy people, amongst the crowd of poor and beggars?” We reached the temple premises, and strange but true that we could not find a single beggar, leave alone a poor person. I started to feel let down, and then we thought of going to MG Road, which is a large shopping area in Pune. When we reached there, we could see a whole lot of beggars. There were children, women, men, old people…so many of them. Now we had to choose the really needful of the lot. We chose old men and women who could not even walk, small children who were working really hard to earn a rupee. But somehow, I was not at peace, and was left with 2 packets.
I was adamant that I would be very choosy about the people I give the packets to. While just standing there on the road, I saw a leprosy ridden couple. The wife was pushing the more affected husband in a roller cart. I went to them, and handed one packet to the woman. She immediately took it from me, and kept it aside. I offered the last packet too, and she gave me a look which asked me, “Are you giving me another packet too?” I just smiled and said, “You are 2 in number, so keep the second packet also.” Both of them just kept looking at me, joined their hands together, and walked away. The moment they left, I started crying. The tears were of relief, satisfaction….of being compassionate towards humanity. I had the best sleep ever that night. I try to do whatever possible from my side, for the less accomplished. I go to orphanages, donate clothes, toys, and money whenever I can. But the satisfaction I get when I make the food packets and give it to the “real” people cannot be compared with anything. It’s bigger than even going to temples. In this process, I have come across beggars who have given me a scornful look saying, “I don’t want food, give me money”, or who accept the packets with a bored look on their face. But each time I have distributed food packets, I get alteast 1 person who has the look in their eyes, which makes the entire effort look just PERFECT, and I pray for that one person, before starting from home. All it takes is a little effort to give back to life and in the process to God.