Most of us view our relationships with kinsmen and God in terms of the fulfillment of our wants and desires. This is really an exploitation disguised in the form of the so-called worldly love and compassion and it is exposed when someone (even God is not an exception) doesn’t behave desirably.
Our first objective should be to value righteousness and bear the qualities such as forgiveness, kindness, equanimity of mind in all circumstances, etc. These will facilitate in attaining peace of mind and then to develop compassion for God and His creation.
People proudly mention going to a particular holy place several times and reasons for going again and again to the same place, which may vary from person to person. Man is a creature who will not even take a step if some self-interest is not involved. People may assign reasons for a pilgrimage ranging from fulfillment of some impossible desires to just feeling mental peace. Also, some people may like to go to a nearby holy place in a hilly region to take a break from a busy schedule. Among these the one who goes for mental peace and communication of his feelings to the deity is considered the best person. On his pilgrimage he observes the convenience of his fellow pilgrims with love and compassion.
Still better may be a person who goes to such a place only once, or not even once, and remains engrossed in the deity with loveable feelings round the clock wherever he is. In this context I remember a story, “Two Old Men” by Leo Tolstoy, in which one of the two men helps and saves the life of a starving family, in a village on the way, suspending the pilgrimage on which both of them had started and gets the best result in the form of mental peace through the act of love and compassion.
If one happens to reach the stage of love and compassion in his heart then it is not necessary to go on a pilgrimage. God Himself descends in his heart to bestow His peace and love.
Similar is the case with other kinds of religious acts. Readers may please note that I am not against all these but such acts should be done with feelings of compassion to God and His creation, not for personal causes. If one happens to reach the stage of compassion at heart for all-beings, even when one may not visibly be a devotee in the terms we think, one should be considered a saint.
Though love is unconditional some conditions apply (Please see my article: Unconditional Love – not without conditions). Someone you love and help compassionately may behave arrogantly, which is clear from following case:
When I was of 10 years of age I happened to slip on the ground and got my left arm dislocated at the shoulder joint. I told my father after 10 days when I became unable to use it for any work and it was kept almost in hanging condition while walking. Then my father took me to a bonesetter who was doing this job without fee in the morning hours. The process of bone setting was very painful and I screamed to the bonesetter that if I died in the process he would be responsible for it. Also I told him that such painful setting should be done after giving anaesthesia. He kept his calm and addressed me lovingly, “My child it is done, it is over” and continued to do his job in spite of my pleas and wailing.
The bonesetter finished the job on the first day itself and in 3-4 days I was able to use my arm. Still I feel his greatness and compassion. In those days hospital facilities were not so easily available and the bonesetter had nothing but oil to set the bones and he fixated them with bamboo sticks.
No wonder some people, including myself, consider him not less than a saint doing this benevolent job out of compassion.
SP Sharma, India