The Story of Charity from the Heart

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Message from Gurudev Shree Chitrabhanu, December 17, 2016

Jain Temple Complex | Palitana, India

(Excerpt from Twelve Facets of Reality: The Jain Path to Freedom” by Gurudev Shree Chitrabhanu)

The story has its roots in the past, but  it is not remote for today. Palitana, a city in the state of Gujarat in India – known as Shatrunjaya – is a city of temples on the hills. You won’t find such a large number of beautiful temples anywhere else in the world. But do you know who built these temples? Certainly not a single person! They are a result of the love and devotion of countless unknown hearts.

The Chief Minister named Bahad wished to grab the rare opportunity of renovating and, if needed, reconstructing these ancient temples. It was his ardent desire to do this arduous work, but even the village people wished to extend their helping hand in this task. Everybody craved to donate something for this great renovation. Everybody felt it was a rare opportunity to be part of the contribution. The news of the contribution to restructure the temples reached the ears of Bheema Kundliya, a poor trader who barely earned his livelihood by selling ghee (butter). He too felt, “Why shouldn’t I part with everything I have?” Just an ordinary trader! He sat down to count his savings or you may call it his only capital! In all he had one and a half rupees. A man with tattered dhoti, with dusty spots of  ghee  on it, became restless. The longing to give his meager capital became his goal.

Bheema started his journey to donate his capital to charity. He walked about 12 kilometers, reached the gorgeous residence of Bahad, but he was stunned. He saw that thousands of rich people were giving to charity thousands of gold coins. He thought to himself, “Who will care for me here where so many are eager to contribute precious jewels? Who will allow me to even stand here?” He was disappointed. He sighed, “How unfortunate am I!”

He turned back and, sitting under a tree, he thought for a while, “It’s true that I did go there but I did not tell the minister, ‘Please accept my gift.’ If he had refused, then I would have believed that he is not willing to accept my contribution. So, let me go and try once again. This time I will speak.”

He came back with hope. The Mantri, the Minister, saw him and leaving aside everybody, came to the gate. He thought, “This poor man might be in need of money and if I don’t give, then it’s a shame for humanity.” The minister asked Bheema, “Tell me, my dear brother, what do you want?” He placed his hand on the shoulder of Bheema. Overjoyed with the affectionate touch, he said, “Revered Sir, I don’t need anything. I have come to give something.” He untied the knot of the cloth and took out one and a half rupees.

Mantriji, holding him by the hand, led him onto the precious muslin carpet. Bheema said, “Lord, my feet are dirty.” Mantriji overtaken by feelings, said, “This dirt of your feet is like auspicious marks. You have shown exemplary generosity as you have come here to give away everything. We have contributed thousands from our millions, but you have come here to give away everything! Salutations to you! “Bheema’s name was the first name listed in the long list of donors. His charity turned out to be the greatest of all!

Friends, you yourself should decide what is more important: How much you contribute or how you contribute.