Good will or will to do good?
A man earned his bread and butter through pressing clothes in my area. As one would imagine, he had hand to mouth existence. He got Rs. 10,000 as commission for fixing a flat for rent to a person in need of it. Happy about the new earning, he arranged for feeding the inmates of an old age home with a grand lunch for a day by donating 20% from that earnings. When I was appreciative about his gesture, his humble reply was, ‘Sir, I never expected this money. I was given this money and I should give back to Him, at least a portion of it. So I arranged for this lunch. That is all!”
While this is the case of an Aam Aadhmi, an anecdote read from the life of the billionaire Bill Gates, flashed in my mind at this juncture. When somebody asked him, “Is there anyone richer than you?”, he affirmed and continued – “Long-time back at the New York airport, I was glancing at the newspapers displayed on a stand and wanted to buy one. Since I had no proper coins to buy, I left it. Suddenly a boy came and handed over a newspaper, despite me saying – I don’t have change. He said ‘No issues. They are given free for you’. After 3 months, the same episode happened again at the same place. Despite my refusal to accept, the same boy handed over the newspaper saying, ‘I give these free from my earned profit’. When I became rich, after say two decades, I searched for the same person at the same place and when I found him, I asked if he knew me. ‘Yes! of course… you are the famous Bill Gates’ came the reply. I said ‘I wanted to compensate for the free newspapers given by you. Please tell me, what do you want? I am ready to give anything you desire in this world’. That young man replied, ‘You can’t compensate’. ‘Why?’ I asked with a slightly dented ego. ‘Because I gave you when I was poor; you want to give me now, when you are rich. How will this compensation match?’ – saying this, he simply left the place”. Bill Gates says that that young man is richer than him.
The above two incidents prove the fact that one need not be rich or wait to become rich to give. Most of us have the good will but opt out of doing good when the opportunities come. When the occasions come, we won’t rise up to it.
I remember an incident that happened long back in a B-school where I was working. A house-keeping attendant of that B-School was retrenched. He stopped his daughter’s schooling since he could not pay the fees. The kid was so brilliant that the school authorities did not want her to be deprived of education. They allowed the child to continue and said that he could pay the fees whenever he got the money. When this was brought to our notice, we discussed the issue with many in the campus. Hardly two or three came forward to help although many were in a position to help. They would talk eloquently about the plight of the house-keeping attendant, but only a handful came forward. It is the harsh reality. People have the good will but not the will to do good.
This spontaneity in helping others need not be confined to financial assistance alone. When an old person has been allotted upper berth in a train and when she or he longs for a lower berth from a younger person, how many will offer it without a grudge? Can we become the good Samaritans and do simple deeds which will ease others’ lives? Can we develop the will to help instead of merely being well-wishers?
An act of ‘good will’ at the hour of need will open the gates of heaven. At the same time, an act of ‘ill will’ will open the gates of hell.
The mother of a young man was in the ICU. Doctors expressed their inability to save her; they told him that the end will come to her at any time and advised him to inform his relatives. Sharing the terrible news with his relatives made him tired and miserable. To distract himself, he went to the hospital cafeteria and bought some biscuits and snacks; as he was coming out, his eyes fell on a young mother and a small child who were begging for food just outside the cafeteria. Something within melted and he gave everything he had bought to the lady and walked back to the ICU waiting area. The next morning his mother was shifted to the recovery ward from the ICU. She was feeling a lot better. The nurse said, ‘It is nothing short of a miracle!’. He was holding his mother’s frail hands when she gently opened her eyes. Her first words were, ‘All because of prayers!’ She surprised him by saying that she saw a young mother with her child, with their folded hands, praying for her recovery.
One need not be rich or wait to become rich to give. Most of us have the good will but opt out of doing good when the opportunities come. When the occasions come, we won’t rise up to it.
An act of ‘good will’ at the hour of need will open the gates of heaven. At the same time, an act of ‘ill will’ will open the gates of hell. An anecdote from Mahabharata reinforces this.
Lord Krishna returned home after the battle at Kurukshetra. His intelligent wife Rukmani posed innumerable questions to him about the unfair acts committed during the war. “Karna was known for his charity. Why was he killed unfairly?” she asked. Lord Krishna said “You are absolutely right. But do you know what he did with young Abhimanyu? When Abhimanyu was made to fall in the battle field, with the treachery by all, his thirsty mouth was longing for water. He pleaded Karna for water, who was standing very near him. A puddle of clean water was also there by his side and anyway death was fast approaching him. When Karna could have given a few drops of water to the thirsty and dying Abhimanyu, he did not. Not wanting to get the displeasure of his friend Duryodhana, he just watched him die. This single act (or non-act) of Karna was enough to destroy his lifetime of charity. It was the divine will that with the same puddle of water, the wheel of his chariot got struck and that was responsible for his end to come”. We should not forget that one act of ill will can destroy our good will earned in our life time.
We should be grateful to Him for all the blessings showered on us. The only way we can show that gratitude is by working with conviction to do good to others.