Stories of Kindness from Around the World

The Two Rupee Miracle

--by sethi, posted Aug 18, 2009

Some years ago, when I was touring Rajasthan (one of the Northern states in India), I learnt one of the most important lessons of my life.
We were on the last leg of the tour, in a city called Pushkar which is the only city in India which has a Brahma temple.  When we went to visit the temple, there was a long queue of people waiting to go inside.  Some of my friends decided to search for a quicker way to get in, whilst others took the opportunity to get a cup of tea, a paan(betel leaf) or smoke a cigarette.

Like in other temple cities we had encountered on the tour we were surrounded by beggars asking for alms.  We usually just tried to ignore them.  I was standing near a paan shop with my friend as he lit his cigarette when an old grey-haired, spectacled and wrinkled beggar  woman approached us with the help of a walking stick.  She asked us for one rupee (2 cents) to help her buy lunch. We looked at her in distaste and refused to oblige. At that moment, one of our friends who was still in the queue called us over as our group was almost at the front of the queue. 

We had to hurry so my friend crushed his cigarette with his shoes.  I gathered my son into my arms and my wife and I followed my friend into the temple gates. As we were hurrying over, I overheard the beggar woman say “these young men will burn more than one rupee for their bad habit, but they will never give that one rupee to a hungry person.” I didn’t pay attention to her and carried on hurrying over nonchalantly.

However once I was inside the temple, her remark resounded in my ears. I began wondering if there was some truth to what she had said?

When I came back outside, I saw that the old woman was still standing near the shop. I beckoned to her and she came over quickly. I asked her who would give her lunch for just one a rupee. She replied, "There is an alms house nearby. It's virtually free, but they have stipulated one rupee as a token amount for each meal. We have to deposit the amount before we can get the lunch." I gave my son two rupees to give to her.

Before accepting the money, she took my son's hand in her own and embraced him in her emaciated arms in a loving and affectionate way.  She ran her fingers through his hair and said a quick prayer for his prosperity.  Tears of happiness rolled down her cheeks.  I had never witnessed such heartfelt blessings and could never have believed that two rupees could reflect such unbounded joy in a person's eyes.

Later that day,  as we were returning to our hotel we found the old woman having her lunch by the side of the road, sitting on a small stone under the shade of a tree.  She was also feeding a little girl in a dirty torn dress. I asked her who that girl was.  She replied, “Sir, this poor girl is new in the city and still has to learn how to beg for a rupee for her lunch from the tourists. She couldn't arrange a rupee today. I had two, one for lunch and one for my dinner so I bought lunch for her out of the money for my dinner. Don't worry,” she continued, “God will arrange for my dinner ."

I was so astonished at her generosity.  I could not utter a single word. It was a true lesson in kindness.  The woman who was not sure whether she would be able to arrange a rupee for her dinner but yet she did not hesitate to feed a hungry girl.

I thought again about her remark about saw how the cost of two cigarettes could feed the two hungry people before me.  I  tossed my half burnt cigarette and crushed it under my shoe for the last time. In that moment I had the strength to quit smoking. No health warning on the cigarette packet could teach me the lesson that the beggar woman taught me that day.

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Readers Comments

Sydney wrote: This is a great story about real kindness. Thanks for sharing it!
northernlights wrote: Wow, this is an amazing story. Thank you
angellglo wrote: You gave her two rupies and she gave you a life lesson in generosity.
warmth wrote: thank u for sharing this wonderfull marvellous story :)
cadence wrote: That's a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing.
AURELIA wrote: What a great read ... so heartwarming. Thanks Sethi for sharing it with us.
grammagussie wrote: Wow...what a heartwarming story you have shared with us. Thank you...thank
lmil1954 wrote: Thanks sethi for this most beautiful and heartwarming tale. I love it and the greeath truths it displays!
Love, Linda:)
Bluebell wrote: Sethi that was a very lovely story. Thank you.

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