Stories of Kindness from Around the World

Incense and Generosity Bridge Faith Divide


--by hpotter, posted Oct 16, 2011

In India, it is very common to see children and adults begging.  Standing at high density intersections, they can collect a good amount of money each day, while also enduring verbal and at times physical abuse.  It would be easy to say that they should be given work, but often they can earn more through begging than working. Without a doubt, there are those in genuine need who are begging, but there are many more who beg for a living. 

As I made my way towards the rickshaw I had spotted, I slowed my pace as there was a man near the driver.  Moving closer, I saw that he wasn't a passenger disembarking, but someone selling incense.   Perhaps seeing me approaching, the driver put away his newly purchased incense and sent the man on his way.  While the scene on the surface was nothing extraordinary, there was something out of place, the Muslim prayer cap on the driver's head. 

 As I stepped into the rickshaw, my eyes followed the man and I could discern that he also had a mental handicap.  I too felt that I should buy some incense, but by then the man was too far away. 
 
"I never use incense," the driver said, interrupting my thoughts.  "We never buy incense in my house."  He had sensed my confusion and reiterated something I knew, that unlike Hindus' prominent use of incense in rituals and prayer, Muslims did not have much use of incense.
 
"He could have been begging, but instead he was working with honesty to earn his money, so I wanted to show my support," the rickshaw driver explained. I was taken back by the man's sentiments.  Just moments ago, I wanted to buy incense for the same reasons.  
 
He shared more on the ways to address the occupation of begging and I could not have agreed with him more.  When we arrived at my destination, I gave him a 100 rupee note instead of 10.  I wanted him to use the money for acts like the one he did that day.  He refused to take the money.  I then explained to him that this was not a "reward" or anything else to diminish the simplicity and authenticity of his act, but rather a request on my behalf to utilize the money for good.  He was someone who spent his days on the road and he had eyes to see those who could use some support.  He finally accepted and as I walked away, I could not help but smile.   So often, there are stories of Hindus vs Muslims in India, but here was one of humanity.
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Readers Comments

Aneisha wrote: Ah, i see. Well that's not too trkicy at all! "
Dennis wrote: That touched my heart. It shows how kindness breaks down the barriers of hate that labels sometimes errect. Years ago my eyes were opened when i was helped by people of a different faith than mine. I found that my faith did not have a monopoly on god.
papa1252 wrote: I just received an example of god's kindness ---
He sent me a wonderdful friend in india on facebook --- thank you lord --- abel
HappyDae wrote: What a beautiful experience. Kindness reaching out to need. Thank you for sharing your story and for making it possible for the driver (with eyes to see) to assist others in need. Love and peace, hd
Bluebell wrote: Your story touched my heart, when we remove the labels, christian, muslim, hindu, etc. All that is left is a person with a heart, the reason why i love kindness so much is that it is able to connect, to make bridges, where people usually see separation. A million thanks to you and to that lovely soul that taugh us all that kindness is above everything. Love, light and endless blessings, bluebell
Lawrence wrote: Love the spirit shining through this story of kindness. So much to learn here. More power to such people from the one above.

Love and light.

Lawrence.
Joy wrote: Such a kind story. Thank you for sharing and spreading your kindness. Many blessings to you.
Anusha wrote: So true! In india, everyone is looking out for each other, but it's rare to see an act like this. :) this must've been an awesome experience!
Treasure wrote: In south africa we call this ubuntu this is the way we can bring more humanity to the world - thanks for sharing
cabbage wrote: Beautiful story. Thank you.

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