Acquiring Kindness and Simplicity in People

TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 8 Jan 2024

Dr. Ravi P. Bhatia – TRANSCEND Media Service

The world today allows people to interact with each other through different means. People meet each other through Internet — in particular through WhatsApp, email or telephone. People also meet each other in person — in a restaurant or canteen of an organisation such as a College or an Office where they may be working. Of course, if people are neighbours, meeting one another is easier and more frequent.

When neighbours meet, they may be talking about common problems such as inflation — high costs of several items of daily use — food or milk or vegetables etc. If they are elderly people — fifty years or older, they may talk of the past — how life was so different earlier and how people were happy to share their joys or sorrows.

One common issue that people generally talked about were the problems of their children: as students they did not study enough to do well in their examinations. Some people also lamented  the fact that education had become so difficult and tricky that it was impossible for children to do well in their studies and examinations despite studying hard or even taking tuitions.

There were also many other common themes to discuss . Many people would also talk about how uncaring we have become about our elders — fathers or uncles or grandparents etc.  They also lamented the fact that their elders were religious people who would go to temples (or churches or mosques if they were Christians or Muslim) very infrequently. Not going to religious institutions, people did not acquire the kindness or spirituality that was common among the elderly people but absent in younger persons who were facing contemporary problems of life — inflationary or political or religious.

While talking about such elderly and religious people, some people would happily refer to their parents or uncles or grandparents etc for the kindness and bonhomie they displayed. Such people would often display photographs of these elderly persons while admiring them, to lay more stress on their benign qualities.

I remember one friend of mine who had some photographs of his grandfather who was a deeply religious person. He followed a religion that made him kind and unselfish. My friend informed me that his grandfather was working in an office and getting a good salary and the family was living in their own house — single storied and independent. Then something happened to this gentleman and he decided to leave his office and stopped getting his regular salary.

He did not care about the consequences of leaving his job — and depriving the family of a regular source of money that he was earning. He was a religious person and felt that his God would take care of his family’s needs and expenses. How to obtain  the money that was necessary to feed his family and pay for his son’s education and other necessary needs? The die had been cast — there was no source of income. What to do then? The only thing that his wife could think about was to sell their house for a decent sum and move to a small rented home and to pay for the necessary expenses for the family.

This step was a difficult one and led to several common problems that follow when sufficient funds are not available. But it also had a beneficial effect in the family. They began to live prudently and got immersed in religious and unselfish habits. They started understanding how poor  people lived without adequate resources. They started donating some money for needy people.

The family also started living simply and  without too much money. They started adjusting to a different type of life and a different attitude towards money and unnecessary frills. They realised that it is not money alone that makes life meaningful but it generates a sense of simplicity and religious nature that is usually missing in rich people’s lives.

People began to understand and appreciate simplicity and kindness and acquired an attitude of sharing and caring.

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Dr Ravi P Bhatia is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment, an educationist, Gandhian scholar and peace researcher. Retired professor, Delhi University. His new book, A Garland of Ideas—Gandhian, Religious, Educational, Environmental was published recently in Delhi. ravipbhatia@gmail.com


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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 8 Jan 2024.

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