Yesterday, I saw streaming eyes. The young man, a boy rather, was in jail; accused of stealing a mobile. When we spoke to him further, he started weeping. His speech was affected by his emotions. Even so, one could easily discern slight developmental retardation. His story was that he had stolen nothing at all. He had been loitering near a town. He had no clue as to why he was caught. He wanted to see his mother.
He had been languishing for months inside, even when it was a petty offence. Our group was willing to pay the dues for his release and cut short his unending travails. It cost us exactly one thousand rupees. He wept again when told that he would walk out free in a day’s time.
‘I will not go away from my village now. I am going to be with my mother. Thank you.’ He was overwhelmed. We were humbled and awed by the experience.
Many suffer incarceration unnecessarily, most often unjustly, being victims of circumstances. They are not criminals who loot or murder, or those who conspire and indulge in shameless corruption by selling their positions of power for status and rewards. When such travesties of justice happen, we shrug indifferently. When we see an innocent jailed, we turn our faces away.
What do we worship in daily life? Power, money, societal applause, positions, luxury, glamour, fame…?
What do the spiritual texts exhort us to worship? Kindness, compassion, giving, loving, strength, honesty, purity, goodness.
I have realized in my life journey that so many wait by the waysides of our lives: eager for one gesture of kindness. If we reach out, the divine universal energy fills our hearts and sinews. When we are blessed to be givers, we are truly graced by the Lord: by whatever name each may address that Love.
And what more, with His Grace flows immense strength, that you are always protected by a miraculous, unseen energy which makes one fearless.
When one forgets oneself, truly does one know oneself.
‘ Do not keep needy eyes waiting’ [Sirach 4: 1]
And as for that weeping boy, he has now inspired me to be a better human being.