How do you define “Kindness”. I think it is one of the most sublime qualities that one can possess. Kindness has no boundaries. It is beyond age, caste, creed, nationality, or religion; it is even beyond humankind. One can be kind to an animal, bird, insect or even a tree.
The most important ingredient of a kind act is the intention. If the intention is pure and the action is performed without any desire for reward, the act becomes divine. Swami Vivekananda once said that whenever you perform a kind act, instead of feeling proud, know and feel gratitude towards the recipient for giving you the opportunity to serve him.
An act of kindness is never forgotten. I remember my childhood days, when ‘living in a flat’ culture was absent and the children were exposed to the outside world through a plethora of hawkers and other people on the street. I still remember an old woman, who with a basket full of berries, would come every fortnight or so from her village to sell fruits.
After the transaction would be over, she would lovingly give a handful of fruits to each child. We would be so happy to receive the gift, and seeing us happy made her happy too. Despite her poverty, she loved to give, which she did without any hesitation. I still remember the hazy outline of her kind face even after so many years.
At times I feel that the kindness of a poor man is superior to that of a rich person. Often, the rich donate to earn a name and fame or to book a place in heaven. But a poor person, whose own life is an everyday struggle, still gives, not for any reward, but purely out of compassion, because who can understand the struggle of life better than him or her.
Any act performed with pure intention gives rise to a sublime emotion, which can only be experienced. Every act of kindness makes one more beautiful, more gentle, more joyful, and more radiant. As if, it melts away the ego a bit, making one light and fresh. It is a liberating experience. It gives an unalloyed joy, a feeling of peace and bliss.
Now I am beginning to understand why revered Swamiji stresses so much the importance of kindness. Kindness is the end result of all sadhanas. It is the journey as well as the destination. It is the most divine quality that a human can possess. Even the animals and trees can understand the language of kindness. It requires no words, no elaborate deeds, just the sincerity of the act. Even a simple heartfelt prayer for somebody in distress is powerful enough.
An act of kindness is infectious. Any such act stirs the soul of the universe and propels others to do the same.
Whenever you perform an act of kindness, remember, that not only does the recipient smile, but the entire universe smiles along.
Jai Shri Hari! All glories to Swamiji, the epitome of kindness and compassion !!