There is a story of a woman with two pots. Each morning she fetched water from a well and carried it to her small hut. One of the pots was new and whole, but the other was old, worn, and cracked. A day came when the old pot began to weep, feeling like a failure in even the simple task of carrying water. The new pot, on the other hand, was proud and scornful. The woman knelt and whispered to them, “Come with me. I wish to show you something.”
She brought them along their daily path and bade them each to look carefully. The side on which she had carried the cracked pot was lined with happy little flowers, but the other side was barren. She said to the pot that was feeling inadequate, “Each morning you share a little of your water, and, because of your gift, these flowers flourish and have become beautiful.” To the prideful pot she said, “You hoard all that I give to you for yourself, and therefore nothing grows where you have been.”
The ego is ever limited and cracked, and all truth seekers feel at times inadequate. How could we not? Neither he who feels pride nor he who feels inadequate can ever be truly happy—these emotions arise when we think of ourselves. The richest person on earth, or the most powerful, or most intelligent, remains unfulfilled unless he has learned to give. Those who shove others aside in the race for success find, in time, that they have been running backward in the quest for God. Only when we give of ourselves do we open the space for the Divine to express through us. Jesus said, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
Krishna, in these immortal lines from the Bhagavad Gita, shows the way:
Cling thou to Me!
Clasp Me with heart and mind! so shalt thou dwell
Surely with Me on high. But if thy thought
Droops from such height; if thou be’st weak to set
Body and soul upon Me constantly,
Despair not! give Me lower service! seek
To reach Me, worshipping with steadfast will;
And, if thou canst not worship steadfastly,
Work for Me, toil in works pleasing to Me!
For he that laboureth right for love of Me
Shall finally attain! But, if in this
Thy faint heart fails, bring Me thy failure!
All of us are pilgrims on a journey to the Divine. Let us share what we have been given with those especially who are lame or heavily burdened. As you give, look not for rewards. The less we notice our own good deeds, the more will they be blessed by God.
Love, kindness, and self-forgetfulness: These are the qualities that will create beauty wherever you have passed.