Mother Teresa of Calcutta told this very touching story. The sisters from her order were visiting the very poor during a time of famine in Calcutta. To each home they brought some desperately needed food: a bag of rice, some lentils, and a few other bare necessities. As one sister gave the food to a mother of several starving children, to the sister’s surprise the famished mother divided it in half, saying, “My neighbor’s children are also starving, and I must share this with them.”
Mother Teresa went on to say, “I wasn’t surprised that this woman might share, since I’ve seen this often among the poorest of the poor. What surprised me was that, even during a time of starvation for her family, this woman was able to think of others.”
Caring about others during a time of personal difficulty is the hallmark of an expansive consciousness. In fact, Swami Kriyananda said that the ability to think of others first, even when you, yourself, are suffering, was his prime criterion for appointing someone a lightbearer or acharya. He placed this quality above knowing the teachings or being able to explain them well.
Sharing is not just a nice principle for devotees. It is vital for everyone wanting success and happiness, because sharing unleashes one of the most powerful forces in the universe: the Law of Abundance. That which you give to others will increase; that which you withhold will diminish.
This spiritual law is often applied to money. At Ananda we encourage people to donate and tithe, not only for the support of the work but, more importantly, for their own spiritual growth.
There are many other ways also, however, that Paramhansa Yogananda suggested we should share. He said: “Be a smile millionaire. Shoot everyone with the buckshot of your smiles.” Everyone you know needs your goodwill. Even fortune cookies seem to know this basic truth: Last week we were given one at a restaurant that read, “Be patient with everyone. They are all fighting their own battles.” We need to give to others if we hope to receive ourselves.
Again, Yogananda taught us this highest prayer: “Mother, reveal Thyself to me, that I may share Thee with all.” Share your spiritual aspirations with everyone you meet. No sermons are needed. Often inspiration is shared best not by words, but by joy, beauty, laughter, or a gentle touch.
Swami Kriyananda had an aura of friendship surrounding him. That is why even strangers would open themselves to him, and some would weep when he left though they had spent barely an hour with him. The Divine, you see, expresses love most purely through friendship, and when we treat someone like a friend, we serve as a channel for Divine Mother’s love. And, as Yogananda often said, “The channel is blessed by that which flows through it.”
Here is the biggest secret of all for unleashing the Law of Abundance: If you feel a lack of anything—money, smiles, inspiration, or friendship—it is because you aren’t sharing it enough. Give away that which you want and the universal Law of Karma will make sure it comes back to you a hundredfold.
That starving mother knew this truth intuitively. Let’s all try to come up to her standard.