my very special begging bowl


This morning I began the mail I sent to many friends and supporters with the words: here I am, begging bowl in hand.. and many answered with the words: please do not use phrases like begging bowl..

Most of the mails I write when I seek help are instinctive.. true that I have never used the word begging earlier ... it was time for a bit of soul searching..

To beg means to ask for something earnestly and humbly says the dictionary.. quite true as gone are the days of anger and resentment when no help came.. now there is only gratitude for even the tiniest coin that drops by, as with it comes the love and care of a human heart, the precious moment spared to write a cheque or fill an on line form..

As I searched some more I remembered the Zen monk's begging bowl: each day the monk would go out into the world with his empty bowl, and whatever was placed in his bowl by kind strangers would be his nourishment for the day. Nourishment can take more than one meaning and I realised that maybe I was like the Zen monk and my bowl got me so much: a heart fixed, a tear wiped, a child's smile, a mother's prayer answered, children remaining in school, a roof on someone's head...

As I look with moist eyes at the picture above and see Manu in a classroom, intent in learning the new excercise and little Sapna looking up at him, my mind goes back to the Manu begging on the street and being fed like an animal and Sapna not able to hold her head, let alone stand on her own... and lok at them today... and all this has been made possible because so many of you dropped a bit of your heart in my begging bowl..

As long as I asked for a contribution in impersonal ways and resented the fact that it was not forthcoming nothing changed.. it is only when I was able to shed my misplaced arrogance and pride and humbly beg with my heart that my bowl filled slowly and miracles happened around me..

It is a very precious bowl I hold out as hidden in its depth is the key to a new heart, a new life, and many tomorrows filled with joy..