Giving, the Ultimate Transaction
Life in its millions of manifestations is essentially a variety of transactions. The transactions can be of many kinds - between nations, cultures, individuals. There are transactions which are cellular, atomic and cosmic. Even as you sit, this very breath is a transaction. There is really no choice whether to transact or not. The choice is only about whether you will do it gracefully or in an ugly manner. Everything is a transaction; a war is a transaction, even a horrendous rape is a transaction. So are commerce, love and devotion. Some transactions are an expression of human depravity, some are an expression of human ingenuity and beauty, and some are a blossoming of human consciousness. If you can just sit and do absolutely nothing, you will see the highest level of transaction of cosmic proportions is happening right here. You don’t have to do anything.
If you do not know how to become an abode of divine Grace, there are simpler ways of getting there. One simple way is to make your life into a giving. When I say a giving, it is not to be understood as an act. Giving as an act is a deception because, what can you give? Everything that we have, including this body, we have taken from this planet. What we can give is only a paltry part of what we have taken. Giving as an act could be very deceptive and could turn ugly, but if your way of being is giving and your actions are only a manifestation of that, when you open your heart to give, the Grace of the Divine invariably seeps in. That is inevitable.
It has been my fortune and privilege that at a very early age, I became witness to a certain state of giving which was beyond anybody’s understanding, including mine. I have told you many times about my great grandmother who lived to be 113 years of age. Because she would never die, people thought she was a devil of a woman. She buried her husband, she buried all of her children and a few of her grandchildren, but she wouldn’t die. In the morning, if she was given breakfast, she would always go about giving away at least two-thirds of it to the ants, birds and squirrels, particularly to the ants. And there would be unsolicited advisors around who would say, ‘She is throwing all her food around, this old woman will die without eating.’ They all died; she didn’t.
There were many days where I saw her with a little bit of breakfast that was left on her plate. She would simply sit there, watching the ants eat. Tears would be streaking down her cheeks and when somebody asked, ‘Won’t you eat?’ she would say, ‘I’m full. I’m already full.’ I thought she had some kind of an emotional love affair with ants. I was only three, four, five years of age. She was well over one hundred. It was many years later that I realized there is another way to transact with the world. If the ants ate, she was being nourished. A logical mind would never understand this. This would look like rubbish to a thinking mind, but she was nourished like this. It is this nourishment which gave her an extraordinary longevity.
This is something that we cannot medically explain, but I have noticed that whenever I fast, for the first two days I always put on weight. Sometimes up to 1.5 to two kilograms. People can say ‘Oh, you must be drinking liters of water.’ That is not the reason. Life happens in many ways. Your nourishment is not just from the food that you eat. Even now, only 25 to 30 percent of your nourishment comes from food. The rest of it is the air that you breathe, the water that you drink, and the sunlight. Without these things you will dissipate.
First, I want you to understand. You have come with nothing, so you cannot give. We are just trying to deceive the Creator. We just act it out. The Creator also plays along, so it’s okay. We are playing a game. We are smart, so we are trying to deceive Him, but being intelligent, the Creator plays along. But there is nothing here to give; we have picked up everything from here. We take a lot and give a little, and that is the only way you can live. It doesn’t matter how much you give. What you have taken is always bigger than what you have given. That is the only way life can be.
So don’t make too much out of giving. It is just a trick. If you do not know any other mode of opening yourself up to that which is the source of creation, this is a simple possibility. Just making every act and every breath into a process of giving – seeing how you can contribute to everything around you, no matter what you are doing. You will see in 24 hours’ time, you will be so rich that the experience of life, the beauty of life, will set a glow on your face because that is the only way life functions.
The process of life is a giving. It is a transaction. In every giving there is a taking. We are taking more than we are giving, but in your mind, just ignore the taking. You just keep giving because you do not have to take; it will be pushed into you. Fortunately, the Creator is that graceful.
There was a man who cleared one hundred acres of forest and made it into farmland. His two sons helped him and they became prosperous. When the man was dying, he called his two sons and told them that the land should never be divided, but the produce should be taken equally, fifty percent, by each son.
Accordingly, they went by their father’s word. One of the brothers got married and had five children. The other one never got married. Life went on and they each took fifty percent. One day, a worm entered the mind of the brother who had a wife and five children. He thought ‘I’m getting fifty percent; my brother is also getting fifty percent. I have a wife and five children. My brother has nobody. When he gets old, who will take care of him? He should have a little more than me because I have the wealth of my children. But he is too proud; he will not take it from me.’ So in the dark of the night, he carried a bagful of grain quietly and walked into his brother’s store, dropped this bag and walked back. Whenever he could, he went on doing this.
The same worm entered his brother’s mind. He thought, ‘I am alone, my brother has five children to feed and I am getting fifty percent, but if I give him extra, he will not take it.’ So he started doing the same thing at night. This went on for many years and both of them never noticed. One night, both of the brothers carrying sacks of grains in secrecy walked towards each other’s storehouse and came face to face. Suddenly, they realized what was happening. They looked away from each other, it was too embarrassing, and dropped the grain and went back to bed. After a few years, they passed away. The town’s people wanted to build a temple and went all over looking for a site. Then they decided on this place, where these two brothers met and felt embarrassed about their giving. They thought this would be the best place to build a temple.
So, if you are giving and you are embarrassed about your giving, you have built a temple in the place where you are right now.