A most memorable event

Somebody once asked me a question in one of the interviews: “You’ve been traveling for fifty years; you have met a lot of world leaders, a lot of important people. Could you tell us about who made the most impact on you?” So I said, “Certainly.” So I told them what happened to me once.

I said I was driving in India, and they had packed a lunch for me, but forgotten to pack any water. So of course, I had lunch, and after lunch I got very thirsty. So as we were driving along, we saw a man, a very poor man, pulling water from a well.

But he’s standing there; he’s pulling water from the well, and we said, “Sir, could you please give us some water? We’re thirsty.” And he said, “Oh, sure, sure, sure!” And he dumped the water he had pulled, and he went in there and got the freshest water from the well that he could, and he brought it up and we had water!

And then, we had our fill, and we thanked him. And then he said, “Listen, I have a little hut, not too far from here. I have last night’s bread and some pickles. I would be honored if you came to my hut and accepted that.” So, of course, we said, “No, we have had lunch. Thank you, and thank you so much for…for this water.” It was his pleasure, he said.

So, of course, the interviewer was looking at me like, am I nuts? I mean, the world leaders I have met, and all these important people I have met, and this is the person I remember? I can’t forget. I cannot forget his generosity. He had nothing to offer, but he offered all that he had. And in that, he has made himself immortal.

He would have never imagined leaving India, but he did, here. Here, he left India, and he has traveled around the world. And I don’t even know his name. I never did ask him his name. But his generosity touched me.

And I’m here to tell you that, regardless of what the report card of the world is, generosity will never go away. It is there…it is there inside each one of you! And this is your blessing. Kindness is your blessing.

There’s no monopoly on compassion. This is the beauty. Compassion can be exercised by a person who is poor or who is rich. Compassion can be exercised by a person who is illiterate or a professor with the most degrees possible. Anybody—whoever wants to exercise this compassion—can exercise compassion because that is right.

– Prem Rawat