The present-day problems in society are a matter of grave concern. It is very important to learn the cause of these problems and then find solutions. But change has to begin with the individual. When a family member changes for the better, the whole family benefits; it even helps society to progress. So we should strive to change ourselves first. Any change in us will influence the people around us, and this, in turn, will help others to change for the better.
We cannot change others by merely advising or scolding them. We should lead by our own example. Only through our selfless love can we positively influence people. The change may not be visible immediately, but we shouldn’t be disheartened. We should continue our efforts. This will at least create a welcome change in us.
A man was standing by the wayside feeling totally dejected and frustrated. A passer-by smiled lovingly at him. For this man who felt devoid of all hope, abandoned by all, that smile came as a great relief. He suddenly felt hopeful, thinking that at least one person had smiled at him with so much love. Then he remembered an old friend who had stood by him and had helped him in his troubles years ago. He immediately wrote him a letter. The friend was so happy to receive the letter that he gave a poor man ten rupees. The man bought a lottery ticket with that money. And, wonder of wonders, he won the first prize!
While returning with the money he had just won, he saw a sick beggar lying on the pavement. He thought, ‘It is because of God’s grace that I have received this windfall. Let me use part of it to help this poor man.’ He took the beggar to a hospital and arranged for his treatment. When the beggar was released from the hospital, he happened to see an abandoned puppy, all wet and too tired even to walk, and the beggar’s heart melted. The puppy was yelping piteously because it was so cold and hungry. The beggar picked it up. He covered it with his shawl and lit a small fire to warm it. He also shared his food with the little dog, who after all this love and care, was now completely refreshed.
The puppy followed the beggar. When the sun went down, the beggar went to a house and asked if he could spend the night there. The people of the house allowed the beggar and the little dog to sleep on their veranda. Late that night, the beggar and the people of the house were awakened by the incessant barking of the puppy. They were startled to see that the part of the house where the child’s bedroom was situated was on fire. They immediately rescued the child, and then they all struggled together and put out the fire.
So, one good turn led to another. The people of the house who had given shelter to the beggar and his dog were saved from the fire. Their child grew up to be a Mahatma and because of him, many people found joy and peace in life. When we analyse this, we discover that it all began with one man’s smile. Think of how it affected the lives of so many people, and how it illumined their lives.
Even the smallest thing that we do for the sake of others can bring about a great transformation in society. We may not get to see the change at once, but every good action certainly has its reward. So we should try to act in such a way that our actions will benefit others. Even a smile is extremely valuable! And a smile costs us nothing. Unfortunately, these days people often smile and laugh to ridicule others. Instead, we should laugh at our own faults and follies. The transformation is taking place within you. The change in us, in each individual, will in due course, change and transform society as a whole.
The writer is a world-renowned spiritual leader and humanitarian