The art of giving

A foreigner visits India and on a winter night she spots a beggar, cold and shivering. She gives her jacket to him.

The beggar smiles and asks, “Are you happy?” She is a bit taken aback with this question and answers, “Of course, I am happy.”

The beggar then asks, “How long will you be happy?”

She now thinks and responds, “I am happy now, when I give this to you and will feel happy whenever I think of this incident.”

Now he looks at her and asks, “ Why do do this?”. This catches her off guard and she just thinks a bit, trying to find an answer.

He waits for a while and says, “Your happiness in feeling good for having given something to someone who wants it more than you do, is greater than the happiness I get in receiving this gift from you.”

She now sits down in front of him. He continues, “True happiness is when the receiver’s happiness is more than the giver’s happiness”.

And gives a practical tip, “Happiness in giving stuff is, no doubt, necessary and it is only because of you that I am warm. However, this happiness is temporary. Never give stuff or money or resources that may solve a problem for that moment. You will soon run out of it.”

He looks at her eye and says, “Be selfish — give what you have and never run out of. Time and effort. That gives true happiness to both the giver and the receiver.”

While she looked on — he wears the jacket and lies down all curled up.

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