India is a country of saints and they come from all sections of the society – the rich, the poor, the low-caste and the high-caste. In fact, a true saint is above all these man- made divisions and essentially, sainthood is a state of mind. There may, quite often, be a confusion between what appears outside and what is inside. Between the two, the inner reality is more important and to be more true, the sole measure of sainthood. Unfortunately, in present times the emphasis is more on the external and, therefore, true saints rarely come to light. We have a large number of persons who can be placed in the category of saints though they are never recognised that way.
I came across such a saint in Delhi in the year 1992. I was living there in a multi-story government colony located in R K Puram. Once, a strip of my bathroom chappals broke and I decided to get it repaired instead of replacing it. I thought that repair would cost me a maximum of five rupees, while the replacement could cost me much more. So I went to a cobbler who used to sit in a corner of the colony at a crossing. I always saw him doing his work with a lot of concentration and dedication. This attitude of his impressed me a lot. When I went to him with my broken chappal, I found him in the same mood. When I requested him to repair the chappals, he did so promptly and gave it back to me. In a place like Delhi, even a small repair could cost as much as five rupees in those days. But I gave him a two-rupee coin ...sainthood is it would satisfy him. And I was greatly surprised when even without looking at me he took out a one-rupee coin from his collection and passed it to me. I silently took the coin and came back home with the repaired chappals. I felt that perhaps it was against his dignity to press for the acceptance of the whole amount.
The face of the cobbler is still in my mind and whenever I think of him, I pay him a silent tribute. To me he was a saint of the highest category. I am of the view that there are a large number of such saints in our country. That is why our nation is able to face all the challenges without any major turmoil. If at all any disturbance is created, it is by those who try to appear as saintly, but in reality are not. Let this message go to such persons.