How Poor We Are
By Rakesh K Mittal IAS on 15-06-2013
In this write-up, I am sharing a story I read somewhere and which gives a great message. The story goes like this: There was a rich man who used to live in a luxurious house with his family. The man had risen from a humble background and had seen poverty closely. But his children were never exposed to poverty and grew up in luxury. Once, this rich man decided to expose his children to poverty and arranged their stay in a village at a poor man’s house for a few days. He deliberately didn’t accompany them so that they could wander around freely. Accordingly, the children were sent to the village. The children enjoyed their village stay thoroughly. For the first time, they had a first-hand experience of openness. They slept there in the open, as the visit was during their summer holidays. The weather was clear and so there were shining stars in the sky during the night. There were a number of cattle and street dogs in the village, which used to roam around. The food was cooked on wooden fire in the open. There were big open fields all around the village where children used to play. In all, they enjoyed their stay in the village and returned to the city after a few days. On their return, their father asked them whether they had realised what poverty was. The children very fondly answered in the affirmative and went on to describe their assessment of poverty. They said that the bedroom in the village was so big that it had no boundary wall. The roof was also equally big. While the ceiling of their bedroom had only a few lamps, the village roof had countless lamps. The same was the case with the kitchen size and the number of cattle. In the city they had only one pet while there were a number of pets in the village. Summing up the whole visit, the children unanimously concluded that now they had realised how poor they were as compared to the village people.
The morale of the story is so obvious. Richness is a state of mind and as long as we consider ourselves to be a part of Nature, we are rich. Continuous exposure to the worldly definition of riches makes us narrow-minded and we become blind to the wealth of Nature. Children, who are closer to Nature, are still able to appreciate natural beauty and, therefore, felt poor when exposed to natural surroundings. The same situation, however, was perceived differently by the grown-up parents for whom personal riches were the only criterion of wealth.
Let us therefore feel rich in the lap of Nature because eventually, all our so-called possessions are in the mind and their actual ownership lies with Nature.
About The Author
Sri Rakesh Kumar Mittal IAS (Retd.) had been an administrative officer in Uttar Pradesh state cadre for about 35 years. He is a spiritual man with high moral values and a selfless heart. He has founded 'Kabir Peace Mission'. He has also written several books on positive thinking.