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Give in to the spirit of Rahim

india Updated: Jul 25, 2006 13:29 IST
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Abdul Rahim Khan-e-khanan was a great general and Sufi poet who lived during the reign of Akbar. He is still remembered for his Hindi couplets. The mystic earned name, fame and enormous wealth for his poetry, which transcended religions, sects and castes.

Benevolent by nature, he would distribute almost all the money he got in royal reward. However, he had one very unusual habit. While making donations, he wouldn't look the receiver in the face but bend his head low and look at the receiver's feet. His close friend, the poet Gang, would often wonder about this unusual behaviour.

One day, he couldn't help himself and asked Rahim, “How is it that others who give to charities invariably have their heads raised and their faces betray arrogance and ego? But you always hang your head low and look at the other man's feet.”

Rahim could not escape and had to answer his friend. His reply in a Hindi couplet goes like this: "It is somebody else who is giving and giving, day and night. (Here he is referring to that Supreme Power.) But people think that I am the giver and this makes me feel ashamed and embarrassed. It makes me bring down my head and I find it difficult to look in their face." (Denewala aur hai, jo deta din rain; log ham pe bharam kare, lajja se neeche ho jayen nain).

The Vedas and Shastras advise a man to earn as much as he can through clean means and donate what is over and above his needs to his less fortunate brethren and to those who have engaged themselves selflessly in altruistic pursuits. But such dispensing of charity should not bring arrogance in the donor and at all times he should think that God has made him the conduit to pass on this wealth to the needy. And for this also, he should thank the Supreme because there are not many to whom God grants such grace by giving them wealth as well as wisdom.

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