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8-Eknath Eswaran

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8-Animals Also Have Life

There was a Saint Eknath who lived in Mahaaraashtra state of India. Once he was traveling with a group of his followers from Vaaraanasee to Raameshwaram, from North to South. They were carrying the Holy River Gangaa water to offer to Shiv.

As they headed on foot to Raameshwaram, they passed through a dense forest. The pathway was narrow and Eknath became separated from his followers as they could not keep up with him. When he saw nobody behind him, he decided to stop and wait for them. So he sat down under a tree. It was very hot. In the meantime he spotted a donkey to be dying of thirst. Eknath was very sympathetic to him. He tried to search for some water in the area but could not find any.

He thought and thought, what should he do. The only water he had that Holy water to be offered to God, this donkey was dying with thirst. Should he keep this water for God, or give to this dying donkey? He did not take much time to think, he got up, took the Holy water pitcher and pour some water in his throat. The donkey was so thirsty that he drank all water, to the last drop.

At the same time his followers arrived there. They saw him giving Holy water to a donkey, they asked him angrily - What did you do Eknath? This was the Holy water. We were carrying it to offer it to God and you gave it to a donkey. Now our trip is wasted. What we will offer to Shiv?" The saint smiled and said - "A true human being cannot bear to see another living being dying of thirst when he has water, whether it is ordinary or Holy. This offering to save the donkey's life is far greater than any kind of offering to any God.

[The closer we get to God,, the more compassionate we become towards the pain of others. Sometime we try to do good to others to have some gains for ourselves; sometimes we give charity to impress others; some people serve others to make a show; but the real service is listening to the cries of others and tending to their needs without any expectations. When we serve other without our personal benefit, it is the greatest offering to God.]


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Created by Sushma Gupta on January 15, 2002
Modified on 05/05/13