Today marks the 104th anniversary of the birth of Mother Teresa.
Mother Teresa was the founder of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic congregation of women dedicated to helping the poor.
Although, her date of birth has been debated since decades, majority of the records points out her baptism date as August 27, 1910, in Skopje, Macedonia.
I have been since early childhood drawn to her blissful angelic charisma and her unwavering dedication towards the betterment of every being, especially her views on “love, compassion and loneliness”. For her resolute pledge to aid those most in need, she will be remembered forever as the greatest humanitarians of all time according to me.
It was about two decades ago when I first heard about the missions of charity, but I was just a small kid with no idea of what they meant or what her actions did for others. Over the years, as I understood more about the works of Mother Teresa, I came closer to merely understanding what she wanted to express. I am not even remotely saying that I came close enough to understanding what she did for others because that according to me is impossible. Her contributions to the greater good of mankind can never be even remotely comprehended by an average citizen like me who is so much engrossed otherwise with worldly credentials and business goals. WHY? Her deeds are beyond the grasp of a common man, truly selfless and immensely enriching to the needy. So I am not even going to commit the blasphemy of mentioning something remotely close to that, for I am merely like a candle in front of the sun.
Today when I look around, I am immeasurably moved by the altruistic actions done by some of the greatest business and industry leaders with their power, money and influence for the greater good of those less privilege. Names like Ratan Tata, Narayana Murthy, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet today mark the historic days where legendary business and industrial icons truly did so much for so many across the globe.
But, yes, Mother Teresa’s works made me realize that one does not necessarily need to be a part of organizations to do something for the greater good. So every year, I made it a point to feed those less privilege whenever I could garner the opportunity to do so. Her words resonate in my ears every day “If you can’t feed a hundred, feed just one.”
I organized small ‘camps’, ‘workshops’ etc to educate the less privilege of the society with the help of many of my friends, colleagues and family members too. I also made it a point to visit the Mission of Charity in Mumbai (Near Parel) with few of my friends and family members from time to time and offer a helping hand every now and then in whatever way I could.
Then it finally hit me, when about 8 years ago, I came across a businessman who was driving on the streets of this chaotic Mumbai city with sheer rage and anger honking the car horn and screaming at the top of his voice in the middle of the street. He got into arguments with possibly everyone on the street and just as he was about to be hit by someone, I intervened and luckily got the fight stopped. The traffic eased, people left and went back to their chores and I saw this businessman park his car and weep at the side of the hustled roads.
I was reluctant at first but then something told me, he needed to speak to someone at that point of time more than he needed anything else. That day one of my friends was with me too. She looked at me and being a compassionate individual that she always was, she nudged me to go and speak to that guy. Being an introvert, I was very reluctant, but something made me intervene again and I walked reluctantly towards his car while being accompanied by my friend.
It took us about five to ten minutes to convince that man that we weren’t some weird lunatics walking past but were genuinely concerned about what was wrong. He was in his mid forty’s and weeping in his beautiful sedan vehicle. When he told his story, we were shocked.
He had just about a week ago, lost his wife and his son in a car accident and he also had a little daughter back at home who was a special child. My friend walked towards him and gave him a hug as we both merely shared few words of compassion.
I am positive that nothing we said that day would have in reality made any positive difference to that man on his daily life or routine who had lost so much in such a short span of time. But somehow, as he thanked both of us and drove away, we felt it was something that he desperately needed at that point of time. Something that no amount of money could buy him and no amount of luxury could comfort him for.
It was that day, when I truly understood the words of the legendary mother ‘Even the rich are hungry for love and compassion. There is no greater poverty than the feeling of being unwanted or alone.’
It is true, when we feel things are collapsing all around us, when we feel lonely, that is when ironically most of us try to distance ourselves from the world, because we are angry, confused and irritated about things happening all around us of which we have no control over. It is during such times when you need family and friends to stay with you no matter what and be with you to understand your pain. There is no greater gift than the gift of sincere compassion for another being. Someone to call you and just ask, ‘how are you?’ which I believe today are three of the most powerful words in the universe.
Mother Teresa gave her entire life for a cause as noble as this.
I think of the selfish actions that I take and do each day to ‘achieve’ something greater, may be a more powerful influential reach, richer lifestyle, more honors, more of everything etc but it is only these minuscule actions of selfless compassion which actually give me peace at the end of the day.
It is so true, you can never help out someone else, because when you truly help out someone else, you are in reality empowering your own life and that creates joy and happiness in your own life. It gives you peace and mental satisfaction.
I am thankful to MOTHER today, for her light shines upon the world blessing so many souls that are disturbed, alone and in distress, giving them peace and a ray of hope.
On this special day, I am not going to get into her life’s decisions, her views and her staunch beliefs about every aspect of her life, but rather focus on the immensely positive and good that she had in her. Most importantly this good and greatness which is beyond doubt far greater than what we have experienced especially in the past few recent years happening across the world.
Her intense empathy was always coupled with a zealous vow to her cause. Her faith and efforts over decades to help the impoverished citizens all across the globe will always be the greatest contribution to the greater good of human lives according to me. She paved a way to inculcate the qualities of “experiencing the good in others” and going beyond what was possible to make someone smile through their pain.
Her work with leprosy and the truly impoverished will forever remain as few of the sole aspects of this universe that exudes sheer positivity, love and compassion.
She truly expressed through her selfless deeds that she belonged to the world.
Some of MOTHER TERESA’s QUOTES:
- One of the greatest diseases is to be nobody to anybody.
- Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.
- We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.
- We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.
- Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.
- Peace begins with a smile.
- If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.
- If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.
- Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.
- There must be a reason why some people can afford to live well. They must have worked for it. I only feel angry when I see waste. When I see people throwing away things that we could use.
- The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis, but rather the feeling of being unwanted.
- Even the rich are hungry for love, for being cared for, for being wanted, for having someone to call their own.
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