June 20, 2008

MY NEIGHBOUR

Posted in Messages, Philosophy, Poetry, Religion tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 1:42 am by randallbutisingh

MY NEIGHBOUR

“The King will then say to those at His right; My Father’s blessed ones, inherit the kingdom that has been prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave Me food; thirsty and you gave Me drink; a stranger and you entertained Me; naked and you clothed Me; sick and you looked after Me; in prison and you visited Me.

And they will say unto Him, Lord, when did we see you hungry and nourished you; thirsty and gave You drink; see You as a stranger and entertained You; naked and clothed You; ill or in prison and visited You.

And He will say unto them: inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did it unto Me. Matthew 25: 34 – 40.

A certain man was expecting a visit from his Lord on a certain day at a certain hour. He prepared good things for the visit. At the stroke of the hour a knock came at the door. He opened with great expectation, but it was only a ragged beggar standing by the door with his battered bowl. Disappointed, but having enough from his preparation, he filled the bowl of the beggar and sent him away. Immediately after that another knock came. He was sure this time it must be his Lord, but when he opened, he saw a hungry little child who came to ask for bread. Disappointed again, but being a kindhearted man he gave the child his fill and sent him away. He waited and waited but no one else came.

The next day when he met his Lord, he asked Him: “why Lord did you not come as promised? I made preparations for Your visit. His Lord told him that He came twice and that: “You fed me.” The man learnt the lesson: Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”

My dear brothers, turn not the hungry or needy from your door; whatever little you have share it with him, You will be laying up treasures in heaven.

In India there is a word Atithi. There is no equivalent to it in any other language. It means “without a date”; any stranger can come unannounced at any time and will be treated like a god. The Indian always leaves his door open. He says it will allow Lakshmi (prosperity) to enter.

Once on the pavement in Georgetown, a beggar stretched out his hand to ask me for help. I saw despair in his eyes, but I did not respond at the same time. I walked away a few paces when my conscience pricked me. I turned around to cheer him; it was only a few seconds, but my neighbour had vanished like a shadow in the dark. I ran to catch him, but he was nowhere to be found. Until this day that event comes to haunt me at times. He came as a beggar. I failed to feed Him.

After the incident, I wrote this short poem;

MY NEIGHBOUR

A wretched stranger met me by the curb
With hand outstretched to beg for gold;
I passed him by without a word
And left him sad and unconsoled.

When on the way to seek my own,
My conscience pricked me to the bone’
I hurriedly retraced my steps
To cheer my neighbour…..
He was gone.

At first I saw him as a stranger, but when enlightenment
came, I realised he was my neighbour and that as our
Lord exhorts, I must love him as I love myself.

— Randall Butisingh

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3 Comments »

  1. Patanjali Ramlall said,

    Love thy neighbour as thine self
    For what thou sowest thou reapest.
    The evil one sows returns tenfold,
    When least expected.*

    I too, failed to give food to a hungry man
    And have been repenting since April, 1967
    I still see that sad, hungry face
    And it haunts me.

    *Original not mine, but my own words

  2. Thanks Pat. We are in the same boat.
    Sir.

  3. Thanks Pat. Weare in the same boat.
    Sir.


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