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Teaching Selfless Sacrifice
A great king was offering thousands of his following great riches, food and gifts to the poor, needy and holy people of his kingdom.
A small half-golden mongoose appeared and exclaimed, “This is no great offering or sacrifice by the king!” The people demanded an explanation. The mongoose replied with this story:
There was a very poor family living in a small village during a great famine. One day, a poor man gave them a small amount of rice and dahl. As the wife prepared the food, there was a knock on the door. There was a beggar at the door asking for food. The father asked the beggar to join them at the table and the wife served the rice and dahl. The father said, “Please give the beggar my portion,” and the beggar graciously accepted and finished the father’s serving. The beggar then said, “Thank you, dear sir, but I am not yet satisfied.” The mother then offered her share to the beggar, which he graciously accepted, but he was again not satisfied by the small serving.
The son then said, “In honor of my father, I too must offer you my serving,” and the beggar graciously accepted. Sadly, this portion also did not satisfy the beggar. The father’s daughter in-law then offered her share to the beggar, and he was finally satisfied. The beggar thanked them greatly and left.
Shortly thereafter, due to ongoing famine, the entire family died of starvation. The mongoose entered and found a few grains of fallen rice on the ground. When the mongoose touched the rice grains, half of his body turned to gold.
The mongoose has been in search of a comparable sacrifice for years to see if the other half of his body would turn to gold — and has not yet witnessed such a selfless sacrifice.
In today’s world, this kind of sacrifice may be considered foolish, but these were the kind of stories that children were told in Vedic times — teaching the art of selfless sacrifice.Today, if you travel to India and enter someone’s home uninvited, the tradition is to treat all guests as if God has knocked on your door.
While giving all your food to a beggar instead of sharing your food may sound ridiculous, there is quite a lot of emerging science that suggests that giving fully and selfless love may be the best medicine of all.
In one study on giving, researchers measured the differences between these two actions:
- Giving and doing good without any expectations or personal reward. (Eudaimonistic = True Nature)
- Doing good to personally feel good. (Hedonistic)
While both create a positive emotion, only giving unconditionally elicited a positive gene regulating pattern and a measurable effect on the human genome. Giving hedonistically – for a feel good reward had a negative effect on the human genome. (1) >>> Read more on this in my recent article on giving
A parent’s love for their children is bonded and sealed as unconditional at the instant the child is born by the hormone oxytocin. (2) Sometimes, parents have a hard time showing this love, but underneath a lifetime of emotions and struggle, this bond is indelible. Unfortunately, children and their parents often fail to experience the true love that has bound them together for a lifetime.
The secret to unveiling the truth of a relationship and re-kindling the oxytocin spark that binds you to your parents is simple. Stop acting on the reasons why you should not love them and start acting on the reasons why you should love them. The keyword here is “act.” You cannot just think about how you love them or just think about how grateful you are for their parental sacrifice — we must all look for the opportunities to act on the love and take a risk to love them with a full heart, with no expectation to receive anything in return.
This Father’s Day, give fully from the bottom of your heart.