Sunday, February 8, 2009

Give--without expectations

Marcus Aurelius (121-180AD) was a great Roman emperor who lived a life inspired by the Greek ideal of philosophy as a way of life. His ‘Meditations’ is extraordinary for its spiritual force and content. His life was an eloquent testimony to the point that “Even in a palace life may be led well.” I give below an extract from the book.
“One man, when he has done a service to another, is ready to set it down to his account as favour conferred. Another is not ready to do this, but still in his own mind, he thinks of the man as his debtor, and he knows what he has done. A third in a manner does not even know what he has done, but he is like a vine which has produced grapes, and seeks for nothing more after it has once produced its proper fruit. As a horse when he has run, a dog when he has tracked the game, a bee when it has made the honey, so a man when he has done a good act, does not call out for others to come and see, but he goes on to another act, as a vine goes on to produce again the grapes in season. ---Must a man then be one of these, who in a manner act thus without observing it…”
Look at the present day proclivities of the people to publicise widely their donations and acts of ‘charity’. There is no humility or service in their offerings. When the gifts are accompanied with expectations, they cease to be gifts and become units of exchange in a trade done for some reward. It is said that when you donate the right hand should not know what the left hand is giving. Acts of charity should be done unknown, unseen and unspoken. If there is an expectation of an appreciation from others or gratitude from the recipients, there is a loss of merit in charity. It is not in the quantum of money given that value lies but in the attitude of giving. Generosity should be selfless and without any strings. The act of giving itself should bring profound joy to the giver and the receiver
“There is the legend of the people who bring great gifts to the altar - gold, silver, and other riches - in an effort to make the church bells ring. But all these riches are unable to sound the chimes. Then a child - unnoticed by the congregation - quietly and humbly walks up to the altar and offers as his gift his only penny. At that moment, the chimes ring out. Because he gave all he had out of love, with no expectation of anything in return, it was the greatest gift of all. We have opportunities everyday to give of ourselves, and it doesn't have to be on any grand scale.”


  1. a beautiful post Mr.KP.
    I especially liked the one telling about the kid giving away all he had out of love, with no expectations of anything in return.And this made the chimes ring out.
    Great one.

  2. Thanks a lot,Lakshmi for the nice comments.

  3. A heart-warming post, Parthasarathi. It reminds me of the gift-giving as shown in O'Henry's short story, "The Gift of the Magi".

    Thanks KP. Best wishes.

  4. It was so nice n warm to read ur posts.
    Thanx for sharing .

  5. Neha, I never knew you keep visiting my blogs.Thanks a lot.

  6. Ayesha,Thank you very much.You have always been a motivating force.

  7. Awesome lines in the last......Seriously more you give, more you have ......Giving is true love:)