Compassion for all living beings

By Shukmunidas Swami 

BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha 

Matters that are trivial to one person could perhaps be of utmost importance to another. A few drops of rain may be insignificant or a nuisance to many, yet for farmers who are suffering from drought, they would be a blessing.  

What was trivial to the vast majority of people of this world was very important to His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj. His universal love for every living creature and his willingness to offer care and compassion was remarkable when one considers the burdens that were placed upon his shoulders and his personal physical challenges. Such love is borne through a natural and innate concern for the well-being of all creatures.  

During Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s stay in Sarangpur, a small village in India, in September 2003, he passed by an almond tree while returning to his residence following the morning assembly. There were many almond fruits lying on the ground. Seeing this, a swami commented, “Parrots eat a lot of almond fruits from our trees.” The implication was that the parrots were a nuisance. 

“Let them eat. Is it only us that require to eat? Do they not need to eat too?” Swamishri replied.  

“I do not mind them eating, but they eat only half and waste the rest,” the swami commented.  

“When they eat, they may throw it away. It doesn’t matter. Remember, God has created the universe in a way that every being has a right to eat.” 

Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s appreciation for God’s creatures and their right to eat sheds new light on how to live in harmony with nature.  

He shouldered the responsibility of a large organization–the mandirs, devotees and swamis, including their welfare and needs–not to mention the demands of others who sought his guidance. Despite such overwhelming challenges, he found time, patience, and energy to care for what many would deem an insignificant bird.  

Such was Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s compassion for all living beings. His innate love for one and all shone through like a beacon in an age of self-centeredness. Let us also vow to be more caring, considerate, and compassionate to all creatures on this earth. 

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