A Father’s Oneness-Heart

An elderly gentleman named Ramesh went out early one winter morning to get some fresh air. It was extremely cold. When Gokul, a friend of his, happened to see him, he said, “Ramesh, what are you doing? You are not wearing winter clothes. You are wearing spring clothes. You will suffer badly from this cold! Why are you acting like a fool?”

Ramesh thanked Gokul and said, “Yes, you are right, you are right. I am going home.”

He returned home and said to his son, who was a businessman and had amassed vast wealth, “Son, I went out this morning, but my friend Gokul asked me why I was acting like a fool and wearing spring clothes in winter.”

The son said, “He was right, Father. Let me go and get you some warm winter clothes.”

“Wait,” said Ramesh. “You know that thousands of people who live right around our house are so poor that they cannot afford to have warm clothes and shoes. My heart will not permit me to wear winter clothes and shoes unless I see them also warmly clothed.”

The son said, “Father, I know you have a big heart. Since I am your son, I shall without fail fulfil your desire.”

Ramesh blessed his son, saying, “I am so proud of you.”

The son went out and, in a few hours’ time, brought home winter clothes and shoes for 25,000 people. He said to Ramesh, “Father, I don’t think you will need more, but if you do, I will give them to you.”

Then Ramesh said to his son, “Son, since I am a Brahmin, now you have to invite all the poor Brahmins.”

But his son asked, “Why only Brahmins?”

Ramesh said, “You are right; I should not discriminate. It should be first come, first served.”

Soon thousands of people belonging to different castes started pouring in-about 25,000 people in all. They were delighted and, at the same time, extremely grateful to receive this unexpected gift.

Ramesh blessed his son from the very depth of his heart for fulfilling his desire, and the son said to him, “I am so proud that I have a father who is so kind to the poor.” In this way the father and son mutually appreciated each other. Finally, the son said to his father, “Now that I have fulfilled your desire, Father, will you now take your own winter clothes and shoes?”

Ramesh said, “My foolish son, am I not wearing winter clothes and shoes through these 25,000 people? Why do I need one extra? Do they not represent me, and do I not represent them? I do not need winter clothes or shoes. In their happiness is my happiness. In their comfort is my comfort. I assure you, I will not fall sick, for my oneness-heart with them will definitely keep my body warm.”

His son shed profuse tears of gratitude and pride that he was blessed with such a divine father.

- Sri Chinmoy