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485. Pettiness of the Small Mind

The average citizen who has earned the title of a ‘good man' universally is one who attends to his affairs assiduously. He is not one who interferes in others' affairs. He does not interest himself in anyone other than himself. Normally such people will be selfish and not endowed with any particular capacity. There are others who take a lively interest in others and their affairs. They will be popular. Such people know the sensitivity of others and would not cross that border. Their personalities will lie on the surface, their manners are excellent, their judgement of others superlative. They become the adored symbol of an admiring local community. Man often comes to the brink of affairs, financial, psychological or social. The issues involved will always be life or death propositions. These are occasions when no one can easily help another because they are weighty occasions involving heavy commitment.

At such moments, no ‘good man' or popular idol will come to the help of the victim. As it is a dangerous situation, anyone trying to help will be risking his wealth or reputation. Worldly wisdom knows that these are occasions to be avoided. It also knows by experience that the beneficiary on such occasions will offend the benefactor without fail. Shiva gave a boon to Basmasura and was a victim to his ‘generosity'. Great souls help the sufferer at those moments and pay the penalty of betrayal without fail. Greater souls help and often escape unscathed, but not unhurt. Small minds are incapable of receiving help and refraining from offending the benefactor.

In all great literature, this trait of human nature is recognised. In the sixties, a ‘resourceful' court Amin had acquired some substantial property and retired. He had a certain property for sale, but he was unable to sell it for ten years, as he expected 2 ½ times the market price. He was pressing a neighbour, a devotee, to help. The devotee arranged for the sale to an auditor in Madras. After the auditor had come to the devotee's home town, the seller disclosed that his son had to sign, as it was in his son's name. The son asked for 4 ½ times higher price, higher than the 2 ½ times and wished to consult his brother-in-law who was at a theatre. The brother-in-law refused to come. The deal fell through. The brother-in-law was a hardware merchant. Crisis developed at the seller's end and the hardware merchant sent for the devotee! On the refusal of the devotee to go to the merchant, the merchant cycled to the devotee's old house and was disappointed. It was a task for him to find the devotee's new house. Sheepishly he came searching for the devotee to ask for help. The petulance of a petty mind is incapable of receiving a generous help offered.

story | by Dr. Radut