|Vibrant--no soul involved.|
As I stepped off the last step from the gym to start my homeward walk, I noticed a man lying curled up next to the road with a bandage on one foot, covered in flies, he was filthy and eating round breads that someone had placed near his head. As I examined him (like I would an animal in need), I could see that he wasn't drunk, but truly destitute. Traffic walked by, buses passed, scooters, bicycles, animal carts all moved by... Could I walk by too? I am trying to be a "good" human being, so what is that? Is my offering to him only to assuage my ego and feelings of helplessness? I was far beyond the no reaction stage with tears streaming down my face and a sense of vomiting from such a dark possibility of humanity in the light of day, so I decided to take action.
While I was purchasing bananas at the fruit stand, he had moved from his spot. Did someone helpful pick him up and take him to a medical facility? I had a moment of hope. It only takes action by one. As I gazed down the street, there was something dragging itself-pulling himself by his arms as his lower limbs trailed behind. It wasn't like the man who walks on all fours who uses sandals under his hands to aid is modified movement down the road, this was survival. I would guess people in a war zone see this when someone is shot, steps on a land mind, or his hit by heavy artillery and then makes an effort to move undercover. Does that become anymore understandable because it fits the unfolding scene than this singular form as a suffering human amongst the business of daily activity?
He had moved to a shaded area under a tree--not a park bench or an area of beautification, but at least out of the glaring sun. I decided on bananas since they are healthy, full of potassium, palatable, and a quick source of energy. As I knelt beside him, I looked into his eyes. He was completely conscious and looked back into mine. While peeling the bananas, since he was lying on his side in an adult human fetal position, he clasped his hands together in thanks. How could this being who was alive, with nothing, and in horrific physical condition consider thanking me? How could the teachings of humility go any deeper? I had been thinking about the renunciation, selflessness, and kindness of Gurudev when I took that life changing step from the gym and now to be faced with yet another version of renunciation, selflessness, and kindness from someone destitute on the street. A lesson for me in humility that will be forever etched in my mind, is that why no one else noticed? Was it part of the Divine's lesson plan for me to witness two teachers that could appear so separated, but in some ways not at all?
As I moved to the feet of Gurudev to ask if there is something to be done, is there an organization like Help In Suffering for humans, and how could everyone ignore this helpless being? We discussed the incongruities of humanity in the world (he mentioned the chaining of humans to walls at mental institutions, so we must have read the same article), what is the responsibility of one working on being a "good" human being, and are tears/bananas/prayers all that could be offered? Is this a living example of the human insanity plan and humanity as a global community is still so unconscious and self absorbed that these facets of society are witnessed from closed eyes and closed hearts? Gurudev did mention Mother Teresa and her tireless efforts to serve. I read her biography before coming to India and she was one person who had caught my attention regarding her capacity to serve and have faith in God side-by-side. Still no real answers or real solutions, just living within the bounds of our individuated consciousness.
I have been asking the Universe daily to keep using the monkey stick on me until I get whatever it is that I need to understand. I could have taken a photo of this man to add to my "3 photo homework assignment", but the image needs no photo as a reminder. I did email the director of Help In Suffering to find out if there is some program to help these people or maybe someone reading the blog can pass along information.
The children on the street with their magic shows appear vibrant, the man picking up recycling goods is vibrant, the mother's begging with their babies appear vibrant, the young boys daily sweeping the street appear vibrant, the mange covered dogs moving on three legs appear vibrant--a new bar has been set for my experience of human suffering. Shredded but numb--another level of the spiral staircase. Yes, my capacity for compassion towards humans is in alignment with other animals.