AFFABILITY AND EMPATHY
A feeling of cohesion with others comes with the upliftment of the soul. As we love ourselves, so should we do to other human beings. Affinity with others is akin to affection. Humanitarianism is its active attribute.
A person solely given to his sensory pleasures resembles an animal. It is the feeling of humanitarianism that distinguishes us from the animal world. Sharing one’s possession with others, feeling their sorrow and treating others like one’s own self, adding to the joy of others and being close to them – all these are ingredients of humanitarianism.
Sensory pleasures are transitory. They are associated with decadence, dependence, moral prostration, inertia and distress. Seeking joy out of this is the trait of undeveloped minds. Developed minds, look for constant and lasting joy as the goal of life. This is possible through love and closeness to others.
Family being the initial unit, one needs to be close to it. This yields incessant happiness.
Riches and objects of pleasures do not provide peace and happiness. Life still remains dull and drab. This could be experienced in the old age homes of the west, some of which house millionaires. When any Indian meets them and tells them about the Indian family values, they are filled with awe. Their children see them once in a blue moon. There is no affinity of the type that we have in our country. It is this closeness that makes life enjoyable. In our country about fifty percent people are below the poverty line. Still if people are contented, it is due to close family ties. They know that their families are with them, in all sorts of calamities. Conjugal life in our country is also based on love and trust. The husband gives his earnings to the wife. The wife cooks for the entire family and subsists on what remains behind in the kitchen.
The developed countries are rich and yet emotionally paupers. In order to cope up with a drab and dull existence, they indulge in drinking and the sensual pleasures. They still do not find happiness. What a pitiable situation for these rich and yet basically impoverished people!
In India people are poor but contented. They hardly need old age homes. Close family bonds contribute to their happiness.
The Ishopanishad says -
Yasta Sarvani Bhutani Atmanyevanupashyati
Sarvbhuteshu chatmanam, tato na vijugupste
In other words, he who sees other human beings as himself and detects himself in others, does not despise anyone. He gives his all for others. In fact, there are no ‘others’ for him.
He who sympathises with the sorrow of others, has a compassionate heart. He cannot see someone else in distress. He tries his utmost, to remove the pain of others.
The more highly a soul is evolved, the more compassionate it grows. Compassion gets reflected in sympathy. A person may have plenty of riches, but if he lacks compassion, he deserves to be called a beast.
Religion inspires us with self-development. The path passes through compassion. Compassion and cohesion go hand in hand.
A person consumed by sensuality is an epitome of selfishness, who does not care even for his family. As compared to this, a truly cultured being abounds in affinity and is endowed with sympathy and compassion.
Our mythology is full of stories where gods and great men served the poor in distress. Even Mahatma Gandhi took the poverty of this country to heart, when he adopted a loin cloth as his only dress.