Video and Audio

Christ Lives in Love - The Shawl of Gold (Ep. 27)

Keshava Betts
February 26, 2022


The Shawl of Gold
by Donald Walters (Swami Kriyananda)

A poor little girl walking in the cold,
Her clothing all tattered and thin,
Spied a rich man standing outside a church—
Outside a church, outside a church—
Spied a rich man standing outside a church,
The service about to begin.
“Please, sir,” she said, “hear an orphan child:
The cold winds of winter have come.
I’ve no place to live, not in all the world!
Oh, help me find work in some home!”

The rich man frowned: “Don’t you hear that hymn?
Good people have gathered in prayer.
It’s a day for worship, impious girl—
Impious girl, oh, impious girl!—
It’s a day for worship, impious girl!
Don’t speak here of earthly affairs!”
He turned, then, and entered the holy church.
The girl wandered down the cold street.
And there all at once she beheld a small boy,
No jacket, no shoes for his feet.

His clothing was shabby, as worn as her own.
He shivered against a closed door.
“Ah, alas!” he cried, “none will take me in—
Take me in, none will take me in!—
Ah, alas!” he cried, “none will take me in,
Though I’m starving and cold, for I’m poor!”
Seeing him, she cried, “How I feel for you!
It’s bitter with no friends to live!
Here, please take my shawl: it’s all I can spare,
Though it’s shameful so little to give!”

She wrapped him all up in the flimsy cloth,
And kissed his cold forehead, and smiled.
Suddenly a warmth, like a summer breeze—
Summer breeze, like a summer breeze—
Suddenly a warmth, like a summer breeze
Encircled this poor girl and child.
And a tender voice said, “My daughter, I’m here.
No more shall you weep without friends!
For in yonder church there’s no love like yours!
Those with pure hearts, their needs I attend.

“My child, all men’s sorrows would turn to joy,
If they knew that to share is no loss.
For it’s kindness broadens the human heart—
Human heart, the human heart—
For it’s kindness broadens the human heart:
I know, I who died on the cross!
“Worship means but love, and My love you’ve found
By your gift to Me here in the cold.”
And she found their clothes were now woolen and warm,
And the shawl was now spun of fine gold.


Comments by the composer:

"This parable was inspired by Christian tradition, which gives special emphasis to the truth that God watches the purity of our hearts, and not the piety of our deeds."  (from the book "I've Passed My Life as a Stranger, Lord" by Swami Kriyananda)

“This song tells its own story. It remains only for me to say that it has always been one of my favorites. Kindness, not formal worship, has always seemed to me the essence of  true religious practice, even if it be kindness in an atheist.” (from "A Tale of Songs" by Swami Kriyananda, 4/2013)