Feeding the Ants
October 3, 2017
We were staying at a little hotel near Rome. It fronted on a popular beach where hundreds of Italians came with their families: some swam or lounged on the warm sand, others jogged or walked along the promenade, and still others were there to see and be seen. It was a charming little slice of life. But early each morning when the beach was abandoned, a different scene caught my eye. Around 7:00 a.m. a car would pull into one of the parking slots, and an old woman would get out. Then she would reach into the back for a bag and trudge slowly toward the sand.
It was feeding time, and her bag was full of table scraps. From our balcony spot, I could see many cats start to wind their way toward her, some from a long distance away. How they knew she had arrived was a mystery. There was no obvious signal, so maybe it was the magnetism of her love. And this scene is repeated each day the world over. During a walk one time in a park near our ashram in New Delhi, we saw many people bringing food not only for the birds, but—to our amazement—also for the ants.
The human heart has an infinite capacity for love, and when kindness flows, we are not only uplifted, but often healed of some old karma. In the early years of Ananda there was a lovely young woman whose hands mysteriously became covered with warts. An astrologer told her to avoid any combination of garlic and milk and to feed the birds every day. Within two weeks, all the warts had fallen off her hands. When one’s life is filled with little acts of kindness, it begins to heal not only them, but everyone they touch.
When asked, “What is your religion?” the Dali Lama simply replied, “Kindness.”
Here in India and around the world, Devi and I are often told stories of how a kind word, or a mere glance, from Swami Kriyananda changed a person’s life. We heard a story only last week from someone who had been suffering deeply from the loss of a loved one. She had tried everything to move on in her life, but was unable to do so. At a satsang with Swami Kriyananda, he caught and held her eye from a distance. She said she felt a wave of love and blessing in his glance, and her heart was instantly and permanently healed.
There was a popular saying a few years ago that achieved a kind of immortality through bumper stickers: “Do random acts of kindness.” In a world divided against itself in so many ways, the only cure is love. Love, being an eternal, divine quality, is stronger than all the bombs and hatred, which ultimately will pass away. Little acts of kindness, especially to strangers and the helpless, are the cure for today’s divisions. Find a way to be a channel of Divine Mother’s love, and your “karmic warts” will begin to fall away.