Opinion Op Ed 15 Dec 2018 Begging: A tool for ...

Begging: A tool for growth

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | SADHGURU JAGGI VASUDEV
Published Dec 15, 2018, 8:01 am IST
Updated Dec 15, 2018, 8:01 am IST
People may give you food or they might just ask you to get out. It does not matter, but being a beggar is not a small thing.
Begging in India was a part of the spiritual tradition. One aspect of this was you did not select your food, you begged and ate whatever people gave you. (Photo: isha.sadhguru.org)
 Begging in India was a part of the spiritual tradition. One aspect of this was you did not select your food, you begged and ate whatever people gave you. (Photo: isha.sadhguru.org)

Begging in India was a part of the spiritual tradition. One aspect of this was you did not select your food, you begged and ate whatever people gave you. It was considered a great privilege when a person on the spiritual path stood in front of your house and asked for food, and for you to offer food to him. Today, these traditions have been misused and there are so many people wearing the uniform of a spiritual seeker who are just plain beggars in search of money and food. But when people begged consciously, it had a completely different meaning and possibility.

When someone stretches his hand in front of you, if you feel it is being misused, you can refuse and move along. If you feel that it is really coming out of genuine need, you must respond as a human being. Just think how difficult it would be for you to stretch your hand in front of someone on the street. That man is putting himself through that. A beggar may be doing so out of helplessness but a sanyasi is doing it consciously for his own growth so that he does not get too full of himself. A beggar does not have such great goals. He is just trying to fill his belly, which he is incapable of doing by himself. You need to understand, disability is not just in terms of losing a hand or a leg. You can become disabled just in the way you think and feel about life. Actually, almost the whole population is mentally and emotionally handicapped because of their patterns of thinking and feeling towards life. Similarly, the beggar has gotten himself into a corner, and he thinks begging is the easiest way to earn a living.

 

A spiritual person however, takes to begging because he wants to drop himself. The idea, “I earn my own living, my own money, my own food, my own home,” is a big part of your ego. Begging was used as a tool to drop yourself because in earning a living, you gather yourself. But you drop yourself in just stretching your hand in front of someone, knowing and being fully conscious that you have the capability to earn your living, to rule a kingdom, yet you still choose to beg. That is a tremendous shift in a human being. So in our tradition, at least once a year, you must go begging for food, so that you do not think too much of yourself. People may give you food or they might just ask you to get out. It does not matter, but being a beggar is not a small thing.

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