Benevolent Eyes



A traveller was passing through a village and asked someone standing by: “What’s the next village like? Is it friendly?”

The person asked in return: “How was the village you have just come from?”

“Oh, it was awful; people there were unfriendly and indifferent, some even hostile ,” said the traveller.

“The next village is similar,” was the reply. So the traveller walked on with an anxious frown.

After a while another traveller stopped to ask the same question: “What’s the next village like?”

The same person replied with the same question: “How did you find the previous village?”

This time the response was different: “Oh, it was good; people were friendly, helpful and hospitable,” said the traveller. The person in the village replied: “You will find the next village similar.”

What a simple story with a wonderful moral. If we open our eyes, and “project benevolence we will receive benevolence in return“. Satish Kumar’s message of benevolence is quite simple, not at all complicated.  When we read the above story, it all seems perfectly achievable. Yet, in the real world things are not so simple. The world in which we live is one of conflict: racial, religious, national and international conflicts are rife, so we lose our confidence, try to protect ourselves and look the other way.

I once heard a grandmother ask her grandson “Where are your eyes gone?” The boy, 14 years old and a hotchpotch of teenage angst, looked at his grandmother as if she had just lost her mind “Nowhere!” he replied. “So, open them” she yelled at the confused looking boy.

It is really that simple. Open our eyes, look, really look at what’s happening around us. Instead of turning a blind eye, shrugging our shoulders and giving-up, let’s try to open our eyes and see what we really need to see. What have we got to lose?

Soil, Soul, Society by Satish Kumar (Ivy Press).


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