Man Is Unique…On Grounds Of Compassion


It was one of those times when the sishya (disciple) felt free to air his doubts.

‘Guruji, if god created man why has man not inherited traits of god just as I’ve taken after my father? Why is he not like god? God is omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient…while man is not…’

‘Let me tell you a short story. Hope you’ll find your answer.’


One evening there was this man, a poor beggar, going about the streets of Kashi. Perhaps someone who came in search of peace and enlightenment and did not wish to return – Kashi, a city with a hoary past, did that to many.

As he footed the affluent section of the city where the rich merchants trading in silk resided, seeking food, doors were slammed on his face with a look of annoyance.

On the streets housing the workmen and artisans, and also those engaged in religious activities serving the steady inflow of pilgrims – here too he drew a blank.

Now with nowhere else to go, he headed towards the ghats of the river Ganges.

On the way past a garbage dump there was an old leper with visibly advanced affliction readying his dinner spread. Whatever he had managed to collect as alms, he made equal portions for his dog and himself. Just when he was on his first morsel of food, the leper froze seeing the haggard face.

The leper beckoned him to his side: ‘Stranger, come here. Have this – you look bad. Well, it’s not much…might help in refreshing yourself a little.’

The man took a little bit from the outstretched misshapen hand.

‘Know me?’

The leper shrugged: ’How does it matter who you’re? First eat and then talk.’

‘Do you know who I’m?’ the voice was raised a notch.

A certain firmness perceived in the voice made him look up. Was he from the local constabulary in mufti sent to evict him?

Taking a while, ‘You must be Vishwanatha.’ (the presiding deity in Kashi who, it was believed, took rounds of the city from time to time)

He gasped: ‘What makes you say that?’

‘Who else would readily take food without a hint of aversion from a disfigured discard?’

‘It’ll be a sin to deprive you of your food, my friend. Pray, do not worry about me. I’ll find mine.’

The man walked away quietly without looking back.

‘Have you got your answer now?’

‘Yes, Guruji. Seeing his compassion, the leper likened the man to god. So it must be compassion that man has inherited from his creator.’

‘Let me finish – there’s a little more to the story:’


When he woke up next morning the leper realized he was right about Vishwanatha (Lord Shiva); mercifully, he was cured.’

‘Now what do you make of it?’


‘My guru provided me an added perspective: God when he is god is just and severe – he lets the laws of Karma prevail remorselessly, to each according to his deeds. His compassion shows only when he manifests as human or, most likely, when he works through one. Could we then say compassion is a trait unique to man?’

It set the sishya thinking.

The guru smiled – he had done his job for the day.



Seeded from: Heard on MegaTV in a patti-manram program reported by TR Sathya at


9 thoughts on “Man Is Unique…On Grounds Of Compassion

  1. Great story with touching meaning. Compassion is key to the society. The ability to understand others’ situation and provide the needed support with absolute selflessness is indeed unique. As a society we need to move towards developing a more compassionate society.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been pondering this post since I read it 3 days ago. My problem is that altruistic — loving, thoughtful, generous, unselfish – behavior is not limited to the human species. One of the big problems of reductionist scientific theories that try to reduce animal behavior to preserving one’s genes for further generations is this very altruistic behavior. Why would a bear in a zoo freely share its food with a starving cat that has strayed into its space? why do dolphins sometime save human swimmers under threat of a shark attack? why does a dog protect its owner from an attack that is no danger to the dog itself? etc. The list is endless. Like me, you may even have personal experience of this kind of altruism.

    To tell you the truth, it gives me a profound hope for life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re abs right. Just today I saw a news item that I didn’t have the heart to click on – it was about a dog that refused to abandon a baby in fire and chose to perish with it. And the photographs about a tiger sparing and caring for a baby monkey after it had killed its mother. Examples are too many to recount. Thanks.


  3. thanks for not sharing those painful stories! let me share one that ended well- a Russian drug addict woman’s toddler was brought up by her dog for few years, before neighbours discovered her walking around on all fours.

    It was discovered that the mother used to throw food to both of them on floor, they ate that and after that the female dog used to keep her warm (save her from death) by allowing her to snuggle against her in freezing Russian nights.

    You will find this story in internet and know why lot of people respect beasts more than they respect men! 😉

    Happy Dipawali!

    Liked by 1 person

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