There is a cobbler who sits across the street in front of my office building. Every day, i see that there is a stray dog who comes and sits with him as soon as he arrives at the place, and he feeds him biscuits and some times milk. The man goes about his work while the dog sits there and gives him company. One can feel that there is a connection between them and that unknown to everyone, they are having a conversation without a word being said. There is also food that he brings for birds, which he keeps at different places on the street pavement where he sits for his work. Many people stop by and ask him for directions, and he always guides them with a smile. Even if he doesn't get any business from them. If he sees a homeless person going by, he offers them water and food that he has brought for himself, and engages in conversations with them. One can see and feel the peace the conversations bring to them.
I felt called to go and meet him today. He smiled at me and said his name is Dayaram, and asked me if i would like to have tea?! Pleasantly surprised, i say sure, lets have some tea :) Here is a man who would be struggling to make Rs. 100 a day, out of which he would be spending 12-15 on the stuff he brings for the dog and the birds, and the two cups of tea would cost him Rs. 14. His being is rich, he smiles radiantly, and his calm, effortless, abundant state of being is infectious. I tell him that i have been observing him and what he does, and that i am humbled and fascinated by it. We get talking, and i refer to the dog, and he says "oh he's just one of us - God's own creation". Talk about non-duality! He goes on to say that "I am not serving...it is He who is making it happen via this person. It would be egoistic to say that 'I' am doing it!" I fold my hands and bow to him, and request him to accept some money, saying it is not I who is giving him that money, it is He who is sending it to him via myself :-) We laugh and he graces me by accepting it.
As i am about to leave, he says: "Maango Ussi se, Banto khushi se, Kaho na kissi se" (Ask from Him, but then don't just accumulate it - give with happiness and gratitude, and do it silently!)
The cobbler who apparently mends shoes, mended my soul today. Overwhelmed by this encounter...