The Joy of Receiving

Imagine a highly distraught, insecure, runny-nosed dark-skinned child. Highly introverted. Maladjusted within his own family. Very few friends because he changed schools every 2/3 years, due to his father’s transferable job. The butt of ridicule & elbow-digs through out his growing up years. Hating himself so much, that many times considered suicide as a honourable end to it all. All this continuing till he was in college! That child was Me and the story is MINE!

Licking my wounds, in perpetual self doubt, barely coping with external reality’s demands, suddenly the Ugly Duckling became a recipient of grace & support. Through The Joy of Receiving my life changed! किसी ने अपना बना के मुझको मुस्कुराना सिखा दिया, अँधेरे घर में किसी ने हस्के चिराग जैसे जला दिया. It is 49 years since I proposed to my childhood sweetheart. Her saying yes, her confidence in me, her acceptance turned the tide. Suddenly I was an achiever, liked by friends and family, having enough & more….all because someone considered me worthy of receiving & others were ready to heap bountifuls. I revelled in the Joy of Receiving. I understood that we see farther & longer because we stand on shoulders of giants who preceed us, have given us that higher perch through their munificence.

Albert Schweitzer puts it beautifully: “At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” Giving & Receiving are two sides of the coin; and, Gratitude is the third dimension which makes up the coin of life!! Whom does one recall when you sit to balance the book? There are so many people and actions that made you what you are. It is the simple sharing of a sharpened pencil in a Geometry exam when your pencil fell & the point broke. It is a friend who gives you his tiffin box to share as you forgot yours & have no money for the Canteen. Your parents & family heaping books on you to read and learn. Your siblings and collegues asking for a favour, thereby building your competence & confidence. Whether in college or in industry, people coming forth to help complete your task despite seemingly unreachable timelines. Your bosses’ unflinching support of your proposals. हमने किस किस को पुकारा, वो कहानी फिर कभी as Ghulam Ali sings so eloquently.

If you see it in the correct perspective, everyone in your life has contributed to your growth, your learning, your success. Yes some may have done more & some less. But every experience has shaped you, whether success or failure, all were learning experiences which left their indelible mark. Have often seen myself as the proverbial putty… the mud on the Potters Wheel….being shaped by loving hands & deft fingers….whether I understood the grand design or no. The care & affection on the potters wheel….or even in the Potter’s tight slap…to shape & make me have been always around….developing & creating me. So whom do I thank for making me what I am? नाम आएगा तुम्हारा, वो कहानी फिर सही is what I can say to all my influencers. Where was I in this game of life? always the supplicant. Ever the receiver. The Beneficiary. देणाऱ्याचे हात हजारो दुबळी माझी झोळी !

The Giver, in his very stance, has an upper hand. The Receiver, in contrast, has his hands outstretched, The hands that bless and the hands that take are diffrent in their approach. The real giver however has overcome the arrogance of “I am the Giver”. This was best expressed in a doha I read from Tulsidas & Rahim. Tulsidas asks Rahim why as his hands rise up to give, corrrespondingly his eyes go down in humility. Rahim replies that the True Giver is some one else, & he is only a conduit. So where is the question of any ego in giving? The Recipient on the other hand must be full of humilty….in a way he realises that he is the CHOSEN ONE. There are so many contenders to very limited resources. And still if his bowl is being filled, he must realise the magic of being The Chosen One, the Joy of Receiving should suffuse his very being. But, sadly, do we celebrate while receiving? or is our attitude one of “entitlement” & “right”? Do we feel happy and privileged to receive? or do we rationalise that was due to me anyway & actually it is delayed coming to me?

See this story which brings out these nuances so well. A lovely little girl was holding two apples with both hands. Her mother came in and softly asked her little daughter with a smile: my sweetie, could you give your mom one of your two apples? The girl looked up at her mother for some seconds, then she suddenly took a quick bite on one apple, and then quickly on the other. The mom felt the smile on her face freeze. She tried hard not to reveal her disappointment. Then the little girl handed one of her bitten apples to her mother, and said: mommy, here you are. This is the sweeter one. This girl could well be the Shabari of Ramayan who offered half eaten berries to her Lord Rama. Do we have the grace like Rama to see the love behind the offering? or are we upset like the mother initially was at being offered half eaten fruit?

Often we misunderstand the Giver and question their intentionality. Actually we should be analysing our manner and attitude of receiving. To me, the Joy of Receiving always begins within ourselves. Ackowledging our being the Chosen One to receive. Celebrating this good turn the universe is doing us. Accepting unquestioningly whatever we receive. Being Content. Being Grateful. Being Humble. Keeping our hands outstretched to receive. And finally, being primed to give back in equal measure what we have been fortunate to receive. This to me is the essence of the Joy of Receiving!

लइ नाही लइ नाही मागणे देवI, I sing with Tukaram

Lord, Bless me, May my hands & my heart be always open to Recieve and acknowledge the contributions of all in my life: vikas the beggar

PS: To end, I quote Einstein: “A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depends on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the measure as I have received and am still receiving.”

PS2: this blog is dedicated to my neice who after reading my last piece on the Gift of Giving, asked me: But what about the other side of the story? How to recieve? Thanks dear for the basic question.

56 Replies to “The Joy of Receiving”

  1. Your blog is thought provoking.
    It reminds me of a poem in Marathi by Vinda Karandikar titled “Gheta”
    ‘The giver should keep giving
    The receiver should keep taking
    The receiver should one day take
    Hands of the Giver’
    The supreme giver is Nature. It gives sun-light, air, water, shadow, chirping sound of birds, etc absolutely free and without expecting anything in return. We may not be able to give back anything to the nature in return but what we can give is love, forgiveness, peace, freedom, equality, brotherhood, compassion and many such things to others without spending a penny.
    I liked your example of the baby tasting the other apple and giving the better one to the mother. We are too impatient to judge action of others.

    Like

    1. Nilesh sir
      you left with a rukh rukh….how did i not mention Mother Nature as the Supreme giver. Yes indeed she gives jus naturale and never seeks anything back. Wish I had written on that great point.
      I do remember Vinda karandikar’s famous poem. As a child I used to wonder ….he kai? ghenarya che haathach ghevun takaiche? Bichara deto ahe mhanun asa? Bahut na insaafi hai… That is because I did not understand the deeper meaning. Today I see that if each one of us becomes a Giver the world would be a diffrent place to live in. Am sure we will get there some day!!!
      As regards the apple story, that was also my fav quote in the blaog.
      Thanks for your encoragement. Keep reading and keep writing in…mazhya Babanchi kami thodi kami janwel

      Like

  2. VS, superbly penned pearls of wisdom. Never thought so much about receiving part and the philosophy. Thanks for directing my thoughts for future journey which will be wonderful. 🙏

    Like

    1. Sanjay bhau….you have given me te ultimate award which every writer seeks with your words. Every blog is a piece of my experience. But it is also a part of the human story and everyone’s condition. Your saying this openly shows me I am on the right path. Many Many Thanks once again for your encouraging words
      vikas

      Like

  3. Beautifully written.
    It is humbling indeed to think back and count the blessings received all through our life.
    One tends to think more of the hurts suffered and associate with people concerned.
    Thanks for bringing out the joy of receiving.

    Like

    1. Hey thanks Jayant
      It is natural tendency to remember the lack areas
      but if one observes more closely Bahut diya denewale ne tuz ko
      So consciously I have taught myself to change gears and focus on the joy of receiving

      Like

  4. The most invaluable and unique experience in life is called “LIFE” itself. That experience when lived with open eyes and open hands, it makes you realize that one receives more in this experience than perhaps one gives away. Gaining an experience is an act of receiving. Therefore life is a natural act of “Receiving” and when lived in gratitude and humility, one enjoys this unique experience multifold. As always, very well thought and written. Not only thought provoking but it makes one feel more humble! Thank You Vikas Boss!

    Like

    1. Amit
      Nicely put that experience is life and experiece is receiving and so life is receiving.
      Fully agree.
      What I cannot reconcile is the attitude of many to treat Life and all it brings as entitlement or right
      Even an agnostic like me has to accept that Life much much larger than me and so receiving should bring humility and not arrogance
      as long as one understands this and acts accordingly, one is poised for great heights.
      I have yet to see a truly great achiever who is not humble : the tree laden with fruit always bends?
      Take care friend and stay in touch
      Happy Thanksgiving Day to the American : one more occasion that celebrates gratitude

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Vikas, your blog was quite thought provoking. I wonder whether Neuton’s third law of motion is coming true in receiving. The economic and social pressures on many a receivers have betrayed them the sense of humility and led them to opposite reactions. Today they feel it was their right and demand more.This is a sorry state of affair.
    Your narration has been excellent which always is. May you keep us enlightened with your writings.

    Like

    1. SD
      you have put your finger on the fundamental issue at stake
      Do I receive in gratitude or feel that is my right and the world owes me?
      today too many think the latter and there in lies the rub

      I think I am not saying anything new, no rocket science, but just factually representing the thoughts we all go through
      Thanks for comolimenting my effort

      Like

  6. VS: it is a cliche, but true ,that in life ,there is alway “Give and Take”

    indeed ,every moment ,we are either Giving or Taking.

    what is rare are the number of people who Give with Grace and Take with Gratitude!

    often, people give Grudgingly and take ‘Greedily”. Indeed ,there is a tendency to take , take and take more..

    the mental state in both cases reflect an unhappy /discontented/resentful soul!!

    what you have so well described about ‘receiving’ are the attributes of an elevated soul.

    and you blogs after blogs demonstrate that you belong to that category!

    i feel lucky and happy to be connected to such a soul!..and keep receiving pearls of wisdom through every article of yours.

    your journey from your initial days is very touching on one hand and an impressive and inspiring on the other!

    great piece!..as always!!

    keep up the good work!

    Like

    1. JLS
      morning morning बच्चे को रुला दिया आपने
      As Sonakshi had said so famously: थप्पड़ से डर नहीं लगता साहब प्यार से लगता है
      I have yet to master the art of taking a positive compliment…I either become emotional or sarcastic
      with authentic people like you it is the weepy response as I know you mean it

      Yes my life has been a roller coaster
      choosing humanities in Senior Cambridge and choosing Eng Literature as a specialisation, my Father had warned me I will ruin my own life and that of the girl I marry
      Fortunately I have managed well….must be in the top 10% of my graduating class in IIMC and I suppose Vinita has not lacked at all
      There was a time in Siemens Kalwa works we used to participate in AIMA’s Competition for Young Managers, ONLY because it allowed one to make a trip to Ahm
      From that to be the AsPac Director in Johnson & Johnson and travelling abroad for 20 days a month has been quite a movement

      Yes Life is Give & Take as you said
      But I feel embarrased how much I have been given

      Loved your sentence : Give with Grace & Take with Gratitude
      My formula which I have tried to teach and live is Always give more than people expect….and do it cheerfully
      I have been rewarded so far beyond my capability and competence, that I feel I have lost all right to question the “deserving” status of anyone else, after all nobody questioned mine!!!

      As re the soul part, I think it is my parents and my upbringing which have contributed significantly
      In fact because of the parental tapes sometimes it is difficult to do otherwise
      so I can take NO CREDIT at all for being a good human
      it is प्रारब्ध
      I am indeed fortunate that I have good souls like you in my life, who keep showing me how far I still have to go…..

      Like

  7. Most unusual and ignored part of the life “to receive” is brilliantly expressed. To receive gracefully as gift of God is humility. You are right, our life is full of people, acts of god, events, who gave us something and shaped, influenced, sometimes very deeply. We recognise when we calmly sit down in solitude what all we have received.
    Wonderful, thanks for sharing.

    Like

    1. KaKa
      thanks for your comment
      You reminded me of the words of an old gazal
      कभी यूँ भी आ मेरी आँखों में
      के मेरी नज़र को खबर न हो
      I think this typifies the grace of acceptance
      the moment you feel pride the game is lost
      Unfortunately today solitude is a matter of the past
      people are gleefully careening from one high spot to another of emotions and activities
      and so the habit of quiet introspection is left to a few folks like us
      Anyways, to each his own
      But indeed we are fortunate to have some like minded sould around us
      Truly value your friendship for that reason

      Like

  8. Touching and thought provoking. Your writing has a unique quality which appeals to both, head and heart. Giving and Receiving is spoken about at our homes but we understand the real meaning when we practice it. Great blog. I am forwarding to my friends.

    Like

    1. Vivek
      you are always so kind to me
      Yes I think with my heart and and so possibly have always been a misfit in the eyes of people
      But I would not exchange my life for anything in the world
      Fortunately there are friends like you who keep me committed to the path
      लोभ आहेच वृद्धी व्हावी
      vikas

      Like

  9. Extremely thought provoking, Vikas. Never read such an excellent piece focused on Receiving. Keep giving us your precious thoughts.

    Like

  10. Vikas, thanks for sharing your own story of being considered as an ugly duckling but later a chosen one for receiving. And then expressing gratitude to whom so ever contributed to your own success. Its a sign of big heart. Every person is a giver as well as receiver in his life. Getting born in this wonderful world is itself an act of receiving for which we are eternally grateful to our parents. But I am not sure if this story can be applicable to large Indian population who consider its their right to receive free doles and free lunches from the government. Just to sight an example, less than 1.5 percent people pay income tax in our country. No farmer pays such taxes. Then whom 98.5 percent mainly represent? Giver or Receiver? And are they grateful? Answer is clear.

    Like

    1. Dr Pmk
      thanks for your comments
      You raise a very pertinent point re tax payers
      unfortunately we see such examples all around us
      In our country the attitude seems to be जो मेरा है, वो मेरा है aur जो तेरा है वो भी मेरा है
      God knows when we shall come out of this false sense of entitlement and focus on civic responsibilities and duties

      Like

  11. Dear Vikas
    Thanks for sharing your experiences. Most of the time I experience giving and receiving is seen as a transaction of something nice to do. Also, only when the giving is pleasant or even material in form is it seen in positive light where as the reality is the other way around (Your potters example). Very challenging to hv the default setting to giving and having humility to receive.
    I hv been blessed to have so many people – my teachers, my family, my bosses, my friends and above all life – that have given me so much all the time, keeping the fire burning within me to learn and grow, that I am overwhelmed.
    Thanks again for your sharing.

    Like

    1. Vasant
      beautifully said
      keeping that sense of gratitude keeps you looking for more
      and if one is open to Life’s teachings then there is really no limit to your graowth.
      Indeed we are fortunate to receive so much from so many
      I personally am glad that I can count you among my dear friend and well wisher
      Regards
      vikas

      Like

  12. Extremely thought provoking. It made me think about how the act of receiving adds beautifully to one’s life, if it is done gracefully. Be it a compliment, a gift…even criticism. How gracefully you receive things determines what value they add to your life.

    The example of the girl and her mother that you touched upon also took me back to the ‘Don’t judge too quickly’ ads. We are so quick to put labels and motives on every thing.

    All in all, a great reading experience, as always. Privileged to ‘receive’ such words of wisdom.

    Like

    1. Mimi Mimi Mimi
      you are the reason why this blog took shape
      and am glad it has come out well

      as regards receiving….we can never be choosers of what others put in our direction….so equanimity and poise demands the “stitha pradnya” approach which helps you to take it all in stride. While doing this , it is no point in fighting our fate, learn to accept, and learn to learn from it so that you are better prepared for the future. Keeping an open heart is the key to receiving and accepting
      and am sure you know this far better than me

      You enjoy a special place in my life and so your words like privilege and thought provoking send me soring over the 7th heaven
      take care
      and stay loose

      Like

  13. Vikas sir, I switched on my little gel ball to remember my past … you are an amazing professional with human touch.

    Like

  14. Reading this made me think deeper through my experiences.

    They say the joy of giving is at the time of giving (and not beyond ) but the same doesn’t apply to the joy if receiving. It should be at the time of receiving and beyond. Rajiv Patil

    Like

  15. Boss really too good, in the starting of the blog I felt that you have written my childhood story. I think similar must have happened with many others.
    You have god gift to articulate the thoughts in very simple and excellent way. I am really proud that I learned from you and still learning. Thanks you so much for sharing your thoughts regularly. I am obliged.

    Like

    1. Amarjeet
      thanks friend for your kind words
      In some ways all our stories are common and that is what is the human condition
      so we all reflect one anothers life in some way or the other

      So gald that I have contributed somewhat to your learning and your life
      similarly I too have learnt a lot from you all who have shared so many moments with me

      Only object to “I am obliged”
      we all teach and learn from one another
      and that is our debt to life, no obligation

      Like

  16. Wonderfully written Sir, Sant Kabir has so aptly written on giver and you have brought out that it’s equally applicable to receiving too. Touched my heart too!!!

    Like

    1. Kini Thanks for your comments
      also special thanks for giving me a chance to correct an error that had crept in
      Apparently the story is not of Kabir but of Tulsidas & Rahim. I quote the whole thing below for all to read. It is indeed SantWani

      गोस्वामी तुलसीदास ने एक बार रहीम को पत्र लिखकर उन्हें पूछा कि वे दान करते समय अपनी आँखें नीची क्यों कर लेते हैं?
      उन्होंने लिखा –

      ऐसी देनी देन जू – कित सीखे हो सैन।
      ज्यों-ज्यों कर ऊँचे करो, त्यों-त्यों नीचे नैन॥

      अर्थात हे मित्र – तुम ऐसे दान क्यों देते हो? ऐसा तुमने कहाँ से सीखा? (मैंने सुना है) कि जैसे जैसे तुम अपने हाथ दान करने के लिये उठाते हो, वैसे वैसे अपनी आँखें नीची कर लेते हो।

      रहीम ने उत्तर में जो लिखा वो नम्रता और बुद्धिमत्ता से परिपूर्ण था।

      देनहार कोई और है, देवत है दिन रैन।
      लोग भरम हम पर करें, याते नीचे नैन॥

      अर्थात – देने वाला तो कोई और – यानी ईश्वर है – जो दिन रात दे रहे हैं। लेकिन लोग समझते हैं कि मैं दे रहा हूँ, इसलिये मेरी आँखें अनायास ही शर्म से झुक जाती हैं।

      Like

  17. When the receiver receives with gratitude, the received gets multiplied in many kinds and it sets a chain action of giving and receiving, starting with the receiver. Most receivers evolve to become givers. When I received mercies, as a needy student, I learnt that I received from evolved givers. That made me to replicate the same action and repeat verbatim the same story to a receiver.

    Like

    1. Alex thanks for sharing your experience
      Yes Giving and Receiving in an unbroken chain, a carousel we keep moving FW
      I love the concept of Feed Forward which you must have read about
      we all get so much that we must feed it forward so that others benefit and they in tourn contribute to keep the wheel rolling

      Like

  18. Vikas ! Wonderful !
    Very positive thinking and expressing RECEIVING .
    Normally in negative perspective one always considers himself or herself at the Receiving End !
    You are an ideal inspiror !
    Salute to you my dear !

    Like

  19. I have always felt that receiving is underrated because we like the feeling that comes to us when we give (something which I had penned and posted on LinkedIn about receiving in response to your blog.) So glad to read this

    Like

  20. Baba, even after so many years of having you around everyday I realise there’s so much more to learn from you. I feel so very lucky to have you as my baba and I can proudly say that ‘YOU’ are ‘MY’ baba. These blogs are going to be pieces of advise that I will keep turning to, they teach me something new everytime I read them. Love you 😘

    Like

    1. Hey Rash just your comment means a lot to me. The content of the comment….well that takes it to a diffrent height. Many many thanks for your expression of trust and faith in these blogs as direction posts!! And yes indeed I am your baba, never close to anyone as much as I am to you, hope to keep this bond for ever and ever

      Like

  21. You shot this one straight from the heart. The apple story really is a fantastic addition. The only idea which i had a doubt about is “The Recipient on the other hand must be full of humilty….in a way he realises that he is the CHOSEN ONE.”
    There is a certain ego involved already if you start calling yourself the ‘chosen one’. We’re all human after all, we’ve seen empires crumble because it was thought that there was only one wo/man who would be able to help out.

    Like

    1. Amumama Thanks for your kind words of apprecciation. Means a lot to me
      As re the Humility and Chosen one dilemma, I personally feel more humbled than ever when i am singled out and chosen. That casts more responsibility on me and I feel obliged and under a mountain of obligation which does not allow any arrogance
      But I do accept there would be others to whom being Chosen is “act of god” and takes me beyond questioning. Hitler or any other megalomaniac would be a case in point. Had not seen this aspect as my personal experience and personality took me on the other route. But valid challenge sir….helped me clear in my mind what I truly meant.

      Like

  22. Very profoundly said, Sir

    Giving is the new Receiving.
    One of the very powerful laws of the Universe. Which very few have realised

    I am with you on the joy of receiving and the power of gratitude.

    But what the biggest ‘ aha moment’ today was to see you acknowledge of all those who rekindled your spark when your lights went off. Now that is greatest tribute of gratitude we all forgot to many in our lives.

    Thanks boss. One never stop learning for you.

    Like

    1. Hey Pravin we go back so many years
      and we have many war stories to share
      but acknowledging the contributions of all around
      and then moving on is what life has taught us
      and that is the real formula for success
      we are all all life long learners and life long seekers

      Like

  23. Vikas

    Reminds me of a quote :

    “In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.”
    ― Deitrich Bonhoeffer”

    Thanks for all your blogs which I look forward to receiving.

    Nikhil

    Like

    1. Nikhil bhai
      well said….indeed it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich as the human condition is in perpetual want and receiving mode. The attitude with which we receive and the propensity to return the favours got is what distinghuishes a great man.

      You always follow and comment on my blog. For that I am indeed grateful

      Like

    1. Vinay thanks for your encouraging words. Indeed we areall travelling the same path and my story is not unique. When you accept this and love your fello travellers you cannot go wrong

      Like

  24. Very nice, VSS! The art of receiving is nicely articulated. I liked your statement that Gratitude is third side of the coin.

    Like

    1. MMP many thanks for yoyr comment. I believe gratitude keeps you humble and reminds you that what you have today is transient….there are so many people so much more talented and superior and more deserving that you. So always acknowledge your good fortune and thank the powers that be, is my approach.

      Like

  25. Very touching and candid. Straight from the heart as always, typically bears your stamp. “We are always receiving, so we forget the joy of giving” is my favourite quote in this regard. Thanks for reinforcing this faith and adding to my happiness.

    Like

    1. Dear Vikas,
      Worth reading blog. I can’t Express my views in english befitting to the blog.
      આટલી સુંદર રીતે પોતાના વિચારોને શબ્દોમાં ઉતારવા એ ખરેખર અદ્ભુત છે. અને વધારે અદ્ભુત તો એ છે કે અંગ્રેજીમાં.
      આપ સૌને યાદ વધુ મળીયે ત્યારે

      Like

      1. Kanu bhai
        Many thanks for your comments. My mother always taught us that Language is merely a means to express yourself and convey thoughts to another person. So in a way language is incidental…it is the thought that matters

        You reminded me of a time when I was in Siemens and in a German Management Audit I was asked what foregn languages I know. THey were obviously trying to find out if I know German or French etc. I replied the foreign language I know is English. Being Germans they were not ammused. But I stand by my answer

        Like

Comments are closed.