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On Mercy and Kindness

Sometimes, even an ordinary act is most pleasing to God owing to the idea or intention behind it, or the unusual circumstances in which it is performed, and all the sins and iniquities of the doer are forgiven as a result of it. The incident, related in the above report, is of a similar kind. A traveller is pressing on towards his destination under the hot sun. He is tormented by thirst. In these circumstances, he sees a well, but there is no rope or bucket to draw the water from it. With great difficulty, he climbs down into the well, drinks the water, and comes out. Now, he sees a dog licking the wet earth. He takes pity on it. The situation in which he is placed demands that he should hurry on with the journey and reach the destination early, so that he could have some rest. But there is the dying dog. He cannot leave it alone. It is also a creature of the Lord. So, he decides to go down into the well again and fetch the water for the poor animal. On reaching the water, he fills his leather-stocking, holds it by the teeth, and comes out, and gives the water to the dog. The mercy and benevolence of the Lord is stirred by it and the decision is reached to grant him forgiveness and Paradise.

It needs to be remembered that it was not merely the act of giving water to the dog that mattered, but the spirit behind it.

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