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Monday, December 01, 2014

The art of receiving

We always hear how unconditionally we should give. But we seldom dwell on the art of receiving. Here is a story for you...

A long time ago, a very talented mathematician and navigator decided that he wanted to go on an expedition to discover new trade routes via the ocean. He picked the best men he knew, asked for the blessings of his King and started out with a fleet of four ships towards the southern seas. They braved storms and diseases to reach land.

Now, the king of new land was a greedy one. As soon as he heard about the arrival of a foreign fleet, he decided to welcome them with great fanfare in the hopes that they bore gold and precious stones as gifts.

The expedition had very little resources left.  But the captain offered the king four cloaks of the finest velvet, a barrel full of honey, and twelve branches of the most beautiful coral. The meagre offering displeased the king, and he asked the men to pay customs duties in gold and silver like other traders or to leave the land by dawn.

Disappointed, the ships returned to sea. They were too tired to travel all the way back home, so they stopped by a nearby port. Here, the people were gracious. They fed the sailors and offered them fresh water.

On the first night of their stay, the captain discovered that the land was fertile, and the people grew spices in their fields. They had a surplus of salt and labor. He recruited 12 men from the nearest village and started his voyage back home. Their king received the news with great delight and ordered new fleets to embark on the newly discovered trade route for spices,  which until then, was  the monopoly of the Republic of Venice.

Business in the guest town flourished as they exported their spices and learned new skills from their visitors. The explorer took out his charts to travel to new territories again.
  1. Not every gift needs to be gold and silver. It can be new ties, sharing of knowledge etc.
  2. We should always receive gracefully. The giver might have been through a lot to get it.
  3. Instead of immediate gains, we should open ourselves to the  bigger picture.

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