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Stories On Compassion From Hindu Scriptures

Hindu scriptures are rich with stories that highlight the virtues of compassion and kindness. Here are a few notable examples:

1. The Story of King Shibi

King Shibi is renowned for his compassion and selflessness. According to the legend, Indra (the king of gods) and Agni (the god of fire) decided to test King Shibi's virtues. Indra transformed into a dove, and Agni into a hawk. The hawk chased the dove, which sought refuge with King Shibi. The hawk demanded the dove as its prey, but King Shibi offered his own flesh to save the dove's life. The gods revealed their true forms and blessed the king for his unparalleled compassion.

2. Lord Rama and the Squirrel

In the epic Ramayana, when Lord Rama was constructing a bridge to Lanka, a small squirrel was seen helping by carrying tiny pebbles and placing them in the gaps. The larger monkeys mocked the squirrel, but Lord Rama appreciated its effort, recognizing that even the smallest act of kindness and effort counts. He gently stroked the squirrel, leaving three lines on its back, which are said to be the markings still seen on squirrels today.

3. The Story of Rantideva

King Rantideva is celebrated in the Bhagavata Purana for his extreme generosity and compassion. Despite fasting for 48 days, he remained committed to serving others. When he finally received food, he was about to eat when a series of guests, including a Brahmin, a Shudra, and a Chandala (outcast), came to him asking for food and water. He gave away his meal and water to them, choosing to suffer himself but alleviating their hunger and thirst. His selfless acts earned him divine blessings.

4. The Compassion of Karna

In the Mahabharata, Karna is known for his generosity and compassion despite being wronged many times. Once, a Brahmin approached him while he was bathing, requesting alms. Karna, not wanting to send him away empty-handed, took off his gold armor (which was a part of his body) and gave it to the Brahmin. This act of charity, despite the personal cost, highlights his compassionate nature.

5. The Story of Lord Krishna and Sudama

The friendship between Lord Krishna and his poor friend Sudama is a beautiful example of compassion. Sudama visited Krishna in his palace to ask for help, bringing only a handful of beaten rice as a gift. Krishna received him warmly and treated him with immense love and respect. Understanding Sudama’s plight without him having to ask, Krishna blessed him with wealth and prosperity upon his return home.

6. The Story of Dharmavyadha

In the Mahabharata, there is a story about a butcher named Dharmavyadha who lived a life of compassion and righteousness. Despite his profession, which was looked down upon, he performed his duties without causing unnecessary pain to animals. He was kind to everyone and followed the path of dharma (righteousness). A Brahmin named Kaushika, who had renounced the world, was sent to learn from Dharmavyadha about true righteousness. Through Dharmavyadha, Kaushika learned that compassion and duty were more important than mere ritualistic austerity.

These stories reflect the high value placed on compassion in Hindu philosophy, illustrating that true spirituality lies in love, kindness, and selflessness toward all beings.