Dictates of My Dharma

Today while reading this post on Forgiveness, written by a close friend (I would recommend it to everyone. She writes well, and unlike me, on spiritual and moral issues), and it got me thinking about forgiveness and trust.
It reminded me of a story my father repeatedly narrates to me and my sister  A priest sees a chameleon drowning in the river,  and so he picks it up. In its fear, it bites the priest, who drops it, but then again picks it up. It bites him again, and the chain continues. A passersby asks the priest: why do you keep saving the animal who bites you? Let the ungrateful creature die!

The priest said, it’s his dharma (or duty) to bite me. It’s my dharma to save him.

I am not a very spiritual person. Spirituality is a gift am yet to receive, but I do like this story. I guess there are a thousand ways one can interpret it. But I will tell you how I interpret it. I had a very close friend, who made some very bad choices in life. All his other friends either broke all ties with him, or apathetically ‘tolerated’ him , while mentally cursing him. I on the other hand kept chiding him whenever I felt he was wasting his potential; and would get snubbed repeatedly in turn. People would tell me that I should just ‘let him be’. That I should ignore him and move on with my life. I couldn’t because my dharma told me as a friend it was my duty to try my best to help a friend, if I felt he was doing something wrong. Till date I don’t know whether or not I was write.
Sometimes some people will  tell me that a particular individual isn’t good or trustworthy, that they are Judas incarnate, and that I shouldn’t thus trust them. I believe that one should trust a person, till one is proven wrong. And even if I am proven wrong, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t trust the next person who comes along.
Sometimes my mother will tell me that I shouldn’t confide all my secrets to one person, since there are chances that they might betray me. What she doesn’t understand is that the day my friends betray me, it wouldn’t really matter even if they shout out all my secrets from the rooftops, because the day my friends betray me, everything is already over….
The day I stop trusting my friends, I will become a suspicious and lonely person, breathing but not alive.

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