Manju was studying in class VIII or so when she started coming to our ashram. Her village Dungri is not far from Ranchi Sanatorium. Along with the other girls and boys of her village, Manju would also participate in different functions. She had great admiration for Swami Vivekananda. As she grew up her admiration for Swamiji turned into devotion.
It was during one of those days of the severest spell of winter that I went to her village to explore certain welfare activity. On the way while we were walking through the muddy road I saw little Manju standing outside her home. She was visibly pleased. She requested me to come into her house to which I agreed to fulfil her desire on my return trip. When I went to her house I was as usual flocked with elder people of the village. With great happiness writ large on her face, Manju took me first to a room where on a shelf near the window, the photos of Holy Trio were kept. Flowers had been offered. When I made my pranams, it occurred to me that I should humbly place before the photos some pranami. In my pocket I had three notes of hundred rupees. After offering the cash there, I returned after taking the tasty milk-free liquor tea.
A week after, Manju came to my office. I asked her just out of curiosity, whether she had kept the three hundred rupee notes safely. She paused for some moments and appeared to be hesitant in replying to my query. I repeated my query. “Ok Manju, so you are not going to tell me.”
Manju replied still hesitantly, “No Maharaj, I do not know how to explain to you.”
“What does that mean? I saw window open next to the shelf. Did the wind carry the money away?”
“No Maharaj, I have spent the money.”
“Oh! it as nice. You see, Manju, money comes for spending only, nothing to feel embarrassed about. Ok, now tell me, what did you spend it for?”
“Did you spend it on your dress or any such thing?”
“No Maharaj, I did not spend on anything for myself.”
“Then Manju tell me the truth. I am eager to know it.”
What she told me at that juncture simply stunned me. Imagine a little girl like Manju not spending the money on herself but going out of the way in doing something else.
“Maharaj, you know my neighbour, how poor they are! I saw the three little kids shivering from cold. I could not bear to see their suffering. So I went to the Tupudana Bazaar and purchased three sweaters of hundred rupees each. When I gave the sweaters to them, you know how happy they were!”
Did not Swami Viekananda say, “They alone live who live for others?” I was amazed at Manju’s expansive heart, the centre of which transcended her small body-mind complex and embraced the socalled unrelated ‘others’.