In December 2007, I was on my way to Singapore and Hong Kong for Laughter seminars. As it was Christmas time most of the hotels were booked in advance and it was very hard to find a good place to stay.
In all the holiday confusion, I decided to stay with my student, Avi Liran, who was very insistent, and only too happy to welcome me. I had a great time with his family for four days before leaving for Hong Kong for another seminar. As I had to return to Singapore after three days, Avi requested me to again stay with him. Though I felt very gratified, I realized I was occupying his son’s room, which might be a cause of inconvenience to the family. I didn’t want to impinge on their privacy for too long, so I thanked him and politely told him that I will let him know about my plans later on returning.
Just a day before leaving for Hong Kong, an Indian businessman, Narayan, invited me to dinner with his group of friends. He had heard a lot about the growing popularity of Laughter Clubs and was very curious to meet me and have a good laugh.
Everybody in the party was interested in knowing about the origin of Laughter Clubs and what was it like to laugh without any reason. I showed them some ways to laugh, and as expected, the group started crackling with laughter. It was unstoppable. Sitting next to me, Dr. Mahesh, a gynecologist and obstetrician was laughing like a child. There was an instant connect with everyone, as the power of laughter had broken through all barriers and had helped the group to open up and laugh heartily like never before. I felt like I knew them from before. We just didn’t seem like strangers.
At the end of the session, I was looking for someone to provide me home stay, when I returned from Hong Kong. Immediately, Dr. Mahesh offered a room in his house. It was extremely kind of him to welcome me in the middle of the night, when I arrived in Singapore on 14th December at 11:45 p.m. I spent a week in his guest room, which was peaceful and serene – just the place for writing my book. Dr. Mahesh and his wife Vanita treated me to every luxury and I had a great time with them. Being doctors, we discussed the prospects of medical research on laughter and he was deeply interested in conducting further studies on Laughter Yoga.
Before I left Singapore, I was very touched by his generous offer to stay with him on my next tour, but I knew that encroaching on people and their space was something that I wouldn’t like to do. I also realized that the family has to spend a lot of time and attention during my stay. Providing all the meals at home or taking me out, doing my laundry and other things was quite a burden, and I wouldn’t want to put them through all that increased workload.
I reminisced about the age-old Indian wisdom of old Indian scripture, Bhagwatam Purana which mentions aboutDattatreyas’ 24 gurus or teachers. Dattatreya is worshipped as an incarnation of God. He has mentioned the names of his 24 gurus, most of them were depictions of nature in the form of earth, moon, sun and water. He also spoke of the wisdom and the insight that he imbibed from animals, birds and insects like elephant, deer, fish, honey bee, spider etc.
While staying with my friends in Singapore, I remembered the lesson learnt from a bumblebee, which was one among Dattatreyas’ 24 gurus. This is what he wrote about the bumblebee:
A bumblebee, even before sucking the nectar from a flower, creates an enchanted atmosphere of joy and delight as it hovers and hums and dances around the flower. It takes very little nectar from one flower and then moves on to another. It actually gives more to the flower than takes from it. It sings a song of cheerfulness and happily pollinates the plants, thus helping them to prosper. This clearly demonstrates the art and the joy of giving. One should accept, only if one can give back. It is important to keep the interest and the well being of others in mind as it goes a long way to create genuine relationships.
This lesson was very relevant when I was staying with my friends in Singapore. I realized that one should never take generosity and kindness for granted. It should be cherished and reciprocated with an equal amount of consideration and concern. Favors should be taken just a little at a time, which leaves room for further interaction and people should not start looking upon you as a burden or an unwanted company. Though both Avi and Dr. Mahesh were very warm and hospitable, but a longer stay would have put them through a lot of bother and would have been an imposition on their space.
This understanding is universal – it is not just about a stay in someone’s house, but about everything in our lives. The moral of the story says take as little as possible like a bumblebee, but be mindful of giving something back to the source.
This is how we can enrich each other’s lives.
This article is from Dr Kataria's Book "Inner Spirit of Laughter" . You can download the E Book for just USD 8.95. To Buy Click Here.