One of the Gandhi 3.0 volunteers smiled, waved and welcomed me like a best friend.  His face glowed with delight as he looked at me.

I was happy to see him too, although I was a little nervous because I couldn’t remember his name.  I smiled back, waved, and then clenched my jaw and muttered like a ventriloquist to Jerry, or Mandy, or Khush, “What’s that guy’s name again?”

“Kishan,” one of them would stage-whisper.

I’d say to myself, “Okay, remember it Bonnie, KISHAN.  It’s like ‘cushion with a key’ – Key-shan, KISHAN.

Eventually I got it.

The thing about Kishan, was that even as I was struggling to learn his name, he knew my dog’s name.  Seriously.  Granted her name is Saraswati, a Hindu Goddess.  Granted I showed him a memorable picture of my dog dressed up as a nun.  But not only did Kishan know my dog’s name, he celebrated it.

In our wanderings through Ahmedabad, occasionally we would encounter an image of Saraswati, the goddess.  Kishan would point and say “Saraswati!” like he had discovered gold.  Then he’d ask me to pose for a picture.

I delight in my dogs.  My delight became his delight.  His delight became mine as I wondered “Who is this magical person who bellows ‘Saraswati’ just to make me smile?” Feeling seen and heard, my delight became a circle of delight.

Our last evening in India, we had a community night.  We opened the retreat to friends and family.  Kishan showed up with his wife and child. 

I saw the truth, as I realized:  This man has devoted himself to knowing me, to serving me.  I could barely even learn his name.  Now I see clearly.  He has a full life of his own.  He has joys, sorrows, hopes, and plans.  He has a family that depends on him.  Yet he offered weeks of his time to show up in precious delight.  He stood behind a camera and took a thousand pictures of us.  He selflessly celebrated our dogs’ names, the details of our lives, without regard for his own need to be seen and heard.  This is priceless. This is who I want to be. 

I hope I can repay the debt of delight I owe to Kishan by paying it forward, through devotion or attention or delight in others.

I think of Kishan almost every day when I hike in the mountains of Ojai.  My dog runs after a rabbit and I bellow “Saraswati!”  Sometimes, I add a prayer of gratitude by whispering “Kishanji! – I know your name now.  I see you and I hear you.  Thank you for delighting me with your delight.”  And so it is.

What would it be like to spend a day, a week, or a lifetime delighting in the delights of others? 

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17 Responses to Delight

  1. becky burnham says:

    that was beautiful!


  2. Christine Voth says:

    Inspiring. Beautiful. I want to be like Kishan too! What a joy filled experience you had with him. Thanks for sharing this story.


  3. Bonnie-Ji!! What a wonderful story to start my day with a smile! Thanks and Love to you!


  4. Norm fort says:

    Perfect. Love the pictures.


  5. Swara says:

    Bonnie so beautifully you captured Kishan’s spirit of joyous relentless service. I am thinking of the innumerable gifts I have received.


  6. brocktravis3 says:

    This is a great pure story.


  7. Kishan says:

    Dearest Bonnie ji ,

    Bows of gratitude 🙏

    Such an incredible heart you have that witness delight and devotion in such small incidents. Feel blessed to have known you and be a part of your life – directly or indirectly.

    When I first heard the name of your dog-Saraswati, I felt wow ! What must have made you name her the same, and no wonder the heartful sharing you do is a reflection of the it. During my school days I read a verse in Sanskrit describing virtues of the treasure of Saraswati, Goddess of wisdom. It says -“ what an incredibly unique treasure Saraswati has- the more one intends to store the more it deminishes and the more one shares – the more it grows !” Over a period of time my understanding of wisdom enhanced and is enhancing – it’s not just in form of knowledge but all the virtues including love, kindness, gratitude… the more one shares , for sure it multiplies. Your profound sharings , not just in form of the blog but the way you do everything is an example of consistent cultivation of virtues. You bring the Saraswati alive while sharing its treasure with loving consistency and what a joy that you live with Saraswati literally as well 🙂

    Your relationship with your pets also reminded me of “kinship with all life “ by J Allen Boon, this treasure was shared by our Josephji (G3 participant) few years back. This book is shaping my understanding with all creatures and with self.

    Once again deep deep gratitude for being you ❤️

    With love and metta


    • Bonnie says:

      Oh thank you beautiful Kishan. I was not aware of the subtleties of Saraswati’s name and I so appreciate learning from you again.

      Regarding the “kinship” book, I absolutely love it. I read it years ago but it may be time for a second look as we are getting ready to get bunnies at the Center. My husband raises earthworms, and I was so delighted that J. Allen Boon devoted a chapter to these humble creatures. Much love back to you – Bonnie-ji!


  8. Shelly Ehler says:

    You are Kishan! So much more than you know! You certainly are to me 🙂


  9. Pingback: Sacred Irreverence | Daily Beloved

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