These words from Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore have very profound meaning that is not apparent at first glance –“He who wants to do good knocks at the gate: he who loves finds the door open.” It is not about simply helping people for the sake of helping them. But it is about being a loving person; and it means to have a loving heart that opens all doors.
There are people who help others who are needy, as a part of their social work and responsibilities. Some even do it to get fame and publicity. These are the people who need to knock at the doors to seek permission to enter, because being kind is much different from being loving.
Why Love is Superior to Being Kind
This quote asserts that being kind can be a mere formality or a duty. It can come as a way of discharging one’s responsibility to others. It can signify our urge to look good in the eyes of others. Some corporate even go to the extent of making it a business tactics or for cheap publicity. Viewed in this sense, helping others looks quite an impersonal act. It is as if something is done without putting one’s soul in it.
People, who have real love, when they try to help others, find the doors open. Being a loving person, they do not need to knock. It is imperative for them to give help. There is no other choice left for them. They do not look at the status of the person; but focus only on his needs. Doors imply separation or seclusion, and indicate the boundaries for others. For a loving person, there are no doors to open. If you remember the story from the Ramayana, you will understand this concept instantly, in a flash.
A Story from the Ramayana
Lord Shri Rama, the crown prince of Ayodhya, was undergoing exile in the forest along with his wife and brother. Once when they were feeling hungry; a tribal lady called Shabri came to them. She offered them wild fruits and berries to eat. However to ascertain if these fruits are indeed ripe and sweet; she would bite every fruit and then place them before the Lord. One can say that she defiled the fruits by biting them. But those who understand true love, will know that it was her love that made her chose the best fruits.
This story amply signifies the subtle difference between being kind and being a loving person. Being kind works under certain limitations, it can’t transgress certain boundaries. It needs to knock at the door to enter. Being loving comes straight from the heart. It is spontaneous. It enters wherever it wants to enter. It does not need to knock at the door.
Being a loving person is much better than being a kind person. A kind person may be impersonal and aloof. They may maintain their distance. But a loving person believes in no barriers. He doesn’t need to knock, as he treats the other person as his own. There is a popular quote that illustrates this wonderfully.
“Across the Gateway of my Heart
I wrote: ‘No Thoroughfare’,
But love came laughing by, and cried,
‘I enter everywhere’.”
― Herbert Shipman
Written By: Priya Singh