Do Good and Forget – नेकी कर दरिया में डाल (October 2020)

नेकी कर दरिया में डाल (Neki Kar Dariya Mein Daal) is the idiom of the month. While it is not in pure Hindi, it is one of the famous Indian idioms that captures the essence of a powerful life as well as spiritual lesson. In this idiom, there are two key words: Neki (which means auspicious deed; and in Hindi it means पुण्य कर्म or परोपकार के लिए किये गए कार्य) and Dariya (which means sea; and in Hindi it means सागर or समुद्र). This idiom can also be stated as “Do good and forget” or “भलाई कर और भूल जा”. The focus of this month’s assignment is on the “how” part and not the “why” part of this idiom. That is, we will focus on how to act after undertaking a good deed and not why to perform a good deed. We all very well know the high moral value in undertaking any auspicious act; but, it is our behavior during and after that act where we often fail.


The term Dariya (sea) in this idiom is used to indicate the aspect of forgetting an act. Let’s talk about why the term sea – and particularly throwing something in it – is used to portray the act of forgetting something. Think for a moment that you are standing on the deck of a ship with a very expensive object, say a diamond, in your hand. All of a sudden, the diamond slips out of your hand and falls in the middle of the sea. There is a very high likelihood that you will not see it again. And, if you try to prove it to others that you owned that object and it fell, no one will believe you either. For all that matter, you never had that diamond piece.


Probably, there is no better figurative portrayal of completely erasing a thought from mind than the act of throwing an object in the sea. Just like the dropped object is gone forever, we must forget whatever auspicious act we undertake. Even the thought of our previous pure acts must be completely lost and eradicated from our mind. In fact, it is only then an act of kindness, sympathy, and compassion becomes a truly auspicious act.


But, that’s not what we do. What we do is “नेकी कर और फेसबुक पर डाल”. If we do something good, however small or insignificant it could be, we are eager to share it with others. Not only we do not try to forget about it, we eternalize it. For us, that sea means social media channels, friends, photos in our living rooms, or the walls of the temples or orphanages where we want to see our names etched in stone. It is not a surprise that an act even though initially inspired by generous feelings end up in not helping us rise spiritually or achieve peace.


To really “benefit” from a benevolent act, that is to gain an internal joyous state, we must learn to give up the desire for a material benefit from pure acts. The true meaning in this idiom is not as straight forward as it sounds. This idiom when carried out in its true spirit puts the doer in an extremely peaceful and exalted state. To reach that state, however, we have to understand its subtleties and go through a number of stages of spiritual evolution.


Where majority of us are today is the stage zero where the so called “auspicious” acts are like investment or the price to be paid to gain particular material benefit. In this stage, we simply treat the “auspicious” act as a price in a business transaction. Without understanding and resolving to leave this stage, we cannot grow, become joyous, or achieve peace.


In the first stage of evolution, the helper does not tell anyone about a caring act. Only the organization or person benefiting from the act knows about the doer. For instance, a person who donates to an organization with the condition that his name will not be advertised for publicity has reached this phase. Similarly, a person who helps someone in dire need but ensures to not boast about his generosity in public has reached this phase of evolution.


In the next stage, the helper does not let even the recipient know about his identity. The helper is very well aware of the potential moral wickedness when the recipient knows the helper and considers himself indebted to the helper’s acts. To avoid this trap, the doer remembers his own auspicious acts but does not let anyone know about it.


In the final stage, the helper himself forgets about the act. First, he truly believes that he only became a means for the help he offered to others. It is his moral duty and obligation to carry out the acts of kindness and humanity. He is not doing something special or extraordinary. Because of this strong belief, he does not remember his own generous acts.


While we may be in any stage of our spiritual evolution (including stage zero), it is only the final stage that fulfils the true spirit of the idiom of this month. It is considered a godly state. That is what we must aspire to reach. All of the other stages present hazards to make mistakes.


As the assignment of this month, kids are expected to

  1. Explain the meaning of this month’s idiom.
  2. Use the idiom in a sentence.
  3. Explain different phases of a person’s evolution [as explained in the article]
  4. Talk about how this article impacts them in carrying out future acts of generosity


Let’s also take this month’s article as an opportunity to reflect on our own motives behind our acts of generosity.


I am looking forward to hearing kids’ sincere and inspiring thoughts.



Harsh Mendiratta