I fell in love with Rani (#83) while thumbing through the pages of Good Housekeeping. It was a simple design with a picture of her and the following brief history by bottomhundred.org from the Fund for Peace.
“Rani grew up and married in Uttar Pradesh, India. Her marriage was not a happy one and she suffered at the hands of her violent husband. When she finally took a stand against him, she ended up in court and was disowned by her family. Ever since, she has lived in the same small shack on the streets of Delhi for 40 years owning one set of clothes and blankets.
“Rani relies on the locals of the neighborhood who look after her with medicine and food, but she is at peace living close to the Lotus Temple where she prays every day,” it continued. “All she wishes for is another set of clothes and to eat twice a day.”
Rani was an instant heroine of mine and could very well be the wealthiest women is this world. Maybe the secret of her riches has to do with her daily trip to the Lotus Temple where she is invited to worship our God. The Bahai’s built the Lotus Temple as a gift to the entire world, where all people are welcomed and embraced by the nine, great marble blossoms.
Rani walks humbly with our God.
There is certainly nothing pretty about injustices and poverty, those ugly and heinous forces that put and keep people at the bottom. But Rani may have stumbled into the pathway of dignity, courage and nobility.
Rani has a worn but sweet face hiding no malice, no resentments, no agendas, no delusions, no pretensions and no concern about money, property or prestige. Perhaps her peace comes from the knowledge she is safe working on her primary spiritual aim.
I know I could learn a lot from Rani as we walk to the Lotus Temple. Her smile is reminiscent of Mother Teresa and the Mona Lisa. I don’t know if she is Muslim, Hindu or Zoroastrian, as it doesn’t matter. Her story is uplifting to my spirit.
She doesn’t appear to have self-esteem issues, no identity problems, no agendas, no addictions, no distractions and no phone.
Rani’s world is like a huge wheel connected to a much smaller wheel. They are both spinning — one slowly lumbering on and the other wheel represents the techno-industrious world spinning franticly and crazily.
Maybe when deadly toxins to humanity — racism, sexism, nationalism, materialism — are eliminated we will have a more balanced, a more ordered and peaceful, harmonious world. This may be what we are promised “the kingdom of God on earth…” We might not have any Rani’s or the billions like her.
Judi Panetta is a member of the Baha’i faith.