Guruji on Art of Giving
“Rivers do not drink their own water, trees do not eat their own fruit, nor do rain clouds eat the harvests nurtured by them. The wealth of the noble is used solely for the benefit of others”. Even after acknowledging that giving is good and that one must learn to give, several questions need to be answered.
When should one give?
We all know the famous incident from Mahabharatha. Yudhisthir, asks a beggar seeking alms, to come the next day. On hearing this, Bheem rejoices that Yudhisthir, his brother, has conquered death. According to Bheem, Yudhisthir is sure that he will be around tomorrow, to give! Yudhisthir gets the message. One does not truly know, whether one will be there tomorrow, to give. Therefore, the time to give is now!
How much to give?
One recalls the famous incident from history. Rana Pratap was reeling after defeat from the Moghals. He had lost his army, he had lost his wealth, and most important, he had lost hope and his will to fight. At that moment, in his darkest hour, his erstwhile minister Bhamasha came seeking him and placed his entire fortune at the disposal of Rana Pratap. With this, Rana Pratap raised an army and lived to fight another day. Give as much as you can!
What to give?
It is not only money that can be given. It could be a flower or even a smile. It is not ‘how much’ one gives, but ‘how’ one gives, that really matters. When you give a smile to a stranger, it may be the only good thing received by him in days or weeks! You can give anything, but you must give it with all your heart!
Whom to give to?
Many a time, we avoid giving by finding fault with the person who is seeking. However, being judgmental and rejecting a person on the presumption that he may not be the most deserving person is not justified. Give, without being judgmental!
How to give?
Coming to the manner of giving, one has to ensure that the receiver does not feel humiliated, nor should the giver feel proud by giving. Charity without publicity and fanfare is the highest form of charity. Give quietly! While giving, let not the recipient feel small or humiliated. After all, what we give, never really belonged to us. We come to this world with nothing and we go with nothing. The thing gifted was with us only for a temporary period. Why then, take pride in giving away something, which really did not belong to us? Give with grace and with a feeling of gratitude!
What should one feel after giving?
We all know the story of Eklavya. When Dronacharya asked him for his right thumb as “Guru Dakshina” he unhesitatingly cut off the thumb and gave it to Dronacharya. There is a little known sequel to this story. Eklavya was asked whether he ever regretted the act of giving away his thumb. His reply was “Yes! I regretted this action only once in my life. It was when the Pandavas were approaching to kill Dronacharya who, broken-hearted at the false news of the death of his son, Ashwathama, had stopped fighting. It was then that I regretted the loss of my thumb. Had I not lost my thumb no one could have dared to hurt my GURU. The message to us is clear: ‘Give and never regret giving!’ (There is also the lesson from Dronacharya’s life – he asked for so much that it killed him in the end.)