Being a ‘good human being’ is the foundation of our spiritual journey and few can deny that generosity is an essential quality of a good human being. We may struggle to control the five passions until our meditation evolves to a higher stage, but through our interactions with family and friends, generosity is a virtue we practise daily. Three separate extracts are presented below. These, whilst very different, encourage us to extend generosity and kindness to those beyond our immediate circle. They make clear that generosity is not dependent on vast wealth. Sometimes, our time, a kind word or smile may soothe a troubled heart far more than any gift or donation. Ultimately, the real beneficiary of generosity is not the recipient, but us. Generosity helps to detach us from all that is material and helps us to realize the infinite life force to which we all belong.
Great Master’s advice – Always extend your hand to give
The Great Master called his sons and their families and said, “I have settled you all independently and well. Now you are all earning. I would like to advise all of you, “Never to spread your hand to receive, always extend it to give.” His sons said, “By your blessings, it will be as you desire.”
Today, every satsangi here knows how much Maharaj Ji and his family give from their farm to the Dera – for the sangat – and how much wealth is given. They have also given very valuable land for the satsang ghar at Sikanderpur, and have yet given more land there, where the Radha Soami Satsang Beas Society are constructing a charitable hospital. Maharaj Ji and they all are true disciples of their Master.
Treasure Beyond Measure
Generosity and Devotion
I heard there are two ways
To come to the feet of the Master:
One is to repeat the Name of the Lord,
The other is to stretch out the hands in generosity.
Beware, when wealth piles up in a house
Or water leaks into a boat
The duty of the wise is to throw these out
With both hands, lest they drown.
Are you big boned and strong?
Then spend your strength in devotion to the Lord.
Or are you rich?
Then spend your wealth in charity.
Or perhaps you are wise?
Then offer wisdom to your neighbours.
This is the right use of the gracious Lord’s gifts.
Give, give, O friend, and then give again
As long as you are alive,
For who will ask you to give anything
When your body has crumbled to ash?
On the other side there is no giving or taking –
No shops or shopkeepers beyond the veil.
But while you are here
Take only that which is worth your taking –
True devotion for the Lord.
Kabir, The Great Mystic
The joy of giving – counsel from Maharaj Charan Singh
Brother, charity should come from the heart. There is no tax which you have to pay. It only concerns your heart, what pleases you to give in charity. That is the first thing. Then it should never be done to blow your own trumpet, as Christ says – just to gain public appreciation and impress people. We should never bargain with the Father – that if I give you one thousand dollars, you will give me twenty thousand dollars in the next birth or thirty thousand dollars in the next birth. That is not charity. That’s bargaining with him, trying to make a business deal with him.
We do charity for our own good. He has given us so much surplus, and we want to use it in the service of his creation so that we may get detached from it. Whatever we have earned, we should become worthy of what the Lord has given us. In gratitude we’d like to share with his creation. Charity is not to impress other people, to build our ego, to boost our ego.
People have a wrong concept of charity. They try to blow their trumpets in the newspaper, on billboards so that everybody knows what they have given in charity. And even if they go to a temple or a church, they try to bargain with the Father: I am giving to you today because I have a surplus, but when I need it, you should then give to me. Since they can’t take their wealth with them after death, they want to invest now, so that maybe they can get it after death. We’re trying to be very clever.
Otherwise we know we have to leave it here. So we try to bribe the Father, cheat him – we’ll donate money to you now, and after our death you help us. This is no charity. It’s just self-deception. It is your motive and intention with which you give things in charity that matters.
Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. III