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Tag: charity

Boundless

Here’s a lovely story on giving / kindness/ generosity from the Mahabharatha I came across.

Arjuna once asked Krishna thus, “Why is it that people always say Karna is the most generous person in the world? I too have given away so much to those in need. Why am I not considered so?”

Lord Krishna replied, “I think you will see this better in action for yourself. Tomorrow at dawn, I call upon both you and Karna to have a giveaway contest. You will each start with a mountain of gold, jewellery, ornaments etc. This will give me an opportunity to judge which of you is the better giver.”

The next morning, both Arjuna and Karna began their giving spree. By mid-day, Arjuna was tired, having given away nearly half his mountain, and looked to rest for a few minutes. He asked Krishna how Karna was doing. Krishna told Arjuna that Karna already finished his giveaways and went home! Arjuna was shocked and surprised.

To which Lord Krishna said, “My dear Arjuna, you were asking people to bring their bags and buckets and fill them, and once filled, to go back. Karna on the other hand had no such requirements – he just gave away with no limits or conditions. That’s why his mountain got emptied out in no time. And also why people consider him the most generous person on earth!”

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Ritualistic

There is only one true reason to perform rituals, as my Guru says. And that is, to purify the mind.

What does purification of the mind mean? At one level, it involves destroying the mind altogether. In a non-violent manner of course. We all know our monkey-minds are always going off on tangents, ever seeking more and more. What if this mind could come under control? Very difficult? I agree!

At another (and maybe more easier, and more tangible) level, purifying the mind involves broadening its scope. For most of us, our lives revolve only around ourselves – our wants, needs, desires. But what if we could include others, friends, family, acquaintances, strangers – eventually the whole world, especially all the good people – into our vision of goodness? What if we could desire good for all?

Herein lies the beauty of my Guru’s recommendations. Do the rituals you like, but perform them for the larger benefit of society. Chanting some shlokas? Excellent, chant for mother earth. Doing charity? Wonderful. Keep aside 10% of your income, no matter how small. Use the remaining 90% – invest it, let it compound – have it your way. But the 10% that you’ve decided to give away – that will begin to purify your mind. Because the human mind has been trained for countless generations to simply do everything it can to survive and sustain. There is more to life than that though. As the ancients tell us, the real magic happens when the ego melts away. That will happen when we truly believe that nothing belongs to ‘us’, and the mind merges with the universal mind.

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Old is gold?

We feel good when we help others in need. Especially the really destitute.

We may donate old clothes, or old books, an old cycle, old footwear, old blankets or any other items we would have used before.

This is truly fantastic! But what could be even more so?

Donating something brand new. Something that is not a leftover. Specifically buying a brand new dress and donating it. Or buying a brand new book and donating it. Buying a nice pair of shoes and donating it. With the box and wrapping!

We will not just feel good. We will feel great.

Let us think of it this way. If we were at the receiving end, would we prefer the old, or the new?

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learn – earn – yearn

In school and college, it was all about:

  1. winning alone
  2. defeating others
  3. getting the best job interviews, and
  4. bagging the highest paid offer

In the workplace, realisation dawns, that life is about:

  1. winning together
  2. working with others
  3. the ‘best’ job being but a mirage in the mind, and
  4. money being there, but yet never enough

We spend the first quarter of our lives learning how to earn a living. Then we spend next two quarters earning that living. And the last quarter, yearning for whatever was left out.

But we never really live, because we are always focused on the ‘me and the my’, instead of the ‘we and the why’.

‘We’ for inclusivity. And ‘why’ for clarity – why do we have so many things, yet feel empty?

In this age of excesses, less is more. And it comes from more austerity, more self-sacrifice and more charity.

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The Shift

A peculiar phenomenon happens in India.

Even those one would consider to be from a very weak economic stratum – like drivers, maids, laborers and others – can often be seen donating to charity, in whatever capacity they can. Even if they may be able to save next to nothing for themselves.

It begs the question, what ‘rich’ really means. Is it measured by the size of one’s bank balance? Or by the size of one’s heart?

Our lack of happiness stems only from one thing. Our thinking that who we are, what we are, what we do and what we have, is all but inadequate.

Perhaps it is time to shift the frame of reference.

Instead of comparing what we do not have with others, we could compare everything that we have that others don’t. Such as family, work life balance, kids, friends, a spiritual support group, healthcare, a job, good food and countless other blessings, that others may be willing to give an arm and a leg for.

This shift is not for economic satisfaction. This is just for mental peace. Which should be infinitely more valuable.

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