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At the Feet of The Mother

On Philanthropy

The effect of philanthropy depends upon the state of consciousness with which a philanthropist gives. If it done without due consideration of the place, time or person, done blindly and without discernment about its short term and long-term effects upon the recipient then it only increases tamasic obscurity in the giver and the recipient. If done with the egoism of the giver and with ulterior motive then it leads to pleasure and pain, the vital joy of name and fame and on the other hand disappointment if it is not acknowledged. The last and best within human limits is the giving done selflessly and with due discernment. Such a sattwic giving brings inner peace and happiness and prepares us for the spiritual life.

It is not to be confused with true spiritual life where the mode of giving and what is given completely changes. The sum and substance of it is that while a sattwic giving may be helpful in preparing us for the higher life, it should not be mistaken for the spiritual life itself. The sattwic giving too binds us to the sense of doership and of righteousness and of being virtuous. The first two modes have obviously no spiritual value and can even be an obstacle to progress as the former increases obscurity and the latter flatters and fattens the egoism. It doesn’t matter whether one does it discreetly or not. It is enough if one remembers that he or she is giving and the consciousness of the giver is strong. Because in reality we give only a small fraction of what we have received from nature and God which includes our means to earn. 

That is why giving or offering wealth to the Divine is best since it completes the circle by joining the original giver (the Divine) with the recipient and thereby turning the giving of wealth for the Divine Work into dravya yajna. Still if one is deeply moved by the sight of human plight, it is alright to help as long as one remembers two things. The first is to remain humble and be grateful to the Divine that He gave us the means to help and aid the ailing. Secondly one should know that while this giving may earn some merit in this world and hopefully other worlds, in itself it is not enough to open the doors of the Spirit. The right attitude for the spiritual seeker is to know that it is the Divine who is giving through us and what is being given, regardless of the person, is being offered to the Divine within that person. The same attitude should be there when one receives something. It is not to be bound by obligation to the person through whom we receive something but to remain grateful only to the Divine in all our giving and receiving. 

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