HOW YOU GIVE MATTERS!

The Greek term for the word “Giving” is “dosis,” which literal meaning is “Gift.” I believe this truly justifies the meaning and sense of the word. Giving should be in terms of gift, which never carries the policy of return (Payback) and is always maintained in contentment, only to sense someone worthy in relation to us. But let’s keep this definition aside for a while and look into the present terms of giving.

Before writing this article I found four attitude of giving. I believe everyone under the sun will fall somewhere among these four attitudes of giving.

  1. 1BusinessBusiness – Class Giving: In our life when we give something to someone, we often tune into the game of pure business. Our attitude of giving is mostly sketched on balance sheet of “Profit & Loss”. We give something to someone in order to take four fold profits out of that. Here we are not giving, we are investing, so that we can earn later on. Those who thinks it’s good to be Business class giver and giving is an investment, for them I have two questions – ‘What have you invested for your birth?’ and ‘What have you invested for your culture?’
  2. Advertisement – Class Giving: In this class of giving attitude, we give so that our name will be advertised. All will know that I have contributed for so and so cause. My name will be flashed and I will be praised by others as a generous personality.self-promotion

I remember few years back, we few youths from our church went to a man for donation for a social activity. Immediately that man gave us a positive reply. But before giving donation he wanted to check our Money Receipt book, so that he can become the highest donor in the donors list.

That was truly an embarrassment for us. The Bible says, “When we are giving, our left hand should not know what our right hand is giving.” This standard of secrecy we need to maintain when we are giving something to someone. But are we up to this standard of giving? Are we giving or doing an advertisement?

  1. PAFF_093014_CalculativeMindsetMFB_newsfeatureEconomy – Class Giving: In this class of giving attitude, we become very economical. It’s like we are going on a trip in the month end. This we often see during festival or celebration time. During festivals the sweet packet from our family goes after a cross-check of the sweet packets from our relative’s family. During marriage days we often keep records of the gifts given by our dear ones, so that in future we will also gift them the same amount of gift what we receive from them. Are we giving or doing a comparative study of giving and proving ourselves better? “God loves a cheerful giver” – The Bible says. Let’s not forget that.
  2. 19231913-mmmainGratitude – Class Giving: Givers belong to this class always consider their ‘attitude of giving’ as ‘an attitude of gratitude’ towards God. They always consider their possessions on earth as a blessing from God, which they don’t deserve. I would like to stand with them. Because our birth, our culture, our language, our race, our earthly possession etc., all we have since our birth for which we had not invested at all. Do we deserve that or it’s a grace from God our our Parents?

Yesterday someone shared me the story of an old man from Chennai whom Rajnikant, The Thalaiva adopted as father. That old man spent his earnings for the cause of poor and destitute people. Even he spent his pension in giving to poor on street.

Many people like such old man are around us, who never comes to limelight but they always consider their life and possession as God’s grace and by giving it to needy is accomplishing the attitude of gratitude towards God.

Every human being is into the attitude of giving from some point of reference but the matter is what about our attitude to the person/sect whom we are giving.

“How you are giving matters more than what you are giving!”

DO NOT WITHHOLD BUT GIVE RIGHT AWAY

Once we both husband and wife were on the Park Street in front of a Rolls Stall waiting for the man to deliver us one chicken roll each as we were returning back from the hospital and were starving. When I was given the roll by the man, a boy came and ask the stall owner to give something to eat. I thought I will give away my roll to the boy and order one more for myself. While I was deciding that in my mind the stall owner drove away the kid and he ran away from that place.  A verse from the book Proverbs immediately came to my mind at that moment:

“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.”

The poor boy needed it as he was hungry. The roll was due to him and it was under my power to hand it over to him which I didn’t do or took time to do…  And ultimately loosing an opportunity to help a poor, hungry kid. 😦

I had probably shared this story of my life many times on different platforms or even here on Candles Online too but I can’t forget the lesson God taught me that day through that powerful verse.

Giving is an deliberate action and doesn’t always depend upon our emotions. We need to practice it on a daily basis. When God gives, He doesn’t see who’s good or bad. He provides rain and sunshine to all irrespective of their characters and actions. He does it deliberately because that’s His nature, His character, His attitude. When He doesn’t withhold good things from His created beings then we being created in His own image, how can we withhold good things from our fellow human beings???  We need to ponder about it seriously.

Keep reading and keep sharing your hearts to us…

Stay Blessed!

Chiradeep

GIVING WHEN IT PINCHES

‘Giving out of abundance’ is what most people gladly do if they have the heart to give. But, how many give in the face of scarcity?

The first picture that comes to the mind on hearing the word ‘giving’ is money. We immediately conjure a picture of handing out finances to a person in need. Yes, rendering financial help to others is an integral part of giving. But, it’s not always about money. Giving also involves two other precious resources – love and time.

When our granaries are full, we won’t hesitate giving a pound of grain to someone in need. But when what we have is just enough for us for today, would we still be generous in extending that helping hand? When our schedules are so hectic that we hardly have time to rest, would we offer our presence to someone who needs us? When we ourselves feel rejected and unwanted would we be able to embrace someone who is in need for love and warmth?

These are higher order ideals and are easier said than done!

Once Jesus Christ sat watching people put their offerings in the synagogue treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts.  But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

Giving in times of abundance involves only a desire and a decision to give. But, giving when it pinches entails a deep sacrifice and it never goes unblessed!

‘GIVE AND FORGET’ – THAT’S THE RULE

Hi Everyone,

As soon as I came to know about this week’s topic one thing that struck my mind instantly is an old saying:

Neki Kar Dariya Mein Daal

Which translates to do good and forget it.  We can also put it this way: never keep an account of good things you do.  This reminds me of a very recent incident that happened in my life.

One of my friend texted me asking me for help as his mother was supposed to undergo a heart operation.  He needed some funds and I instantly arranged the requisite amount.  Within a span of two days I got another text from another friend and message was same.  That reminded me of similar message before the one I spoke about now.  The count is three.  I was worried as I thought some hacking might have taken place and I have been duped (though I haven’t given any account details).  I discussed the same with my husband.  He very calmly said “only two things would happen, either the guy would return the money or not.  In first case you would have the satisfaction of helping your friend in time of need.  And in the second case which could be the worst scenario you have a lesson learnt but hard way.  But in any case your intention to help and clear conscience can never be questioned and that’s all that matters.  Now just relax and forget about that incident” he said.  I was spellbound.

When we keep an account of things we do for others there is very high probability that we expect favours in return.  And that simply questions our conscience.  That’s why it is said in new testament of Bible (I am sorry if I am wrong, as I read Bible’s new testament long back, do correct me): left hand shouldn’t know about the charity done by the right hand.  If we intend to help someone then no one else should know about that, there’s absolutely no need for that.  Any amount of bragging or boasting is publicity but no charity, no help.

Service should be the only motto:  what could be a better example for service to mankind than Gurdwara services.  Feeding and sheltering homeless hungry people without raising questions of any sort and without expecting even a single penny is the most ideal example for what “service to mankind”  means.  Everyone is welcome there.

For me giving is not only about helping someone in need.  It’s also about giving back to society what is due.  Being a responsible citizen, carrying out all duties instead of just fighting for rights is the first and foremost step in this direction.  Be it paying taxes in time and correctly, be it planting a plant in society compound, be it respecting senior citizens-  anything that strives for a peaceful present and a better future is our contribution to our society.  Don’t you all agree?

DO YOU REGRET YOUR ACT OF GIVING?

The world we live in has evolved into a multiculturalist society which can be described as a place having existence, acceptance, or promotion of multiple cultural traditions within a given jurisdiction. A jurisdiction is expanded by the amalgamation of different cultures and is caused by various other factors. This has promoted interdependence and cooperation among diverse groups thriving in our society. One cannot survive without the other. For instance, if we take a look at our social media forums we will see that through the exchange of ideas among different groups of people, specifically ethnic, we are able to express ourselves transparently.

In this state of interdependency we have eventually learnt the act of giving and taking. For the latter, no such special lessons were needed as there is a natural inclination towards ‘taking’. We have taken the shape of being the ultimate consumer in due course. The world offers plenty of opportunities, privileges and gifts and we gladly receive them regardless of the fact the giver is a human, system or nature herself. It is true that we do want to benefit in every way possible and suffer less. Therefore, this mentality has paved the way for the ultra- modern human to be the ultimate consumer exercising control over the universe. In the course an important fact slips from our mind that giving and taking is a two-way process.

It would be partly wrong on my part to say that we are only takers, though we keep this desire alive in our hearts. An enormous chunk of our population generously gives away with both hands. And I thank the Almighty for these people. Some are generous with their money, some with their time, some with energy, others their talents and gifts. A few are generous in the way they love and fewer lay out their lives for causes and people exhibiting the highest order of giving, termed as sacrifice.  After assessing all the aspects of the act of giving and our attitude towards it, a question seems to pop-up in my mind. I ask myself, “When we give, do we give our best?”, “Do we regret after giving away what we are supposed to give?”

There must have been times when after giving away something that was of immense value, a tinge of regret got created in our hearts. Time has the utmost value in our lives. Giving your time to something requires full attention and a heart that desires to achieve what you have decided for. This also involves giving your energy in every form so that you get what you have set your mind upon. What if after all this act of giving and investing your time, energy, attention and money you fail to achieve your goal? You are washed away with the wave of regret and begin to wish to undo every investiture of yours. Regret is something that one should not bask upon. The feeling of regret tears down the attitude to giving. It makes one re-think about their new investitures regarding a different mission. One simply backs out of the act of giving when regret hits in.

It is the very nature of humans to question their own act of giving whether it is money or something else. We don’t want to see our efforts wasted but life has its own predicaments. A way out of this situation can appear when you think that that was the best you could offer to give when it was required. A feeling that you have kept nothing back when you were in the act of giving can also divert you from regret. Life is all about second chances. The one thing that can stop you from regretting your act of giving is not expecting to receive something in return. Once you eliminate this expectation of receiving as you give, your attitude to giving will be transformed. Above all be content when you are in or after the act of giving.

ATTITUDE OF GIVING

This incident happened a month and half ago, that really forced me to think about attitude of giving –  Why do we give and what shall be given ?

We were in a meeting, when one of my colleagues walked in and announced that our lab technician’s mom met with an accident, had a brain injury and a huge sum is needed for her operation. Many of us donated what we can.  Few of us had been to the hospital; her condition was not very good. What happened the next day irritated me to the core.

A person who contributed only 100 Rupees(roughly 1.5 dollars), backed up his action of not being able to help saying that there is wedding of his cousin’s, came to office after spending his precious time at a parlor spending thousands of rupees. He was screaming out loud of how excited he is about the wedding while all of us were discussing about mom’s medical condition. Well, I don’t want him to be spoiling his joy but one can be more sensible.

There was no need for that person to give a reason the day before, as to why he couldn’t help, yet he did so, but why? Did he really have an intention to help? There were a couple of questions on my mind after this.

  1. Is parlor more important than saving someone’s life?
  2. If, supposedly, the same would have happened in the so called “leader-ship team”, he would have done his best to get an impression. (this happened earlier, not my speculation in anyway)

Sometimes people only help for creating false impression of being empathetic. Giving should always be done plentifully, liberally, and faithfully. It should never be carried out with a sinister design or out of respect of persons. Unfortunately, many today give out of a selfish motive, seeking to further their own influence or prosperity, many will not give unless they get some tangible gift in return. 

Believe it or not, your attitude toward giving can say a lot about you. It speaks volumes about the condition of your heart.  It determines what kind of an “eye” you have and how much you are willing do it on your own for the betterment of someone else, someone totally unrelated. Some people are born to serve, that comes naturally to them, but some are inspired by others like family, friends, community etc.

Giving should be voluntary and cheerful. It must be prompted by the heart and not by the head or human reasoning. We should not allow self-interests, pride, corrupt passions, stinginess, and greed to hinder the noble cause of giving. The fulfillment and joy of giving can make us complete. 

Why should we give ?  – It is highly satisfying to see the fruits of what we as humans can do, together we can, and we only can change this world.

What shall we give? – Anything ranging from food, shelter, service, a listening ear, time, money.. there are literally no limits or hard rules.

Attitude of giving is a life style. Don’t undermine the value of what you can do for others, even the smallest of acts can make a life turn around for better.

MAKE A DIFFERENCE

I stopped reading the newspaper long time back. With the news full of scams, murders, rapes and corruption, it makes all of us feel helpless and resigned. “Nothing can change this country” – we say and get on with our daily routines. This feeling of resignation makes us blind. It makes us somebody who is only ready to blame and not take any responsibility. It makes us blame the authorities, government, neighbours, schools, colleges and youngsters – basically everybody other than the people living under our own houses.

As a kid, I saw my father make a difference to a small community when he first started a waste management program. I saw him work hard, toil his days only in educating people about segregating waste. That step of his was a huge inspiration for me. Waste segregation not only made our colony cleaner but it helped those poor rag-pickers who got clean dry waste to be recycled. He changed a few lives and inspired many.

I grew up and came to Bangalore. I joined a few NGO’s. I soon found that here work was being done even at a bigger scale. Providing learning skills to underprivileged kids, teaching English and Computers to underprivileged kids, working on waste segregation at a much larger scale, basic sex education to kids and working against child sexual abuse – I have largely touched these areas while working with many people. I realised that world is full of passionate and enthusiastic people who are not resigned but all ready to make a difference at their own scale.

I belong to a sikh family and in Sikhism, we are taught to do “Seva” (service) to the mankind. There have been times in my childhood when I used to go with my parents and sister to a gurudwara (Sikh temple) just to do seva there. It could be anything – polishing shoes of the people who have come to visit, serving food to those who have to come to eat, clean and sweep the whole area, etc. As a kid, I used to enjoy it because there were other kids and my sister and we used to have loads of fun. As I grew older, I learnt more and more the importance of it. I was a school topper and a vice captain because of it there might have been a bit of arrogance in me. But as the Sunday arrived and I polished shoes of those strangers and served food to those who are not even fortunate to go to a private school – the experience brought me to the right level of humility.

This is what art of giving is all about. It about feeling humble and feeling human. I have gone to old age homes for volunteering and the feeling that I get after an old lady says that she wished her daughter was like me – is worth a million dollars. It touches you right through. It is the perfect way of forgetting all of your petty problems in life and believe that there are indeed a million people who need you. As part of a program, I have taught English to young college kids (from lesser privileged backgrounds) with the intention to help them look for a job for themselves. Even today when I get a call from one of my students telling me that she got placed in another company as an accountant – I feel special.

I read somewhere – the right time to do service is just anytime but the best time to do service is when you are at the highest point in your life. Just when you got that promotion or you got a 40% hike or you bought that villa you always wanted to buy or you bought that super expensive sports car – that is the time when you should sign up for a program and volunteer to help those who are in a need. Donating money is also service but not an effective service, because you can never keep track of your money. And by donating money you will never get a feeling of giving. You must give your TIME. And when you spend time in service while being at your highest highs – you will be brought back to ground and humility. You will know in reality of what kind of sufferings people go through and that happiness is not that promotion, villa or car. Happiness is being in touch with the real souls.

It is easy to sit at home and blame the government or the authorities for not doing what you expect. It is very difficult to take it up in your hands and do the bit of your contribution. I loved what Aamir Khan said in Satyamev Jayate, he said that there are a billion burning issues in this country called India… child labour, infanticides, waste hazards, child sexual abuses, etc. Just take up one issue that is close to your heart and try to make a difference to it. If you are really passionate about it, you will go to just any level to get that issue eradicated from our society. And the best part is that in the process you will inspire many more to join you and take your mission forward with you. You will realise just how many people are willing to work on it – they are just waiting for the right leaders. You don’t have to be politician or a policy maker to make a difference. Just get out of your comfortable homes and start working on that one issue that is close to your heart. In a country of 1 billion people, even if 10% of us take up a cause and a mission to bring about a change, corrupt politicians will be weakened.

There are a lot of people who are doing a lot for their society, who have made it a mission of their lives to make a difference to the people who are not even related to them. Some of them are known by a few people in their colonies, other in their states and some go on to win noble prizes for that. It depends what scale do you want to work on? Start small and get inspired!