Complete charity makes the receiver feel valued , not pitied

Complete charity makes the receiver feel valued , not pitied

The Bhagavad-gita helps us to go beyond appearance to substance in terms of not just identity (beyond the body to the soul), but also mentality (beyond condescension to compassion).

Consider for example the act of charity, which is normally considered good, even noble. The Gita helps us to see beyond the act to the consciousness, the context and the consequence. If an alcoholic gives a bottle of booze to a recovering alcoholic who is striving to break free from the addiction, then that charity may well trigger a disastrous relapse. Such inconsiderate charity, the Bhagavad Gita (17.22) points out, is charity in the mode of ignorance – far from being laudable, it is censurable.

Similarly, charity given egoistically and scornfully, viewing the receiver as someone far lower than a human being with dignity, is charity in the mode of passion (Bhagvad Gita 17.21). Such charity is intended largely to highlight the superiority of the giver and the inferiority of the receiver. It may do some good externally to the receiver, if something of value is given. But it does no good internally to the receiver or even the giver.

The receiver feels mortified, even humiliated, resenting the helplessness that has necessitated the transaction – that agony is expressed in the charged phrase: “Who wants to be a charity case?”

Further, the charity simply inflates the ego of the giver, increasing the blindness to the spiritual reality that nothing belongs to us – whatever we have is a gift from Krishna temporarily in our custody.

Complete charity helps the receiver not just externally but also internally – by helping the receiver feel valued as precious child of Krishna and a cherished member in his universal family. Those who thus charitably share Krishna’s message of love with others, the Bhagavad Gita (18.69) declares, become most dear to him.

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 17 Text 21

Mantra meditation is like a workout that becomes a massage
To let the nourishing water of truth irrigate the heart, break the dam of misconception

Author: Chaitanya Charan Das

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