Gita Daily Readings

18th November
Chapter XVII: 20-22
That gift which is given to one who does nothing in return, knowing it to be a duty to give in a fit (proper) place and time to a worthy person, that gift is held to be sattvika.

And, that gift which is given with a view to receiving something in return, or looking for a reward, or reluctantly, is held to be rajasa.

The gift that is given at a wrong place and time, to unworthy persons, without respect or with insult is declared to be tamasa.

Commentary

The Upanishads command us to give, to give with respect and love, and to give in plenty. That is the spirit. Our Master always gave and encouraged even indiscriminate giving. Giving is good; and if the gift is given with a good heart, even a vicious man's heart will be touched and in due course, such a deed may have the effect that one might plan by withholding the gift - the reformation of the wicked man (“unworthy persons”). His conscience is awakened not so much by our denying help as by our giving it freely and making him feel: “Here is one who trusts me and gives, though I am cheating him; I should ensure that I deserve it.” This transformation is not achieved in a day, however.

There are others who are always complaining that they do not find a person worthy of helping or giving to. They will never find one! Does God give us food only because we deserve it? Does the earth produce food only to be eaten by the deserving? Which one of us truly deserves all the blessings one enjoys? Moreover, what is ours in this world? We only give away in charity what belongs to the Lord himself present in the other man! Did we bring any wealth with us when we were born, or shall we take anything with us when we die?

Well, if you wish to do charity only to the deserving person, then keep that money and do not use it, or go and find the deserving person. Do not use it for yourself, but give it. You will immediately find there are many deserving persons in this world!

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