I recently read this article that is floating around in Facebook.
It was a humbling attempt by two young individuals who returned from US of A and tried to live below the poverty line.
The immediate thought, after reading this article, that was lingering in my mind was Charity and how closely it is associated with religions. Again and again, the Hindu Dharma – law of life – stresses the need of Charity. For any and every function, ritual or ceremony giving away things in charity is an integral part. Grains, Cows, Clothes are most common things given away in charities. I have heard similar things from my friends from other religions that they have to set aside a percentage of their earnings for charitable reasons.
It was realized in ancient times only that there cannot be economical equality and a certain mass of people will be dependent on other mass. I presume it was also realized that not all the people will be ready to share their belonging to underprivileged. That could be a reason behind Karma concept and the strict rules in all the religion regarding Charity.
What does one get out of charity? Not just the tax benefits. You get a sense of satisfaction. I have personally felt this though the contribution was negligible. Probably this sense of satisfaction/completeness is what drove Warren Buffet to donate considerable percentage of his wealth. On the other side, why don’t people willingly donate? (1) People want to save every penny for themselves and their dearer ones in this given economic conditions (2) People do not believe that the donated money is put to use properly (3) A feeling that the under privileged could become complacent and refuse to progress. I do not know of any universal solution for this. But I would like to quote translations of two phrases in Tamil – (1) “Know the person before you donate” (2) “Donations and charity comes after self”. The latter one means to save sufficient wealth and give away the rest in charity.
Like the child’s reply in the star fish story, the donations that you make might be very little. But it may mean a lot to the receiver.