"Rivers do not drink their own water, nor do trees eat their own fruit, nor do rain clouds eat the grains reared by them. The wealth of the noble is used solely for the benefit of others?
Even after accepting that giving is good and that one must learn to give, several questions need to be answered.
The first question is when should one give?
We may recall the famous incident from Mahabharat.
Yudhisthir, asks a beggar seeking alms to come the next day. On this, Bhim rejoices, that Yudhisthir, his brother, has conquered death! For he is sure that he will be around tomorrow to give. Yudhisthir gets the message. No one knows really whether he/she will be there tomorrow to give!
The time to give therefore is now.
The next question is ‘how much to give?
There is a famous incident from history. Rana Pratap was reeling after defeat from the Moghals. He had lost his army, his wealth, and the most important he had lost hope, his will to fight. At that time in his darkest hour, his erstwhile minister Bhamasha came seeking him and placed his entire fortune at the disposal of Rana Pratap. With this, Rana Pratap raised an army and lived to fight another day.
The answer to this question how much to give is "Give as much as you can!
The next question is what to give?
It is not only money that can be given. It could be a flower or even a smile.
It is not how much one gives but how one gives that really matters. When you give a smile to a stranger that may be the only good thing received by him in days and weeks!
"You can give anything but you must give with your heart!
One also needs answer to this question whom to give?
Many times we avoid giving by finding fault with the person who is seeking. However, being judgmental and rejecting a person on the presumption that he may not be the most deserving is not justified.
"Give without being judgmental!
Next we have to answer ‘How to give?
Coming to the manner of giving, one has to ensure that the receiver does not feel humiliated, nor does the giver feel pride by giving.
In giving one should follow the advice, ‘Let not your left hand know what your right hand gives?’ Charity without publicity and fanfare is the highest form of charity.
While giving let not the recipient feel small or humiliated. As a matter of fact, what we give never really belonged to us. We come to this world with nothing and will go with nothing. The thing gifted was only with us for a temporary period. Why then take pride in giving away something which really did not belong to us? Give with grace and with a feeling of gratitude.
What should one feel after giving?
We all know the story of Eklavya. When Guru Dronacharya asked him for his right thumb as "Guru Dakshina", he unhesitatingly cut off the thumb and gave it to Dronacharya.
There is a little known sequel to this story. Eklavya was asked whether he ever regretted the act of giving away his thumb. He replied, and the reply is believed to be true, because it was asked to him when he was dying.
His reply was "Yes! I regretted this only once in my life. It was when Pandavas were coming in to kill Dronacharya, who was broken hearted on the false news of death of his son Ashwathama and had stopped fighting. It was then that I regretted the loss of my thumb. If the thumb were there, no one could have dared hurt my Guru?"
The message to us is clear.
Give and never regret giving!
And the last question is
‘How much should we provide for our heirs?
Ask yourself ‘are we taking away from them the gift of work’? – A source of happiness! The answer is given by Warren Buffett:
"Leave your kids enough to do anything, but not enough to do nothing!
I would conclude by saying: let us learn the Art of Giving, and quoting Sant Kabir:
"When the wealth in the house increases, when water fills a boat, throw them out with both hands!
This is the wise thing to do. Just as filling water in boat becomes the reason of misfortune, the same way more of wealth brings vices, which lead to misfortune.
We always feel that the life of others is much better than us. But, we always forget that we are also others for someone else! There is nothing that we can judge, it is an illusion Everyone’s life is just as it should be, neither better nor worse, the result of his ‘Karma’