Oh! The Joy of Giving! The great Joy of Giving week!

Recently the Joy of Giving week was celebrated..and everybody dug into their cupboards, wardrobes, shelves…and one can see a flow of things going from the people who have either outgrown it or cannot use it anymore.

One thing though which can never be ‘second’ hand in the Joy of Giving is giving of ‘knowledge’. Leading a person to the correct academic course, suggesting a good book, forwarding a contact address, guiding a struggling student through the course or helping a weak student in a bad college to a good professional door,….are all in the category of giving. This giving comes easy to some….but many cannot do these at all. They cannot forward a contact, they will not forward a cv,  – well they are not people with bad intentions, it is just not them!

Of course you have a choice of whether to help – and I am not passing a judgement at all.

Then there are those who cannot TAKE HELP. They start wondering – ‘Why is he/she helping me?’ This clearly comes from a negative mind set. They attract all the negative forces…and are suspicious. It is almost dangerous to help such people. They can harm you. They can express their suspicion to all and sundry – and this may even hurt the HELPER. It is not surprising to find such people. In a best case scenario you should steer clear of such people – even if it takes an effort!

Here is a story of a sadhu…a nice story I would not be surprised if I am repeating myself…

One sadhu was standing on the banks of a river..when he saw an insect struggling in the water. He tried to pull it out of the water..it bit him. He tried again..and it bit him again.

One smart guy like me was standing there and said to the sadhu ‘You are trying to help the insect…and it is trying to bite you. Why are you continuing the effort..? It beats me’

The sadhu plucked a big leaf and picked up the insect…and helped it come on shore….and said to the smart guy: “Even when it is in so much trouble it is not forgetting its dharma of biting. I am in nice comfort..how can I forget my dharma of helping?”

So if you wish to help…be careful. Some people whom you try to help can hurt. Either change the way you help or change the people you help.

Or like the Sadhu learn to bear the sting…..hope that the sting is not poisonous!

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  1. Subra,

    I do not understand “Joy of Giving” week as it seems like playing to the gallery! We were taught to give when you can, when you have excess, when you see somebody in need and asking, when you see somebody in need and not asking. We were taught to be happy that we were in a position to help. That made us humble even when we made a big difference to someone’s life. We never mentioned it to anyone as it would be disrespectful to the person who has received help.

    As for the second part of your article, you have to be careful who you help and how you help. Many a time you end up providing milk to a poisonous snake! As to bite is dharma of the snake!

  2. My impression is that the type and quality of people reading and commenting on this blog is certainly one of individuals who are conscious of their role in this society, while pursuing their interests. There is a ring of genuineness amongst the blog’s followers that is quite noticeable.

    Subra, you have certainly been successful in bringing together people who seem principled. Wish you carry on with your version of passing on knowledge.

  3. Subra,
    It is a western concept where they have a week/day for everything and they have a objective to sell card on that day or some business. In india people keep on giving a feast or pulses on the name of religious(I m talking about Hindus) activities. The importance of ‘Daan’ has been explained in various Hindu scripts and a part of our culture.

    The joy of giving week /father’s day /mother’s day is just western.
    The subject of Giving is very big and it is important part in any society around the world which helps to reduce imbalance.

    Regarding the choice of helping people I think we should help more number of people rather than helping few people more. Those people who harm you are just reducing your efficiency to help so skip them. This world is full of people/subjects who need help.

    Thanks for writing something good everyday. Thanks for the discussion.

  4. Sir,

    I agree with your thoughts about the joy of giving – which increases if done out of one’s generosity. However – even if it is for ‘playing to the gallery’ I wouldn’t mind it if in the end it helps someone in need.
    Taking a cue from Gurcharan Das – dharm being ‘subtle’, and the three situations you have mentioned in conclusion sometimes you need to see the ends, sometimes means and sometimes both.


  5. Dr Mohammed Ali Khan

    “I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.”
    Ayn rand ( as John Galt )

  6. Recently I gave a new bed sheet to a destitute old woman residing on pavement near my house. She said she will take it only if it is deep green colour and I had to back of as I had only orange coloured stuff.

    Will you be upset if the recipient has a code of acceptance for herself? Yesterday I met a lady who is a philanthropist of great order – she believes and follows what Vivekananda said: We should be grateful to those who receive charity from us, as they are providing us an opportunity to us to offer something.

  7. The ability to give has to be matched by the ability to receive too! Many people who are not capable of giving are also not capable of taking. Whether it is a bedsheet, a blanket, books, or advice it does not matter.

    One girl in our office keeps saying ‘give me 1% of your net-worth and I will be rich’ . This amuses me – because the amount is not as important as the ‘principle’. I have offered her many times – to teach her the process of wealth creation, she is not willing to believe or learn :).

    the beggar woman is in that condition…EVEN God can only help those who wish to help themselves 🙂 what can we do?

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