Essence of charity

Posted on: Thursday, October 13, 2011 | Posted by: Art of Living Universe

 India for long had a tradition of charity. Several hospitals, rest-houses, ponds and temples were built by business houses for the benefit of the poor. We need to bring back that sense of social responsibility, says Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Money gives us a sense of freedom and ownership. The general feeling is that with money, we can own anything or put a price tag to other people’s services. Ownership of something means total control of its existence. When we pay for a piece of land, we feel that we own it, although the land continues to exist even after the owner is long gone. How can you own something that outlives you? Money also gives the idea that you are powerful and independent, blinding you to the fact that we live in a world of interdependence. We depend on farmers, cooks, drivers and the services of so many other people around us. Even a surgeon cannot operate on himself; he depends on others. Why are most rich people arrogant? It is because of the feeling of independence that money brings. The awareness of dependence, on the other hand, makes one humble.

These days, we go to a great extent of measuring people in terms of their net worth on the money scale. Can money reflect the worth of a person? Calling someone a millionaire or a billionaire is not a compliment. You cannot assign a monetary value to human life. When people lack faith in divinity, in their own abilities and in the goodness of society, they suffer from a deep sense of insecurity. Then all that appears to provide security is money. In other words, money can provide an illusory sense of security. It is due to these notions that money is considered a part of maya. The truth is that human values erode when you put a price tag on all that cannot be measured, like love, truth, wisdom and life itself.
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