Recently at quora dot com I read about a Gujrati Diamond businessman* who has acted as a father to four hundred and seventy two girls of various religious communities by helping them to get married by bearing their marriage expenses. No doubt all these girls should be poor to not being able to afford a decent wedding on their own. Needless to say, I was amazed at the sheer amount of money this person spent in organising the marriages of these girls. Even an amount of rupees one lakh per girl meant that he has spent till date some 47.2 million rupees in these marriages. Now, will this money ever return to him the same way as he has spent? Not most probably given the financial positions of the girls. Then why did he spend such amounts of money to the people who aren’t related to him in any way?(there wasn’t any indication that those girls were kith and kin of his). Definitely to help those girls in getting married. But perhaps all these girls had relatives who were Rich enough or well to do to help them (in getting married)? Most probably! But it requires the quality of giving something freely (I.e, without any preconditions) to others to help them in this way. And, that quality is lacking among the relatives of those girls. That is why!
Giving with any preconditions is what is called donation. In the context of this essay, I restrict donations only to those spontaneous and regular assistances howsoever small or large they may be disregard to the race and religion, place and time involved of the recipient and so, leave aside the contributions made by individuals, groups and corporations to the people at large or, the government or, international organisations in times of war or, during natural calamities (although these assistances can also be called donations).
In human society, donation is a necessary act without which perhaps society cannot exist evenly. Because, the lives of many a people all over the world is dependent on donations. If donating is necessary then why don’t all the people donate to each other? This is because the rich and the well to do don’t require other’s donations. They can carry on with whatever they earn on their own. Secondly, one has to have empathy for others to give without any preconditions. This is an innate capability of the donor. He should be able to introspect on the conditions of others and feel the pain and sufferings that they are feeling. Only then could he become a donor. And these qualities are absent (save for only a percentage or two) in almost all the people in every society. So to be a donor, one has to be a giver from his heart for therein will arise first the feelings and perceptions of the poor, the needy and, the distressed when one sees or hears about them. Without such feelings and perceptions there will not arise in his mind the thoughts of reaching out to those people and do something useful for them in whatever way he can, even giving something of his own which he dearly possesses.
But why should one give freely at all? Does it bring any benefit to the giver? One thing about donations to be kept in mind is that those who are wilful givers do not think about the dividends that mayn’t be coming to them. They just don’t think what benefit they will get if they give anything free. They just want to help the needy, the poor and, the distressed people–that’s all they think about. And thus it can be concluded that their act of donating is a spontaneous activity. For this reason we find some people donating directly while some may form a trust and regularly donate to that trust to help a larger mass of people at a time.
The joy of donating couldn’t be seen from the outside because it gets rarely manifested on the giver. To know what it feels like to give anything freely, one himself has to donate to the real poor, the needy or, the distressed. Then only can one know how it feels to give something to others gratis. The lightening up of the eyes of the receiver, the happiness and satisfaction that is reflected on the face of the receiver when he receives something gratis-this can be perceived only by the giver which instantaneously and automatically stirs up a different kind of pleasure or satisfaction in him which can be summarised as ‘the joy of giving!’
This joy of giving freely to others removes from the minds of the donors the feeling that they have forfeited something of their own; a forfeiture which is seen by others as a great loss but by the givers themselves as nothing but, ‘a little timely help for others.’ These people do not count these things as loss or even as reductions. Had it been such then persons like Bill Gates, Ratan Tata, The Birlas, writer J.K.Rowling (to name a few) wouldn’t have donated such huge sums of money to the poor and, to the society also. Their joy of giving and helping others overwhelms the thoughts that they have lost a substantial part of their wealth which have also perhaps brought their positions a little lower in the list of the Rich and wealthy people.
Lastly, but not negligibly, after knowing that this act of donating is innate and emanates from the heart, can one without receiving this capability from nature at birth acquire it, after attaining maturity, externally? At first it may seem that he cannot and so will only end up on the recipients’ list. But there’s a way! He has to culture this feeling in his mind. For this he has to contemplate (on God). When he will be contemplating (on God) and also bring to his mind, day after day that he can never give freely (and so could never become a donor) and so sees donations as an useless activity, will he be able to erase this thought of donating as ‘an useless activity’ from his mind. His mind will thus be freed from the thoughts of ever-receiving freely from others and will contrarily be thinking of feeling about the difficulties of the poor and the needy and, how to help them. And just like it was said earlier that one has to donate to feel the joy of giving so also one has to contemplate (on God) to perceive this mentality of donating if he feels that he is deficient in giving anything freely to others.
* Mahesh Savani.
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