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Archive for March 8th, 2012

From: “Arjuna Deva”
To: am-global@earthlink.net
Subject: Who Is Real Donor?
Date: 08 Mar 2012 20:43:57

Baba

== WHO IS REAL DONOR ==

Namaskar,
Sometimes we hear reports in the news of how an ultra-wealthy person is donating millions or even billions to a given cause or charity – albeit under a certain set of conditions.

In response, the common people go “oooh” and “ahhh” with great appreciation and veneration. They regard that “philanthropic donor” as a second god and sing the praises of their generosity with full admiration.

As Ananda Margiis, we have to step back and view the scene according to the dictates of bhagavad dharma. Then we will have a balanced perspective.

THESE TWO STORIES ARE VERY MEANINGFUL

What follows are two dharmic stories told by Baba which help us understand how to evaluate the value of a given service or donation.

First however, we should review Baba’s teachings on giving and how to qualify the value of that offering.

Specifically, there are three qualifications for evaluating the greatness of a person’s donation:

(1) Percentage: The percentage of wealth donated;
(2) Hardship: The degree of struggle undergone in giving that money;
(3) Means: Was the money earned honestly (shuddhodana), or through trickery, deceit or exploitation.

We will examine these three factors further down in this post.

One thing to be noted is that the total amount donated is NOT a qualifying factor, but unfortunately this is the main thing people look at, and they overlook the above three true factors in assessing the greatness of any financial donation. It is for this reason that this entire posting has been written.

These following stories make this entire issue more clear.

STORY #1:

WHO DONATED WHAT PERCENTAGE OF THEIR WEALTH

Many may know the story from the mythological Ramayana which Baba Himself cites on numerous occasions. King Rama and his army needed to cross the waters from South India to Sri Lanka in order to rescue the Siita. So Rama called all his followers – fighters, animals, everyone – to build a bridge.

Baba says, “You know the story of the Rámáyańa. During construction of a bridge, the big monkeys carried large stones while the small squirrels brought only tiny grains of sand. Is there any difference between the carrying of tiny grains of sand by the squirrels on the one hand and the carrying of a whole mountain by Hanumán on the other? Both are equally valuable. You may be a small entity like a squirrel, but your existence is in no way insignificant.” (Namami Krsna Sundaram, Disc: 21)

Baba says, “The most important point to consider is who has utilized his ability and to what extent. Hanuman [the mighty monkey, a devotee of Rama in the mythological epic the Rámáyańa] fetched huge boulders to build a bridge across the sea, while the squirrels collected small pebbles. Yet intrinsically both these actions have the same value…We cannot give more appreciation to those who have not utilized their potentialities properly but have done more work than to those who have fully utilized their talents.” (Human Society Part 1, ‘Social Justice’)

In the above quote, the squirrel utlised 100% percent of its capacity and the big monkey did the same thing. So their contribution was equal despite the fact that the monkey carried much bigger objects. Their percentage of giving and degree of hardship is the same.

As the story goes, the bridge was built, Rama and his armies crossed, and Siita was rescued. The import of Baba’s above teaching is that even though the squirrels only brought small pebbles, their offering and help was as much valued as the dramatic efforts of Hanuman. Why? Because those squirrels gave their all, according to their capacity and strength.

And that is one of Baba’s golden guidelines with regard to rendering proper service. How much one is utilizing their inherent potential – what percentage of themselves are they giving toward a certain cause and how much hardship they are undergoing in their service.

When we apply this formula to the present day capitalist schema, we can understand that a $1 donation by someone who has only $10 is of greater worth than a $50 million ($50,000,000) donation by some capitalist billionaire. Because the amount that one gives is not the driving force; what is valued is the percentage of one’s wealth and property that they are willing to offer. A poor man gave 10% of his wealth but a rich person has given only .0001% percent of his wealth, i.e. a minuscule amount.

By Baba’s dharmic guideline, the poor person has donated more than the billionaire hence the poor person should get more respect.

Although it looks like the rich person has given a lot because the amount is large, but in the realm of service it is quite minimal. Because he gave only .0001% of his entire wealth and did not undergo any hardship. So his contribution of $50,000,000 is much less than the $1 given by the poor person.

Here the overall amount is meaningless. We should never look at the total amount per se, but evaluate the donation according to the percentage of one’s wealth. That is our Ananda Marga way.

$1 to a poor man who does not have food is quite substantial whereas $50 million to a multi-billionaire is quite petty. Thus the poor person underwent greater hardship. That also counts per the viewpoint of bhagavad dharma.

One added point that should also be noted is that the billionaire will use their $50 million donation as a tax write-off and actually save money.

So for the billionaire the act of giving is often a mere exercise in managing their wealth in a strategic manner whereas the poor person who donates is actually giving away what little money he has. That is why, according to the dictates of bhagavad dharma, that $1 donation is greater as that represents a higher percentage of the person’s total wealth. That is one parameter for measuring the quality of social service or one’s generosity. And the second parameter is the degree of hardship.

STORY #2:

THE DEGREE OF SACRIFICE IS WHAT COUNTS

Here is an important story that is directly related with Baba’s teaching on service and sacrifice.

Once there was a very poor family. They had almost no food and were on their deathbed. They were going to share their last few morsels of food amongst the four of them. Just as they were about to eat, a beggar knocked on their door. The beggar requested something to eat. The family knew that if they failed to eat that evening they would meet their death. Even then, one by one, they all gave up their portions and served it to the beggar. The beggar was deeply satisfied by their offering. That night those 4 family members died of starvation.

A mongoose witnessed the entire scene and was awestruck by the family’s great sacrifice. The mongoose started rolling around on the floor and inadvertently rolled over some of the flour that had fallen onto the floor during the offering to the beggar. Because that offering was so pious, the wee-bit of flour turned the mongoose’s coat golden wherever it came in contact with the mongoose. Half his body was touched, so half his body became golden.

Time passed.

Upon his coronation, King Yudhisthira offered a grand feast to all in the kingdom. The affair featured the most sumptuous dishes imaginable. The mongoose arrived with great anticipation as he had been desperately trying to make the rest of his body golden. At this feast he rolled again and again on the floor wherever food had fallen in hopes of making the rest of his coat golden. But the food at Yudhirthira’s feast had no such effect – the mongoose’s coat did not become golden.

Hence the mongoose called the entire gathering a farce. The brahmin’s yajina made his coat golden, but this gathering of King Yudhisthira had no such effect. The mongoose’s coat did not become golden. So it was not as good an offering as the brahmin’s.

Here the point is that King Yudhisthira’s offering was not as great as the brahmin’s the degree of sacrifice; the hardship incurred was far less.

Baba’s teaching in this second story is that the greatness of one’s offering is measured by the degree of personal sacrifice and hardship. The poor family offered a very little amount of food but they were willing to sacrifice their life. So their offering was indeed great. In comparison, the King Yudhisthira presented mounds and mounds of fanciful dishes to his subjects – without having to undergo any personal sacrifice or suffering – so his offering was basically valueless, according to the measuring rod of bhagavad dharma.

Thus when teams of billionaires gather and give away huge amounts of wealth and property, but undergo no hardship themselves, then their offering is quite paltry in the eyes of dharma. It has little of no value. Whereas if a man has but one ripped blanket and he gives that to a needy passerby while he himself spends the night shivering in the cold, then that offering is very meaningful.

POINT #3:

HONEST LIVING

The final measure or qualifcation for determining the greatness of one’s offering is how they earned the money. Did they earn their money through honest and fair means.

For instance, if a robber stole large sums of money from one town and then offered just enough money to one village so they could purchase a simple hand pump, we cannot call that offering or donation worthy. Rather it is tainted and dirty. The robbers’ money is not pure, i.e. not earned through honest means.

If one procures their money by harming the public and / or doing heinous activities, then we cannot think of that as pure money. And any donation made with such funds will have absolutely no dharmic or service value.

Yet that is what we see commonly in the height of this vaeshyan era. People and corporations use impure money to make “donations”.

Here is case in point. As we know the oil companies have ravaged countries like Nigeria in order to gain monstrous profits and in return such companies donate comparatively paltry sums for erecting new schools in the countryside. The whole episode is nothing but a farce. Their so-called donation has nothing to do with service. It is more like an advertisment or bribe because they are making such a donation to enhance their own public image, nothing more. And with that heightened public image they will further exploit the resources of that country for their own corporate gain. So we cannot consider their offering to be dharmic, generous, or pious. It is put greed and selfishness.

Unfortunately in this advanced stage of the vaeshyan era we see many such ploys; but never should we associate such “donations” as being expressions of selfless service or giving.

To truly give one must have earned their money in a sentient manner, free from exploitation and manipulative tactics.

SOME REVIEW

From the above stories and examples, we can understand that there are at minimum three critical factors at play. The value of a person’s giving is measured by:

1) The percentage of wealth that is given away.

2) The degree of penance or hardship that is undergone by the person making the donation.

3) The purity of their livelihood.

It is these factors which truly determine the greatness of one’s offering.

Unfortunately, most of the time people overlook these factors and instead measure the “greatness of the offering” only by the amount. That is the tragedy.

In this way, exploitative vaeshayas who have billions of dollars get venerated for their so-called large donation of millions of dollars, when in fact that donation is but a minuscule amount of their total wealth. Plus such capitalists do not undergo an ounce of hardship in making that so-called big donation. Even then the common public sees all the zeroes – i.e. $10,000,000 – and thinks that capitalist is a second god and divinely generous.

Please read more below.

WHAT HAPPENS IN “REAL LIFE”

In today’s vaeshyan era, Baba’s above mandates are essentially overlooked, or at the very least not used to determine the value of one’s offering.

Because in today’s market, when the mass of wealth is controlled by 1% of the population, the common people sit back dumbfounded and awed by how some ruling capitalists give away huge sums of wealth. The public hails such givers as “great philanthropists”, “divinely generous”, and “true friends of humanity” etc. They think such capitalists are really, truly great. They bow down to them with full reverence, honour and respect. When in fact, those big donors offered a paltry amount of their total wealth and did not undergo even an iota of sacrifice. Thus, for those big donors, their so-called act of giving was effortless yet it earned them great praise. They became champions in the eyes of the common people who were stupefied by the size of the gift.

That is one half of the story.

Then that same public looks upon their own value as marginal at best. They develop a huge inferiority complex and deem themselves to be comparatively worthless – they become pawns of capitalist exploitation. Such persons undergo endless trials and tribulations to give back to their families and communities, but that is all looked upon a quite trivial.

Rather all the gusto and glamour goes to those so-called great capitalists who control all the wealth. The newspapers, the media, the people, and the whole society gathers round in awe of those capitalists.

So the entire situation is upside down – indeed totally backwards. Those who are sacrificing the most and offering the greatest percentage of their wealth are marginalised and those who give paltry amounts of their enormous wealth are hailed as the great philanthropists. When in fact to accumulate such wealth they had to exploit the common people to the very bone.

Here Baba points out the hypocritical ways of such vaeshyas (capitalists).

Baba says, “Vaeshyas are not satisfied with just sucking people’s blood, they often devour their flesh and bones as well; then they beat drums made from the skins of their victims as they deliver religious and philosophical discourses, build temples and construct lodgings for pilgrims, and undertake various other activities. They criticize materialism and try to retard its progress not because they object to it philosophically or psychologically, but because in a materialistic system there is every possibility that their vested interests would be adversely affected. Although they support spirituality, they are not motivated by spiritual sentiments. The fake spirituality they preach actually injects impotency into society. In their endeavours they are assisted by like-minded exploiters who trade in religion.” (Human Society-1, ‘Various Occupations’)

Actually such capitalists suffer from a psychic disease. They accumulate money not for their basic needs but to satisfy their misplaced longing of expansion. What such capitalists fail to understand is that mundane wealth can never satisfy our inner psychic urge for infinite peace. Instead of looking within they try to accumulate such a vast wealth which they cannot consume. This is their psychic disease.

Baba has put forth this edict about such capitalists.

Baba says, “These capitalists are the unworthy sons and daughters of the Cosmic Father because they go against the principle of cosmic inheritance. They should be cured of their ailments.” (‘Discourses on Prout’)

MORE OF BABA’S TEACHINGS & PRACTICAL EXAMPLES

Here are more of Baba’s divine teachings on this important topic of service and giving financial help.

First Baba points out that it is not the pomp and show of one’s donation, but rather the conditions in which it was given.

Baba says, “You know, the measure of sacrifice is not its quantity or its grandeur. A sacrifice should always be measured in terms of the circumstances in which it has been rendered.” (Ananda Vacanamrtam, part 31)

Thus when a poor person or a weak person gives their all in trying to help another, that far outshines the rubies and diamonds given by capitalist exploiters.

And here below Baba categorically states how a poor man’s penny is greater than a wealthy man’s fortune.

Baba says, “The charity of a few paise of the poor has the same value as a thousand rupees from a millionaire. Indeed the charity of those few paise is greater.” (Subhasita Samgraha, part 1)

Plus in His own practical life, Baba clearly demonstrated how He never valued the “amount” of the offering but rather the devotional feeling of one’s heart.

For instance, Baba would always accept an invitation to stay at a bhakta’s residence even if that person was of modest means; and Baba would always refuse the luxurious offerings of big landowners when they gave only out of pomp and show.

Also who can forget the tale of when one wealthy businessman proudly tried to give Baba a bagful of money. Baba refused to see him and when the businessman finally cajoled his way into Baba’s room, Baba took the bag of money and threw it outside His window. Immediately the businessman rushed out of Baba’s room to retrieve his money and without a moment’s delay, Baba shut & locked the door – neither accepting the businessman’s company nor his “donation”. Why? Because that businessman got that money through unfair and unethical means.

MUST CORRECT THE SITUATION

The way things are now is not good. Greedy capitalists who are veritable enemies of society get treated as the golden ones, and the common people who toil day and night to support their families and help their communities are oft forgotten – their contributions are not at all recognised.

Baba says, “Days roll on. Empires, wealth and valorous human deeds ride on the wings of time, creating only brief flashes of brilliance. Against this panorama the efforts of common people, like those of the squirrels, do not receive recognition – they are like stones lost in the shadows of towering mountains. The leaders of society perform outstanding feats which are recorded in glowing letters in the annals of history. The students of later ages do research on them. But the common people, who carried the golden banners of these heroes, disappear into oblivion.” (Human Society Part 1, ‘Social Justice’)

We must no longer give value to those who are undeserving (i.e. those capitalists) and instead we must give value to those who are deserving (i.e. the common people). Only then can society can progress, otherwise not. Till this situation is righted, people will continue to aspire to become rich by all kinds of wrong means. Because by this way they know they can get worldly power and be regarded as “divine and generous”.

BABA’S BLESSING

He has given us the duty to bring this capitalist era to and end. Such capitalists suffer from psychic disease: They hoard money when in fact it is meant for all.
When people have a better understanding about this then we can bring forth shudra revolution. Once the people know how capitalists got their money & and whose expense, then the masses will be ready to come forward and usher in the new era of social and economic justice. We must hasten this movement.

Namaskar,
Arjuna

Note 1: WHAT GOES ON IN ANANDA MARGA

In certain instances in our Marga, a few have fallen into the same capitalistic model outlined above. Some financially rich margiis give larger donations yet did not have to sacrifice or undergo any hardship whereas many simple margiis underwent much trouble in giving to the organisation. They may have dedicated their all their free time to helping out in a margii school or they may have spent countless hours collecting food and clothing for the poor. Yet it is those wealthier margiis with bigger checkbooks who are given the red-carpet treatment and invited to sit on all kinds of boards and committees.

A similar thing happens within our Wt ranks as well. Those Dadas involved in business and doing smuggling are often thought of as great, whereas those Dadas of little means working day and night in dharma pracar are overlooked.

Note 2: BUFFET’S LETTER TO BILLIONAIRES

Not long ago two of the world’s richest men, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, invited billionaires to give away portions of their wealth. In his letter, Mr Buffet offers the following call: What is most valuable to you is your time, and I am not asking you to give away that. I am asking you to give away an amount of money that will in no way infringe upon your current or future living standard. In a phrase, you will not even miss it. That was Buffett’s central message. Thus per his own terms, Mr Buffett readily admits that there is no question of any sacrifice when a billionaire gives away portions of his wealth. The fact that they choose to give away some of their money is far better than if they had kept it all for themselves, but according to the yardstick of bhagavad dharma their giving is rather paltry.

Note 3: JUST BY THEIR SINFUL DEALINGS

This entire subject would be incomplete if we did not discuss how such capitalists got rich. This is not something that happened overnight by chance. It did not just suddenly come to them – rather they got their money from somewhere. Most often these capitalists have had a long-term devious motive. They indulged in so many sinful activities including not giving a fair share to their laborers who did all the work. Indeed these capitalists did all sorts of wrongs to collect their money. And along the way they purchased all the editors, writers and reporters and got the media in their favor. Thus they got positive press even though they did so many unjust acts.

Finally, those wealthy barons who do donate have a hidden agenda. Such donors give their money with certain stipulations for the propagation of their own name, brand or company etc. It is just like how certain religious donors give money to the suffering masses in impoverished nations with the stipulation that the money be used to convert those citizens to “my religion”. Here the whole point is that the giving by capitalists is not done with the sole motive of helping others but with the tactic of executing a personal agenda.

PRABHAT SAMGIITA

“A’loker jharana’-dha’ra’y sna’n kara’yecho tumi saba’ka’r man…” (PS 611)

Purport:

Baba You have showered Your causeless grace on everyone. With the spring flow of effulgence You have drenched one and all. Everyone is enjoying in the bliss of Your grace and proximity. This whole universe is vibrated in Your vibration. Now the difference between close and far & own and other has been lost. Everyone has become close– intimate. You have wreathed everyone’s life with the bond of love. Irrespective of their qualities everyone is feeling close to one another. By Your grace You have vibrated this universe. Knowingly or unknowingly people are ready to follow Ananda Marga Ideology. Rationality is developing and the general common understanding is getting changed. The darkness of dogma is vanishing away. Baba You are gracious to one and all…

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