October 16, 1967 in Sawan Ashram, Delhi (Morning Talks, chapter 1)
If to be rich is a good quality, we should also make others rich, and that we can do only if we give something of our portion. Our Master Baba Sawan Singh used to give one tenth in the beginning but, after a while, He sent everything to His Master, Baba Jaimal Singh. Baba Jaimal Singh would then return something for the livelihood of Baba Sawan Singh and His family. Baba Sawan Singh simply laid everything at the feet of His Master, and the Master used to return something for their livelihood. So our Master used to say that you should give one tenth, and if you count up at the end of the year you will find that you have saved expenses in some other way, in the case of sickness and other things. If you take account, you will find that this is so. So by giving, you don’t lose anything. The more you can give the more you are gifted. When the Masters come, they give away everything for their Master. What did Christ say? “If ye want to enter the Kingdom of God, then sell everything that you have.” This is the ultimate of delivering everything up to the Master. So each man should learn first to earn his livelihood in an honest way, then he should share with others. He should not stagnate. If you stagnate, then you will feel congealed within. If you rub gold or silver in your hands, they will become black. And the heart where this very thing resides, do you think that it will become clean? So the first thing is, if you want to have self service in the spiritual way, you should earn your livelihood by honest means and share with others. Begin with the least you can, then go up until you give everything for God. This has been the custom ever since history began, from the time of Abraham all gave one tenth of their valuables.
Selfless service is done in two ways. The first way is physical service. If somebody is sick, go and serve him. Shall I see somebody in need, hungry, naked — poor fellow? The Masters have always been for the poor, for the needy, to console them, to raise them up to the level of every man. If we do that, if everyone would share with others, there would be no poor in the world. Why are men so needy and hungry? Because we don’t share. So by sharing with others, our self expands. At the very moment of giving you feel a little joy within. That is the compensation you get, direct. But whenever you give, don’t give with the hope that you will have a return. Give for the sake of sharing with others. Sometimes we give for the reward that we will get in heaven. This is not the way, selfless giving is what is needed. This is one on the Spiritual way. So he is a man, who lives for others, who shares with others, with the needy, with the hungry, with those who are in very poor circumstances and cannot go on. What do we do? We feed our children very richly, while the children of our neighbors die of hunger. This is not what is wanted.
One of the Mohammedan saints, who happened to be a lady, once prepared to go to Mecca on pilgrimage. Mecca is a place of pilgrimage for Mohammedans and is located in Arabia. She had some money for the journey and as she was about to start, she noticed some poor, hungry, fellow in the neighborhood. She gave away everything to him and so was not able to go to the place of pilgrimage. What was the result? An angel appeared to her and said that her pilgrimage had been accepted.
You follow what is meant? The man who lives on his own earnings, earned by the sweat of his brow, honestly, and who shares with others, such a man only is fit to progress on the Spiritual way. Give not for the sake of compensation or return. Give for the sake of sharing with others. That is your duty towards your brothers and sisters.
Once Christ was sitting in a gathering and His mother came and sat behind. Somebody told Christ that His mother had come and He said, “These are my brothers and sisters, they are also my mother’s.” All Masters behave in this way.
When our Master went to His own place, the poor came to Him and He served them like anything. To serve others, to live for others, is really a criterion to know who is a man. We are all beasts in men.
So the subject today is, earn your livelihood by honest means first of all, then share: with others, as best as you can. Begin with the least you can, may be one tenth, maybe one fortieth, but you must give something.
A record is kept here, accounting is done and that is audited. A regular accounting is maintained for the Chartered Accountant to inspect. With that I have nothing to do. I have got my own income, my pension. At one time when the accounts were being checked, one quite poor lady came up with one pence. The accountant said, “Well, some give Rs.100.00, others give Rs.50.00, but this donation is the most valuable of all.” One pence is more valuable when given by a poor man, who is sharing his honest earnings, though very meagre. If even out of these meagre earnings he gives one pence, that has more value than one in affluent circumstances, who gives one hundred or one thousand rupees.
Here I have made a rule, that those who give more than thirty or forty rupees, should come to me. I must see whether they are in a position to give or not. Sometimes out of devotion, we want to give everything at the sacrifice of our own children. Those who give little are most welcome. Their donations are received with great appreciation. They are not refused. But sometimes I find that it is the people who cannot afford to give, who want to send in their money without mentioning their name. Once I had a case here. Sometimes I refuse, sometimes I return, sometimes I accept half, only to see if anybody out of devotion does not care for his own family. This is my concern. It is also my concern to look after your interests. So the case I mentioned, just before, concerned a man who used to give Rs. 150.00 a month. His whole monthly income was not more than Rs.200.00. How could he afford to give Rs.150.00 out of Rs.200.00? So I looked into the matter and found that he had not given his name. I asked the man to come forward during Satsang, as I had kept the money in trust for him and taken nothing.
It is the disciple’s way to give everything and the Master’s way not to accept anything for his own self. The disciple may give for the good of the Master’s Cause, but at the same time he should see how much he can really give. If he does not care for the welfare of his own children, then that also is not fair. So we have a rule here. Those who give more than a certain amount, they come to me. This is a very strict condition given to Dalip Singh. He may accept ten, twenty or thirty rupees, but those who want to give more than that must come to me. Sometimes I accept, sometimes I don’t accept. Sometimes I return full, sometimes I return half. So a man should share with others, in degrees. Let him start with the least, maybe one fortieth, or one twentieth. One tenth has been the average. Those who cannot afford to give one tenth, let them give one twentieth, let them give one fortieth, let them share even a single pie. So those who want to progress on the Spiritual way must earn their livelihood by honest means first of all, and then share with others.
You know why I don’t accept money from those who are not initiated? Who knows how they earned the money! When a man is initiated, he is looked after by the Master. Those who have not been initiated, their money is not looked after by anybody. Whatever they give will have to be repaid. You must have compassion; you must share with others. Don’t give anything with the hope of return, for something that you will have in the afterlife. This is not what is wanted. Give it once and for all, share with others. They are your brothers and sisters in God. You follow now what is meant by Charity? These things are not explained in books. Don’t accept anything for your own personal self. So the main rule is, earn your own livelihood by honest means, first of all, then share with others, maybe the least. The more you can give, while looking after your family circumstances, so much the better. Then you will ultimately give everything for the sake of God. We should give without the least hope of return, selfless service. We are all brothers and sisters in God.
There was a saint, Baba Kahan by name, to whom Baba Sawan Singh used to give Rs.10.00 every time He met him at Peshawar. Once Baba Sawan Singh was on field service and earned a good amount, one or two thousand rupees. He met Baba Kahan again at that time. I also met him, since I was in Peshawar at that time. Baba Kahan said to Baba Sawan Singh, “Well, look here, I want Rs.20.00 this time.” The Master said to him, “What, are you becoming greedy?” . . . “Not the least,” replied Baba Kahan. “I want the extra so that the poison may be taken away from all this money that you have earned. Before you were earning less and I took Rs.10.00 and it was given away to the poor. I want Rs.20.00 now only for the reason that you have got more money. Let it be shared with others.” He did not accept anything for himself. This is what is meant by giving.
If we give something and we want some return, that is not selfless service. In your diaries, you have got one column for this. It means something, it is for your own good. You follow the purpose for which charity is meant? If you want return, action and reaction will come up. But a mother, whose children are hungry, will take out a morsel from her own mouth and give it to the children. She does not care for any return. So help others with that angle of vision, with that spirit.
We give sometimes for show. That is only for name and fame. That charity is no charity. Christ said, “If one hand gives, the other hand should not know.” If one hand gives something, let not your other hand know about it. So this is what is meant by charity.