08 January 2014

"Art Of Giving" As Suggested By Swami Vivekananda

Let the giver kneel down and give thanks, let the receiver stand up and permit.
—Swami Vivekananda

This is a special article of this website and its subject is "Art of Giving". Readers, who are not aware of the teachings of Swami Vivekananda, might feel surprised to see Swamiji's desire that a giver should kneel down before the receiver. In a cruel world where no one helps each other, Vivekananda's ideal, his teachings are quite different. And that's why he is Swami Vivekananda — the youth icon of India.

Art of giving
Why should we do good to the world?
Apparently to help the world, but really to help ourselves.
—Swami Vivekananda
Image source: Wikimedia Commons  (remixed)
Swami Vivekananda suggested—
  • Be grateful to the man you help, think of him as God. Is it not a great privilege to be allowed to worship God by helping our fellow men?[Source]
  • Do not stand on a high pedestal and take five cents in your hand and say, "Here, my poor man," but be grateful that the poor man is there, so that by making a gift to him you are able to help yourself. It is not the receiver that is blessed, but it is the giver. Be thankful that you are allowed to exercise your power of benevolence and mercy in the world, and thus become pure and perfect.[Source]
  • Hindus must know that, according to the Smritis, the giver was lower than the receiver, for the receiver was for the time being God Himself.[Source]
  • If you do good at all, you do it to yourself; feel that the receiver is the higher one. You serve the other because you are lower than he, not because he is low and you are high. Give as the rose gives perfume, because it is its own nature, utterly unconscious of giving.[Source]
  • In hurting anyone, you hurt yourself, in loving anyone, you love yourself.[Source]
  • In the world take always the position of the giver. Give everything and look for no return. Give love, give help, give service, give any little thing you can, but keep out barter. Make no conditions, and none will be imposed. Let us give out of our own bounty, just as God gives to us.[Source]
  • Let the giver kneel down and give thanks, let the receiver stand up and permit.[Source]
  • Our duty to others means helping others; doing good to the world. Why should we do good to the world? Apparently to help the world, but really to help ourselves.[Source]
  • The only way of getting our divine nature manifested is by helping others to do the same.[Source]
  • The poor are God's representatives; anyone that suffers is His representative. Without giving, he who eats and enjoys eating, enjoys sin.[Source]
  • The world does not require our help at all. This world was not made that you or I should come and help it. I once read a sermon in which it was said, "All this beautiful world is very good, because it gives us time and opportunity to help others." Apparently, this is a very beautiful sentiment, but is it not a blasphemy to say that the world needs our help?[Source]
  • When we see a man doing good work, helping others, it means that he cannot be confined within the limited circle of "me and mine".[Source]

"Chief points. . ."
From Swamiji's Karma Yoga[Source]
To recapitulate the chief points in today's lecture:
  1. First, we have to bear in mind that we are all debtors to the world and the world does not owe us anything. It is a great privilege for all of us to be allowed to do anything for the world. In helping the world we really help ourselves. 
  2. The second point is that there is a God in this universe. It is not true that this universe is drifting and stands in need of help from you and me. God is ever present therein, He is undying and eternally active and infinitely watchful. When the whole universe sleeps, He sleeps not; He is working incessantly; all the changes and manifestations of the world are His. 
  3. Thirdly, we ought not to hate anyone. This world will always continue to be a mixture of good and evil. Our duty is to sympathise with the weak and to love even the wrongdoer. The world is a grand moral gymnasium wherein we have all to take exercise so as to become stronger and stronger spiritually. 
  4. Fourthly, we ought not to be fanatics of any kind, because fanaticism is opposed to love. You hear fanatics glibly saying, "I do not hate the sinner. I hate the sin," but I am prepared to go any distance to see the face of that man who can really make a distinction between the sin and the sinner. It is easy to say so. If we can distinguish well between quality and substance, we may become perfect men. It is not easy to do this. And further, the calmer we are and the less disturbed our nerves, the more shall we love and the better will our work be.

    See also

    You may read the following article/s too—
    Swami Vivekananda on Charity

    This page was last updated on: 9 May 2014, 3:15 pm  IST (UTC+5:30 hours)
    Number of revisions in this page: 2

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