Friday 18 August 2017 News Updated at 10:08 AM IST
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The joy of giving - Deccan Herald
The joy of giving
Jamuna Rao,
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In the Ramayana , Shabari, the forest dweller, was so overjoyed to see Rama that she wanted to offer him the best of the berries that she had gathered. To be absolutely certain she first nibbled at it and then offered it to him. She gave it with such a pure heart that the Lord accepted it though she had bitten it, and the story has been retold again and again as a loveable example of the act of giving. It emphasises that giving is an act of joy and humility.

It is not charity. Such giving is the first step in the journey towards being non-acquisitive. To give what one values the most, and give it with joy, extends to all kinds of giving; be it an offering to the Lord, a gift to fellow humans or giving back to nature.

Shabari was a fortunate woman as there could have been no recipient worthier than Lord Rama and she knew it. In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna expounds to Arjuna that each person gives in keeping with his basic nature or 'Guna'. Giving is seen as a duty.

The Satvic person gives without any expectation of reward or benefit. In fact, he gives in order to appreciate or honour a worthy recipient. Such giving is pure and of the highest order.

The Rajasic person gives to a worthy person, but gives with a view to receiving a benefit or reward; he gives with a view to aggrandize herself. Such giving is passionate.

The person of Tamasic nature gives with arrogance and contempt; he gives in a manner that is offensive and he gives to persons or causes, which are unworthy. Such giving is dark and dangerous. Funding terror and other acts of violence are modern-day examples of such giving. The possibility of this donation being based on mistaken notions of what is good is no excuse. Even when the donor is worthy, but misguided the unworthiness of the recipient makes the act redundant and counterproductive.

Saint Purandara Dasa captures the essence of giving when he says, "Pour back into the stream the water it gave you and feel blessed. Surrender to the Lord all that you rceived as his grace and live alife blessed". Such giving betows bliss.

(The article carried in these columns on July 31 was written by Mirle Karthik.)