Where charity is well spent or not–SP

November 18, 2020 in Articles by Damaghosa dasa

Prabhupada’s lecture –  Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.8.47 – Māyāpura, October 27, 1974
So the so-called sneha, if it is not properly done… Nature’s regulation is so strict that you cannot avoid the consequence. That is not possible. These are practical. I have seen another practical… In front of our residence there was another neighbor. So the old man had his daughter-in-law. So she was beating her one child. So I inquired through my servant, “Why this young woman is beating her child?” Now, then the servant brought me the news that this boy gave paraṭā to his elder brother who is suffering from typhoid. The typhoid… In typhoid fever, solid food is forbidden strictly, but the boy did not know.He asked his younger brother that “If you steal one paraṭā and if you give me, I am very much hungry.” So he became very sympathetic to his brother, and he gave the paraṭā. And the boy was ill; he aggravated the illness. So as soon as the mother heard that he gave a paraṭā to him, he (she) began to beat: “Why did you give?” Now, it was charity, it was affection and sympathetic, but the result was beating with shoes. So if we do not know where charity should be given, then, where affection should be there, then we are under the laws of nature; we shall be punished if it is not properly done. There is punishment.

March 14 1976 conversations

If someone gives to a person for spiritual…, consciously for spiritual improvement…
Prabhupāda: There is no question of…

Acyutānanda: …and the person misuses the money, does he benefit?Prabhupāda: Eh?

Acyutānanda: If a man says, “I am giving you this donation because it is a spiritual organization,” but if the money is misused, does that man benefit?

Prabhupāda: If money is misused, then both of them become implicated. If it is not used for Kṛṣṇa, then both of them becomes under the laws of karma.

Acyutānanda: But that man is sincere.

Prabhupāda: Well, this word sincere, there is no meaning unless he is a devotee. Ei bala ei manda sab mano dharma: “These are all mental concoction.” There is no meaning. “This man is good. This man is sincere. This man is bad. This man is…” They are all mental concoction. Only good is he who is Kṛṣṇa conscious. Others all rascals.

Some Conclusions–Most devotees are pious souls, but in this area of giving donations one must be careful otherwise we shall be, as SP says,  “implicated in karma”-or as the Christians say-the road to hell is paved with good intentions.  So to actually give something of value in charity to a brahmana or Vaisnava, or a society, one must know their qualifications. And those qualifications are mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita of Lord Krsna and further explained by His bona fide representative Srila Prabhupada.

BG 17.20–That gift which is given out of duty, at the proper time and place, to a worthy person, and without expectation of return, is considered to be charity in the mode of goodness.

PURPORT– In the Vedic literature, charity given to a person engaged in spiritual activities is recommended. There is no recommendation for giving charity indiscriminately. Spiritual perfection is always a consideration. Therefore charity is recommended to be given at a place of pilgrimage and at lunar or solar eclipses or at the end of the month or to a qualified brāhmaṇa or a Vaiṣṇava (devotee) or in temples. Such charities should be given without any consideration of return. Charity to the poor is sometimes given out of compassion, but if a poor man is not worth giving charity to, then there is no spiritual advancement. In other words, indiscriminate charity is not recommended in the Vedic literature.


BG 18.3—Some learned men declare that all kinds of fruitive activities should be given up, but there are yet other sages who maintain that acts of sacrifice, charity and penance should never be abandoned.