Charity means

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Lectures

Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures

Charity means voluntarily giving away his material possessions. That is charity.
Lecture on BG 9.2 -- New York, November 22, 1966:

So Lord Caitanya says, "Out of these 400,000 species of life, some of them are civilized. And out of many civilized persons, they are actually devoted to the scriptures, not all." Some of them, they agree that "I belong to Christian religion," "I belong to Hindu religion," or "I belong to Muhammadan religion," but at the present age, mostly they simply claim that "I belong to this religion" but do not believe in the scripture, mostly. So those who are believing in the scriptures, they are mostly attracted by pious, philanthropic activities. They, some of them, those who actually believe that charity is very good thing, and... Religious means these three things: yajña-dāna-tapaḥ. Yajña-dāna-tapaḥ. Yajña means sacrifice, dāna means charity, and tapaḥ means penance. Just like brahmacārī. It is tapasya. Tapasya. A sannyāsī, it is tapasya. Tapaḥ. Tapaḥ means penance, voluntarily accepting very rigid principles of life. That is called tapasya. And charity. Charity means voluntarily giving away his material possessions. That is charity. And yajña, sacrifice. Sacrifice, of course, you have no experience. Not you, but we all. Nowadays, in the present days, there is no sacrifice.

But we get information from such historical literature as Mahābhārata. Mahābhārata is called history in the Vedic literature. So kings were performing very big sacrifices. Millions of rupees, millions of valuables, gold and silver, they were distributed. Oh, that is not possible. That was being done by the kings. Kings used to collect tax from the citizens but at the same..., at the time when they performed sacrifice, they were distributed to all the citizens, all of them. So that process is not. Nowadays the state simply collects taxes but never distributes. So we have no idea what is yajña. But this yajña is the performance of kings or the heads of the state, and dāna of the general householders, and tapasya for brahmacārī, sannyāsī, vānaprastha. So these are different kinds of rules in religious life.

General Lectures

So charity means... Charity should be the first-class thing if it is really charity. But nowadays people give in charity just for name.
Lecture -- Los Angeles, February 2, 1968:

Gargamuni: Oh. This drum was broken, but he gave it to us free. I do not know what the...

Prabhupāda: It was, it is broken?

Gargamuni: It was broken, but we fixed it.

Prabhupāda: Oh. All right. When they give in charity, they give something broken. (laughter) (Bengali) Khana goruke brāhmaṇake dana (?). In India there is a..., charity is given to the brāhmaṇas. So a man saw that his cow is blind. "All right, give it in charity." So charity means... Charity should be the first-class thing if it is really charity. But nowadays people give in charity just for name. "Oh, I am giving something." This charity... You have read Bhagavad-gītā. There are three kinds of charity: sattvic, rajasic, tamasic. Sattvic, charity in goodness, is with due consideration that "Here should be given the charity." Just like the Vedic injunction is to give charity to the brāhmaṇas. Why? That is the worthy place, to give charity in the hands of brāhmaṇas and Vaiṣṇava. Real brāhmaṇas. I don't say caste brāhmaṇa. Because they will employ whatever you give them in the service of the Lord. Therefore charity, that is sattvic charity. There is no question of profit or name. But, "Charity should be given here. Here is something, God's service." That is sattvic. And rajasic means for the sake of name. "Oh, people will say I am so charitable." That is rajasic. And tamasic, one who does not know where the money is going... Just like in the Bowery Street some, that drunkard comes and polishes the motorcar, and somebody gives five dollars, and he immediately goes to drink. That means this charity means give him impetus for drinking. So if charity creates such drunkard, oh, that is very dangerous. He has to suffer, the man who is giving in charity. Therefore in charity also there must be consideration. It must be sattvic. So anyway, it has come here. So it is sattvic. Whatever his mind may be, anyway, he has given to this temple; so it is sattvic.

Conversations and Morning Walks

1974 Conversations and Morning Walks

Charity means to give in charity anna and vastra and cows. (break) ...give in charity some paper, one hundred rupees. (laughs) Another cheating.
Morning Walk -- April 10, 1974, Bombay:

Śrīdhara: "He not only gave cows in charity, but hills of grain, decorated with golden bordered garments and many ornaments."

Prabhupāda: Anna-vastra, anna-vastra-dhana. Charity means to give in charity anna and vastra and cows. (break) ...give in charity some paper, one hundred rupees. (laughs) Another cheating. And he is also satisfied, "One hundred rupees." What is this one hundred? It is a paper, a piece of paper. (break) ...earned, black market, white market. Because when one does business, he has to do it, but it should be purified. I have seen the Marwaris, they do that. Although when earning money, they don't care, they do anything, but they give in charity. (break) ...purify the body by taking bath, similarly, the wealth is purified by the charity process, giving it to the brāhmaṇas and Vaiṣṇavas. Just like Rūpa Gosvāmī. He accumulated much wealth. He brought in a big boat, all gold coins. So... So he distributed fifty percent to the brāhmaṇa and Vaiṣṇava and twenty-five percent he gave to the relatives, and twenty-five percent he kept for his personal emergency. This is example shown by Rūpa Gosvāmī. (break) Kṛṣi-go-rakṣya-vāṇijyam vaiśya-karma svabhāva-jam (BG 18.44). So where is that vaiśya, giving protection to the cows? Although they were village men, they were very rich. That is the old Vedic civilization. Now you go to the village—all poor. The cows are skinny, people have no home, no nice cloth. This is the position. And we are still advanced, advanced. They are proud of "advanced." And here is the... Just hear the description of the village, with cows only. So how much fallen we have become, we can just imagine.

Facts about "Charity means"
Compiled byRishab +
Completed sectionsALL +
Date of first entryJanuary 24, 0012 JL +
Date of last entryJanuary 24, 0012 JL +
Total quotes3 +
Total quotes by sectionBG: 0 +, SB: 0 +, CC: 0 +, OB: 0 +, Lec: 2 +, Conv: 1 + and Let: 0 +