Daan Utsav is on. It is a beautiful concept of giving.
Since, I am a freelancer juggling time and money (while constantly affirming-I am millionaire!) with hardly any time left to contribute to the cause, I felt I could atleast write on “GIVING”. Here’s how the various aspects of “Giving” have made an impact on me as a person.
1) Giving and Asking: I remember my father trying to help my mother out by washing the dishes when the maid wouldn’t come and my mother getting absolutely irritated by the same. Last month I asked my boyfriend to give me some information about tablets (electronic ones) which might fit into my budget. To which, he quickly took the responsibility upon him to buy me one, which I had clearly not asked for. The tug of war between expectations don’t only remain between the boundaries of personal relationships.
In a beautiful interview, Kamla Bhasin, speaks about how she took seven months, before she was given an enlightening advice by the villagers, “ask us what we need before you start with what YOU want to give us!”
It took me a lot of time, before I could grasp this aspect of giving. Asking, is by far the most difficult and simple aspect of giving. Difficult- because we do not know how to and simple- because once we learn it, it saves us a lot of time, energy and conflict.
2) Intention: Our intent while giving matters as much as the what of it. Sri Ramkrishna Paramhansa, an Indian Spritual guru, would meet his disciples regularly. On one particular occasion, one of his disciples had got him a huge garland of flowers as an offering. For Ramkrishna, the garland did not mean much because, the disciple gave the garland to show off his opulence rather than the absolute feeling of submission to his guru. There are many such stories in scriptures which draw the point back home that the intent is greater than the act.
3) Giving and not giving: As much as giving as an act is beautiful, the aspect of not being able to give also needs equal amount of thought. Since, in the Indian cultural scenario, we hold giving as an act to be of huge importance the aspect of not being able to give does not get the due attention it should. Our focus has shifted from giving as an act of selfless sharing of love to being the “giver” whether or not we can afford it. It would not be surprising to hear that people actually put themselves in debt just to let the world know that they can give.
When I am faced with challenges of not being able to give, I automatically get caught with a sense of lack. Like somehow, giving more will make me a bigger person and not giving will make me lesser. Being in a sense of deficiency for something as beautiful as an act of giving made me think about the injustice I was doing to myself and the people around me.
So I came up with these thoughts:
- When someone asks me for monetary donations and I am hard on cash, what is the least I can do? Sometimes, a drop is all one may have and a drop can go a long way to make an ocean.
- If I am unable to do something right now, could I keep the need in mind and do it later when I am better equipped?
- Could I send a word of love, warmth or even a prayer out if I can’t do something physical?
- Could I find ways to connect with them with people or resources who could be of help?
These are just some of the aspects of giving that I can think at the top of my head right now. Honestly, one could fill pages upon pages and how it can change the way we live, think and behave with ourselves and others. Khalil Gibran in Prophet writes beautifully about ‘giving’ summing a life time of learning in a verse.
What is your idea of giving? What are the associations that makes it easy or difficult for you? Let me know :-)