page was last updated on January 15, 2004.
THE CHARITY PAGE
To Give or Not to Give?
Go to the “Debates Page”
Humanitarian Welfare Work:
An Integral Aspect of Preaching
By Jagadananda das
Devotees are said to be compassionate because despite personal difficulty, they try to distribute the knowledge by which this relationship can be nurtured. Those who have been preaching Krishna consciousness know how difficult this is. I would like to propose humanitarian acts as a process both for preaching Krishna consciousness and for developing the compassion that is an integral part of Krishna consciousness.
Bhaktivinoda Thakura on Charity
by Kunti-devi dasi
"Those who think that devotion to God and kindness to the jivas are mutually different from each other, and perform accordingly in their life, such persons will not be able to follow the devotional culture. Their performance is only a semblance of devotion...."
Apology to Ravinder Shira
by Parama Seva dasa
I had just left from the Atlanta temple love-feast where I had become somewhat disturbed by hearing some criticism of Locanananda Prabhu by persons incorrectly labeling him a "ritvik." While visiting a relative's house I read Ravinder Shira's letter and became even more inflamed, so I took the opportunity of using the PC at hand to respond. If my tone seemed abusive even slightly, I apologize.... I just received a letter from Locanananda Prabhu rebuking me for responding as such.
to New York Fire Fighters
It is the thought that counts. So even if their families get a small donation from Hare Krishna to them it would mean a lot for at least they would acknowledge the Hare Krishna movement and who knows when they next pass the temple they would be inclined to go in and thus learn more about Krishna Consciousness.
to Ravinder Shira Prabhu
The position you have taken in your
accusation of H.G. Locanananda Prabhu
is severely lacking in compassion. It is
an absolute requisite for a Vaishnava to
be compassionate upon all living
entities. To turn our heads and think,
"They are getting what they
deserve!" is not the proper
perspective for a devotee of the Lord.
to Locanananda das
Please inform Locanananda das that there is a saying that "God helps those that help themselves." Every religion states that one must work to earn an honest living and out of his earnings give a percentage to charity. Whose fault is it if some devotee families are living below the poverty line? Every religion states that you reap what you sow.
Locanananda das should be telling these poor families to go out and earn an honest living and not live on charity.
to Malati devi dasi
There is a saying that "charity begins at home." Before giving Krishna's money away to those who obviously don't need it and who are not devotees, please consider the many devotee families living below the poverty line who could use a helping hand. These families do not have health insurance, life insurance, pension funds, savings accounts or any other financial security, and their children have no way to pay for an education. These children are the future hope of our movement, so what is the use of turning public opinion in our favor by mundane charitable acts if our own children are turning away in disfavor?
Discussion with Locanananda
In the early part of the last century, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati took a large group on yatra to Puri and that area. Near Tota Gopinath Mandir, they were beseiged by beggars and most of the devotees avoided them like anything, hands in their bead bags, chanting loudly. They were deeply chastised by His Divine Grace for being "enjoyers." He said that they were becoming hardhearted in their attempts to enjoy like Vishnu, extracting the service of Laxmi (meaning that they did not give Laxmi because they wanted to enjoy Her fruits).
Response to the Debate
To the extent that ISKCON is involved in endeavors — whether they be sankirtan in the City and/or shouting "Hare Krishna" and cheering the volunteers, or book distribution to gawking tourists, or prasadam distribution to those now left homeless or to the "rescuers," or raising token lakshmi from within the congregation — these acts push the Holy Name of Krsna out into the world and into the minds of those who need true rescuing...we, the public-at-large! To the extent that the public learns of ISKCON's efforts, and perceives those efforts to be charitable, this creates a favorable impression toward ISKCON — which in turn favors public receptivity towards the hearing and chanting of the Holy Name.
In other words, it is all ultimately done for Krsna's pleasure, in His name.
Firefighters Get Paid to Do Their Job
Others have asked, "Who would Locanananda call if his house or local temple were on fire?" The answer to the question is plainly obvious. He would call the fire department. He would call the fire department because that is who one calls when something is on fire that cannot be controlled by ordinary means.
The firemen then come and put out the fire because that is the job of a fireman. Firemen know what their job is— fighting fires— and they enter into that ocupation with full understanding of the risk involved— including the risk of death. They get paid to do this, and the majority of them carry full life insurance which metriculates to their chosen next of kin should they perish in the line of duty.
on "On Giving in Charity"
I appreciate all the points mentioned in Locananda Prabhu's article, but would like to remind everyone that due to the circumstances, there might have been a question of cancelling the Spanish Fork India festival altogether. In view of the extent of the damage, the amount donated was probably not helping a lot. But our gesture shows that we are able to act responsibly as good citizens, not only when it serves our own purpose.
to Malati on Giving in Charity
Srila Prabhupada gave us the real solution to the problem of international terrorism. We must chant Hare Krishna and engage others in chanting, educate everyone throughout the world in the science of Krishna consciousness, and distribute to them the remnants of food offered to the Lord. But to dedicate ourselves wholeheartedly to that mission, we first have to place our faith in the spiritual master's instruction that all other obligations are fulfilled by one who is attempting to attain spiritual perfection.
to Mother Malati
After reading both Locananda Prabhu's article and Mother Malati's response, I have come to the conclusion that both devotees offer valuable points. However, it is important to note that in America there is a system of taxation which funds various services, including police and fire protection.
Taxes, therefore, are a mandatory obligation for the citizens of this country. As long as the people of America pay their taxes, these services are likely to continue.
New York City Firefighters and
I agree with Locanananda's conclusion that giving in charity is best when it involves giving Krishna Conciousness; however, I have a question for Locanananda Prabhu: Who will you call if your home or the temple is on fire?
Giving in Charity
Pure devotional service, as taught by Srila Prabhupada and all of the acaryas coming in succession from Srila Rupa Goswami, is transcendental activity (upasana kanda) aimed at pleasing the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That service is unmotivated and uninterrupted and untinged by any desire for personal gain. The other two kandas are jnana and karma, two pots of poison, in the words of Narottama dasa Thakura, because their objective is not specifically to please Lord Visnu. According to the Bhagavad-gita, anything done without the transcendental objective of pleasing Lord Visnu — whether it be sacrifice, charity, or penance — has no spiritual value.
Raises $6,000 for NY Firefighters
Local firefighters from the cities of Salem and Spanish Fork manned the admission gate at the Krishna Temple’s Annual festival of India last Saturday night (Sept 15th). A big sign posted at the gate indicated that all proceeds were to be forwarded to the NY City Firefighters’ fund.
Tom Roe, the Fire Marshall for Utah County, was on hand throughout, and said, "These firemen are very touched by the Krishna’s temple’s decision to turn over these hard earned proceeds in this hour of need.
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