>"Sixth Spiritual Instruction" by Swami Chidananda


Do charity regularly, every month or even daily according to your means, say six paisa per rupee.
“Do charity regularly every month, or even daily according to your means.” This also applies more to those who are working and earning and have an income. Those who are in some field of business, who are in employment of some kind or have a profession where there is a steady flow of income. Then of course they can plan their expenditure, they can save and keep some for charity. In the disposal of whatever they earn, Gurudev says: “Don’t confine it to only expenditure and saving but also set a part of it aside for charity, for giving.” Saving is necessary and expenditure is inevitable, but charity is indispensable, most important. It instils sympathy, consideration, understanding, the spirit of sharing and giving, kindness and compassion. It ennobles the human nature and expands the heart and thus it is very, very helpful to spiritual progress and evolution.

Therefore, Gurudev emphasises: “Do regular charity every month or even daily according to your means.” And what your means are will depend upon your heart and your circumstances of course. If you have a husband who is very niggardly and resents your giving, and if you give something, fights and quarrels ensue in the home, then you have to be careful, you have to be wise. If you have a wife who does not like to give charity, and picks a quarrel whenever you give some donation then also you have to be wise. If it creates a problem, you must know how to deal with it and yet be charitable. So these are all things left to each one’s common-sense and intelligence and according to the sincerity of your heart.

Many, many are the benefits of charity. In Christianity it is said: “Charity covers a multitude of sins.” Here charity is used in a restricted sense, giving and sharing, but charity also means a charitable disposition. Forgive and forget, and therefore return good to those who think evil of you or injure you. This is all charity. This is the virtue of charity. Not in the restricted sense of giving material means only, but in giving generously of the benefit of doubt, giving generously of your forgiveness and tolerance, your goodwill and good nature.

That is also charity—being of a charitable disposition and not wanting to sit in judgment over others, not wanting to jump to conclusions and attribute motives to others which may not be there, not wanting to immediately suspect the bona fide or the genuineness of a person. Otherwise you will always be suspecting, always be attributing ulterior motives to others and this will create a bad relationship. If there is a charitable disposition all this will not be there. You will not jump to conclusions, you will not judge others unfairly, you will not attribute ulterior motives to other people’s actions or intentions. This is all the result of a charitable disposition.

If you are able to spend a certain percentage of your income in charity, that is the best way. Do not leave it to the mind. Make it a principle—1/10th or 1/20th part of your income for charity. If you cannot afford that, take some fixed percentage of your earnings. There are many people who do it. One of them was Maharaj Pannalal, the late Swami Prashantananda. Even when he was working in a mill and was a wage earner, the moment he got his pay-packet, he would take out a certain percentage and send it to his Guru, Swami Sivananda.

Gurudev says: “Doing abundant, spontaneous and unrestrained charity to relieve the pains of suffering humanity is an effective means to destroy your evil nature. Give money like water. If you give, the wealth of the whole world will be yours. Money will come to you. This is the immutable, inexorable, unrelenting law of nature. Therefore give, give, give!”

May God bless you.

[TWENTY IMPORTANT SPIRITUAL INSTRUCTIONS, A Series of talks on Swami Sivananda’s Twenty Important Spiritual Instructions.] 


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