When Karna was unbeatable with his armour and earrings, Indra hatched a plan to take them away from him. It was common knowledge that Karna never refused to give anything within his powers if somebody approached him immediately after Karna had finished his morning ablution. So Indra approached him after he had finished his morning ablutions and begged for his armour and earrings. Karna understand the motive behind this request but as was his habit, he didn’t refuse. Surely, Karna lost in the battle but won an eternal fame-his body would have been lost in due course in any case.
In modern times, there are people like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates of America who are donating billions for good causes. How does the world see them? They are considered the best of men. Not only are they fortunate to posses large sums of money but they also have the hearts to help out others who are not so fortunate. There are many more who are in a position to help others but wouldn’t. Either they are too miser or have no idea of the benefits of being generous. Money is one option but there are other ways to give too, e.g. favours, knowledge, guidance, appreciation, solace, respect, pleasure, peace, happiness, relief, gifts, among others. But unfortunately many of us are more inclined to give pain, suffering, aggravation, disturbance, heartache, headache, etc. And what is the result of doing so? There is accumulation of bad deeds which bring punishment in due course, since God’s justice is unfailing. On the other hand, those who are habituated to give, to help and to serve, qualify for bigger gains in the future, since God loves them. After all, those who get such bounties have already qualified for them and God has chosen the givers to do the kind acts on His behalf.
What the Gita says
However, one has to be very careful in what one gives and to whom. There are well established rules for doing this. The Bhagavad Gita says. “one should give only what is worth giving and to the deserving considering the place and time”. (17.20) “Anything given without respect or to wrong persons is not proper”. (17.22)
While giving or doing favours are excellent qualities, one needs to exercise a lot of caution in doing so. First of all, one shouldn’t exceed one’s material, physical or mental limits. Many people forget that they and their families have genuine needs too. Many would give just to get personal attention. Do you remember the announcement in aeroplanes? “First cover your nose with the oxygen mask before doing so for your child.”
Getting attached to doing favours is also wrong. Many have heard the story of the neighborhood uncle who neglected his family to seek importance elsewhere. And, there is a great likelihood of becoming proud, when we forget that everything is ownd by God in the ultimate analysis ; we are only custodians of such wealth and that too temporarily.
Money has four uses – it can be utilized for the self, donated to others, misspent, and hoarded and left behind. It is up to us to choose how to use it. The first two are useful while the last two are harmful and useless. Let us make good use of the money we have. The ones who can give are truly blessed.