Charity – The True Path to Achieve Happiness and Peace

Charity is one of the greatest virtues of mankind. Every religion asks its followers to engage in charities for the fellow human beings and even to other living beings. Charity means using your energy, talent, resources, money, possessions, or whatever else, to help people who need them. Jesus Christ asked his followers to do good to the people who are less privileged in the society,


“But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” (Luke 14:13-14).


Holy Quoran exhorts Muslims to perform charity to attain the love of God and follow the path of righteous in the following words,


“You cannot attain to righteousness unless you spend (in charity) out of what you love.” (The Holy Quran 3:92)


The basic spirit behind the charity in religion is that man must share what God has given to him. Thus charity is also a means of giving justice to the fellow human beings and to serve God as all people are the children of God.

Yet, charity must not be done for getting any benefit in return from this world in any form because then it become business and trading of one type of material possession (wealth, time, knowledge etc) with other type of material possession (name, fame, respect from society etc). It has to be done without any expectation as God Himself rewards those who do charity. An ideal act of charity is similar to throwing your money into the river, which is done silently and without any expectation or even a possibility of return.

Charity for Name

Though charity is a great virtue in religions, yet it is often practiced by worldly and material people who do not have much religion affiliation. Charity is done by people who may not have any believe in heaven or God. Bill Gates, who after being the richest man in the world for fourteen years, decided to quit from his company Microsoft, to work full time for the charitable activity of his foundation viz. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Bill Gates is not alone in such charitable works. Warren Buffet, the second richest man in the world too plans to donate the more than $37 billion from his $44-billion fortune to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Almost all the biggest charities of the world are set up by some of the richest man of the world, who donated most of their fortune for the charitable work.

Most of these people are not known to be religious and even spiritual. Yet they were motivated by their inherent desire to do good for all human beings or to fulfill the desire of God. What motivates even a non-religious person to do charity, if they have no faith in God or rewards after this life?

Worldly Motivation of Charity



Most people become charitable once the money stop giving them satisfaction. This can be explained from the following example.

Suppose you are stranded in a desert and thirsty for days. You are about to die if you do not get water in a few moments. A person approaches you with a glass of water and asks $ 1000 as the price of one glass of water. You argue with him saying that the price is too high. He says that if you want it, this is the price you have to pay. You pay the price reluctantly as you need the water desperately. However, once you have drunk your first glass of water, he offers you the next glass of water at the same price. You will refuse to pay as your desperation has reduced. May be you can still pay $ 100 for one glass of water. Thus the value of water would continue to diminish with every glass you drink. Soon a time would come, when you will refuse to drink a glass of water, even if the person pays you $ 1000.



The value of money too reduces for every person and gradually becomes a liability rather than an asset as excess money brings with it many problems and miseries in life. A rich person suffers from the threat of life as many people would like to snatch his money. He loses respect and love of the common man who feels jealous and even angry of his riches and his lifestyle, which they can not afford. They often brand him capricious, dishonest and even thief of the society. Thus excess wealth instead of giving any satisfaction becomes a source of pain to the rich man.

The excess money is like excess weight of the body, which instead of making you beautiful, makes you ugly; instead of making you healthy, makes you unhealthy and instead of making you happy makes, you unhappy.

How many people would mind losing weight, if it would have been possible to give your excess weight to a person without any pain? Can there be any sacrifice involved in giving your excess weight, which you do not want anyway? That is why Koran said that you must give what you love and not what you dislike.

Yet most people continue to attach themselves with the excess wealth or weight, as it is extremely painful to part away something that has become part of you. The wise men, however, decide to shed their excess wealth to gain what they lost in the process of acquiring wealth. They donate their wealth and their time in charitable work so that they can gain respect from the society. In a way, this may not be a charity but the maximization of the worldly pleasure that comes from compliments and respects by spending some money in the name of charity.

Challenges of Charity

It is easy to throw your money in the name of charity, but extremely difficult to do charity that does good to the world. Donations, if given to the wrong person, may instead of doing any good for the society may do considerable harm to the world. Nowadays, thousands of charities have cropped up merely to receive donations from such people who have lost the pleasure of money in the name of charity.

The right type of charity is explained in Gita in following words. Lord Krishna says,


“Charity that is given as a matter of duty, to a deserving candidate who does nothing in return, at the right place and time, is called a Saattvika or True charity.”(Gita 17:20)


Therefore, all charities have to be given to a deserving person at the right place and time. If the rich person is only interested in his interest viz. getting publicity and worldly name and fame, he may be least bothered to the use of charity. As a result, the charity often goes in the hands of the unscrupulous people as they are more likely to convince the rich persons for the share of his charity than a deserving person who may be too dignified to seek alms from a rich person.

Thus the charity given for the purpose of achieving name and fame from the world often results into failure as the world in severe in criticism, if the charity is distributed to wrong people. Thus the person, whose purpose of charity was to get worldly returns, often feel disappointed as his investment in the form of charity fail to produce the desired results.

Jesus, therefore, asks the people to do the charity without publicity and expectation as God rewards those who do not seek any fruits in this world.


“Be careful not to do your 慈善  ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (Matthew 6:1-4)


The Holy Koran too emphasizes that the spirit of charity more important then the act of charity. It gives benefit only if one gives it voluntarily out of love of God or humanity rather than a duty that is forced upon them by scriptures. Charity can not be measured in terms of dollars, but measured in terms of the spirit of the giver as Koran says,


“A kind word with forgiveness is better than charity followed by injury.. . . O you who believe, make not your charity worthless by reproach and injury, like him who spends his wealth to be seen by people. . .” (2:263-264)


The Real Purpose of Charity
Charity in reality is a test of the belief of God. It hardly changes the world or the people to whom the charity is given. However, it transforms the person who gives charity. It is easy to say that one love God and his children, but few people can follow up their words in deeds. Charity without expectation of return in possible only when a person truly believes in God or the Spirit. It is not easy to give away the worldly things to someone without any expectation of returns. Every act of charity establishes that the charitable man has been able to develop detachment from the worldly possessions including fame and name, which is possible only if the person, is really spiritually awakened. Yet, nothing goes waste in this world. It only transforms into another form by the laws of nature. The material things, therefore, get converted into spiritual realization by the act of charity.

The principles of Karma as enshrined in Gita, states that every action is like a seed that automatically results into the fruit as per the laws of nature. Whatever you sow, so will you reap is an old proverb. The world seems to work on this basic principle of action and reaction.

Thus whenever, a person performs any act, he gets something material in return. If we do our job in the office, we are paid our salaries. When you put some money in bank you get interest. When you invest in shares, your investment increases or decreases with the share market.

All actions results into some results. Charity is no exception. All acts of charities are highly rewarded by this world. The world, tries to return what you have given to it. However, if you don’t accept the return in terms of money, it tries to honor you by words of praise. If you even refuse praise and honor, it respects you from the bottom of the heart.

Every piece of wealth, if sacrificed in this world, results into some worldly returns in this world itself. The nature tries to balance your acts in a way that the world does not feel obliged by you. It pays all material charity with material rewards. All material rewards, however, binds the man to the world and such acts of kindness can not be said to be unselfish. The people receiving the charity feel inferior to the people who give charity. The glorification of charity in this world, therefore, does not provide any spiritual satisfaction to the person as the charity does not remain charity after being paid by the world in kind or by an alternative coin.


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