THE WAY TO GIVE CHARITY
This article is being written with the blessings of Dhan Dhan Parbrahm Parmeshar and Sant Satguru Baba Ji. The objective is to understand “Charity” through the teachings of Sri Guru Granth Sahib (from here onwards: SGGS) and Gurbani of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji. The Sikh Guru’s accepted Daswandh ( a tenth of the income) from their Sikhs. Similar practices have been adopted by Satguru’s of other religions. However, with the general deterioration of Spiritual Standards, charity has also suffered a blow in the last three centuries in the Sikhism. The following subject matter is aimed at helping straighten this.
Is there a need for Charity?
Any one on the spiritual path is required to give to charity. How much? Whatever is deemed appropriate by the Guru as bare minimum. Of course, you can exceed the bare minimum. Give with your heart, and get out of the accounting game. Sometimes give everything to God and don’t think twice about HOW MUCH. That is the only way to release the grip that GREED has around your heart.
The very act of giving is a characteristic of God. By giving, we become unattached (Nirlep) from Maya (Money and everything you can see). We start inculcating in ourselves the Godly habit of giving and serving others (Daan and Parupkaar). We offer to God a part of what he gave us. Infact , God made the Creation and GAVE IT ALL AWAY TO US. And what God wants us to do is for us TO GIVE EVERYTHING AWAY TOO. Guru Amar Das Ji writes “Body Mind and Wealth : sacrifice it all to Guru-God, obey the HUKAM and realise Him.” But its difficult for anyone to GIVE EVERYTHING, so at least start by giving something and Guru will help you to become totally free.
Now whatever goes around eventually comes around. Here are some quotes from SGGS:
One who calls himself a guru or a spiritual teacher, while he goes around begging
– don’t ever touch his feet.
One who works for what he eats, and gives some of what he has
– O Nanak, he knows the Path. ||1||
God’s home or path to God’s home can be recognized by the people who earn through hardwork & honestly and then give some as charity. So, any serious spirituality seeker has to do it. Also:
The thief robs a house, and offers the stolen goods to his ancestors.
In the world hereafter, this is recognized, and his ancestors are considered thieves as well.
The hands of the go-between are cut off; this is the Lord’s justice.
O Nanak, in the world hereafter, that alone is received,
which one gives to the needy from his own earnings and labor. ||1||
After this life, if you are not freed from the cycle of Birth & Death, you will receive whatever you donated in your current life.
Some people get frustrated with the events of their life, Guru Nanak clarifies again:
Dadda: Do not blame anyone else; blame instead your own actions.
Whatever I did, for that I have suffered; I do not blame anyone else. ||21||
So, we should quit complaining to God by accepting our current situation as being the result of what we sowed in the past. Now we should forget the past and start sowing good seeds for the future.
The ideal way to give Charity
Sri Guru Gobind Singh Sahib has described it beautifully in Gyan Prabodh Patshahi:10, verse 645. Where he says that service and charity (Seva & Daan) is proper only when done to Pragtyo Jyot Khalsa (any one who has had victory over his mind & Maya by winning over Punj Doots, is jyoti jyot samaya in Parbrahm, is above & beyond the Dharamraaj and has puran Parkash and Anmolak Gurparsadi Naam Rattan-Satnaam in his hirda.). Guru Gobind Singh Ji says he does not like to do Daan & Seva to anyone who is not True Khalsa. Whatever you give to Khalsa then multiplies and comes around back to you. Any other giving or service is tasteless. So much so, he says his body, his mind and all the property in his house actually belongs to Khalsa.
Now, Pragtyo Jyot only can be a Satguru that you follow as your spiritual guide. He is the Khalsa, you should be doing Seva & Daan to. Leave aside one tenth of the income, SGGS says you should surrender your mind, body and wealth to your Satguru. That is the only way you can truly severe your bonds of Maya & Sansaar. Without being Nirlep from Maya & Sansar you won’t be able to blend into Parbrahm. Here are some quotes that clarify these thoughts further:
I dedicate my body, mind, wealth and all to Him. I totally sacrifice my soul to Him.
I offer my body, mind and wealth to anyone who can unite me with God.
They alone are accepted and approved, who dedicate their souls, bodies and wealth.
I dedicate my mind, soul and wealth to them; bowing low, I fall at their feet.
My body belongs to the Saints, my wealth belongs to the Saints, and my mind belongs to the Saints.
Body, mind, wealth and everything, I surrender to my Lord.
Surrender body, mind, wealth, and everything to the Guru;
obey the Order of His Will, and you will find Him.
They place mind, body and wealth in offering before the Guru,
and sell their heads to Him.
Is Charity without worship ok?
Some people are heard saying that good deeds and Charity are good enough and they seem to lessen the importance of worship (Bhagti). These people are mistaken. Just by doing good deeds (Pun karams) and charity (Daan) will not get them salvation. Gurbaani says in SGGS:
Bed Pukare, Pun Paap Swarag Narak Kaa Bio (SGGS)
i.e. with Pun and Paap karams you are sowing seeds of Swarag and Narak respectively.
Punn daan anek nahaavan kyon antar mal Dhovai.
i.e. with good deeds, charity and ishnaan of shrines no one can get rid of the filth of mind (Maya & Doots)
Tirath barat ar daan kar man mai Dhareh gumaan.
Naanak nihfal jaat tih, jyon kunchar isnaan. ||46||
(SGGS: L18, P1428)
also, the one whose ego escalates after visiting shrines, making charity is wasting the effort just like an elephant ,who, after bathing sprays dirt on his back using his trunk(i.e. he bathed to cleanse but got a fresh layer of dirt again, so all effort to no avail)
Punn daan jap tap jete sabh oopar Naam (SGGS: L2, P401)
i.e. meditating on God’s true name (Satnaam, meaning Truth) is above all the charities, Japs (reciting with tongue), taps (meditation, on something short of Gurparsadi Naam)
In conclusion: Charity is a must for spritual progress. However, just charity by itself is not sufficient to bust the cycle of birth & death and to achieve oneness with the Almighty. Also, charity needs to be done with complete surrender. Without complete surrender the charity is “Kunchar Ishnaan” – eye wash. The charity should be given to a Pragtyo Jyot Khalsa as encouraged by Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Charity to Preachers, Shrines managed by committees or preachers who are not Pragtyo Jyot Brahmgyanis is wasteful.
The author does not imply any capability of his own, is far from the true destination, but striving with the blessings of Parbrahm & Satguru.
Kookar Ram Kau (God’s Dog),
Daswand – Part 2
A fine explanation ‘offerings to the Guru or Sant-Satguru’ is given in the write-up above. This article is a follow-up to clarify few misconceptions commonly noticed amongst people.
The ritual of offering ‘Daswandh’ has been there since the times of the Gurus. The sikhs were advised to bring their daswandh –10% of their income to the Guru. The masands were nominated by the Guru to collect the daswandh from sikhs. It used to be in many forms. During war times or such preparations, Gurus would ask sikhs to bring their daswandh in the form of weapons, or horses. Do you think Gurus really needed this for their protection or enjoyment or did they desire for any wealth? No. Why would they indulge in something of a no value if they already are absorbed in the Lord? The saints are custodians of the most precious of all – ‘Naam’, and the maya is at their disposal all the time. Yet they choose not to get into maya, and it still serves them. The Daswandh is a process the Guru utilizes to liberate the devotees from the terrible bounds of materialism or maya. Why is it so important to get away from the affects of Maya? SGGS quotes –
”maa-i-aa mohi visaari-aa jagat pitaa partipaal”. (page 30, Guru Amar Daas)
In attachment to Maya, they have forgotten the Father, the Cherisher of the World.
”tarisnaa maa-i-aa mohnee sut banDhap ghar naar”. (page 61, Guru Nanak Dev)
The enticing desire for Maya leads people to become emotionally attached to their children, relatives, households and spouses.
”gurh mithaa maa-i-aa pasri-aa manmukh lag maakhee pachai pachaa-ay”. (page 41, Guru Ram Daas) Maya spreads out like sweet molasses; the self-willed manmukh is stuck like a fly, rotting away.
So, it becomes extremely important to get away from the effect of Maya. This is something extremely difficult to do on own. It cannot happen without the blessings of the Almighty. Guru being the Lord’s messenger liberates common beings from Maya (materials) in masses.
”maa-i-aa moh chukaa-i-aa gurmatee sahj subhaa-ay”. (page 19, Guru Amar Daas)
Emotional attachment to Maya is shed with intuitive ease, through the Guru`s Teachings.
”bin saaDhoo sangat rati-aa maa-i-aa moh sabh chhaar”. (page 52, Guru Arjun Dev) Without being attuned to the Company of the Saints, all attachment to Maya is just dust.
The daswandh in fact goes to the Lord if it is presented to a Puran Guru (True Master). Dasam Pita clarified it very nicely. Bhai Nand Lal ji Goya (the most respected and the prime poet in tenth Guru’s darbar) sheds a great deal of wisdom on the state of a brahmgyani –
The saints appear to be materialistic, but in reality, they are aloof of the worldly attachments. They are with the Lord for each and every moment. A common person views them as very involved in the family (sons-daughters), but in fact their true relationship is with the Almighty Himself. They appear to be busy in accumulating the wealth (gold-silver), but truly they are intensly absorbed with the Creator of water-earth-wealth.
Page 313, Amrit Kirtan Pothi (Bhai Nana Lal Ji – in Persian)
The Lord is the giver to all. If He chooses to, can take away everything from an egoist in less than a fraction of second. SGGS ji quotes –
“ayk bhee na day-ay das bhee hir lay-ay. ta-o moorhaa kaho kahaa karay-I”.
page 268, Guru Arjun Dev
But what if that one thing were not given, and the ten were taken away? Then, what could the fool say or do?
”jo dayvai tisai na jaanai moorhaa ditay no laptaa-ay”.
The fool does not know the One who gives; instead, he clings to the gift.
page 76, Guru Ram Daas
So offering our Daswandh is a divine way of liberating ourselves from the effects of Maya. And doing this alone without remembering the Lord is also wasteful. One has to surrender oneself completely – Tan (body), Man (mind) and Dhan (wealth) per SGGS ji:
”man tan Dhan gur paraan aDhaaree”.
I offer my mind, body and wealth to the Guru, the Support of the breath of life.
page 193, Guru Arjun Dev
The Gurus or Saints do not need maya and they never desire for it. They do not take away anything from anyone. In fact, the saints truly bless the individuals with the most precious jewel of ‘Naam’.
”santan mo ka-o poonjee sa-upee ta-o utri-aa man kaa Dhokhaa”.
The Saints entrusted to me the capital, and my mind’s delusion was dispelled.
(page 614, Guru Arjun Dev)
”sanchan raam naam Dhan ratnaa man tan bheetar seevan”.
They gather up the priceless wealth of the Lord`s Name,
and weave it into the fabric of their mind and body.
page 1222, Guru Arjun Dev
The process of offering maya is a divine law and devotees have been doing it all along. If we look at various saints from the recent past like – Baba Nand Singh Ji, Baba Ishar Singh Ji Rare Vaale…They did never care for maya yet the maya was serving them from left and right. SGGS quotes –
”maa-i-aa daasee bhagtaa kee kaar kamaavai”.
Maya is the slave of the Lord`s devotees; it serves them.
page 231, Guru Amar Daas
Obviously, if you turn your back to Maya and follow the Supreme One, it will run after and serve you. On the other hand, if you run after it, it will turn its back on you, and will keep you chasing it forever.
A humble servant of the Lord
Daswand – Part 3
Misconceptions about giving Charity
First of all Dhan Dhan Parbrahm Parmeshar and Sant Satguru are two separate entities. Dhan Dhan Parbrahm Parmeshar means God or Almighty (there is only one God). Sant Satguru is the Guru padvi e.g. Ten Sikh Gurus, Bhagats like Kabir, Ravidaas, Pipa, Sain etc. Sant Sarguru is a living saint, who, after completing his Bhagti is jyoti jyot samaya in God. Sant Satguru (Sat Raamdaas) and God are one in Satnaam. SGGS says:
Har Jan Har Antar Nahin Naanak Saachi Maan.
Secondly, anytime a new Brahmgyaani starts spreading the Gurparsaadi Naam (Satnaam: meaning TRUTH), the existing religions which are full of hollow rituals (Pakhands) and impurity (Koor) feel threatened. They respond in retaliation and start calling it a cult. Guru Nanak was treated same way and called several names including kurahyia (misleading others and himself on the wrong path):
Koi aakhe bhootna, koi kahe betaalaa, Koi aakhe aadmi, Naanak Bechaaraa
Guru Nanak in SGGS
Now on charity:
Sev kari inhi ki bhavat, aur ki sev suhaat naa ji ko.
Daan dyio inhi ko bhalo, ar aan ko daan naa laagat neeko.
Aage faleh in hi ko diyo, jag meh jas, aur dyio sabh feeko.
Mo greh mein tan te man te , sir lao dhan hai sabhi inhi ko.
(Sri Guru Gobind Singh in Gyan Prabodh Patshahi:10)
i.e. Seva & Daan is proper only when done to Pragtyo Jyot Khalsa (any one who has had victory over his mind & Maya by winning over Punj Doots, is jyoti jyot samaya in Parbrahm, is above & beyond the Dharamraaj and has puran Parkash and Anmolak Gurparsadi Naam Rattan-Satnaam in his hirda.). Guru Gobind Singh Ji says he does not like to do Daan & Seva to anyone who is not True Khalsa. Whatever you
give to Khalsa then multiplies and comes around back to you. Anyother giving or service is tasteless. So much so, he says his body, his mind and all the property in his house actually belongs to Khalsa.
tan man Dhan arpau tisai, parabhoo milaavai moheh.
(SGGS: L18, P256)
tan man Dhan sabh saup gur kau hukam mani-ai pai-ai.
(SGGS: L5, P918)
The meaning of all the above quotes from Gurbani can be summarized as the following:
Surrender completely your body, mind and wealth to your Satguru. Which further means that you should always believe that your body, mind and wealth belongs to God and you attribute no part of that to your intellect or capability. By making a Charity to your Guru, you are only acknowledging to the God that all that you have is given to you by God and that you are returning to God a portion of what you got from him.
Now let us reflect back on the Sikh history:
Sikh Gurus accepted Charity in the form of Daswandh. They had no other means of income. Or did they? If any body knows other means of their income, I would like to know for my knowledge. Because Brahmgyaani has only one occupation i.e. giving Gurparsadi Satnaam according to the supreme will and Hukam of God. And God serves the Brahmgyaani in numerous ways including Daswandh from his disciples.
Lakh Chaurasi Medani Sabh Sev Kranda (SGGS)
So all life forms serve Brahmgyani. Like a serpent covering Guru Nanak’s head from sunlight. An elephant when unleashed upon Kabir to kill Kabir, actually started playing with Kabir.
Further more, when paid Fauj of Guru Gobind Singh Ji gave up on him and demanded their salaries right at that moment then from no where appeared Sikhs with mules laiden with Gold Muhrs presented as Daswandh to Guru Ji. That money was then given to the Fauj. Open the history books and verify for yourself.
Furthermore, find Guru Gobind Singh’s hukamnama’s urging the Sikhs to bring Horses and weapons as their Daswandh.
Did Guru Amardaas Ji not institute 22 Manjis and Masands to not only spread Truth but also to collect Daswandh from the Sangat and send it to Guru.
Kirt and Keerti (Income and Daan/Daswandh) is pre-written on your forehead before you are born. Only the few lucky blessed ones play the khed of Guru Chela as in “purbale karam ke ankur” and “Sanjogi Mela”.
“Ik Akaalpurakh Te nitt Navin Suhagan”
All the above said rules of charity apply to all blessed beings Brahmgyaanis, Pragtyo Jyot Khalsas of all religions. Brahmgyaanis keep coming to this world from time to time.
Unfortunately, blinded by Hankaar (ego), rigidity (Katarta) and gross ignorance (Maha moorakhta), Sikhs have forgotten all these Sachyaari Karni (noble deeds) of charity. And today’s examples Pingalwara etc. have been the initiative of Saints like Bhagat Puran Singh. After the Saints are gone, the mad hankaari dogs have robbed the chest of charity. The charity going to Gurdwaras is managed by preacher class and committees who have lost their souls to Punj Doots and Maya. Guru Granth is merely treated like hindus worshipped Idols. As Kabir Ji says in SGGS:
Bhaat pehat ar laapsi, karkaraa kaasaar,
Bhoganhaare bhogya is moorat ke much chhaar.
i.e. the donation of fine cuisine is eaten by the Brahmin or Pujaari or Nikhalis and the Idol is getting only the ashes. The same is state of Sikhi in India and abroad. Newspapers are full of it.
This is absolute truth. Maya only serves Brahmgyaani and eats others alive from all living beings to Tetee Krore Devtaas.
Maya aisee Naagni, jis bin dantaan jag khaya (SGGS)
This article has been written with the blessings of Dhan Dhan Parbrahm Parmeshar and Sant Satguru, Sat Raamdaas.
A Humble Servant
Daswand – Part 4
Some people find it difficult to understand the concept of daswand and brahmgianis. They think it must be GREED or another person in the guise of a holy man taking money from the poor and helpless.
Personally i dont believe that and know from my own experience everything written above is true. I also met someone once who was criticising and slandering a Sant , and telling us not to do youth programmes at that Gurdwara. Then I realised that man had given alot of money in that direction, but now obviosuly felt he had been conned – and started thinking it was his money.
That is the test, firstly it is difficult to give. And secondly once we have given, then the mind gets even more bitter and angry when its starts thinking it was ‘MY MONEY”. I have failed these tests and my bhagti didnt get anywhere until i fell at AkalPurakhs feet and accepted my mistakes, not the Brahmgianis and apologised for all the negative thought i had towards the brahmgiani in question.
Just ask yourself, “Why do you find it hard to give?” The answer is “because it is difficult to make money and easy to give it away foolishly.”. Yes , you are right if you give the money away foolishly, then you are a fool. But if you give it in the name of Guru Nanak Maharaj, and remember it was him who gave it to you in your left hand, and it is now him who takes it from your right hand, then you will be happy. And remember money is not a scarce resource, if you give it in the name of Guru Nanak Maharaj, then also remember “What is there that isn’t in the Gurus house?” (Sachay Sahiba Kia nahee ghar teray).
Gods house is full of all kinds of wealth. Your Father Akal Purakh is the richest of the rich, and when you empty your pockets, He will fill them again and again.
The only catch is, DONT THINK IT IS YOUR MONEY. It is not, never was, and never will be.
Daswand – Part 5
A Humble Servant , you asked above
“Sikh Gurus accepted Charity in the form of Daswandh. They had no other means of income. Or did they? If any body knows other means of their income, I would like to know for my knowledge.”
I remember reading that Guru Arjun Dev Ji used to run a little shop. And that one of the options he was given before becoming shaheed, was to pay a 2 million rupee fine. To which Guru Sahib humbly said somthing like “that is not my money to give, that is the sangats money for the benefit of the community.”
Also Guru Sahib’s teachings were for one to work honestly and to share. Compare that with the Yogis, who used to renounce everything, yet rely upon people to bring them food and offerings. Guru Sahib completely turned around that philosophy by saying to them they should use their hands to earn a living and use that to feed others! Infact Baba Ishar Singh rarawaly used to say “Dont try and be a saint, try and serve the saints.” That is what I understand when Guru Nanak Maharaj says “Daasan Daas” I am the servant of Gods Servants.
Also there are stories of the bhagats at work, earning their living by their own hands and sharing with others. For example, Bhagat Kabir ji was weaving, when a poor man came by. Bhagat Kabir Ji gave him a bundle of cotton. Some months later the poor man came back very happy and with money. He said that he had used the cotton to make a net, and with the net he went fishing, he sold the fish and made a profit etc. Bhagat Kabir Ji wasnt too pleased with that, as he was very compassionate to al God’s creatures and regretted even indirectly being the cause of the fishes death. (Radhasoamis use this story to get all their followers to give daswand to were they know it will be used wisely i.e to their organistation only.) I personally dont agree with that if it means you just walk by poor people and the needy because they are not brahmgianis or not of your organisation. There is a saying “Gareeb da moo, guru da golak” meaning the poor ones mouth is the Guru’s moneybox. There is also another story of a bhagat (Trilochan Ji?) doing his work in a shop when a seeker on the path came to him. But couldnt believe he was spiritual because he was caught up in worldy work. Bhagat ji told him that the mind was with God, that was what was important.
Even the story of Baba Budha ji the great brahmgiani, when Mata Ganga ji went for a son’s blessing, shows Baba Budhai ji was a farmer. She went to see him in the fields away from the massses of sangat at Amritsar.
Even Guru Nanak Dev ji worked and lived as a family man before he set out on his mission. After which there are lots of stories when Bhai Mardana Ji went to get food and charity from villagers etc And even Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji meditated for 26 years before becoming a missionary Guru – so he didnt do a day job like us.
Baba Nidhan Singh ji had darshan of Guru Gobind Singh ji who gave him hukam to start 24 hr langar at Nanded (leaving place of Guru Gobind Singh Ji). Baba Nidhan singh asked how can i run it without money. Guru Gobind Singh ji told him not to worry as the pockets full of money were the Gurus, and the hands were the Sants.
Every brahmgiaini has there own hukam, some work as family people, others are out there on a mission.
Daswand – Part 6
There is nothing of our own in this birth, not even our ownself. When we are under the influence of Maya, we tend to control things. It does not work and then we complain. Obviously, The Lord is the ultimate controller of everything. This Gurbani quote has a great deal of wisdom (truth).
Meraa Mujh Main Kuch Nahin
Jo Kich hai So Teraa
The Naam amrit gets in you only if you truly act on this. The articles on Charity here clarify where we should be contributing for charity. In any ways, once you do it, forget about it for any rewards. Do not desire for anything in return. He gives in abundance when you do not ask for anything.
As you become Sachiara, and remember the Lord all the time, the Lord pervails in you. He takes care of all your deeds, and guides you through all the way. He serves His devotees.
“Santan ke karaj aap khloa, har kum kravan ayia ram”
Who was serving Dhanna Bhagat, and his cattles. Who was serving the King on behalf of Bhagat Sain. The Lord Himself. He will do it for all of us, provided we surrender to Him – not only Dhan, also Man and Tan. Giving away through charity or dasvandh is a way of liberating oneself from the severe bonds of Maya. These have to be broken, in order to connect to the maker of all. Gurbani quotes –
“Aap Gavaiyee ta sauh paiyee”
A Humble Servant