ADVERSE EFFECTS OF COVID-19 PANDEMIC
As has been observed, human civilization has been passing through intellectual and civilizational change. Most of the people want ‘maximum’ for the ‘maximum number of people’. However, these ambitious plans have been put paid by the downward spiral of economic development caused by Coronavirus pandemic. We all are aware how the LOCKDOWNS and resultant business and job losses have impacted the general masses globally. These job losses have caused irreparable damage to the social fabric of most of the societies. Though Government has decided to distribute free ration to the people living below poverty line besides certain other steps are taken to alleviate the condition and remove social and economic disparities yet it will take more time for the economic health to be restored fully. Despite all the steps to retrieve the situation, there are still socio-economic inequalities. With uncontrolled unemployment due to job losses, the conditions of the general masses have worsened. In this, the middle class is worst hit. They are the ones who have to shell out taxes on their income, manage their household expenditure besides sundry expenditures to sustain their existence. Therefore, the need of the hour is to provide succor to the needy and take them along. How best we can retrieve the situation is a moot point. In order to ameliorate the condition of the poor, contributions and donations by the ones who have resources is also a need of the hour. In Holy Quran it has been mentioned: And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these [is] charity.
NEED FOR CHARITY/DONATION
Charity or donation should be given by a person who is able to donate from his earnest earnings. A charity given from the ill-gotten affluence will not bring about Karmic credit to the doner. For charity to be credible, pure intention to donate from the legitimately and earnestly earned income will bring addition in Karmic credit account. In Bible it has been very rightly mentioned: And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these [is] charity.
CHARTY TO ADD TO OUR KARMIC CREDIT ACCOUNT
It has also been observed that it is not that a person with huge reserve of wealth can donate or give money in charity but a person with large heart with warm feelings for others can also donate in charity even from the paltry resources he/she is having. We accrue more reward in the form of addition in Karmic credit account if we part with what we have with us. It would be relevant to make mention about a employee of our organization. His name is Mr. Arvinder Singh, who donates partly to the daily Langar (Joint Kitchen) organized by the Sikh Gurdwara and partly meets the fees of those school children who due to their hard financial straits cannot pay the school fees but are proficient in their studies. He has set an example for others to follow that it is not the economic affluence by which one can make charities but expansiveness of heart too which counts too. Many of the people have taken cue from his large-heartedness and started giving money in charity for the needy ones.
TO WHOM TO GIVE IN CHARITY?
It is also worthwhile to note; when donating in charity we should know to whom you are giving our hard earned resources. Firstly, he/she should be the right person to donate and secondly the time of donation should be appropriate. Suppose there is an accident and money is required instantly to meet the hospital bills and the concerned person is not having even a penny. Then, it is a most appropriate time. Thirdly, the place where the charity has to be made is also taken into account. If we donate in charity just to showcase your status and position in public place then that donation will not earn you any Karmic Credit. It would be a futile exercise, an exercise done with passion. Fourthly, an intention to donate should originate instantly after seeing somebody in distress. There should not be any reluctance or dilly-dallying about meeting somebody emergent need. Fifthly, and most important one at that, we should not hope or expect anything in return from the charity we have made to that person. It is better if that person is worthy of your assistance and also a rank stranger.
For the charity to be of any substance, we should follow the guidance given in Bhagward Gita. Charity given to a worthy person simply because it is right to give, without consideration of anything in return, at the proper time and in the proper place, is stated to be in the mode of goodness. Then; the charity given in reluctance with the hope to get something in return or in expectation of reward is said to be in the mode of passion.
In Guru Granth Sahib Ji vide its Shabad, the Guru Guru Sahib has highlighted the significance of charity. He has compared Truth and Charity as His white clothes. In the Guru Granth Sahib the five traits are considered as important ones. It is also relevant to say that all the charities should be made in the name of God without witch where is no benefit of charity so given.
These five traits are:-
- Honest Living.
- Goodwill to all.
- Praise of Lord.
- Charity in the name of God.
The Ramayan states this too:
- It reduces the attachment with the material possessions. When we do not have much attachment with the material wealth, then, if we lose material possessions, we shall remain balanced thus bring in its wake good health and wellness.
- It inculcates a feeling of service (Seva). This service without any expectation is one of the best Karma Yoga that a Yogi performs.
- It expands the heart – by enhancing our compassion and empathy for the needy ones.
The Skandh Purāna states the following:-
- From the earning we have earned by earnest means, we should give one-tenth in charity.
- We should dedicate our charity for the pleasure of God.
Lord Krishna has very rightly asserted in Bhagwad Gita: When charity is given freely from the heart to worthy recipients, at the proper time and at the appropriate place, it is considered to be in the mode of goodness.