Spiritual Questions and Answers with Radhanath Swami

Should we Give Money to Beggars? Radhanath Swami Answers

By on November 5, 2010 in Life with 38 Comments

Helping a beggarQuestion to Radhanath Swami: This is one question which I’ve had since my childhood. When I travel by trains I see many children begging, and I can’t bear the sight of their hunger. One side of my heart says that I should not give them money for they might misuse it, while my other side says GIVE IT ! What should I do?

Radhanath Swami: Actually, real joy comes through service. Real joy that touches the heart comes through serving without expecting anything material in return. When we do something and we get something in return, that gives satisfaction to the mind and to the senses but it does little for the heart. Actual inner wealth is the propensity to serve; not to exploit, not to take, but to serve.

There are different levels to service that give different levels of inner fulfillment. Philanthropy is to serve those who are in physical or mental need. That is in sattva guna, or the mode of goodness, if it is done properly. And that gives a higher sense of gratification than just giving and taking, because it gives us a chance to express selfless spirit of servitude, a type of love. To give without expecting anything in return is a type of love and ultimately it is love that we are all looking for. But the greatest service is to provide for the needs of that person’s soul. By providing that person inner enlightenment we are not just solving temporary needs which will come back in a few hours. We are actually giving that person inner eternal wealth.

So, when these little children come to beg from you, in my opinion, as far as possible you should give them something. If you are afraid that they are going to misuse your money, take some Prasad (sanctified food) with you wherever you go; give them Prasad and they will be happy! If you give them money, they may spend it on food, or they may spend it on cigarettes or alcohol or drugs, or they may give it to some mafia person who is hiring them. Yes, you don’t know.  But you never know: they maybe in need of food, and might want to use it for food. So, better give money than turn them away. But, if you want to be really sure that you are helping them, give them some Prasad and then they will be very happy. Their bodies are getting some nourishment, and they are also getting spiritually enlightened through the process.

If you just refuse a beggar, there is a certain natural guilt in our heart, and that guilt in the heart is your higher nature saying, “Somebody has come, you should help them if you can.”

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  • Abhijit Toley

    Thank you Radhanath Maharaj for the clear instructions.

  • Siddeshwar Bhat

    That’s a complete thesis on the science of compassion.

  • Tushar Gaikwad

    “Actual inner wealth is the propensity to serve”. Wonderful point by Radhanath Swami.

  • Dipti Gaikwad

    Radhanath Swami’s emphasis on providing eternal service to the sol as compared to temporary gratification is very instructive.

  • Sumit

    Thank you very much Radhanath Swami for this answer which I was looking for for quite sometime.

  • Ravi Garg

    Radhanath Swami’s heart is very soft & he wants his followers to follow his example…….

  • Abhijit Toley

    I had always wanted answer to exactly this question. Thanks for providing it.

  • Aishwarya

    Radhanath Swami has completely taught here the art of complete compassion.

  • Gopinath Chandra

    Complete perspective

  • Balaji

    Thank you very much Radhanath Swami for such a wonderful clarification of doubt. Really this must have been one of the doubts in many devotees. Your words surely clear their doubts

  • Anand

    thank you for clearing our doubts

  • Meera Sharma

    Very instructive article. It removed all doubt about charity. Maharajah ki Jai.

  • Sachin Boradia

    Thank you Radhanatha Swami for this crystal clear answer which clarifies all doubts.

  • Shyam Bihari Das

    Maharaj has provided a very nice answer to a question that has plagued many of us for a long time. Hari Bol!

  • Madana Kishore Das

    A very nice and practical explanation of how to deal with beggars. Thank you Maharaj.

  • Mohan

    Thank you for kindly sharing this, its a perfect answer

  • THank you. My doubt has also got cleared

  • Navin Poojary

    Radhanath Swami has so clearly explained here how we should be doing “True Charity”

  • saveeta

    Thank You Radhanath Swami for the clear and practical Guidance on this topic

  • Arjun K Ramachandra

    Beautiful understanding! In these days where people are losing all finer sentiments due to gross culture of modern age, Radhanath Swami gives us a proper way to serve the poor people ensuring that our help is not misused.

  • Ramya

    Radhanath Swami Maharaj shows compassion to all!

  • ks Subramanian

    Radhanath Swami not only provides answers but by giving the logical arguments, he guides us in approaching such dilemmas that constantly arise in our lives with s spiritual perspective.

  • Pravin

    Thank you Radhanath swami maharaj for giving clear cut instruction on this subject

  • anjanadri

    Thanks for sharing. I hope I will always remember this and follow it.

  • Abhijit Toley

    Its great to get clear answers about practical questions.

  • Jitendra Pardeshi

    It appears difficult to carry Prasad always (especially reserve it for others !) but then I should carry some dry prasad and if not then can follow the instruction on the basis of authority – better give money than turn them away. Thank you Radhanath Swami Maharaj.

  • hrishikesh mafatlal

    A very practical and useful suggestion.

  • Shra1wiz

    A dilemma solved by Radhanath Swami. I was also looking for an answer for this question. Thank you for posting this. A simple yet beautiful answer.

  • Shra1wiz

    In my humble opinion, even money, if we know that it is Krishna’s money in our possession, and we give it to the child knowing that is Krishna’s, then even money becomes prasad. I request to be corrected if not so.

  • kishore

    thank u maharaj for instructions. real nature is to serve, and real service is service on soul level and not on material level.

  • i like

  • Pradeep Kumar

    Very practical suggestion, thank you.

  • Servant

    His Holiness Radhanath Swami Maharaj has beautiful explained the practical,positive and the spiritual way to help the people in need.

  • Gurrappanaidu

    Wonderful, giving Krishna or Krishna prasad is real charity.

    Thank you so much Maharaj for being enlighten us.

    Thanks for posting.

  • Chhaya Gurung

    It has removed so much confusion from my mind and heart.The ultimate answer is you never know if that person is really in need of money.Just by our own imagination that person might misuse the money is not right thing to turn away the needy.

  • Dipak Thakker

    Dear Swamiji – Thank you for giving us a very practical advice on a debatable issue. I will surely follow it. Regards.

  • Jagannath Dham Das

    Thank you very much Radhanath Swami for enlightening us on the importance of service & telling us practically how we should do the service to beggars in best possible way !
    Hare Krishna !

  • Pankaj

    very well explained by Maharaj & very clear instruction of what to do.

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