Spiritual Questions and Answers with Radhanath Swami

What When a Beggar Approaches You? Radhanath Swami Provides Some Guidance

By on October 27, 2010 in Life with 58 Comments

A BeggarQuestion to Radhanath Swami: I have heard that we must give away some prasad (food sanctified by offering it to the Lord) when approached by a beggar; and in case we are not carrying any Prasad, we should give him/her some money, but never say no. Can you please elaborate on this?

Radhanath Swami Answers: This principle is especially for grihastas, householders. In the Vedic scriptures, one of the first regulative principles of the grihasta is to give in charity. If a grihasta does not become charitable, does not feel the needs of those who are suffering, he/she becomes hard hearted. Therefore, Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur established this principle that at least grihastas cannot let a beggar go away without giving them something.

A Vaishnava, a devotee of the Supreme Lord, is always eager to give others Lord Krishna, give others a means by which they can reestablish their connection with Lord Krishna. Now, for whatever reason, if someone comes begging to a devotee, will he/she miss the opportunity to give Krishna?  And the best way to give others Krishna is to give others the holy name of Krishna and give others Prasad. We are not simply concerned with filling their bellies; we are concerned with filling their hearts with Krishna; and Prasad serves both purposes.

Sometimes the tendency is to just walk away if we don’t have Prasad. But if we give something nonetheless, after one or two times, we will never go anywhere without carrying Prasad. So, when someone comes to you begging, take it as the blessing of Lord Krishna; it’s an opportunity to give Krishna. Never let them go away empty handed.


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