In Bhagavad Gita Chapter 9, Text 27, Krishna says to Arjuna to do anything that you are doing, or offering in charity for Me.
Basically, whatever is to be done should done with bhav (mood) of service (seva) and offering to our Radharani and Krishna.
As seen in fabric of society, donations can be to temples, mendicants, underprivileged, social organisations or needy.
Rasika Gurujana guide us that instead of offering money (laxmi) to little children begging on streets or any beggars, the better idea is to give them some prasad offered to Divine Couple. We can carry some prasad like dry fruits or biscuits offered to Lordships wherever we go, and if some underprivileged person approaches us for money, we can rather hand over the prasad to them.
Rasikajana refrain us from giving them money usually as we have no idea what the beggar will do with that money. They may buy intoxicants that is harmful to their health, and it goes without a saying that it is breaking of four regulative principles of shastra (scriptures). The karma of such activity would have to borne by us in such a misuse case. So until it seems necessary, and until Sriji inspires us impromptu, we should try to rather give them prasad or necessary items rather than giving money (laxmi).
In temples, yes certainly, donations can be given depending on capacity Sriji has given us and how impromptu Sriji inspires us at that moment.
But yes, there’s a big condition which Rasikajana guide as stated below.
We should clearly be fixed up in mind that the money (laxmi) is not ours. Sriji and Gurujana are our owner, so the money (laxmi) belongs to them and we are just mere caretaker (Das Anudas). So, whenever Sriji inspires us to give the donations, we should simply consider that it is Sriji’s laxmi, and by this way, it is cakewalk to smash the ego and pride of the act, and it will be helpful in our bhajan.
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If money is given for charity with aim of good karma, then this good karma will bond us to further births of enjoyment of riches, and there is quite a chance of falling down in next life as material world is a very difficult place and it is quite easy to slip into wrong actions and further entanglement.
Hence, we should simply act as an instrument of Lord and do whatever They inspire us in the heart just simply in Their service. To be clear whether it is inspiration of Lord or our mind dictating to us, we should chant as much Nama as possible with humility and desperation to know our Yugal and Gurujana in true form. When Nama is constant on our lips, it becomes pretty easy to get a clear demarcation of what Sriji is inspiring at that particular moment.
At times, it is quite possible that somebody can approach us for money and if Sriji doesn’t inspire us at that moment, then we will even need to politely deny, so as to act as nimmita (plan) of Lord. For example, once in Vrindavan, there was a mendicant saint who joined in queue for free prasad (bhandara) but when his turn came, the devotee who was serving prasad scolded the saint and didn’t give him plate full of prasad (food) but just a little quantity that was not enough to fulfil his hunger. When the mendicant went away, a person asked the devotee serving prasad that why did you scold the mendicant away when you are there to serve prasad only? The devotee replied that the mendicant was enjoying the food and was not depending on Sriji, and hence the scolding, along with not getting full course meal would force him to cry out to Sriji! So, sometimes, whenever Sriji inspires us, we will need to say no! Likewise, for us, our material plan often faces challenges and it gets topsy turvy. In such situations, we should be assured that it is for our good and we should take Nama and Guru Charan as shelter and cry out to Yugal no matter whatever be the external conditions. Sriji will handle it all.
In Nectar of Instruction, Srila Rupa Goswamipada tells us not to over endeavour for money (laxmi) as our bhajan can get ruined in the process. Whatever is required will be arranged by Guru Kripa no matter what.
For preaching work by bonafide Rasika Acharyas, we should enthusiastically give out laxmi. Srila Prabhupada tells that we should give surplus funds for preaching Krishna Consciousness. This is the best use of Sriji’s resources as more and more devotees of Sriji will be back on path after many lifetimes to revive their eternal constitutional position.
Any Vaishnav we see who is struggling materially like crazy, yet happy and elated in their devotional path and faith for Yugal, and if they are fond of Vrindavan or are residing here, and if Sriji inspires us impromptu, we should definitely go out of way and serve them with whatever limited capacity Sriji has given us.
Rasikajana guide that any simple mendicant in Dham will only want to offer flower or bhog (prasad) for their deities. If we have the fortune of visiting Vrindavan Dham or any Dham of Lordships (like Mayapur, Puri, Dwarka, Ayodhya, etc.), we should definitely offer Sriji’s laxmi to them if they approach us. They are simple and niz jan (very own) of Sriji and Krishna. Nothing better than serving them.
Sriji takes care of everything for every Jiva Tattva. It is not by any human endeavour that the world is maintained but by will of Radharani and Krishna.
Rasikajana guide that a Vaishnav should see everyone as belonging to Yugal and ourselves as their servitor. Then, one can get free from the illusion that they are ‘something’. This simple thought automatically brings humility in the heart of the seeker and that accelerates path to the confidential Vrindavan Prema Rasa.
Jai Jai Shri Radhe!
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