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Giving all

Discussion in 'Inspirational Stories' started by Inderjeet Kaur, Oct 14, 2011.

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  1. Inderjeet Kaur

    Inderjeet Kaur
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    I found this on Belief Net and thought it worth sharing. They call it a joke, but I don't think so.

    I Dare You

    At a church meeting, a very wealthy man rose to tell the rest of those present about his Christian faith.

    "I'm a millionaire," he said, "and I attribute it all to the rich blessings of God in my life. I remember that turning point in my faith. I had just earned my first dollar and I went to a church meeting that night. The speaker was a missionary who told about his work. I knew that I only had a dollar bill and I had to either give it all to God's work or give nothing at all. So at that moment, I decided to give my whole dollar to God. I believe that God blessed that decision, and that is why I am a rich man today."

    When he finished and moved toward his seat, there was an awed silence As he sat down, a little old lady sitting in the same pew leaned over and said to him, "I dare you to do it again."

     
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  3. Archived_Member16

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    FOOD FOR THOUGHT: “You hear a lot of strange things about tithing ( dasvandh in Sikhism ). Some say it is a church ( religious ) tax, and they expect me to pay it and that is the end of it. Others say that when I give God one-tenth of my income, He blesses the nine-tenths that is left to the extent that the nine-tenths now goes as far as the whole thing used to go. This isn’t really true, is it? Suppose a farmer had 100 bushels of corn in the barn and he decides to plant 10 bushel in the ground. What multiplies? Is it the 90 bushels that he has left in the barn? Oh, no. All of us ‘farmers’ know it is the 10 bushels you put in the ground that multiplies. Similarly, it is the 10 percent you give to God that multiplies.”

    — Stanley Tam (1915-), American businessman and philanthropist
     
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  4. Kanwaljit Singh

    Kanwaljit Singh India
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    Probably when the Sikhs asked Guru that they wanted to help, what way they could? They were probably suggested to generate funds for good causes by giving one tenth of the income. That's how religion is made to change, at that time, people asked. Now the others tell rest of people.

    I personally believe one tenth is important and it could be that one tenth of income is the minimum, more like a starting point. Rest we all know we are still learning as Sikhs.

    Let's be clear nothing reaches God. Your one tenth goes to those people who got 100% less than what they required for sustenance.

    It is not about miracles, but faith. Even if you give away more than what you perceive you can afford, Guru will provide you with resources to support you. Remember, when you are doing work for Guru, there is no you or I, no now or tomorrow. No thinking about consequences. No thinking about past experiences.
     
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  5. Ishna

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    I'm not sure how much of my golak money goes to improving the Gurdwara vs how much goes to those 100% less fortunate.

    I think people can get lazy donating to their church or Gurdwara with the (rightful) belief that it will go to a good cause but I think sometimes the Institution of the church or Gurdwara can get a bit carried away with things like decorations on the outside of the building and not so much with welfare programs or support for the poor.

    Does a Sikh have to give all their dasvandh to the Gurdwara, or can they give part of it to the Gurdwara (not forgetting the rightful costs of running a Gurdwara to begin with though!) and part of it to a charity?
     
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  6. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    I was thinking about this post last night in bed, it bothered me because when I read it on my phone, I fell asleep thinking that it gave the impression that if you gave to charity, Guru would make sure that you got it back again, I was extremely pleased, this morning, to note the phrase 'provide you with resources' which is a different thing altogether, and a statement I fully agree with
     
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  7. Archived_Member16

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    Where to give the 'Daswand'
    http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/sikh-sikhi-sikhism/32054-where-to-give-the-daswand.html

    ____________________________________________________________

    ਅਕਲੀਪੜ੍ਹ੍ਹਿਕੈਬੁਝੀਐਅਕਲੀਕੀਚੈਦਾਨੁ॥ਨਾਨਕੁਆਖੈਰਾਹੁਏਹੁਹੋਰਿਗਲਾਂਸੈਤਾਨੁ॥੧॥: Aklee parh kai bujheeyai aklee keejai daan. Guru Nanak aakhai raah eho hor gallan saitaan ||1||: One should read (Bani) with intelligence, and then understand its real essence (i.e., assimilate it). Also, one should use intelligence in giving charity. Says Guru Nanak, this is the True Path; other things lead to Satanic life ||1|| (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji 1245).

    Food for thought: Sharing Earnings, Wand Ke Chhakna. Because we are children of the same Father, we should feel pleasure in sharing our earnings with the needy. People who share with the needy do not oblige them or do any favor to them, but are just doing their duty which is expected of them. Sikhs do not give charity or donations to anyone. They share their earnings with them. The only Giver in the world is God. How can we give anything as a donation when we are mere custodians of the gifts given to us by Him?

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



    The Concept of Charity in Sikhism
    Dr. Shamsher Singh*
    * Punjabi University,Patiala.


    Charity is a key precept in every religion of the world. Its practical aspect differs from place to place, religion to religion and country to country. The idea of charity has social, economic and spiritual dimensions. Psychologically the idea of charity appears to have evolved from the deep rooted human instinct of sympathy for fellow beings.

    Charity is a gift to which the recipient has no claim and for which he renders no reward in return. Sometimes it is made purely from compassion and desire to remove the human need.

    Charity takes new shape during natural calamities, like flood, famine, earthquake, epidemics and wars, etc. In these cases government request the people to donate money and other needful goods. It is an indirect charity through the government though it is sometime imposed as contribution the people for good of the nation. Charity in Sikhism covers the main four basic conditions:

    l Charity should be based upon honest earnings.
    l Charity to for others for not owns.
    l It should be given at proper places to proper persons, Guru says: Through wisdom doth charity flows...(p. 1245.)
    l Charity for a Sikh sevadar:
    If a Sikh has to act as priest (Granthi) in a gurdwara, he should take from the offerings (donations to gurdwara) as sufficient for his bare sustenance, under the directions of management. During the times of Masand - system they were given by the Guru from the offerings only for their livelihood.

    Altruist Charity: (Naam Daan) It is a new and unique kind of charity specially in Sikhism, introduced by the Sikh Gurus for the ‘life sublime’ of their devotees.
    It is a source of life and means of true living. Without acquiring the goodness and virtues charity becomes merely ostentation.
    The Purpose of Charity: Charity is meant for poor, needy, sick, destitute, victims and pilgrimage travellers. Charity is a principal aspect of religious life, It has importance in religious and social life. Morally to give charity is a self satisfaction or leading a good life. It purifies the heart of the donor. He seeks the blessings of God to give him more for donating to the needy. The act of charity also provides occasion and incentive for other people to take initiative. Charity has many objectives. Here only the main fives are given:

    1. General benevolence
    2. To help the weaker sections
    3. Revival of the prestige and honour of the poor and to promote sense of equality.
    4. Self purification, and gratification.
    5. Divine grace.

    Many virtues of charity are mentioned in Hinduism:

    1. From the fear of beggar’s curse.
    2. With the hope of getting something in the future life.
    3. To follow up the family traditions.
    4. For popularity and fame.
    5. From gratitude.
    6. To be reborn in heaven.

    Basic Principles of Charity: Abundance is gift. According to Sikhism God created the universe and programmed to feed every creature. He is merciful and compassionate. Even in deep waters of the sea, He provides food to the aquaticspecies. To some one He gives more and others less, but gives to all. It does not mean that the creatures sit idle, to do no work. He gives to all without expecting any reward. He is so merciful that he provides the food before the creation of a child.

    Guru says:
    God arranged the food, before the birth of man (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji 130)
    Even life created in the stone, its feed is provided by Lord (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji 10)

    Prosperity is not just the result of some one’s own efforts. It is bestowed upon man as a divine favour. Prosperity of man is also a test from an other angle that the man who has huge money, he gives some charity out of it. God is benevolent to man and others, similarly he expects from the man to be merciful to others. Charity indirectly is an extension of divine mercy. Generosity of God is presented through the charity of man, It is not just an indication of man’s prosperity but it is constant endeavour towards sharing of hardships, and suffering. Thinkers divide charity mainly in two categories: obligatory or voluntary. Obligatory charity is collected from the prosperous, or it may be paid by them to the organisations or to the trustworthy. Whereas voluntary donations depends upon the choice of donor. Ordinarily it is not imposed. Guru Arjun Dev ji, the fifth Guru directed his Sikh followers, through the Masands, to donate one-tenth of their income in the name of God. It is called Daswandh.

    From the Sikh religious point of view charity is faith and confidence that whatever the man has, it is all the grace and gift of God. Therefore something should be given. If the receivers are not treated in a better way then charity has no meaning. If the donor gives something disrespectfully then the basic spirit of charity is lost. The true sense of charity always encourages the donor to do a good deed, but to do it in grace. Charity should be given sincerely. Charity means to give maximum what ever you can, but with dedication and devotion. Any charity which is given half-heartedly, or under compulsion, losses its true spirit. Sometimes we donate inferior or left out things and food. It is not only an insult to recipient but also tarnishes the image of donor. Such charity is never rewarded. Charity should be given with humility. In ‘hay days’ charity is easy and possible, but real test of donor comes at the time of adversity. While giving charity the needy should be treated in a respectful way and with good grace.

    Best Charity is impersonal/anonymous/undemonstrative:

    Another basic requisition of charity concept is that it should be made without publicity. No doubt sometimes its demonstration persuades others to imitate. In Sikhism it is considered that whatever the Sikh has, (body, mind and wealth) are bounties of the Guru-God. If someone helps the needy it should be kept secret. Exhibition or propagation is cheap popularity in the charity functions.

    Sikh charity extends the sense of brotherhood, equality and enlarges the better relation between the rich and poor. It eliminates the caste feelings. The act of secret charity lowers down the ego of donor. Our centre of charity is Gurudwara free kitchen where (food) is served to all holy pilgrims without any consideration of caste, colour, race and country. Guru ka Langar — is a good example and ideal of charity.

    The Sikh concept of charity is important as well as interesting in its unique nature. Sikh Gurus taught us to do work hard with honesty and share out of it for the needy and never depend upon others. This way of charity is a source and means of understanding the way of life and salvation.

    Satguru says:
    O, Guru Nanak he alone knoweth the way who earneth with sweat of his brow and then shareth it with the others. (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. 1245)

    In Sikhism begging is prohibited. It is unrecognized and unknown. If any Sikh donor encourages such type of charity to an idle Sikh (beggar), it is against the principle of Sikh tradition and Guru’s teachings. In the Sikh history Sikh is marked as donor not as beggar. Sikh charity is neither to show off nor out of fear or curse, not to get any return or reward in heaven, nor for fame and popularity. It is a divine order of Guru. A Sikh should be very well aware to give it at the proper place to person.

    Sikhism derides any kind of charity which is given from the money earned by unfair means. It also does not accept any offer of so called rich person, like Malak Bhago of egocentric nature.

    Sikhism deprecates concentration of wealth, materialism and consumerism. In Sikh history we find word ‘deg’ a Persian word literally it stands for cooking pot, but symbolically it stands for free kitchen or Guru ka Langar, to feed the poor and destitute. It is maintained till now in almost all the historic Gurudwaras.. It is a life giving source of Guru to his devotee to justify their honest earning for the gratification and glorification.

    Uniqueness of Sikh Charity:

    In Sikhism the holy congregational centers (sangat) were established at different and distant places by the Sikh Gurus during their preaching tours. These centers were named later on as Sikh sangats where the name of God was meditated upon and the purpose of these sangats to manage food and shelter for devotees. This was continued upto Guru Gobind Singh, Guru Ji said at his last time at Nanded. (This version is available in Suraj Parkash written by Bhai Santokh Singh):

    "Keep my langar ever open and receive offerings for Its maintenance".

    It was often felt difficult due to the scarcity of sources as Nanded was a distant place from Punjab, The reply of Guru Ji again mentioned by the same writer of Suraj Parkash is given below:

    :Have patience, generous Sikhs will come and will make offerings, everything will be made by Guru’s name.

    The Sikh idea of charity is against the monopoly. It always advocates the collective contributions or voluntary offerings. The Mughal Emperor Akbar while passing through Goindwal (The head quarter of Guru Amar Das) took the Langar and was highly impressed by its neat and clean service and good maintenance. He offered a large estate to finance the free kitchen. Guru Ji politely declined this monopoly offer and said Guru-Ka-Langer would be maintained by the charity of the Sikh Sangats.

    In our Rehatnamas, too, Sikh is advised to donate onetenth in the service of community. Bhai Nand Lal says:

    He who does not put in golak of his true earnings, will have to pass through a thousand hells.

    Guru Gobind Singh says:

    Only he is the Khalsa
    Who looks after the destitute

    Guru Ji again says:

    A poor man’s mouth is Guru’s treasury (receptacle)

    Spiritual Charity:
    So far we have discussed the charity of economic and social field. Spiritual kind of charity is another unique type of charity which satisfies the moral thirst. Without Naam (meditation) all worldly charities do not banish man’s ego:

    Without meditating on Naam
    If the man donates wordly rich things
    in charity, mountains of Gold, fine horses
    Elephants, lands many cows, even then

    Mind’s ego does not dissipate.

    (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji 62)
    Satta and Balwand say:

    And he (Angad) distributed Guru’s word to one and all, and shared
    all he had with them (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji: 966-67)

    God, his Word (Gurbani) and sangat are the main sources of spiritual values. God bestows these bounties, good virtues, compassion, contentment humility, self-discipline, etc. through Naam. Spiritual charity is an endless treasure of good virtues which is neither stolen nor finishes. Without obtaining the spiritual values and virtues all worldly charities are useless:

    Bath in sixtyeight pilgrim stations
    Construction of wells and tanks
    Hearing of Simritis
    If he (donor) slanders the saint
    Then all the charities go away in waste. (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji 575)

    Naam Daan (Charity) not only dignifies the man in this world but also facilitate him in the next world. ‘Naam, Daan Ishnan,’ the basic formula, stands for meditation, charity and piety. Symbolical Atma (bride) begs the dowry of Naam from his father (Guru) as gift (Daan). This dowry will bring credit in the house of In-laws (God).
    Guru says:

    O, my father (Guru) gift away to me
    the dowry of Lord’s Name (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. 79)

    Sikh theory of charity is a unique continuation of Deg and Teg. It symbolizes spiritual and material sustenance. Deg is to feed the poor Teg is to teach the tyrant. Both should go hand in hand in the world. Both these are symbols of self-respect. In our daily prayer we remember those who dwelt on His name, shared their earnings with others. ‘Deg-Teg-Fateh’ are heavenly glories with the grace of Guru. All charitable things are the bounties of God, Sikh is only a servant to serve these:

    Bread and water belongs to the Lord and (the Sikh) desire to serve the pleasure of the Lord.

    A true attitude to charity demands dedication and devotion. Total surrender to the God presents the true picture of this concept when we remember the words Bhagat Kabir mentioned below:

    Nothing is mine, within me
    O, God all that is, belong to you,

    I have surrendered all to you. (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji 1375)
    A true Sikh in his daily prayer begs from the Guru God:

    Grant to the Sikhs
    The gift of Sikhism
    The gift of intellect
    The gift of faith
    The gift of confidence and
    The gift of gifts - the gift of Naam.

    Overall, the idea of charity teaches us many good virtues, values and help to make a success in the life’s goal and, on the other side, helps to overcome ego and many other social evils. Sikh community is understandably known for its hospitality and charity throughout the world.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    DASVANDH or Dasaundh, lit. a tenth part, refers to the practice among Sikhs of contributing in the name of the Guru onetenth of their earnings towards the common resources of the community. This is their religious obligation a form of seva or humble service so highly valued in the Sikh system. The concept of dasvandh was implicit in Guru Nanak's own line: "ghali khai kichhu hathhu dei, Guru Nanak rahu pachhanahi sei He alone, 0 Guru Nanak, knoweth the way who eats out of what he earneth by his honest labour and yet shareth part of it with others" (GG, 1245). The idea of sharing and giving was nourished by the institutions of sangat (holy assembly) and langar (community kitchen) the Guru had established. In the time of Guru Amar Das, Guru Nanak III, a formal structure for channelizing Sikh religious giving was evolved. He set up 22 man/Is or districts in different parts of the country, each placed under the charge of a pious Sikh who, besides preaching Guru Nanak's word, looked after the sangats within his/her jurisdiction and transmitted the disciple's offerings to the Guru. As the digging of the sacred pool, amritsar, and erection in the middle of it of the shrine, Harimandar, began under Guru Ram Das entailing large amounts of expenditure, Sikhs were enjoined to set apart a minimum often per cent (dasvandh) of their income for the common pool, Guru ki Golak (q.v.). Masands, i.e. ministers and tithecollectors, were appointed to collect kar bhet (offerings) and dasvandh from Sikhs in the area they were assigned to, and pass these on to the Guru.

    Dasvandh has since become part of the Sikh way of life. The custom bears parallels to Christian tithes requiring members of the church to pay a tenth part of the annual produce of their land or its equivalent in money to support it and the clergy, and to Muslim zakat requiring assignment of 2.5 per cent of one's annual wealth for the welfare of the destitute and the needy. Classical Indian society had no set procedure for regulating donations or charities, though references are traceable such as those in Parasar Rishi's writings urging the householder to reserve 1/21 part of his income for Brahmans and 1/31 part for the gods. The Upanisads and the Bhagavadgita commend "true alms" given with a sense of duty in a Fit place and at a fit time to a deserving person from whom one expects nothing in return. Dasvand is, however, to be distinguished from dan or charity. It essentially attends to the needs of the community and contributions are made specifically for the maintenance of its religious institutions such as gurdwaras and guru ka langar and projects of social welfare and uplift.

    The custom of dasvandh was codified in documents called rahitnamas, manuals of Sikh conduct, written during the lifetime of Guru Gobind Singh or soon after. For example, Bhai Nand Lal's Tankhahnama records: "Hear ye, Nand Lal, says Gobind Singh, one who does not give dasvandh and, telling lies, misappropriates it, is not at all to be trusted." The tradition has been kept alive by chosen Sikhs who to this day scrupulously fulfil the injunction. The institution itself serves as a means for the individual to practice personal piety as well as to participate in the ongoing history of the community, the Guru Panth.


    References:
    1. Sher Singh, The Philosophy of Sikhism. Lahore, 1944
    2. Gopal Singh, A History of the Sikh People. Delhi, 1979
    3. Avtar Singh, Ethics of the Sikhs. Patiala, 1970
    4. Nripinder Singh, The Sikh Moral Tradition. Delhi, 1990
    5. Cole, W. Owen and Piara Singh Sambhi, The Sikhs: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices. Delhi, 1978 W.S.

    Source: http://thesikhencyclopedia.com
     
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  8. Kanwaljit Singh

    Kanwaljit Singh India
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    True, best thing is to contribute to places where you know everyone in the team e.g. NGO etc. And better if you can work with them to see actual results.

    Yes that happens, but we can try to get sense into those people.

    There is no restriction to give all at one place. People generally divide their Dasvandh to many orgs.
     
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  9. Ishna

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    Many thanks for your insight, Kanwaljit ji.
     
  10. Joginder Singh Foley

    Joginder Singh Foley United Kingdom
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    WJKKWJKF Sat Siri Akal

    I'd go with give something towards the running costs of the Gurdwara, something towards the Langar and something towards those less fortunate than yourself and if you get involved in working with charitable groups working in causes that you find dear to your heart they will appreciate the seva of your input and skills as much if not more than any financual support that you give

    :blueturban:
     
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  11. ginny

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    We are one such charity, St John Ambulance Sikh Division. All our members are volunteers. We give up our time to learn first aid to a very good level, then give our time again to duties where we look after people who may be hurt, thus leaving the London Ambulance Service free to deal with the very serious emergencies in other parts of London.
    It gives me a lot of peace and satisfaction to know that we are giving our skills freely for others and we are trained to cope in dire emergencies. I would urge everyone to either 1) learn first aid so that they can help their nearest and dearest or/ and (2) Come and join us and put Sewa into practice.
     
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  12. Luckysingh

    Luckysingh Canada
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    Ishna Ji

    I'm not sure how much of my golak money goes to improving the Gurdwara vs how much goes to those 100% less fortunate.

    I think people can get lazy donating to their church or Gurdwara with the (rightful) belief that it will go to a good cause but I think sometimes the Institution of the church or Gurdwara can get a bit carried away with things like decorations on the outside of the building and not so much with welfare programs or support for the poor.

    The above from your post.

    As long as one gives with true, pure and clear intentions, then what the so called middleman does with it shouldn't affect what we give.
    If we give knowingly that it will be used for a good cause, this should be the main focus.
    Some do feel that the middleman abuses their position. However, this should not be a deterring factor and stop anyone from giving in the first instance.
    Some feel that the Guru knows that they have given with true intentions, what the middleman does will not influence Guru's vision on one self, but on the so called middleman. I feel that we would be judged by our true and honest actions and not by the results of the next person.

    It's always good to physically witness your donation going all the way. However, in this day and age it's not always appropriate.
    Giving to a gurdwara or otherwise should not really matter. Wherever one feels more inclined at the time, there are many reputable registered charities like Unicef,oxfam, cancer research,Aids, homeless shelters...etc...etc..
    I normally choose charities with proven track records.

    The only thought with regards to improving your giving is maybe maintenance. By this I mean trying to allocate x amount on a daily or weekly basis. It's a lot easier for most of us to give a larger x amount whenever we can at our convenience. But, giving a smaller amount more frequently would be 'a more frequent positive action' and a frequent reminder of our positive action. This 'good' frequency can help us in our personal development at ALL levels.

    10% or daswhand should be considered a starting point. If circumstances permit, then the more the better. We shouldn't view it as a tax or anything but more so a duty of Seva. The more frequent, the better.

    Waheguru
    Lucky Singh
     
  13. Ambarsaria

    Ambarsaria Canada
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    Folks let us think big. World is your OYSTER.

    Gurdwaras important as they are, are only one option. Try to diversify.

    Let me cite an example and it is not to show we are beter than anyone else.

    We do give to local Gurdwaras as and when what we can afford as well as to United Way. United way is an organization that provides voluntary social services assistance to needy without regard to religion, race or ethnicity.

    It helps Sikhs as a community, and as people that we are expected to be with wonderful guidance of Guru jis.

    Sat Sri Akal.
     
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  14. BaljinderS

    BaljinderS
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    Great post, thank you everyone.

    It certainly is a duty of Sikh to share your inner with the less fortunate among us. I will give you a story of my last trip in India.

    -------------------
    One of the evenings, I went to the bazaar with my cousin. There was a wedding show going on, arranged by the local Gurudwaras to marry off the girls that couldn't afford the costs of marriage. There were allot of people there.

    As I was walking out of the show, I came across a boy (I think he was about 11 years) who was carry a lamp post and was going to fix it without any safety equipment. He was "working with live wires"!! This almost bought tears to my eyes. Seeing a young child, who should be with his family late during the night but was working to feed his family. At the time, I only had 100 rupees (not much at all) in my pocket so I gave it to the child with my hands shaking. The boy just looked at and nodded then carried on with his work.
    --------------------

    We live in a very cruel world, we should help the needy when we can. Just imagine if you were in that situation and nobody came to help you.
     
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  15. BaljinderS

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    Just to add, Sikhs are givers, not beggars. Sikhi has given us so much and our heart should be bigger than any universe.
     

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