Self-giving and charity

I live in New York. What am I doing here in Italy? Here I have come with a message and I have tried to inspire quite a few seekers. When I give talks, at that time I try to inspire people. The inspiration that I offer is my dedicated service. Otherwise, I could have remained in New York peacefully; I didn't have to come to Italy. There are various ways to serve. You go out and help the religious people; that is your service, which is really good. And I go to universities and give talks all over the world. If you give what you have, then that is your service. If I give what I have, then that is my dedicated service. God does not expect me to give money, because I don't have money. But God has given me a little light and He wants me to spread it and offer it to His children, to my brothers and sisters. So that is my dedicated service. What I have, I give. Again, my theory is that we have to give only to those who need what we are offering. There are many people on earth who do not feel the need for our inspiration. If we try to help them, we will be misunderstood. Somebody is fast asleep. You shake him and say, "Get up, get up!" But he says, "Don't bother me." He is sleeping; he wants to enjoy his sleep. You think that you are doing him a favour by telling him to get up, but he is not ready. Because the time has not come for him, you become his enemy.

You want to help everyone. Suppose two persons come to you and ask you for a thousand lira. I ask you for a thousand and somebody else asks you for a thousand. You have the money and you want to show an act of charity; so you give me one thousand and you give him one thousand. With my thousand, I pay the bus conductor and go to a very nice church to pray and meditate. Previously I didn't have the money to go by bus; but you gave me the money, so I went to the church to pray. But the other fellow, when he gets the money, goes to a bar and drinks. Then he falls down in the bar. Now, who will be responsible? You see, you didn't have the vision. You gave him money and with your money he became more ignorant. If you had not given him the money, he would not have done this kind of undivine thing. You think, "Oh, whoever comes to me I should help." But you have only created more ignorance for this person. Since I used your money to go to church, you have done the right thing by giving me money.

So we feel that we should help only those who are ready to receive light and inspiration. Those who are not ready today will be ready some other day. Today we are ready, tomorrow they will be ready. But as long as they are not ready, if we want to help them, they will misunderstand us and misuse our help.

Now, when we give we have to know that there is a great difference between real self-offering and ordinary charity. Charity is a form of giving, but it is not completely self-giving. If you have ten dollars and give five pennies, then you feel you have done an act of charity. There is a great difference between charity and self-offering in the spiritual life. In self-offering, we try to give what we have, unconditionally. When we give something in charity, we feel that the world will come to know and will appreciate and admire us. We will say that we don't expect anything, but we wait like a beggar and inwardly we try to see who is appreciating us or acknowledging our gift.

In the spiritual life, it is not like that. What you have, you give to God or mankind. In self-giving you offer your entire being, whereas in charity you just give a portion of what you have and feel that it is more than enough. Total self-giving is found in the spiritual life when you have the capacity to identify yourself with something infinite. It is like giving your entire being - body, mind, heart and soul. What you have and what you are, you are giving to a divine cause.