Tuesday May 21, 2019
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Feed The Hungry Mouths and Raise Yourself

Truly, one has complete freedom to perform an act of charity and be more humane only before death.

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A 16-year-old girl stands inside a protection home on the outskirts of New Delhi, Nov. 9, 2012. She was rescued by Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save the Childhood Movement), a charity which rescues victims of bonded labor. In the state of West Bengal, police officers are helping rescued women to make a new life. VOA

By Salil Gewali

Charity begins at home. But when that charity stands up and steps out of the threshold of a home, it definitely brings comfort to the deprived. Then, the true love for humanity begins to take root. Only then does compassion and love find their better expression. One starts to feel a better “human” whispering from within.  Inner satisfaction out of the act of charity always makes one feel overwhelmed with a good amount of happiness.   This is how one can fast cleanse oneself of the worldly toxicity has been just gathered all through. No amount of money held with a tight-fist has ever helped anyone to become good in life. The virtue is earned only by giving away, by being generous and kind.

Charity
One should be watchful of such self-centered charity.

In India, there are many charitable trusts. However, Akshaya Patra Foundation, which was inspired by a renowned Spiritual master – Srila Prabhupada, markedly stands out. This foundation has taken to practicing what Prabhupada of ISKCON preached all his life. Initiated by a great philanthropist Mohandas Pai, this foundation is now feeding countless hungry mouths across the country. How people wish blessings upon the foundation — and those associated, is beyond the materialistic calculation.  But what is very clear is that many people have already learned from the TRUST how to make one’s life more meaningful and more joyful. It has immensely awakened the spirit of “benevolence” in many prominent businessmen which otherwise has been just lying dormant. This has brought about positive vibes in the whole nation since our government has introduced the mid-day-meal which was inspired by the service the Akshaya Patra Foundation. This apart, lot many other organizations have followed suit and now in the service of filling the empty stomach or empowering the destitute in various states in the country. Many Sikh organizations and others are always at the forefront when any natural calamity come about.

Chairty

The enlightened sages emphatically assert that amassing fortune has no value if the major part of it has not been used for the betterment of the society and the “environment”. In a practical sense, we are heavily indebted to Mother Nature. So, only by generously giving away a part of our wealth towards the righteous causes do we become free from that “debt”. Just imagine what would have happened if we had to buy “air” from the laboratory. Could each individual be able to buy air without which we can’t survive even for 2/3 minutes? We get it all for free. Similarly, we get water, we get all food products grown out from this amazing earth. What would we do if from tomorrow all such nourishing plants, grains, and cereals stop growing! We will just die of starvation. We can’t eat mud and stone for a living. So, we can thus imagine how we “owe our survival” to every part of the Mother Earth; the entire NATURE. Thus, by exercising the charity we clear our “debt” and also clear out the accumulated dirt from our mindset.

Also Read: Right of Nature: Are Rivers Living Beings?

However, there is a bottom-line and a complete no-no in charity. Here is where many individuals just fail and fall down and become too small. That is an “expectation of return” after the charity.  There is no greater “eyewash” than this. This is indeed a “dealing”.  ‘Philanthropy with eyes set on favors from beneficiaries is like a trade’, says Vivekananda. Most of the political leaders just put on the garb of philanthropy while their intention is only to earn the materialistic benefits. Their generosity is limited only to certain classes of people, for a certain period of time and for certain places only. This is absolutely unethical and non-spiritual. It will not reap the spiritual benefit at all. One should be watchful of such self-centered charity. We should not encourage such things that stifle the soul from breathing the air of virtues. Let our souls breathe easy now and hereafter. Truly, one has complete freedom to perform an act of charity and be more humane only before death. After the death, that amassed wealth never be helpful.  Moreover, no dead body has ever carried his/her accumulated wealth to the graveyard!

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’.  Twitter: @SGewali.

Next Story

Sell Charcoal to Buy Food: North Korean Children on Street To Support Themselves

“The children are so diligent and determined. People are astonished because they are out on the streets even before the roosters have crowed, shouting ‘charcoal for sale!” said the source.

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Children hold flowers as they pay their respects before the giant bronze statues of late North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung and his son Kim Jong Il during the anniversary of the end of World War II and liberation from Japanese colonial rule in Pyongyang, North Korea on Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018. North Korea has marked the anniversary with a series of ceremonies ahead of what is expected to be a much bigger event next month, the 70th anniversary of its national foundation day. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)RFERL

North Korean teenagers in some areas of the country are giving up their studies to take menial jobs because their parents cannot adequately provide for them, while authorities who know about the problem aren’t taking any steps to help, sources in affected areas said.

A source from South Pyongan province told RFA’s Korean Service in an interview Thursday that hungry teens are turning to peddling charcoal used for cooking to support themselves.

“Recently in provincial cities, including Pyongsong, there has been a sudden increase in the number of teenagers selling charcoal for a living,” the source said.

“With the money their parents make, eating three meals a day is difficult, so they become street peddlers.”

Peddling charcoal is a fairly easy business to get into, because it can be done by practically everyone and it requires no seed money, the source explained.

“Kids who sell the charcoals are mostly middle school and high school students. Some of them are elementary school students who are not even 10 years old,” the source said.

But the source noted that although getting into the business is easy, the job itself is not.

“They carry bags of charcoal much bigger than they are, on their back, and they start selling it from dawn,” the source said, adding, “Then they will walk more than 4 kilometers (about 2.5 miles) to get more charcoal so they can sell it the next day, then walk back home. It’s really hard work,” said the source.

charcoal
“You can see the teenagers selling charcoal very early in the morning in residential areas of the rural communities near Ryongchon town,” said the source. Pixabay

“These kids have to sell all the charcoal they have if they want to buy food for the next day, so even before dawn they are walking around the densely populated neighborhood with their charcoal bags on their back,” the source said. According to the source the kids can sell the charcoal for 1,500 North Korean won (19 cents) per kilo.

The source said that the best time to sell charcoal is in the morning, because this is when housewives need to start preparing food for the day before they go to the local market.

“They walk around shouting “Charcoal for sale!” in the neighborhoods at 5am, breaking the silence of apartments and residences, and stirring up sympathy.”

While charcoal is a needed commodity, it is the sympathy for the children that most likely drives sales.

“People in the neighborhood feel pity, so they come down from their apartment to buy charcoal from these children,” said a second source from North Pyongan province.

“You can see the teenagers selling charcoal very early in the morning in residential areas of the rural communities near Ryongchon town,” said the source.

The source said that the locals are amazed at the work ethic of the charcoal-selling teens.

“The children are so diligent and determined. People are astonished because they are out on the streets even before the roosters have crowed, shouting ‘charcoal for sale!” said the source.

“When a customer lives on a high floor of an apartment building, the children tell them they will deliver it to their door. Even for customers who buy only a kilogram, the children will walk up all the stairs,” the source said, adding “They’ll do anything for the money.”

charcoal
“They walk around shouting “Charcoal for sale!” in the neighborhoods at 5am, breaking the silence of apartments and residences, and stirring up sympathy.” Pixabay

But as impressed as the people might be with the enterprising youth, they are angry that economic conditions are forcing the youth to work so hard just to eat.

Also Read: Micro-blogging Site Twitter Now Lets You Re-tweet with GIFS, Images and Videos

“People are resentful against the government because these are children who need to [be at school] trying to achieve their dreams, but here they are selling charcoal or doing other kinds of day-to-day labor,” the source said.

“Meanwhile the government makes false propaganda that North Korean children are living healthy happy lives.” (RFA)