Charity is not about Giving

Yes. Charity is not about giving. Even if it means a lot, most of your wealth or infact all of your wealth. Even giving all of your wealth cant be called charity.

I have indulged in unethical trade and amassed wealth. This, i now give away for causes of flood relief or humanitarian relief. Can we call this charity ?

I have won a lottery. A part of this I decide to give away to support the cause of the armed forces. Can we call this charity ?

I have earned well and lived the way I have wanted. I have enjoyed my life, traveled far and wide, provided for my family and children. I am close to retirement now. I guess I have lots left. I decide to donate all of this to an NGO. Can we call this charity ?

At best, we should call these bank transfers and not charity. True charity is about living and not giving.

Charity is about acts endowed with sacrifice and compassion.

What is this compassion. My most favourite definition is from Martin Luther King. He says – “True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring”.

There is so much to ponder about this one line.

What about sacrifice ? It immediately means something to part with, right. Thats because we always think of sacrifice as forsaking something for the other person. the reality is however different. Let me explain. Lets take a situation where a leg has varicose veins. Can we say that the leg, by doing exercises is doing a sacrifice for the body? No right. Unless it does the exercises regularly, it cant keep rest of the body healthy.

Lets examine the current situation we are in. By staying at home are we doing a sacrifice for the health of rest of the community? No rt. It might appear so. But infact, we are also benefitting. Its a connected world. In times such as these, the nature of this connection becomes so evident and clear to us. So essentially, by sacrifice, we are giving ourselves, truly.

Thus, living with compassion and sacrifice is charity and not giving away money or things.

The choices we make in everyday life about the food we eat, places we visit, time we spend, lifestyle we lead and money we spend, words we speak, actions we do….determines whether we are charitable or not. Its not dependent on what we give away. It instead depends on what we consume for ourselves.

Charity is living with compassion and sacrifice. Its not mere giving.


  1. Aum Sri SaiRam 🙏,
    Absolutely concur. Charity is not giving away something that one has amassed over a period of time by crooked ways, cheating others, forcefully seized or even if it has been earned by right ways, there is nothing sincere in giving away what is excess with us. Charity becomes meaningful only when one gives away what minimum one has and which is of utmost importance to him and something he is very much in need of and this thing when he wholeheartedly shares with others depriving himself of the full benefit of that thing is called sacrifice and charity. Charity need not be just monetary. It is ones thought, intention, emotion and compassion for his fellowmen and the action that comes out of all these qualities that matters.
    I’m very happy to read this article and it has been brought out very clearly the real meaning of charity.
    Aum Shri SaiRam 🙏
    Vatsala Shanker

    Liked by 1 person

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