Gain + Give = Development
Ali Raza Khan
Development is an on-going process. The process begins with our birth and ends with our death. The process of development, either positive or negative cannot be stopped till you are alive. Every person, family, community or society has developed a kind of model of development. This model is based on their beliefs, values, training, education and experiences. Mostly, when we define development for ourselves or for others we tend to take a very objective view. It means we look at the financial position (bank balance, property, material possessions, etc) and the intellectual position (degrees, diplomas, skills). We believe that possession of wealth and education are the most important variables of development. Most of our development work, theories and models evolve around these indicators. We consider those people or societies developed if they are scoring high in these two areas. The dark side of relying heavily on these two indicators is the creation of a society where division is made between and among people on the basis of their ability to gain from the society. Human beings are masterly designed by the God. Human beings have infinite potential to gain and give. There is no data existing in the field of research which can tell us accurately about what is the maximum limit of gaining and giving of a person and the society.
The creation of man by God is an act of giving. The foundation of every religion is laid on the principle of giving. God has created the entire universe on the principle of giving. If we are in doubt then let us look at the sun which gives light and energy to every living thing. Imagine one day without a sun. Look at the moon which gives us fascinating and pleasant reflected light from the sun. Moon gives us the control on oceans. Look at the stars which give us direction in the darkness of the land and sea. Look at the oceans and the seas which are committed to our service. We eat and get ornaments from them. Look at the mountains that give balance to our earth. Look at the sky which gives us shelter and rain. Look at the earth which gives fruits and vegetables for our sustenance. Look at bees which give us honey to heal our bodies. Look at the tree which gives us oxygen and medicine. Look at the flowers which give us fragrance, beauty, happiness and emotional healing. In short, God has instituted a natural law whereby a person who persistently adheres the principles of gaining and refuses to give gradually loses the ability to perceive the truth and live a peaceful life. In nutshell, all the religions of the world, human beings are advised to give in order to attain virtuous conduct. Those who refuse to give from what God has given to them, get excluded themselves from the grace of God. If we go against the law of giving it will not only affect our development but will also upset the balance of the world. If human beings are able to understand wonders of God then trust me we will not attach any importance to the worldly gains.
We have forgotten the basic principle of giving. We think that we are created only to gain as much as possible and as quickly as possible. Had the God designed man only for gaining from the society, He would have not planted heart in the human body. The human heart is king of organs. The natural language of our human heart is compassion. The heart of the human body is not a physical thing that pumps blood only. It is a social thing. It connects to others. It is an emotional thing. It sends signals and vibrations both positive and negative to others. It is a spiritual thing. It connects you with God like a cell phone. Our heart is linked to all our body parts strongly. Our ears, eyes, brain and tongue work well when they receive positive signals from the heart. Our heart does not send positive vibrations automatically. If the principle of giving is not instituted in upbringing of children it will corrupt the heart. The heart will not be able to function positively. It will not understand and see things clearly. Remember it is not human eyes which lose sight, it is human heart which loses sight. A heart which follows the principle of gaining obsessively loses inner stability and happiness. Remember, filling belly is the requirement of a human being and an animal what’s the difference between man and animal? Remember, we are on earth for a fixed term. Death will take over us even we live in the fortified towers. Remember, there would be no automatic teller machine (ATM) machine installed in our graveyards for us to keep the track of our money. Then why we run so passionately after material possessions. When we all know that one day we will die and will leave all our possessions in the world. We have chosen a wrong mode of life and formula for development and happiness which begins and ends by following the principle of gaining blindly. With the burning desire to gain more and more we are destroying our lives and our natural environment. We use our minds for the personal development and growth. We send our children to schools to gain more in life and not to gain to give more. Today we have more educated people in the world but we are facing more troubles, more poverty, more hopelessness and more helplessness. Our education systems are filling our minds but not our hearts. Regardless of the fact where we live and what we possess if you are not following the principle of giving in an organized and consistent manner, I can predict we would be struggling to find happiness, meaningful relationships and stillness of heart. Giving is the best remedy for ailments and calamities. The value of a man depends upon his power of giving. One who rushes madly after worldly gain runs the risk of encountering destruction in all spheres of his life. Those who remain in gaining mode for a longer period of time, impair their ability to give something back to others.
The first principle of giving is to give away what is most valuable thing in our life.
If we really want to test our power of giving then we should ask ourselves can we give away what we cherish the most in life. The most valuable thing in our life could be material thing (wealth, food, property, clothes, etc) or non material thing (love, compassion, care, justice, honesty, peace, forgiveness, etc). We cannot achieve a happy and peaceful world until we give away what we cherish the most. It’s not the size of the giving but it’s the value of giving in our life which counts. Very often we pick inferior things to give away which we would not accept it except with the closed eyes. Unfortunate is he who does not gain anything in his life and more unfortunate is the one who gained a lot from the society and then did not give.
The second principle of giving is to remember that kind words and forgiveness are better than alms giving followed by insults.
It is generally thought that giving is just only about money. In reality money is just one way of giving. Giving money is considered the easiest matter and within any man’s power. There are many other ways of giving. Kind words and forgiveness are more powerful and ways of giving. People often forget what we give to them but they never forget how we treat them.
The third principle of giving is to remember that in real giving there is no expectation of return.
Very often we give to gain. We decide how much we give on the basis of how much we will gain from it. This pattern of thinking is dangerous and against the principles of the nature. Nature has blessed us with countless blessings. God has promised us that those share their means of sustenance with others will have their reward with Him and they have nothing to fear nor shall they grieve.
The fourth principle of giving is to give it secretly and privately.
Giving openly is good but if it is done secretly and privately it is great. Giving is highly appreciated by the God. God loves charitable. Giving privately improves our character. Giving privately strengthens our faith and connection with God. It atones for some of our misdeeds.
The fifth principle of giving is to remember that giving is for our own good.
While giving we often tend to think that we are helping other. In reality we are helping ourselves. We learn basic principles of living the life in a dignified manner. I remember when I was a kid my mother used to say me giving protects you from negative influences. Giving helps you to overcome your troubles. It gives you moral and emotional strength. I believe the process of giving should be continued throughout our lives but in the difficult times it should be increased manifold. Like our body our heart gets tired so refresh it by giving.
The sixth principle of giving is to give when the giving is difficult.
It is often thought giving should be done at the time of prosperity. God has designed human beings in a way that regardless of our material and intellectual status we are always in a position to give others. In other words human beings are genetically programmed to live a life of giving. We are never weak and poor enough to give something. Being a human we are borne with the kit to give at all times.
The seventh principle of giving is to give to those who can’t reciprocate.
We live in a world where we often decide about giving on the basis of the ability of the other person to reciprocate. If we feel that the other person is not in a position to reciprocate or give back something to us, we often ignore or reduce the size of giving. Healthy societies are made when people invest and give without any expectation of getting something back from others. The best form of devotion to the service of God is to give generously to those who are in need and despair.
The eighth principle of giving is to remember giving is like lending a loan to God.
Giving is half of our religion. God loves giving. God commands us to give. God promises again and again in all the Holy Scriptures those who give would have manifold reward from Him.