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April 19, 2023
By Mr. Lakshmanan
6 Min Read
Are We Doing Charity The Right Way?

Of the many quotes I love, the following three have created a great impact within me:

1. Expectation is the root cause of all mental agony.
2. What goes around, comes around.
3. Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is giving!

I understood the true meaning of the first two quotes when I read a story about a saint in a book. Back in the 1970s, a saint was sitting with his disciples near a water body, discussing various topics. A businessman, who was an ardent devotee of the saint, came there. He said, “Guruji, this year, I made an enormous profit in my business, and I want to donate some of it to you”. He placed a huge bundle of cash at the saint’s feet. The saint looked at the money and then glanced up at the businessman. He once again looked down at the bundle and then up at the businessman who stood with folded hands in front of him. Reading the thoughts that were running through the businessman’s mind, to everyone’s surprise, he suddenly picked up the money and hurled it into the water.

His disciples were stunned but did not react as they knew that the saint had done this for a purpose. On the other hand, the expression on the businessman’s face immediately changed. Containing the streak of rage that ran through him, he asked the saint in a pained voice, “Guruji, how can such an enlightened soul like you do this? The money could have been used for various developmental activities of the ashram. Why did you throw the money into the water?”

The saint calmly looked at the man and asked him to summarise all that that happened. The businessman narrated the events. The saint asked him, “Did I receive the money from you?” to which the businessman replied, “Yes, you received it from me”. The saint then said, “As soon as I received the money from your hands, it became mine – to do whatever I would wish to do it. Why then are you still attached to it if it is charity?”

The businessman realised his mistake. Although he had physically parted with the money, he was still attached to it mentally (subtly). The saint had helped him realise that true charity is the one done without any attachment. The businessman apologised for his ignorance. The money was retrieved from the water, dried and then used for the intended purposes.

This story created a deep impact within me at a time when I was going through a particular phase in my life. Very often, we meet people who come to us seeking some assistance. We help them and feel quite pleased and regard ourselves as being their benefactor of sorts. After reading the story I realised that whatever one gives, it must be done wholeheartedly, without any expectation in return. The Universe is a meticulous accountant, it will keep a detailed account, tally and give it back in some other way. Our problem is that we expect it back from the same person whom we helped, and when there is no reciprocation, we feel let down.

Eventually, I did witness this pattern in my life. Whenever I share knowledge or help someone, I might not get anything in return, but later whenever I require assistance, the Universe will beautifully arrange the situations around me to make it happen. The two important aspects will be: (1) It might not be from the same person (whom) I helped earlier (2) It will not come back as soon as I helped/ shared. It takes its own sweet time, just to test my patience and detachment level. Ultimately, by the end of the day, I will have received what I need.

At times, one sees people publicise their deeds of charity. I feel it contradicts the third quote “Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is giving”. Once I was talking to one of my mentors who revealed a different paradigm to this quote. He said, “There can be another way of interpreting this quote. It does not literally mean that you must keep the deed as a secret from other people. There can be deeper meanings – the left hand refers to the ego and hence one is not supposed get into the egoistic feeling while donating. Also, when the wrong doers make so much noise regarding the wrong, the doers of good need to make noise about the good that they are doing! This will inspire others to do good and the positive noise will help drown the negative noise! However, the doer of good needs to ensure that he does not feed his ego by portraying himself as a benefactor”. This conversation with my mentor, along with the above story made me realise the profound lesson that if we are detached from our actions, we will not be disappointed or disheartened in anyway.

So, let’s be reassured that:

1. Expectation is the root cause of all mental agony.
2. What goes around, comes around.
3. Do not let your left hand (ego) know what your right hand (soul) is giving!

Our ancestors have said, “Generally whenever something is given, it’s quantity is reduced, but the one thing that multiples even when given is knowledge”. Hence with the above reassurances, let us share whatever we know with an open heart and let us make this world an insightful place to live in. Have a beautiful day.


About: Mr. Lakshmanan,

An Engineer turned Chartered Accountant who secured All India Rank-2 in CA Intermediate exams, he is a Chartered Accountant by profession and a speaker by passion. He is fascinated with the idea of integrating automation in workspace and works actively to do so. His passion to share knowledge and help people around him has led him to start various significant initiatives and virtual groups. He has addressed many CA students regarding improving their study techniques and personal productivity. He loves to read books from various genres, including self-help, biographies, and spirituality. His ability to decode and simplify concepts by applying humour and interesting stories makes him a sought-after speaker.

He can be reached on :

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