The manner of giving is worth more than the gift. – Pierre Corneille
Karmically speaking, actions can be meritorious or sinful. Meritorious actions bring joy blessings and prosperity while sinful actions backfire as sorrow to the doer.
The lowest form of giving described in this article backfires on the giver because it brings sin, and does not help one grow. In fact, it does just the opposite – it strengthens the giver’s negative qualities and encourages more sinful actions.
When one gives with the wrong attitude, for the wrong reasons and in the wrong way, it is the lowest type of giving.
I have written three articles on the topic of giving. This is the last one.
In my first article, The Right way to Give, I explained that when we give with the right attitude, for the right reasons and in the right way, it is the highest type of giving
In the highest form of giving:
- The giving is done out of a feeling of gratitude.
- There is a sincere desire to give.
- The act of giving is its own reward
- The best is most generously given.
- The gifts are presented with humility and respect.
- The gifts are given promptly and efficiently, without any delay.
In the second article, Giving only to Get, I described that when we give to get something back in return, the giving becomes a mere transaction and lacks the right attitude.
Here I describe the characteristics of the lowest form of giving.
Giving that brings negative karmic results on the giver
- Giving of gifts that are poor quality, useless or unwanted by the receiver
Gifts of the lowest caliber are given, and for the wrong reasons.
For example, a pharmaceutical company may dump expired, or inferior quality medicines to third world countries. They prey on the vulnerability and great need of those people to further their own ‘philanthropic’ agenda to gain the reputation for being a company that cares for people.
Or, a clothing manufacturer may send a shipment of warm clothing or boots to people in tropical climates for the same reasons. It may be merely a means to dispose of surplus or unmarketable goods in their country of origin.
There is no concern or thought of whether the donations are beneficial, useful or needed by the recipients.
- The giver reneges on his promises
It is not beyond such donors to lie and cheat others. So, at a fundraising event, for example, a car distributor pledges its glowing support backed up with the promise of 6 vans specially modified to be used to transport handicapped children in wheelchairs. But, when the vans arrive, they are not modified, unsuitable or so old and in need of repair that they become a money pit to the charitable organization.
The donors feel no pangs of guilt or shame in not living up to their promises.
- They support dishonorable and dishonest causes and activities
Donors of the lowest type are people with perverted values who find great joy in doing things that bring harm to others or create problems and conflict around them.
They support rogue regimes, illegal and criminal activities. They may provide arms, ammunition and training to rebels looking to overthrow a government. They may supply drugs to criminals to further their political agenda.
- Gifts are given with disrespect, insult, disdain or derision.
I once heard a story of a wealthy man sitting in a train station in India. A leper who had lost the fingers of his hands approached him. He reached out to beg for a few coins from the rich man.
The man looked disgustedly at the leper. He dug into his pockets for a couple of coins of the smallest value. Then, just for fun, instead of placing the coins respectfully in the hand of the leper, the rich man casually tossed them on the ground and then laughed as he watched the leper fall to his knees and struggle to sweep them into his palm.
Such is the manner of the lowest type of giving.
Summing up Noble, Mediocre and Lowest type of Giving
In The right way to give I described giving that brings both spiritual merit and evolution to the giver.
In the second article, Giving only to Get, the giving does bring merit or karmic ‘plus points’ to the giver. However, spiritually, there is no corresponding inner growth because the actions are tainted with a desire for the rewards.
Ignoble described in this article backfires on the giver as eventual sorrow, and brings neither merit nor spiritual growth.
Understanding the three types of giving and their results is not for us to judge others but to help us reflect and question our motives and actions before giving.
When we give with the right attitude and in the right way, it brings happiness and becomes the means to grow spiritually.
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