Bhagavad Gita Today December 11, 2019


Why things are the way they are, and what we can do about it.

Bhagavad-gita As It Is, 10.4-5


PURPORT (excerpt):

As far as charity is concerned, one should give fifty percent of his earnings to some good cause. And what is a good cause? It is that which is conducted in terms of Krishna consciousness. That is not only a good cause, but the best cause. Because Krishna is good, His cause is also good. Thus charity should be given to a person who is engaged in Krishna consciousness.

According to Vedic literature, it is enjoined that charity should be given to the brahmanas. This practice is still followed, although not very nicely in terms of the Vedic injunction. But still the injunction is that charity should be given to the brahmanas. Why? Because they are engaged in higher cultivation of spiritual knowledge.

A brahmana is supposed to devote his whole life to understanding Brahman. Brahma janatiti brahmanah: one who knows Brahman is called a brahmana. Thus charity is offered to the brahmanas because they are always engaged in higher spiritual service and have no time to earn their livelihood.

In the Vedic literature, charity is also to be awarded to one in the renounced order of life, the sannyasi. The sannyasis beg from door to door, not for money but for missionary purposes. The system is that they go from door to door to awaken the householders from the slumber of ignorance. Because the householders are engaged in family affairs and have forgotten their actual purpose in life–awakening their Krishna consciousness–it is the business of the sannyasis to go as beggars to the householders and encourage them to be Krishna conscious.

As it is said in the Vedas, one should awake and achieve what is due him in this human form of life. This knowledge and method is distributed by the sannyasis; hence charity is to be given to the renouncer of life, to the brahmanas, and similar good causes, not to any whimsical cause.