Sunday, 5 August 2018

Sister Nivedita On Love and Charity


To all our brothers and sisters throughout the world we give greeting. May peace and joy be with us, and the blessing of love rest upon us all—and may we take the great Consciousness into every thought and deed of our lives during the coming year.

At the commencement of the year we are looking for the manifestations of reviving nature. As we see the buds bursting from their sheaths of green, the feel of spring is in the air, the sense of growing life.

Let us try to burst the bonds of selfishness, make a fresh appeal to our faded senses and, shoot forth anew the buds of love and charity. Let us be inspired with the belief that life is no idle dream, but live, so as to bring out our original likeness to God, "though He is so bright and we so dim." We must awaken to our world citizenship and to our duties as members of that state.

As we go on our different ways, let us endeavour to guide our steps into the path of helpfulness; find out our tasks and stand to them, all working together in spirit to try to make this a better and happier world. Love is greater than the wisdom of the schools and every expansion of our hearts means an increase in happiness to ourselves and others, for the feelings of love and charity establish a communication between our minds, and keep very close to us the thought that we are in this world for love and service, not pleasure.

The gentle quality of charity, steadfast and tender in the hour of need, wins everyone to its arms. True charity is not represented by the expenditure of money only. The benevolence of a purse does not meet all the requirements of humanity. With our limited modes of of thought, our purblind vision, who are we that we should patronize our neighbours, by classifying and systematizing each other as benefactor and recipient ? All in vain is the selfish charity that gives promiscuously, not out of pity or compassion, but exclusively for its own spiritual advantage, because the giver believes that he is acquiring merit by his action. This tendency is most marked in India owing to the fact that the religious mendicant is more powerful here than elsewhere.

Does not practical morality show us that we should do good irrespective even of the gratitude of the recipient ? For when charity flows spontaneously from the heart, there is no consciousness of doing good. Indiscriminate giving is diametrically opposed to all preconceived ideas of charity. It multiplies impostors, and gives rise to more evils than it cures. This is not the true way to deal with the great and crying problem of the poor—a problem which requires
as little delay as possible in the handling of it.

(Reproduced from the Prabuddha Bharata, January, 1907.)