The Giving Act: Letting Life Live

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The Giving Act: Letting Life Live

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” —   Winston S. Churchill

करुणा समस्त मानवीय गुणों में ऐसा गुण है, जो मनुष्यों को अन्य जीवित प्राणियों से अलग करता है. लेकिन इसका यह अर्थ कदापि नहीं है कि मनुष्यों के अलावा अन्य जीवित प्राणियों में करुणा का अभाव होता है. वास्तविकता यह है कि अन्य जीवित प्राणियों में पाई जाने वाली मित्रता और भाईचारे की भावनाओं से ही अंतत: मनुष्यों में करुणा की भावना का विकास हुआ है। किसी अन्य प्राणी मात्र की पीड़ा को महसूस कर उसकी सहायता की इच्छा होने की भावना ही करुणा है। करूणा स्नेहपूर्वक किया गया वह उपकार है, जिसे करने वाले को इसके बदले में कोई अपेक्षा नहीं होती है। जितने भावों को आप अपने अंदर पोषित कर सकते हैं, उनमें से करुणा सबसे कम बंधनकारी और उलझाव पैदा करने वाली है। सच कहें तो यह सर्वाधिक मुक्तिदायक और प्रफुल्लित करने वाली भावना है।

करुणा समावेशी होती है

ध्यान से देखें तो अकसर किसी के प्रति आपके प्रेम का ईंधन जुनून होता है। और करुणा का अर्थ है इस जुनून का विस्तार। जब तक यह प्रेम किसी एक पर केंद्रित है, यह प्रेम जुनून रहता है, जब यह सबको अपने आप में शामिल कर लेता है तो यह करुणा बन जाता है।

करुणा आपको सीमाओं में कभी नहीं बांधती है, बल्कि यह तो अच्छे-बुरे के बीच फ़र्क़ भी नहीं करती है। इसीलिए करुणा निश्चित तौर पर प्रेम की तुलना में मुक्तिदायक है। तुलनात्मक तौर पर प्रेम सुंदर तो है परंतु सीमित होता है। हम इसी प्रेम को करुणा में बदल कर मुक्ति की ओर बढ़ सकते हैं।

This kindness may assume myriad shapes – physical, mental, social, financial and otherwise. Throughout the history of mankind, we have consistently seen great men and women advocate, exalt and worship the idea of helping the common good of society. If history has been witness to numerous tyrants and dictators, who made life a hell for their subjects and others, there has also been no dearth of kind-hearted souls, who went all the way to bring succor, relief and love to those in dire need. So, for every Hitler or Mussolini or Changhez Khan, we have a Florence Nightingale, a Mother Teresa and an Adbus Sattar Eidhi.

Kindness can take many forms – giving money, eatables, clothes, one’s time, attention or just being there for someone who is in need. In fact, the idea of kindness needs to be properly understood in its right perspective. By giving something to someone in need, we are not doing a favour to him/ her; rather, we are doing ourselves a favour by paying back to the society a part of what we had received from it. Therefore, calling it kindness or donation or giving would be a misnomer; sharing is a more appropriate expression here.

Sharing is not all about money. Rather, it is more about kindness, helpfulness, unselfishness, sacrifice, giving, service, love, etc. A few words of sympathy can make a tremendous difference to a troubled soul.  The idea of sharing implies that we are just making someone a part of what we have, which belongs to us all. Underlying this idea of sharing is the belief that one is trying to pay back at least part of what the society had given him.

For example, an industrialist, in the course of his business, uses all possible kinds of societal resources in the immediate and distant vicinity- people,  water, power, materials, crops etc, depending on the kind of business she/ she is in. As a responsible corporate, his organization has a bounden moral duty to replenish the stock of resources consumed by his organization. Consequently, if the organization undertakes programmes for environmental improvement, vocational training and women empowerment, it is a fit case of discharging one’s corporate responsibility by sharing its resources with its community.  Keeping the statutory requirement for such work aside, it is more vital to sensitize the productive sectors of our economy towards doing their fair share of societal responsibilities by developing a spirit of sharing.  Even the sacred Shri Guru Granth Sahib enjoins upon us to 

ਕਿਰਤ ਕਰੋ ਵੰਡ ਛਕੋ

(Work hard and share its fruits with others)

The joy of sharing is beyond words as it takes courage to give something from your life to others. But if we have the heart to do something for others without expecting anything in return, it makes us expand our life to a great extent.

Sharing happens only when a person is filled with gratitude for all that he has received in life. And for this to happen, humility is the basic starting point, in the absence of which, no gratitude or sharing can happen. People full of complaints and criticism will find it difficult to feel gratitude in life.

In fact, the more we give others, the more we get from the universe. Our relative happiness can come from materialistic things, but a genuine sense happiness comes from sharing it them with others.


Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi once said “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”  Thus, true joy consists in giving without expecting anything in return.

The gifts of caring, attention, affection, appreciation, and love are some of the most precious gifts we can give, and they don’t cost anything. Leo Buscaglia, an American motivational speaker said:  “Too often we underestimate the power of a soft touch, a gentle smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or a small act of caring, which can turn a life around.”

Those Who Gave It All

Bill Gates

Human history has seen plenty of great, kind souls who gave away whatever the earned in life, towards the greater good of society. Of all the modern day philanthropists, Bill Gates is referred to most often. The Microsoft founder, worth over $130 billion, has given away over $50 billion (Around 40 lakh crore rupees) through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation over the past few years to various nonprofit organizations he is passionate about.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, founded in 2000, aims to “improve the quality of life for individuals globally.” With billions of dollars to use, the foundation has done a broad range of charity work in providing educational resources, medical research and healthcare. One of its biggest donations has been to the GAVI Alliance to help increase access to vaccinations and to research on malaria elimination and AIDS vaccine. As two of the world’s biggest philanthropists, Bill and Melinda have found a way to make the world a better place through their common goal of giving back.

Warren Buffett

Known as the Oracle of Omaha, thanks to his legendary investing wisdom, which made him the richest man for a long time, Warren Buffett has given more than $46 billion to charity, making him one of the world’s biggest philanthropists. Buffet, who has had a dream professional run as the world’s most iconic stock investor, began a Giving Pledge in 2010, in association with the Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation to motivate the world’s richest to donate majority of their wealth to charity.

Not only has the philanthropist given away a substantial chunk of his wealth, but he has also helped motivate other ultra-rich people to follow suit. In 2010, Buffet and Bill and Melinda Gates launched The Giving Pledge, urging billionaires to publicly dedicate the majority of their wealth to philanthropy. Along with this amazingly incredible generosity, Buffett is also known for humility and commitment to modest living, showing his strong values.

Azim Premji  

Premji, a businessman known for austerity, grew Wipro from $2 million in sales (1966) to a $11 billion giant selling software and consumer products. With a donation of 9,713 crore, Premji again tops the EdelGive Hurun India Philanthropy List 2021. India’s most generous citizen is not an accidental philanthropist. The idea in 2001 of setting up a charitable foundation, which is now backed by an endowment of $21 billion making it among the five largest endowments globally, took six months of discussions.

Between 2001 and 2019, Premji donated Wipro shares worth nearly $12 billion in a staggered manner to this endowment. Earlier this year, he made the country’s single-largest donation by transferring 34% of his Wipro shares worth $7.5 billion to Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiatives and Azim Premji Trust.

Letting Life Live

Though he took some time to announce his intent, but the desire to give back to society had always been there. It was partly fired by his mother Gulbanoo M.H. Hasham Premji’s spirit, a trained doctor who dedicated her life to setting up a children’s orthopedic hospital in Bombay, while serving as chairperson of Wipro after the death of her husband. Besides, Mahatma Gandhi’s idea of trusteeship of wealth greatly inspired him

Primary education was finally chosen as the Foundation’s focus as it was a critical factor that significantly impacted other issues. Today, his Premji Foundation trains thousands of teachers across 50 districts in six states to improve learning outcomes in government schools, with its impact on pedagogy and education policy.

Premji’s vision is driven by the idea that for philanthropy to be meaningful, it has to bring about large-scale changes or at least initiate them. For this reason, he refuses to “give cheques” just to appease his conscience and has chosen to focus the foundation’s work on what he is most passionate about.

research on malaria elimination and AIDS vaccine. As two of the world’s biggest philanthropists, Bill and Melinda have found a way to make the world a better place through their common goal of giving back.

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