I AM PERPLEXED SOMETIMES, AS TO WHICH IS THE BETTER PROSPECT, DONATING MONEY TO THE NEEDY AND THE POOR, OR FOR SOME GOOD CAUSE,I.E FOR VARIOUS MEDICAL CHARITIES ETC, OR DONATING MONEY FOR SPREADING THE NAME OF THE LORD. IT IS SAID BY THAT GOD RESIDES IN THE NEEDY AND THE POOR AND SERVICE TO THEM IS DIRECT SERVICE TO THE LORD, HENCEE,PLEASE GUIDE, FOR.E.G.IS IT BETTER TO BUY A GOLDEN CROWN FOR THE LORD, OR TO BUY BREAD FOR THE POOR.
HARE KRSNA, GOPAL
Answer by Swami Gaurangapada:
There are three kinds of charities in the mode of goodness, mode of passion and mode of ignorance as Bhagavad Gita as described in the verses below. Charity in the mode of ignorance yields a negative result, just like for example, if someone donates money to buy nets for the fishermen then one will partake of the sinful reactions incurred in killing, selling and eating fish which is considered a great sin in Vedas as the fish in the sea eats the meat of kinds of bodies including human beings, cows, animals etc.
Charity to sincere Devotees to spread the Holy Names or service of the Lord for saving the souls not just the bodies -> Charity in the mode of Pure Goodness -> Result: One gets millions of times in returns then what one gives in the next life.
Charity for spreading the Holy Names to sincere Devotees done with a desire for name, fame or material returns-> Charity in the mode of Passion -> Result: One gets hundreds of times in returns then what one gives in the next life.
Charity done to unqualified people who may use it for non-Vedic sinful activities -> Charity in the mode of Ignorance-> Result: One will have to partake the sinful reactions relating to how the donated money was used by the recepient of that donation.
The govts, orgs and people give millions and billions of dollars to save the material bodies of the people and rehabilitate them which is very good and required, but when it comes to permanently save their souls from the cycle of birth, old age, disease and death, totally put an end to these material miseries and send the souls to the spiritual world where there is no more suffering, though the chanting of the Holy Names of Nityananda, Gauranga and Hare Krishna, they oppose this spiritual welfare work what to speak of sponsoring it.
They say that we can see the suffering of the material bodies with our own eyes but we cannot see the suffering of the soul neither the transmigration of the soul in the 8.4 million species of life and the spiritual world, so why should we help or even care about it. It is just like when an ostrich was chased by a cheetah, the ostrich stuck it's head in the sand and said that the cheetah is gone, but the cheetah was actually there behind and the cheetah caught the ostrich and devoured it.
Similarly the people nowadays deny the scientific process of the transmigration of the soul in the 8.4 million species of life and thus do not care to undertake or support the social welfare work for saving the soul from taking birth in the animal species, which is only possible by massively spreading the chanting of the Holy Names of Nityananda, Gauranga and Hare Krishna. Just like the ostrich, their blatant denial to even consider the ghastly possibility of the fall down of their souls to the animal species at the end of this life if they do not chant the Holy Names, will not stop the cheetah of their karma to throw their souls for zillions of lives and years in the 8 millions species of animal life (4 millions species are of human beings). Let us hope and pray that their eyes open one day and they take up the chanting and preaching of the Holy Names of Nityananda, Gauranga and Hare Krishna, before it is too late.
Bhagavad Gita 17.21 datavyam iti yad danam diyate nupakarine dese kale ca patre ca tad danam sattvikam smritam
TRANSLATION Charity given out of duty, without expectation of return, at the proper time and place, and to a worthy person is considered to be in the mode of goodness.
PURPORT By Shrila Prabhupada In the Vedic literature, charity given to a person engaged in spiritual activities is recommended. There is no recommendation for giving charity indiscriminately. Spiritual perfection is always a consideration. Therefore charity is recommended to be given at a place of pilgrimage and at lunar or solar eclipses or at the end of the month or to a qualified brahmana or a Vaishnava (devotee) or in temples. Such charities should be given without any consideration of return. Charity to the poor is sometimes given out of compassion, but if a poor man is not worth giving charity to, then there is no spiritual advancement. In other words, indiscriminate charity is not recommended in the Vedic literature.
Bg 17.21: Translations & Purports by Shrila Prabhupada copyrighted by The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, Inc.
yat tu pratyupakarartham phalam uddisya va punah diyate ca pariklishtam tad danam rajasam smritam
TRANSLATION But charity performed with the expectation of some return, or with a desire for fruitive results, or in a grudging mood, is said to be charity in the mode of passion.
PURPORT Charity is sometimes performed for elevation to the heavenly kingdom and sometimes with great trouble and with repentance afterwards: Why have I spent so much in this way??Charity is also sometimes given under some obligation, at the request of a superior. These kinds of charity are said to be given in the mode of passion. There are many charitable foundations which offer their gifts to institutions where sense gratification goes on. Such charities are not recommended in the Vedic scripture. Only charity in the mode of goodness is recommended.
adesa-kale yad danam apatrebhyas ca diyate asat-kritam avajnatam tat tamasam udahritam
TRANSLATION And charity performed at an impure place, at an improper time, to unworthy persons, or without proper attention and respect is said to be in the mode of ignorance.
PURPORT Contributions for indulgence in intoxication and gambling are not encouraged here. That sort of contribution is in the mode of ignorance. Such charity is not beneficial; rather, sinful persons are encouraged. Similarly, if a person gives charity to a suitable person but without respect and without attention, that sort of charity is also said to be in the mode of darkness.