Krishna’s favourite disciple Arjuna was pestering Him to tell him why Karan was said to be most charitable of them all.
Krishna pointed towards two mountains and they turned into gold. He said, “Arjuna, I give these to you. You in turn must donate them to the villagers in this area. See that you donate all of the bulk. Don’t save any for yourself.”
The next day, Arjuna gathered all the villagers together and proclaimed that he was going to give away portions of these mountains to them all so they must all queue up. From morning till sundown, Arjuna shovelled away, mounds of gold to the villagers. Strangely, the mountains seemed to not get diminished in size. Arjuna was baffled. He said, “Krishna, I am tired. I need a break. I will distribute the rest tomorrow.” So the same exercise went on the next day and the day after and the day-day-after. But the mountains were still the same size. Eventually, Arjuna had to give up.
Then Krishna called Karan and said, “Karan these mountains are yours. Distribute them amongst the villagers.” Karan called the villagers and bowed before them and said, “Brothers, please distribute these mountains amongst yourselves.” Having said so, Karan walked away. He did not as much as look back to see what or how the villagers were doing.
Krishna smiled knowingly and said, “Arjun, you were behaving as if everything belonged to you and you were the donor. You were calculating the value of each portion of gold in your mind as you were giving it away. This is the difference between Karan and you. Look at him, he is totally detached. He just passed it on from me to them. He did not bat and eyelid or think twice! Now do you understand why they call him Daanveer Karan?”
On the flip side, let us tell you about a man who was known to be a miser. He had never given anything to anyone, all his life. One day he went to the river to bathe. Suddenly he felt he was drowning. He cried out for help. A man ran forward and stretched out his arm saying, “Here! Give me your hand.” The drowning man kept screaming but wouldn’t reach out for the hand outstretched.
Another young boy shouted, “Hey! Give me your hand!” But the drowning man, while gasping for breath and trying frantically to keep himself afloat, did not reach out for the hand extended.
One onlooker knew that the fellow was a miser; someone who had never given anything to anyone, even in his dream. He went closer saying, “My friend! Here, Take my hand, come on …” In an instant the fellow grabbed the hand and soon was out of the water.
What is the difference? The earlier two men had said, “Give me your hand …” For a man who has never, ever given anything to anyone, even giving a hand was something he was unable to bring himself to do. When he heard, “Take my hand …” He did it immediately. The difference is in psyche.
There is great joy in giving. If God is kind to us and we have enough or surplus, it is important that we give too. Input – output are both important in life. Earning alone is not enough. We must share with those who don’t have enough.
As humans, we eat and drink. Then we digest and remove the wastes from the body. If we only eat, eat and eat and do not expel the waste; what will happen? Exactly!
As we inhale and exhale, so too we must keep the inflow and outflow of wealth and good thoughts and deeds, an ongoing process. Even a river remains clean because it is always flowing. A pond where the water is stagnant starts to stink.