Generosity or sharing what we have with those around us is a divine quality. There are different types of donations:
Food is the foundation of life. Hence donating food is no doubt good. If you are not able to do it daily, then do it once in a while. You may donate food on your birthday, or in remembrance of your ancestors. That is why all these rules were instilled into our culture. Especially in India, anna daanam (donation of food) has been there for ages.
Though it is said “Anna daanam param daanam, vidya daanam atah param.
annena kshanika trupthi, yaavat jeevancha vidyeya.” Which means that donating food is the best donation, donating knowledge is the best among the best kinds of donation. Food can satisfy one’s hunger for a short time, but with knowledge, one can be lifelong satisfied.
“Sarveshaamevadaanamm brahmadaanam vishishyati.” Furthermore, sharing knowledge of Brahman (supreme consciousness or Divine) is even superior to that.
If you are not doing any donation, then do the basic first. Begin with donation of food.
Why must we donate?
People are ready to buy expensive clothes for themselves, people are ready to spend a huge amount on their holidays, but they are not ready to give one cent to others for a service project. At least 3 percent of what we earn, we should keep aside for charity work. This converts the 97% percent of your earnings into good money.
If you want to use 100% on yourself then that is no good! If the money needs to be pure, it can only be 97% or less (laughs). You are free to use 97% on yourself, but 3% to 5%, you should keep aside for donation. This is because whatever you earn is never enough for yourself! You ask anyone, they all feel, “Oh, there’s shortage.” Everyone finds a shortage. So it is not wise to say, “First I will do everything for me and then I will donate to others.” We have to do both. It is collective growth that we must aim for.