Rescue horse experience is a lesson on charity
Today Twasheek, the formerly starving horse that turned up in our neighbor’s backyard in the middle of the night went to his forever home. The experience of the people in the neighborhood seeing the need to help someone out and doing so selflessly is a lesson on giving charity appropriately. Many people want to help others and so they donate to institutions that do the kind of charity that attracts them. But many times the charity given doesn’t actually make the world a better place. For instance some charities spend much more money on salaries and overhead than on the cause. On Kauai, after Hurricane Iniki a plane load of generators and emergency supplies was unloaded by union “workers” and the supplies never reached the people who they were intended to help. I have a friend that volunteered for the Big Sisters/Big Brothers program that pairs troubled youth with potential role models, but that friend confided later that she really was unable to make any difference in her “little sister’s” life.
In the Bhagavad-Gita, Krsna (God) explains that the material world is made up of three qualities, or gunas: goodness, passion and ignorance and that charity performed in these qualities has different results. Here are the relevant quotes from Bhagavad-Gita As It Is, translated by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada:
That gift which is given out of duty, at the proper time and place, to a worthy person, and without expectation of return, is considered to be charity in the mode of goodness.
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.
And charity performed at an improper place and time and given to unworthy persons without respect and with contempt is charity in the mode of ignorance.
Because Twasheek turned up in need that was not his own fault, it was an opportunity for people who were aware of his plight to help him. Everyone who did participate in his rehabilitation has felt really good about their contribution, which is an indication that the charity is in the mode of goodness. According to Bhagavad-Gita, the mode of goodness conditions a person to happiness, the mode of passion conditions a person to hankering and unlimited desires, and the mode of ignorance conditions a person to madness, indolence and sleep.
Here are some pictures of Twasheek in his new home:
This experience of helping Twasheek recover his health has taught me that opportunities for charity need to be considered on an individual and personal basis. If charity is given to a worthy individual and in a selfless manner, it does indeed make people feel good.