Radhanath Swami on Helping the poor

Radhanath Swami on Helping the poorRadhanath Swami on Helping the poor

What is the definition of poor? Those who are poor in heart are really poor; they are really suffering. Those who are poor physically, they do not really suffer as much. 90% of the suicides in this world are not by the poor but by the rich, who have everything, yet who are so frustrated that they can’t even face life.

It’s true that people need food for their body; but they also need food for their minds, and food for their souls. Eating feeds our body. Going to college feeds our mind. We should not stop them. But why starve our souls?

Once I was with Mother Teresa. She was 83 years old then. She had been feeding poor destitute people for the past 50-60 years. She told me, “The real hunger in this world is not amongst the poor but amongst the rich. Because anyone can give bread and fill a man’s stomach. But people’s hearts are starving, they are lonely, they are unfulfilled, their lives are meaningless. And the rich are often worse than poor in spiritual starvation—starvation of heart—and loneliness. To feed them needs love. That is the true and topmost necessity in this world.”

Yes, the poor need food, clothing and shelter, but they also need a feeling of worth in their life, a feeling of dignity for God. And they also need joy and happiness and love, and that will only come through physical, mental and spiritual progress. Who are the people who are really, truly striving to help the poor?—People who love God and love all God’s creation and all living beings as their brothers and sisters.