Charity is of three types: charity to the body, charity to the mind and charity to the soul. To give food, shelter, clothes and hospitalization is charity to the body. To encourage others, to be good to others, and to be a friend is charity to the mind. To give transcendental knowledge, to give facilities for people to be educated in spiritual life is charity to the soul. All three must go on side by side.
Actually many rich people today are more poverty stricken than the poor, spiritually. To the poor we should give what they need for their bodies, but we should not neglect the rich either. They are suffering too. In America 80% of the people in the upper income brackets have to take sleeping pills to fall asleep. What does that mean? They have so much money, so much prestige, big beautiful houses, silken clothes, waterbeds, all kinds of guards and security devices around their homes, big beautiful Mercedes cars, and yet they are so miserable having so much anxiety they cannot even sleep. Yet in Mumbai I see people just sleeping right on the bare street. They do not take sleeping pills; in fact they sleep within seconds. So who is happier? Who is having more peace of mind in life? All sectors of society—whether rich or poor—are in need of the charity of transcendental knowledge.
By Radhanath Swami