Yesterday I wrote about rich people, about stinginess and about valuing what you get and have. Money has also often been a topic at the Ashram and for visitors who come here. I have written about such issues before, too. After a lot of unpleasant experiences at the Ashram we have decided to ask our visitors for a donation that at least covers their expenses. We will let them know beforehand what our expenses are for their stay and then they can give that and more if they wish to support our children. This is the only way we found in which we can avoid that people take advantage of us and we end up paying for their stay here.
We do have people who come to the Ashram but during the rest of their journey and holidays stay in five-star-hotels. Many of them have enjoyed their time at the Ashram, they stayed and they showed their love and then they left, giving their blessings and exactly the amount that we asked them for covering their costs. Not one dollar was given for supporting our charity but then they went to Delhi and paid as much money as they gave to us for staying a full month for staying two nights in a 5 star hotel.
They fly in business class to India, we see how they do shopping for jewellery, gold, silver and expensive clothing. They show pictures of where they travel, how they live in luxury and what cars they have at home. We showed them our school and our children.
Sometimes this left us feeling a bit strange.
Let me clarify this. I am not against staying in luxury hotels. Money is there for enjoying and if you can afford it and like to stay in a five-star hotel, there is nothing wrong with it. Who would not like to get a nice treatment for himself from time to time? I have also stayed in such hotels. I believe that those who cannot afford it criticize those who stay in luxury hotels. There is nothing wrong with paying money to stay in a five stay hotel.
There is also nothing wrong with flying in business class or buying a lot of expensive things. It gives us a strange feeling to see that these people did not have one penny in spare for children who live in houses of mud and straw, whose parents work hard every day to afford at least one meal a day, who come to school not because of education but because they get warm food and who often don’t even have proper shoes on their feet. They are aware of the situation here at the Ashram and have seen these children as well as how we run our projects. I don’t know how they can justify this behavior in their own hearts and with a good feeling.
What I wish to say is, if you can generously spend this money for your happiness, why can’t you give to a charity with the same generous heart, too? Support a charity and donate something for the happiness of others! Don’t only give your blessings but actually make a difference!