Yesterday I mentioned that the Formula 1 organizers of the weekend had applied for tax exemptions and were even granted one in the state of Uttar Pradesh. The central government however refused and the Sports Minister Ajay Maken stated that a tax exemption is an aid, a help which the Formula one does not require. It is true, they make huge profits, people pay high entry fees and they are not a charitable organization! Drivers, organizers, managers, they all make their money but it seems as though they were disappointed by the refusal of the Sports Ministry. This shows how normal it is for people to expect making business on the name of charity. Financial aid, tax exemptions and government help is meant to be for charitable causes and you are not supposed to enrich yourself through that.
Unfortunately charity is a big business in India. Everybody knows that a big part of India’s population is poor and that the number of hungry people in India is higher than in the Sub-Saharan states of Africa. There are so many rich people, too, in India and many of them have made their money by using India’s poverty for their business. They run orphanages, schools, hospitals and more but only seem to do charity. In reality they may do 10% charity and 90% business. They take donations for their work, claiming it to be free but in reality they still charge fees. They have real charitable people work for them for free while claiming to others they are paying them for their work. There is a lot of corruption going on in charity and it happens mostly in the higher levels of charitable companies. I have seen this especially in religious charities where a lot of money is given in the belief that they will do good. There is even literature about how to run a charity and earn as most money from it as possible.
This is why many western people hesitate to donate to some countries and other charitable companies than very big and renowned ones. They have doubts, and with good cause, that their money really reaches where it is supposed to reach. Do they end up in food, medical support, clothes and more support for needy children, old people, the homeless or the hungry? Are the people who run the charity really charitable?
For people who work for charity it is usually like a normal job. They get their salary and get paid for the work and energy that they give. Maybe they feel really good about their work because they work for others and it makes sense to them. Doing charity however means that you do effort without expecting anything for yourself. You give to others. You don’t expect for yourself and you especially don’t take money out from charity funds but do every effort to increase them.
This is what has always been my idea for our school and our children. I work, I travel, I give workshops and let people know about our charity and from what I earn and get, through my hard work, I give to charity. My whole family works for this and it makes us happy to see when the children can come here fully free of cost to eat and learn.
In Vrindavan there are many charity organizations and also some other charity schools. In India however education is another industry and many of those schools only waived the school fees for some children with lower income but still charge for dresses, books and stationery. My idea is that we don’t sell education and we don’t do business with education. We do business and from this business we support children, doing real charity. When you come and they stay at the Ashram for a seminar or retreat, you do something good for your body, mind and soul. You pay for your wellness, your treatment, your food and whatever else is there. From the profit, we will support our children. If you want to do charity, you give a donation on top which we will be very happy about. If you give such a donation, without wanting a treatment of class for it, it is charity.
Charity means giving, not expecting anything in exchange. Give and Take is business. Only giving and loving is charity.