It could only be an awakened spiritual soul, who would argue that by merely giving alms to the needy, we are not helping them, but in fact committing the sin of making them dependent.
The pursuit of spirituality is like the flight of independence. And independence in the absolute does not only mean not being dependent on others, but also means not having others dependent on you.
And it is here, where the great question begins, “How does spirituality string together the fabric of society, if independence means not allowing others to become dependent on you?”
The answer is quite simple, and can be found in a very fundamental unit of society, i.e. our family itself. Let us consider the relationship between a child and its parents. When a newly born cries, the parents bring to him food, water, toys. As the child grows, responsible parents realize that the child must start to learn things – which include eating by itself, maintaining sanitation and when the time comes around – to be able to walk and manipulate the surroundings with its hands. The child gets motivated to learn these activities and do them, only when its needs and desires are not accessible does he begin to explore and reach out.
His Holiness Shri Ashutosh Maharaj Ji put it in easy words for us to understand. “By feeding the hungry, or giving clothes to the unclad, you can only bring solace to their needs for a short amount of time. Instead, if you enable them to earn their own living with dignity, you make them independent and capable of supporting themselves. Then they do not need the support of others, and become a contributing part of society.”
Over six percent of the world’s population is blind, and almost half of them are today living in India. Many of them are living in destitute conditions, requiring to beg for their daily bread. Fortunate ones are able to find a hostel and live with others who also having disabilities. Unfortunate ones receive only a fraction of their daily collections – barely enough to keep them alive and begging on the streets. They live under the trauma of being victimized by a hellish master whom they try and serve with their body that lacks a few or sometimes many organs.
The stigma of dependency clouds their ability to think, for they have not only begun to believe themselves as incapable, but also lost the urge and inclination to fight as they have lost hope. To them, life has become a burden, which they must carry until its end.