The Art of Living and the Joy of Giving

The following is an excerpt from a speech given by yours truly, at a fundraiser for the Indian America Foundation.

The American India Foundation, the AIF, to me, stands for the opportunity to give, to meet friends and well wishers of AIF, to be inspired by volunteers, and a group of very hard working people who do whatever it takes to raise money for India, year after year .

I am here tonight to speak about the spiritual art of giving.

Let me tell you one simple fact that equalizes the giver and the receiver. India does not need our help. India’s women, children, families don’t need our help. They need help only if we think they do.

In the vast scheme of things, people go about their lives living the best way they know how. We ourselves go about our daily lives, living the best way we know how, working at our jobs and at the end of the month or whenever that maybe, getting paid for what we think we deserve.

And that my friends is the key word. DESERVE.

Tonight, I ask you to share what You think you Deserve with those you truly believe Deserve more.

If you believe a child in India deserves an education, 3 meals a day, a roof over his or her head, and just be a child like we knew how, then we have to share what we think we deserve, with them.

Our awareness for their condition, creates their opportunity.

Our awareness allows them to see beyond what is their present reality and go beyond  to become dreamers and doers!

Here’s a fact enlightened souls in this Universe have known for millions of years. And that is, no matter how much you tried, it is impossible to give anything away without receiving in return. The Universe is constantly balancing right and wrong, selfish and generous and so on.

So, the question to ask is: What’s in it for me?

And this is not a selfish thing to ask. We give or receive without being aware of what form the opposite takes before us. If we have received, what did we have to give away and so on.

Tonight, I ask you my friends, to close your eyes for a few seconds and make an intention clear for what you would like returned to you for your contribution tonight. Move your awareness away from here, your mind where knowledge resides and move it to here, your heart where your wisdom resides and make your intention clear. Whether it is your health, your childrens’ happiness, your money returned with interest, or just the simple joy of lighting up a smile, make that intention clear. Remember that your own awareness is creating your own as well as someone else’s opportunity. And as your year ahead unfolds, watch your intentions happen and come true.

Before I close, let me tell you a small story.

One day, Mulla Nusruddin was travelling in a train and the ticket checker came up and asked him for his ticket. Mulla looked in his pocket, his bag, again in all his pockets and kept searching.. The ticket checker said, Mulla you are not looking in this pocket, pointing to his shirt pocket. Mulla said, “my friend!, this is the last possible place. If my ticket is not in there, I am doomed! That is the one hope for me.”

The moral my friend is to become finders, let’s become finders of opportunities to give. Experience the abundance of giving and receiving and being grateful, and always… in every breath we take, counting our blessings.

 About the Indian America Foundation:

The American India Foundation is the largest NGO outside of India that supports programs for India’s marginalized children, women and families. With true dedication, under the Chairmanship of President Clinton, the organization has raised more than $70 million dollars over the past 9 years. For more information: www.aif.org