Is Service to the people is the Service to the God?

Is Service to the people is the Service to the God?

A devotee (Name hidden) asked like this:

“Some doubts are burning in my mind, as we know many people don’t have food to eat clothes to wear in winter many are dying due to cold hunger even many people don’t have money to buy medicine. Then why people are encouraged are to donate in Temple instead of feeding to hungry people. We should not escape by saying that they are facing their karma. Ok, they are facing their karma but should be our duty as human being. Temple n gurdwaras gives feast to hundreds of people. What is need of feeding to those people who can easily have their food n clothes without any struggle?”

REPLY:

Service to the people is the Service to the God.  This is the Popular advice given to the people.

Let us  here analyze what it means by the popular advice that the Service to the people is the Service to the God.

See, The temples are there not for eradicating poverty;  It is the function of the government by collecting taxes from the people.

(Krishna or Krishna’s Service as target – which one is right for devotees? READ HERE!)

Supporting the society are of two types:

(1) MATERIAL SUPPORT:   To support the downtrodden people by feeding them, helping in their job, helping them to lead decent life, etc.  These are the functions of the governments.

(2) SPIRITUAL SUPPORT:  To help the people to make their life perfect by leading a regulated life and to avoid such types of miseries permanently by giving them the highest taste of Prema.  These are the functions of the temples.

Both these services should be done simultaneously as a human duty.

The temples can do only a small amount of social service with their resources.  The government too should support the temples to make the people good citizens.

Even every citizen can support atleast one person who is suffering n life.  It is the human duty to be supportive to others as much as possible. Or, if everyone takes care of his own family properly, there will be no poverty  in the society.  Therefore, this is the collective responsibility.

If we give spiritual support through the temples, the people can stop their miseries permanently and avoid further births also.  However, when a devotee is in starvation and struggles today, we can’t speak to them about spirituality, God, etc. They will not show much interest in our preaching.

(Why Krishna is attracted by Pure Devotional service only? READ HERE!)

In all the big temples of Tamilnadu, the devotees are offered ‘full meal’ prasadam every day.  1000’s of poor people get benefited by this scheme every day.

Another good example is Tirumala Tirupati temple.  They offer full meals free for all those who come to the prasada center every day. They have no limits for visitors.  They also do some other supports to the people.

In some spiritual organisations, they have the system of feeding the visitors every day.  In ISKCON movement, all the devotees are given full prasadam on Sundays.  If they get more revenue, they may start on other days also.  In some zones, they also have tie ups with the governments to offer free noon meal in many schools.

In Tamilnadu, the government is offering lunch food for just Rs.5 and breakfast for Rs.3 for all the people who come to the centers located in almost all the towns (Rates as on 27.02.2021).  This has almost stopped the death due to starvation in the state. This scheme is now followed by some other state governments also.

However, I have to admit the fact that these feedings do not reach only the needy people. They are offered to the visitors only.

What is the reason for some children’s violent behaviour during the adolescent age 13 or 14? READ HERE!

However, only regular visitors of the temples get benefited with this prasadam.  Most of the regular visitors are good earners and they already have the capacity to fulfill their food needs. Therefore, offering full meals to the same set of people every week can be modified. If the full meal system is changed as small servings of about 200-250 grams of serving in a cup, we can use that savings to prepare and distribute food to hundreds of people by going to slums or huts and then speak to them about God.

Every temple can allocate a certain percentage of their income to offer earning sources to the needy people like giving tailoring machines, iron boxes, utensils to prepare food and sell them, computers to start service centers, etc. They can reduce the funds for prasadam distribution and do these long term beneficial supports.

The mindset of the devotees should also change.  I have observed that only a few devotees donate to the temples with which all the expenses are met.  If the temple has 200 regular visitors who can donate something, only 10-15 devotees donate.  If all those affluent people donate, the temples can do more services to more people.

Not only the temples, but in all the devotional services, only about less than 1% of the devotees support financially.  Others just get the benefits.  This should change and more people should come forward to support the temples and devotional services.

I like to write another side of this matter to be a balanced writer:

The temples have their main business to make the minds of people to be prepared to work keeping God as strength to work.  They act as a place for the people to purify themselves by honouring the God.  If they involve in social service excessively, they can’t manage their spiritual services properly.

(What to do when my parents criticize me for my appearance and devotion? READ HERE!)

You should keep an important advice of vedic scriptures.  They do not recommend the sanyasis to invove in the administration activities.  Their only business is to lead a simple life and preach the people to follow devotional way of life.  Nothing else.  If they involve in poverty eradication, they will get attached to that work and hence they will face the threat of fall down from their pure status.

Therefore, the spiritual people should involve only in spiritual education to make the people lead a regulated life. All they can do is that they can offer some prasadam to those who come to the temples. Not more than that.

This society itself is like an administration of a company.  In a company, the production department will take care of producing the product.  The R & D department will take care of ensuring the quality of the product. The marketing department will take care of taking the product to the right people.

The company will allocate funds every year to every department.  Then, that department will take care of the functions of that department.

The production department will not interfere in the activities of marketing department and vice versa. If every department performs their duties properly, the company will run well.

At the same time, if any department does not perform well, it affects the entire company.  If the production department produces the product sufficiently, but the marketing department does not market it well, the company faces shut down of the production to avoid dumping and hence loss of revenue.  Similarly, if the marketing department works well making plenty of orders, but, the production department does not produce the product to satisfy the demand, the company can’t stand in the market.

(After coming to devotion, I hate and avoid non-devotee family and others that makes them angry. Why Krishna allows this? READ HERE!)

Similarly, the temples in a society take care of educating the people in realizing the real purpose of their life and in leading a regulated life as a responsible human. They can’t involve in poverty eradication.  It is to be done by the governments by making the jobs available for the people.  If the devotees involve excessively in material development of people, these devotees too may get corrupted by the materialistic way of life.

Even the youth should change their mindset.  Particularly in India, there is no deficit for job opportunities. The Only problem is that the youth are not ready to do certain jobs and they expect only a certain type of jobs.  For example, there are so many opportunities in construction, farming, crafts, catering, etc.  There is a deficit of people in these sectors.  But, what happens now in India? Every boy likes to do Information technology jobs and hence hundreds of Engineering colleges that have no sufficient infrastructure and efficiency.  Excessive number of Engineering graduates and hence joblessness in this sector.

Thus, just feeding the people is not sufficient. The government should increase the opportunities to the people to work and earn.  The people also should be ready to do any legal job.

Instead of telling the government to do this, if you expect the temples to do these social activities, the temples will become as business centers losing the spiritual value.

(Though they have advanced knowledge of God, why many Indians violate the disciplinary rules in public places? READ HERE!)

Therefore, the reality is that the temples can offer prasadam to the people and do some small support to the needy.  They can’t be expected to eradicate poverty in society.

The government should collect sufficient taxes from the people properly without corruption, and spend the tax money to expand more opportunities for the people.

The temples should properly educate the people in proper way of living.

If the temples fail to do this, the society will not be disciplined.  If the government does not function properly, the people will not come out of poverty.

Therefore, the purpose of the temples and governments are different. If every sector of the society functions properly, the society will be prospering in life.

Service to the people is the Service to the God is to be understood properly.  Serving the people is the natural duty of the people themselves. The temples create good citizens.  Those citizens will naturally help the other people.

Hope you understand my points about the Service to the people is the Service to the God.

(Why In India many gods are worshiped contrary to other countries? READ HERE!)

Author: RAJAN

RAJAN from Tamil Nadu, India, a Life Patron and an Initiated Devotee being in ISKCON for nearly three decades, serves anonymously to avoid Prominence and crowd as an insignificant, Humble and Neutral Servant for all the devotees of Krishna! He promotes Social media forums and this blog-website as e-satsangha (e-forums) blessed with Lakhs of followers, to give Spiritual Solutions for all the Material Problems of the devotees since 2011! He writes friendly and practical tips to practice devotion (i) without hurting the followers of other paths, (ii) without affecting the personal and career life, and (iii) without the blind, superstitious and ritualistic approach! He dedicates all the glories and credits to his Guru and Krishna.

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