Regular tithing is one of the ways in which you can have a good and smooth life. There are also some misconceptions that people have regarding the concept of tithing. This article attempts to clear some of the misconceptions and explain the concept behind sharing generously and abundantly with those who are less fortunate.
Why should you tithe?
The main reason that we should tithe is because it is the right thing to do. But not only is tithing the right thing to do, it is also the smart thing to do. Tithing is based on the Law of Karma. According to Acharya Stephen Co (a senior disciple of MCKS) and Dr Eric Robbins MD (in their book Your Hands Can Heal You):
Karma is the unbreakable cosmic law of cause and effect. It maintains that if you perform good actions or deeds, they return to you in some positive or favorable form. Some question the validity of karma as a universal principle because they do not always see the law applied in the way they’d like ore expect. They observe that many “bad” people are outwardly successful or happy, while many “good” or “innocent” people are suffering. But we often lack the wisdom and insight to see through the appearances of this physical world. Just because we don’t see immediate punishment in this world for “bad” deeds and immediate reward for “good” doesn’t invalidate the law of karma. The law of karma is unbreakable and unchangeable.
A simple but powerful method of improving your life and your finances is by tithing. But giving and sharing generously you offset and neutralize a portion of your negative karma. As the Bible teaches us, “It is in giving that we receive.” As you give and share your resources (and also your time) generously, that kindness will come back to you in the form of good karma. If you donate (say) Rs. 1,000 to a charity, at some point in the future the in good karma credit or value will return to you. This karmic credit may take the form of money, good health, success, or something else of comparable value that you may need or want.
Guidelines for Tithing
For those who want to make tithing or charitable giving a regular part of your financial (and spiritual) development routine, there were some guidelines offered by MCKS.
How much should we tithe?
The general guideline is 10% of our net income (after taxes). This may not be feasible for everyone at the onset. However, in our experience, this is often manageable i.e. if you can live on Rs. 20,000 a month, you would also be able to manage with Rs. 18,000 a month. However, in case this is not feasible for you, then you may start with a smaller percentage and work your way up to 10%. In general one needs to remember that we reap what we sow. If we don’t plan the right seeds, we will not have much to harvest.
Who do we give to?
It is good to tithe to organizations that help people in great need. It is also good to give money or money equivalents (gifts) to people or organizations that have directly contributed to your physical, emotional, spiritual, or financial well-being. This include your parents. You may also give to your relatives, friends, employees, household help and others who are facing financial challenges in their life. You can also give to those who are homeless, starving, or have been severely affected by natural disasters or political events.
You can also choose to donate to specific causes. For example, people who are suffering from an illness can give to organizations who look after people who are ill (or suffering from the same illness). If you want to give a good education to your children, then you could donate to organizations that do work in the areas of literacy and education. If, for example, you have been cruel to animals in the past, then it might be a good idea to donate to organizations which cares for adopted animals.
Irrespective of what the motive is, one must remember that it is important to give.
How often should we donate? Frequency?
There are many people who do this differently. There are some people who title tithe a full year in advance. There are some who do this monthly. There is no karmically best way to tithe with regard to frequency, However, the most important part is to tithe regularly. We suggest that monthly tithing (on the first of every month after you get your salary) is the best way to build a regular routine. Also, as you tithe regularly, the good karma also manifests in your life regularly. You can also use post-dated cheques or a standing instruction to tithe regularly. In extreme cases, where you have having a major crisis in your life, you could tithe at shorter intervals like daily or weekly (the budget for donation remains the same… but the frequency increases).
Decreeing after Tithing?
It is a good idea to decree after tithing. Decreeing facilitates the manifestation of Good Karma in your life.
So how does one decree? With the money in your hands say to yourself sincere intent that you are grateful for the opportunity to serve, the you intend that this donation help as many people as possible, and that you wish it to generate much good karma for you and your family (if applicable). Include in your prayer also your wish that this donation offset or “work out” any bad karma that you may have incurred, and that it generate good karma that will be applied to your financial health, prosperity and abundance. If you want something more specific, such as good health for yourself or a loved one, then you could include that in your prayer. [Note: Family means your spouse and children].
Should we tell others?
Should one publicize the fact that he or she is tithing and donating? When asked, Master Choa would point to this verse in the Bible: “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” (Matthew 6:3).
It is good to tithe. But keep it secret.
What about the motives behind doing charity?
There have been many students who have had questions around the motives behind these acts of giving. There have been two common questions that come up often. The first is around the belief that it is wrong to expect anything in return from an act of giving. The second, is around the fact that the motive around giving-to-receive is selfish.
We understand where these questions come from. Part of the reasoning behind this line of inquiry is cultural. Specifically, in India, 90% of people would have come across this verse from the Bhagwat Gita (Chapter 2, Verse 47):
कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन।
मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि॥
karmaṇy-evādhikāras te mā phaleṣhu kadāchana
mā karma-phala-hetur bhūr mā te saṅgo ’stvakarmaṇi
This is commonly translated as: “do your duty but you are not entitled to (or you should not expect) the fruits of your actions”. The common belief is that one should not anything (including charity or performing any good act of kindness) with the purpose of getting something in return. Hence it is wrong to donate or share if the act is driven by expectations of receiving something in return.
There are different ways in which one can understand the teaching given by the Lord Krishna to Arjuna before the first way. It is important to recognize that Karma is an Universal Law. The Law of Karma is inescapable. It is unbreakable. It is exact. What you sow is what you will reap. What you give is what you will receive. Irrespective of your motive, if you do something good then something good will come back to you. There will always be a multiplier effect. Whether your like it or not, when you plant seeds for good karma, the fruit of good karma is what you will harvest. It is like touching a live wire. You may say that “I don’t believe in electricity” or “I don’t believe that I will suffer an electric shock”… but you will receive an electric shock. That is based on the laws of electricity. it is likely with the Law of Karma. So irrespective of your motive something will come back to you.
if you donate money to the poor and needy, then you will receive money in return. Money too follows the Law of Karma. However, motives do make a difference. If you donate out of the goodness of your heart (because it is the kind thing to do and the right thing to do), then in addition to prosperity, the good Karma would also come back in terms of spiritual development (your crown chakra will become bigger). So not only is tithing the smart thing to do, it is also the right thing to do.
Secondly, based on our understanding of the teachings of MCKS, we believe that Chapter 2 Verse 47 of the Bhagwat Gita is often misinterpreted. The Lord Krishna is not trying to say that we should perform action without expecting anything in return. The reason why people go to work and do a job is to receive a salary at the end of the month. There is nothing wrong about expecting income to feed and provide for your family. Hence logically, the Lord Krishna is not saying that you should not expect fruits (salary or income in this case) in return. He is instead saying that one needs to be detached from the fruits of your action. As Master Choa explained, one grain of wheat sown may come back to you about 120 grains of wheat. It can also come back as 100 grains, 110 grains or 130 grains. What is certain is that it will come back. There are many factors that determine the exact amount. One needs to be detached from the results. Focus on the action. If you have done whatever needs to be done then the results will follow.
Within the context of the Bhagwat Gita, what Lord Krishna was trying to tell Arjuna was that if you don’t defeat the Kauravas, they will defeat you. But this doesn’t mean you have to worry about what will happen after you are defeated or you come out to be victorious. Just concentrate on the work you must be doing. The necessary results will follow. We believe that this is the essence of the teaching given in the Bhagwat Gita. With this understanding it becomes clearer that there is nothing to feel guilty about working with a healthy self-interest. Healthy self-interest is good as long as it doesn’t harm anyone else. MCKS explained this in a very simple way. When we give to charity it also opens the door to receive the blessings of prosperity. The blessings of prosperity is good given that it provides more opportunities for us to give, share and help others.
Plant The Seeds For Prosperity
Even during the good times and the bad times, it is wise to give and share with those who are enduring greater hardships than that which we might be going through. There have been lots of stories around the power of tithing. One story, specifically mentioned by MCKS in his book The Origin of Modern Pranic Healing and Arhatic Yoga is of a student who donated $5,000 from his company account for charitable purposes. In the following week his company received $50,000 in an outstanding client payment which was previously pending for two to three months.
By tithing and donating a portion of our incomes, we create the good karma to attract greater levels of prosperity and abundance thereby enriching our lives. There are many ways in which you can improve your financial health. Tithing is by far the easiest. Do note that you need to be ready to receive in return of your good deeds. If we are not willing to receive, our capacity to give will decrease.
Don’t take our word for it. As MCKS taught, students must validate everything. Try tithing regularly for a few months and see how it changes your life for the better.