The Importance of Generosity


Hi! A spiritual author has mentioned in his book that if we are born in a rich family and use our money selfishly just for our and our family’s personal needs, then we might be reborn in not so favorable financial circumstances, while if we develop he habit of giving and sharing with whatever little we have, we may be reborn in favorable financial circumstances...How true is it?

—Sangita, India


Dear Sangita,

That is my understanding as well. I am not speaking from intuitive knowledge, just from my understanding of the teachings of karma and reincarnation.

However, one doesn’t need to have the intuitive wisdom of a Master to understand this. One can see this principle at work even in a single lifetime. Those who live with a generous heart, thinking of the welfare of others, serving and helping where they can, attract prosperity. Good things tend to happen for them, whether it’s material gain or good fortune in love.

On the other hand, those who live selfishly, thinking only of themselves first, attract poverty. Even if the outward result of such selfishness is not material poverty — some people become extremely rich when looking out only for “number one” — the result will certainly be a poverty of love.

A note of practicality: Yogananda did not counsel that people give everything away, only that they live with an open and generous heart. Yogananda often praised those who were prosperous because to become prosperous they had developed God’s gifts of will and energy. Yogananda warned against laziness or indifference disguised as false renunciation.

Warm regards,
Puru (Joseph) Selbie