COMMUNITIES THROUGH FAITH AND PHILANTHROPY
Kanwal Prakash "KP" Singh
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
The Sikh sacred scriptures remind the followers of the
"From the rewards of thy righteous labor, share your
blessings with others;
Nanak (the Founder of the Sikh faith) says that alone is
the way to know God."
The song of the Buddhist Monks reaffirms the thought:
"Give new gifts; everyday give new gifts;
Everyday, find new heavens."
The guiding spirit of philanthropy and charitable giving
among the Sikhs is a highly regarded faith commandment.
The first Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Nanak counseled and during
his lifetime practiced the three cardinal principles of
"Kirat karo, Wund Chhako, Naam Japo"
A. Work to earn your living
B. Share with others the rewards of your righteous labor
C. Remember and meditate upon God's Name at all times
The idea of sharing and giving was strengthened by the
long-established institution of Langar (community kitchen)
open to people of all faiths and as an act of community
sharing, rejecting all ethnic, gender, and caste prejudice,
and reaffirming unity of human spirit and purpose. Sikhs
are commanded giving first to alleviate hunger of the needy
and only later contribute to the treasury of their Guru.
They are further commanded to serve with Tanh (body, effort,
energy), Munh (heart, mind, and soul), and Dhunh (wealth,
fortune, gifts); with all blessings temporarily entrusted
to us by our Creator.
All faiths remind us that God is Benevolent and Compassionate
Being. The Sikh scriptures offer:
"The Lord is altruist, generous and benevolent, the
beautifier of all, the embodiment of peace; the blessed
vision of His is so rewarding!" - SGGS, M-5, p. 533
"One who serves and helps others is exalted in the
Lord's court; the others who turn away from God by not serving
I am sacrifice to the one who take pleasure in life of altruism."
-Bhai Gurdas, Sikh Theologen
We venerate our Gurus as the "Shelter of the Homeless",
the "Helpers of the Disadvantaged", the Strength
of the Weak", the Hope of those without Hope."
We are reminded that: God is Love; to love God is to Love
all His Creation; every act of service is an offering to
Thus Serving, Philanthropy, Altruism, and Sharing are the
highest form of meditation in the Sikh faith. It is living
the faith as an act of thanksgiving and Glory to the Wonderful
Lord, the One Universal Mother and Father of all Living
Philanthropy is not about the about the size and shape
of the gifts that we bring to the table or our communities;
it is all about the spirit of giving to noble causes and
worthy services and opportunities to enhance the quality
and spirit of life, to uplift human spirit, and make a difference
for others in their hour of need or darkness.
Philanthropy is a mindset and an inner stirring to enlarge
our universe and understanding of our place and its spirit
and being a witness to new heavens amidst our temporal textures
Today, philanthropy must stretch the traditional faith
and cultural boundaries and cross unimagined thresholds
and translate generosity of the givers into creative programs
that bring hope and healing to our own citizens and distant
Philanthropy is about expanding human connections beyond
the traditional and the familiar and discovering unimagined
potentials unleashed by such generosity.
Philanthropy is about encouraging others to find their
dreams or calling or simply providing a sanctuary of hope
to those who may have inherited or chanced upon an uninvited
challenge, condition, or tragic circumstance.
Philanthropy of mind and spirit is God's work, a labor
of love, and the true lessons of our faith at work; an act
of faith in our shared humanity. We must all be partners
in this privilege. (5)