Charge, donation or contribution
I’ve been pondering these three words, how interchangeable are they and how easy it is to cheet if their misapplied
We often ask for a donation especially on book distribution, if you give me a donation you can have a book whilst showing them a wonderful book that will transform their life. Then we withdraw the book if the donation is small, or we go no it has to be £x; unwittingly we can cause offence, they asked for a donation I gave and they took away (I’ve had individuals who felt cheeted by this). Best if asking for donation show small booklet, if donation given they take no matter how small; if they donate a bigger sum of laxmi perfect, wow this is so kind please take this book, massaging the false ego but also a loving exchanges.
As devotees our aim is to have these loving exchanges, they may or may not take a book the aim should be to leave such a sweet exchange that they praise the devotees, maybe next time a book will be taken.
My thoughts are never far from controversial matters and one of the most controversial is paid courses that are becoming the normal this dispite Srila Prabhupada instructions that if they come to the temple it is free (a hard concept to grasp); although Srila Prabhupada was skillful in making sure they took a book and asking for a small contribution.
I like that word contribution, the act of assisting in something you believe in; one gives in many ways to what is termed good causes and the greatest cause is to relieve the burden of mankind with the glories of Sri Caitanya’s sankirtan movement.
But back to my thoughts (it’s my personal thoughts to which you may or may not agree)
I wish to become initiated, how wonderful the most successful move one will ever make; now enrol in this system and sign up for these mandatory course’s (yes mandatory it’s for your own good one day maybe not now but one day you’ll appreciate it)
One is presented with a bill
So what is it?
Not a donation, although many argue this is the case
May be a contribution, but contribution means it is like a donation from the heart based upon ones means and inspiration
A charge? Yes we are Charing the information will not be imparted unless their is an exchange.
But Srila Prabhupada said if come to the temple no charge, indeed he did give instruction on charging, if I’m dig institution or education centre and I ask you to come speak; wisdom is this Srila Prabhupada knew it is acceptable indeed normal to charge.
My thoughts is this, we give course free
Then at the end we suggest that if they feel inspired a small contribution (individuals can decide how much) can be made to help in continuing to put on these valuable courses full of knowledge and insight.
This way we are not seen as either cheating or profiteering, nor going against Srila Prabhupada instructions not to charge if they come to temple.
Yes some will laugh and give nothing, some a little, some a lot; but if we trust in Sri Krishna the way Srila Prabhupada did laxmi will always be their.
And we make sure they leave with the respective books, inspired to read and ask questions as their studied nicely.
My thoughts best not present with bill, upfront charges; but give freely
Inspired the person will contribute and give donations, which over the years I’ve been happy to do; always a sweet exchange and indeed as I analys my own situation I’ve given more than is asked upfront price and not feel cheeted; but I do when asked for upfront charges
But then it’s a suggestion
And you may suggest I’m just bitter as I’ve been charged to see my own Guru Maharaja, now that remains a painful and bitter pill to swallow