(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 8 September 2013, Johannesburg, South Africa, Home Program)
There are favourable principles described:dadāti pratigŗhnāti guhyam ākhyāti pŗcchati bhuńkte bhojayate caiva ṣaḍ-vidhaḿ prīti-lakṣaname, (Nectar of Instruction, Verse 4)
It is said that first one must give, one must generously give. Yes, devotees, they are giving. It is about giving gifts but not ordinary gifts.
One time, I went with Indradyumna Maharaja to a program in Sydney, Australia and we went to the house of some devotees and it was a pizza party and the whole mood was, “Pizza! Pizza! Party!” You know how these things go, I need not mention. Anyway, a pizza party and Maharaja came in and he had a bouquet of flowers which he presented to the lady of the house and he said, “I guess, it’s not all the time that you’re getting bunches of flowers from sannyasis. It’s a bit uncommon”. I looked sort of, “Yeah, it is, Maharaja, it is.”
And then, it went on and then Maharaja, at one point, at the end of the dinner, he pulled out this big box! It was like nicely wrapped – ribbon and the whole thing, you know these boxes, right! And a big one, you know. And then, inside there was actually a lot of stuffing paper and in the big box, there was a small box. So okay fine, the small box came out. That was wrapped as well and it would have driven me nuts (laughing), but anyway, finally the packet was open and then what was inside the little box was a little piece of a chaddar of Srila Prabhupada. So that was not bad! In the end, you know, the substance was spiritual. See. That’s the substance – giving spiritual substance – somehow or other, giving some mercy. Because devotees receive mercy, dadāti pratigŗhṇāti, they receive mercy. They save that mercy for special occasions.
I know another devotee, Bhurijana, who found out where there was a chaddar of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur. He went for it and with donations, this and that, he got it! And then what did he do, believe it or not, when he had the chaddar of Bhaktisiddhanta, he got himself some big scissors and started cutting the whole thing into pieces, “Aaaah, maha-aparadh! How can you cut it into pieces!?” But then, he took each piece, he nicely put it in a little frame and then started distributing it to so many devotees! So, yes, he understood, deeply understood this principle of dadāti pratigŗhṇāti of somehow or other, receiving things, collecting things, collecting mercy and then distributing it and distributing it.
So this is our culture, imagine some devotee gives you a chaddar like that, you never forget it, right. He’ll be your friend. Yeah, so in this way, devotees are giving mercy. That is our charity and it is said that devotees are charitable. We collect mercy and give it and that builds genuine relationships where we feel, “Yes, he gave me something so valuable, so valuable.” So this is a very nice culture. I will appreciate it when such things are given. If you say, “Yeah well okay, I don’t have such a chaddar”, but then give a very nice verse from the scripture. I know someone that always sends me nice verses and that is appreciated.
There was one devotee who would walk into my room with Srimad Bhagavatam in his hand and say, “Listen to what I’ve just read”, and then he would start reading to me (laughing). He would do it all the time, not just once in a while – he would just come again with a book in his hands and he start reading to me. And after a while, I start to appreciate it, you know, I said, “God, he’s actually a nice person. He always brings me a little Krsna in my life. He just walks into my room and starts reading about Krsna. It’s actually nice, it’s nice. He brings something of value in my life, something meaningful.” So this is a devotee, one who brings something meaningful.