(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 13 March 2007, Nectar of Instruction Lecture)
Giving charity to devotees is important because by doing so we can somehow overcome our deeply rooted material attachment. We must learn to give rather than to take, just like Jayananda did.
Jayananda was Prabhupada’s dear disciple who had done so many wonderful things. He joined in San Francisco and Jayananda was ten years older than everybody else and he had a profession; he was driving a taxi and making good money. So Jayananda would buy the devotees clothes and whatever else they needed.
For himself, he would not buy anything; he would not spend money on himself, he would buy clothes from the Salvation Army; a pair of pants for one dollar or something like that, because he did not want to spend money on himself.
Once the devotees told him, “You have to buy some decent clothes! You cannot just buy these one dollar pants any longer!” and they sent him to a shop and when he put on some pants and he saw the price, he thought “God, how can I spend so much money on myself? I can’t do it!” So he just put the new pants over his old pants and tried to walk out of the shop but he got caught.
Anyway a few weeks later he was in court and he explained the whole story to the judge – how he was a monk and how he has given his whole life and how they forced him and he just couldn’t tolerate spending so much money…
And the way he explained it was so sincere that the shop security who had arrested him and was there as a witness said, “Your Honour, I will pay for these pants!” and in that way, he did not get convicted. Jayananada was such a devotee who gave himself completely.
Giving in charity means really giving ourselves in charity. Giving things in charity, giving the fruits of our labour in charity is one thing but still the greater gift is to give ourselves in charity, to dedicate our life to the wellbeing of others and not be so concerned with what is going to become of me, “If I become the servant of everyone else then there will be no time left for me to do my things!” The highest and greatest act is to give ourselves…