Reader comment on Swami Vivekananda's passage ...

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    On Feb 24, 2012 Thierry wrote:

    There may be more to trade than mere gamble on the rise and fall of market prices, more to it than sheer gain or loss.  Trade is often the only means of survival  for a multitude of  people all over the world. On the market places, bazaars and souks of the world one finds as many people capable of unexpected decency, fairness, honesty in their dealings as the contrary. And even in our affluent society a commercial contract, termed ' loyal and merchant', is expected to be 'honoured'. If those words have any meaning, they refer, first and foremost, to moral if not spiritual values.
    So one has to be clear, if one engages in trade, that the contract involved is a moral contract, that a loan is not a gift, that a debt is a debt, that one has obligation. 
    In the same way, one must be clear that giving is never a contract, can never give rise to any claim, that the one who receives is not indebted to the one who gives. Giving is something one does freely, not pressed by circumstances, not tied by a word given. One may stop giving as naturally as one has given. Because the original impetus is gone. Because a certain giving, appropriate in a certain life context  becomes inappropriate when that context changes. As one cannot account for what one has received one cannot account for what one has given. 
    Giving owes nothing to morality, good social behavior. If one does'nt like the word spiritual  one may say the act itself is natural, spontaneous. If one takes spiritual pride in giving, off goes spontaneity. Muslims distinguish between the legal giving, 'Zakat', which is a religious obligation and the giving from the heart which is spontaneous. They also say that the proper way for the giver to give alms is to give with his hand turned upwards so that the receiver is not humiliated and understands that circumstances being different the giver might well be the beggar.


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