Why care to share?

When Arjuna in the guise of a Brahmana won the test at Svayamvara, all the assembled kings were surprised. They were frustrated and became furious at Drupada for being unfair to them and allowing a Brahmana to compete in the svayamvara. The kings attacked Drupada. Arjuna and Bhima in guise of Brahmanas came to his rescue. Arjuna fought with Karna. Bhima fought with Salya. Arjuna expertly and easily countered all the weapons released by Karna. Karna was impressed by the prowess of Arjuna and stopped his offensive. He began wondering who was this Brahmana so powerful. In the meantime, a serious duel took place between Bhima and Shalya. It became very involved and very violent. All the kings were surprised thinking this can be none other than the great Balarama or Bhima. At last Krishna intervened and said – “Draupadi is won by fair means and a deserving candidate. Let us not blight this occasion with unnecessary bloodshed”. Krishna in this way successfully dissuaded the kings from further aggression. Arjuna and Bhima, bloody and bruised proceeded to the potter’s hut with Draupadi. Kunti was in anxiety about what happened at the svayamvara ceremony – “Has the Kauravas detected the Pandavas or the Raksasas had come together to avenge the killing of Hidimba and Baka?” Arjuna suddenly entered the hut and called out, “O Mother, we have returned bringing excellent alms. Just see the wonderful jewel we have obtained today!” Filled with relief and happiness to hear her son’s voice, Kunti called back, “Share among yourselves whatever you have acquired.”  Let us discuss about why we need to share something with others.

Most of the time, we share with a motive. The motive can be fear or desire. Let us discuss about fear first. We may give charity due to social compulsion. A child may share his toys with siblings to keep their mouths shut fearing they may quarrel with him or complain to his parents demanding their share. In this case, the focus is on oneself. The purpose is to avoid trouble. There is no bonding between the giver and receiver. There is no heartfelt satisfaction. It is more or less an unspoken deal between them. There is apparent success. There is constant fear of losing the success. But the receiver can always exploit the weakness of the giver. Therefore the giver is in anxiety.

It is also possible that we may share out of desire. A businessman may give freebies to his prospective clients to maintain a good business relationship. A rich man may do philanthropy to project a good social image, a typical case of virtue signaling. The focus still remains the self. There is sense of doership –“I have benefited others”. Therefore I deserve the credit. There is expectation of profit and credit. If the profit is below expectation, then it leads to frustration. If the profit is as expected or more than the expectation, it can lead to greed. In both the cases, there is no satisfaction. There is success but no satisfaction. The relationship between giver and receiver is fruitive. The receiver can easily sense it and realize it.

We receive many things in life without paying any price. We receive care and affection from parents, friends and family. There are many other benefactors in life. When we benefit from these things and feel gratitude from heart, it is but natural that we want to share the benefit with others. Someone who rose from rages to riches is likely to become philanthropic and help others to rise from rages to riches. In this case, the purpose of giver is selfless : he just want to share with others what he had got. As a byproduct, he may receive appreciation, accolades and recognition. There is success and there is satisfaction. This is sharing out of duty.

We can go one extra mile with respect to duty. That is to feel a genuine concern to the receiver who lacks what we got. We feel his pain as our own pain. We are ready to go to any extent to help them and enable them to take advantage of what we have. This is sharing out of love. There is an affectionate relationship between giver and receiver. This really gives a very deep happiness. This leads to success, satisfaction and smile.