Money should serve the necessary necessities of life, Yogananda said, and no more. Swami Kriyananda, expanding on his Guru’s teaching, distinguishes between money “in itself” and people’s desire for it. When they desire it, money becomes one of the principal delusions in life, in that it offers endless opportunities to satisfy other desires, for things that go way beyond the necessary necessities, and that, we falsely hope, will bring us happiness1.
Master encourages us to experiment with spiritual practises, so they become our own. The spiritual warrior, then, experiments with meditation, yoga postures, affirmations, visualisations, satsang and seva, to name only a few!
And what about tithing?
At this point I would like to share the story of a little orphan girl from Southern India. Her name was Shanti and she was raised by a French nun, Sr. Thérèse. Her home was a massive, magnificent colonial building.
Shanti was loved and well taken care of by Sr. Thérèse, who raised her as any biological mother would. Even at a young age, Shanti observed how Sr. Thérèse used her creative talents to manifest beautiful embroidered pieces which were hand sewn by women, providing needed income to support these underprivileged women and adding dignity to their lives. You can watch this short YouTube video to get an idea of the setting.
Shanti joyfully grew up in these surroundings, hearing catholic nuns sing and pray daily to God. She perceived Sr. Thérèse’s deep inner communion with God, her lifelong dedication to Jesus and her complete surrender to the Divine will.
Shanti learnt that being a renunciant did not entitle a nun to wait around for money to flow in, but that creative ways needed to be explored to generate prosperity for others.
Shanti was amazed to witness how God always provided the funds needed to run the Embroidery House, through Sr. Thérèse’s 60 years of hard work and occasional donations.
Thus, God provided little Shanti with a good education and met all her basic needs. Shanti was blessed to grow up with the constant presence of Jesus in her life, mirrored through Sr. Thérèse’s one pointed attention to God alone.
Later in life, when Shanti had already settled in Europe and had started her own family, Sr. Thérèse left her body. Shanti was very sad, but she found comfort in the realization that Sr. Thérèse was closer to Jesus now.
Shanti had a good job and everything she needed but an important piece of the puzzle was missing – the supreme blessing of the 3 worlds – the guru.
Paramhansa Yogananda found Shanti through his Autobiography of a Yogi. After reading that book, Shanti recognized the author as her Guru end she wanted to experience in herself the Divine consciousness that impregnate Yogananda’s spiritual classic.
Shanti was eager to study the SRF correspondence course. She wanted to have an experience of inner communion with God, something she had seen in Sr. Thérèse’s life, and that was now made possible through the intercession and the guidance of a Self-realised Master.
She started preparing to take discipleship and get kriya initiation through SRF, but somehow she didn’t feel in tune with that ray.
She had found her guru, but not her spiritual family.
Shanti searched on the internet for a retreat centre in Europe where Master’s teachings were being shared and stumbled cheerfully upon Ananda Assisi. There she found the pot of spiritual gold. She wept tears of relief and gratitude to have finally reached her spiritual home. Seeing the smiling friendly faces and open hearts, feeling the vibrations in the temple of Light, it became very clear that Shanti wanted to become a Kriyaban through Ananda. She felt in tune with this spiritual ray of Kriya Yoga.
Ever since, Ananda has been Shanti’s spiritual food bank, from where she gets daily sustenance and soul nourishment. In the beginning, Shanti felt so hungry spiritually that she needed to fill her soul with inspirations and kept absorbing them so as to satisfy her emptiness.
Then, at a certain point Shanti felt she had withdrawn a lot of spiritual “funds” from Ananda and it was time to replenish that account. Tithing was the currency. Not that God needed money from Shanti but she felt, with Jesus, that it was “more blessed to give than to receive.”
Shanti now had 2 children to support financially and the fear of lack was real. Why give God anything when He has everything?
But again, it was not for God that Shanti was doing this service, but for her own soul, so as to place her trust in God above all and to let go of the false security that money brought. The realisation that God had always provided for Shanti’s needs from her childhood until this very day, was reassuring.
Thanks to tithing, her faith deepened, her devotion to God grew stronger than her fear of an imaginary lack. Her faith made her realize that her 2 children were first of all God’s children and that He would provide for them, too.
Shanti had to continue doing her part. God would do the rest.
The above story illustrates that God never lets us down in any way. It is we who are insufficiently Self-realized. The willingness and desire to want to overcome fear and attachment are more important than the amount we tithe. God lovingly watches, not the amount, but the spirit in which we give.
The river of super consciousness is constantly flowing, but our fears create eddies which prevent the flow of clarity from reaching our higher Self. With deep faith and active surrender to God a few of these fearsome eddies lose their swirling grip on our consciousness.
As devotees we all seek inner freedom and the power to pass the portal of the final exam in shimmering colours.
To me it feels like, through tithing, God has given us a royal pathway to let go of one of the 3 great delusions3. May we all pass our final exam spiritually rich, so as to lay our treasures at his holy feet, when he will come to greet us in the astral world.
May you flow joyfully on the wave of tithing to reach the bedrock of faith in God.
The Infinite Source is an infinite dynamo, continually pouring strength, happiness and power into the soul. That is why it is so important to rely as much as you can upon the Infinite Source4.
1Religion in the New Age by Swami Kriyananda
2Scientific healing affirmations” by PY
3 The 3 great delusions as explained by Swami Kriyananda are wine (drugs of any kind), money and sex.
4 SRF lessons by PY