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Kanwal Prakash "KP" Singh
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

The Sikh sacred scriptures remind the followers of the faith:
"From the rewards of thy righteous labor, share your blessings with others;
Nanak (the Founder of the Sikh faith) says that alone is the way to know God."

The song of the Buddhist Monks reaffirms the thought:
"Give new gifts; everyday give new gifts;
Everyday, find new heavens."

The guiding spirit of philanthropy and charitable giving among the Sikhs is a highly regarded faith commandment. The first Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Nanak counseled and during his lifetime practiced the three cardinal principles of Sikh life:

"Kirat karo, Wund Chhako, Naam Japo"

A. Work to earn your living
B. Share with others the rewards of your righteous labor
C. Remember and meditate upon God's Name at all times

The idea of sharing and giving was strengthened by the long-established institution of Langar (community kitchen) open to people of all faiths and as an act of community sharing, rejecting all ethnic, gender, and caste prejudice, and reaffirming unity of human spirit and purpose. Sikhs are commanded giving first to alleviate hunger of the needy and only later contribute to the treasury of their Guru. They are further commanded to serve with Tanh (body, effort, energy), Munh (heart, mind, and soul), and Dhunh (wealth, fortune, gifts); with all blessings temporarily entrusted to us by our Creator.

All faiths remind us that God is Benevolent and Compassionate Being. The Sikh scriptures offer:

"The Lord is altruist, generous and benevolent, the beautifier of all, the embodiment of peace; the blessed vision of His is so rewarding!" - SGGS, M-5, p. 533

"One who serves and helps others is exalted in the Lord's court; the others who turn away from God by not serving are disgraced;
I am sacrifice to the one who take pleasure in life of altruism."
-Bhai Gurdas, Sikh Theologen

We venerate our Gurus as the "Shelter of the Homeless", the "Helpers of the Disadvantaged", the Strength of the Weak", the Hope of those without Hope." We are reminded that: God is Love; to love God is to Love all His Creation; every act of service is an offering to Him."
Thus Serving, Philanthropy, Altruism, and Sharing are the highest form of meditation in the Sikh faith. It is living the faith as an act of thanksgiving and Glory to the Wonderful Lord, the One Universal Mother and Father of all Living beings.

Philanthropy is not about the about the size and shape of the gifts that we bring to the table or our communities; it is all about the spirit of giving to noble causes and worthy services and opportunities to enhance the quality and spirit of life, to uplift human spirit, and make a difference for others in their hour of need or darkness.

Philanthropy is a mindset and an inner stirring to enlarge our universe and understanding of our place and its spirit and being a witness to new heavens amidst our temporal textures and challenges.

Today, philanthropy must stretch the traditional faith and cultural boundaries and cross unimagined thresholds and translate generosity of the givers into creative programs that bring hope and healing to our own citizens and distant communities.

Philanthropy is about expanding human connections beyond the traditional and the familiar and discovering unimagined potentials unleashed by such generosity.

Philanthropy is about encouraging others to find their dreams or calling or simply providing a sanctuary of hope to those who may have inherited or chanced upon an uninvited challenge, condition, or tragic circumstance.

Philanthropy of mind and spirit is God's work, a labor of love, and the true lessons of our faith at work; an act of faith in our shared humanity. We must all be partners in this privilege. (5)

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