The Tithing Commitment
Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami , 2000-03-02
Gurudeva addresses the traditional practice of Tithing, giving one-tenth of one's income back to God. Gurudeva stresses that this is really giving "back" to God, since it is God who ultimately provides you with your income in the first place.
We have another question that came in and that is on [tithing.] "We have heard a lot about tithing, giving one-tenth of one's income to a religious organisation. Could you explain something about the inner esoterics of tithing?"
Basically, tithing or giving one-tenth of one's income, posessions or time is a deeply religious commitment. It is not a business proposition. It is a religious commitment, based on the principle that a 100% of one's energy comes from God, a 100% of one's belonging comes from God, a 100% of one's activity and creativity comes from God. The sannyasins and the mathavasis give a 100% of their time, their possessions. They are true renunciates. But God and the Gods are very compassionate and for those who are not a mathavasi or sannyasin, God gives back 90% percent. (and)God and the gods keep 10% for their work. What is their work? Uplifting humanity through religious organisations of all kinds.
There is a great Swami in India, who runs his entire organisation on coconuts. Every thirty coconuts that the religious take off their tree, they give Him, three. They don't give reasons and say, "Swami only needs two out of every thirty coconuts, because I am saving one coconut out of that batch for my social security." They don't look at all the thirty coconuts and say, "I will give the Swami the smallest ones, the ones that I cannot sell." Because they are true devotees, they take three of the best coconuts and give them to the Swami. The Swami sells those coconuts and supports his religious institutions. (And,)Through this, the entire community has come up. They have more than 150 institutions - medical hospitals and schools and enineering colleges and homes for the aged and homes for the blind and much, much more.
There is another Guru Mahasannidhanam in South India. His religion gives 10% of the rice that they harvest. They don't count each grain. They simply take a 10% portion and present it to the Swami. We have been at his ashram and seen rice piled 12 to 15 feet high, in the great hall.
Tithing is very fair. Someone earning 300 dollars a month or someone earning 300,000 dollars a month are giving the same amount.