I just got this in my inbox which prompted this post.
Mr.Kalayanasundaram worked as a Librarian for 30 years. Every month in his 30 year experience(service), he donated his entire salary to help the needy. He worked as a server in a hotel to meet his needs. He donated even his pension amount of about TEN(10) Lakh rupees to the needy.
He is the first person in the world to spend the entire earnings for a social cause. In recognition to his service, (UNO)United Nations Organisation adjudged him as one of the Outstanding People of the 20th Century.. An American organisation honored him with the ‘Man of the Millennium’ award. He received a sum of Rs 30 cores as part of this award which he distributed entirely for the needy as usual.
Moved by his passion to help others, Super Star Rajinikanth adopted him as his father. He still stays as a bachelor and dedicated his entire life for serving the society.
Krishna tells Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita "Acts of sacrifice, charity and penance are not to be given up; they must be performed. Indeed, sacrifice, charity and penance purify even the great souls."
- BG 18.5
Charity is done for the purification of one's mind. Charity in the mode of passion or ignorance, on the contrary, can bind one to this world. Therefore charity in the mode of goodness must be performed to liberate one to the spiritual plane. Of all the charities, the best charity is that where the recipient has to never suffer again and such a charity can happen only on the spiritual strata. While Mr Kalyansundaram's act of charity for the past several years is a humongous act of generosity and that which needs universal commendation, still, his help was focused on the body&mind of a living being.
While charity to the body&mind is important, charity to the soul is most important. It is most important because charity to the soul is not temporary where as charity to the body&mind is. Therefore, enlightening a soul on the real values of human life is the highest and greatest charity one can perform. The perfection of enlightenment is achieved when one is fully Krishna conscious. By preaching about Krishna, and inducing living beings to become Krishna conscious, Krishna will be the swift deliverer of all problems of life during life and at during death,
The US Government spends approximately 750 billion dollars (11% of GDP) on Welfare every year. Most of the 11% Welfare money goes to people who are victims of drugs, alcohol, sex related abuse/problems and vagary living. 750 billion dollars on Welfare is lot of money. The scale is by no means small. His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada applied spiritual principles to solve such problems of drugs, alcohol, sex and gambling and doing so freed many souls from physical and mental suffering. If the entire US population actually adopts his spiritual strategy, then the Government funding of 750 billion will drastically decrease thus saving billions on Welfare activities. So in my humble opinion, UNO and the Government must award Srila Prabhupada the prize for welfare service. Besides, people who seriously applied these spiritual principles did not recidivate at a later date (recidivism is a big problem in welfare services) and also helped others come out of similar behavioral problems. In my opinion, this is the fullest impact one can achieve through charity and hence charity to the soul is superior to charity to the body&mind.
While we need people like Kalyanasundaram to perform charity on the physical platform, however, we absolutely need a personality such as Srila Prabhupada to perform charity to the soul. Such charity to the soul can relieve one from all material problems once and for all.