Did you know that 93% of U.S. church income is from individual offerings? These gifts are given to houses of worship to pay for the establishment and upkeep of worship facilities and for the ongoing operations of churches, mosques, and temples.
In practical terms here at New Goloka Dhama, there are maintenance projects both minor and major that need to be completed in the near future. The fence around the perimeter of the temple grounds must be replaced soon. In fact, a bad storm could blow over portions of the fence. New roofs must be placed on the pavilion and on the guesthouse. These three projects will cost close to $20,000 to complete.
And that’s where we all come in. We, the congregation of Sri-Sri Radha-Golokananda Dhama benefit from the wonderful Krsna conscious atmosphere that the temple provides. So it is up to us to offer what we can to help.
Tithing is a religious practice that is practiced by Christian congregations throughout the U.S. It is the voluntary offering of one tenth of a family’s income to the church. Often Christians automatically deduct the tithe out of their paychecks so they never miss the money. The first ten percent is for the Lord. When we get in the habit of giving in the spirit of tithing we don’t see the donation as a financial burden or even a duty. Rather we see it as a spiritual principle every bit as important as our sadhana.
In fact, Srila Prabhupada emphasized the “Dadati Prinicple.” He said, “According to the dadati principle, an advanced devotee is supposed to spend at least fifty percent of his income in the service of the Lord and his devotees.” Now before we get discouraged by a percentage figure which seems impossible for us to give, we need to see the how the Vedic dadati priniciple, like tithing, is something we should commit to doing out of our gratitude to Krsna for being so merciful to us in so many ways. In fact, seeing voluntary giving to the temple as an act of gratitude for all that Krsna and his devotees have done for us will make the donation process (like Krsna consciousness itself) “joyful to perform.”
So how much should we pledge on a regular basis each month? That depends on who you are and what your financial obligations will allow you to give. Certainly, however, it is possible to find an amount that we can give each and every month. Maybe it’s $50 or $100 or perhaps 5% of our paycheck or even 15%. What each and every one of us needs to do is find out the amount that’s right for us and offer that on a regular basis as part of our Krsna conscious sadhana.
The dadati principle like tithing is a spiritual practice that cuts across all religious and spiritual communities. It is a principle that will strengthen our Krsna conscious community here in NC.