A student asked Yogi Bhajan the following question:
"Is giving an act of God?"
Yogi Bhajan replied, "No, no, no, no. Not at all. It is a perfectly selfish act. Have you heard about when I became rich? Listen to this. It is true. Verbatim, this is exactly true.
I taught a class at the East-West Cultural Center. And I did a wonderful job. There were three hundred and some dollars collected at class. I do not know exactly how much. But I definitely know one hundred fifty and some cents were given to me in an envelope as my fifty percent of that lecture. This is what they do. You go. They advertise you. You teach in that center. And whatever money comes in on that day, fifty percent is given to the lecturer and fifty percent goes to the center.
I did that. Then the director of the center takes the speaker out to dinner. Now this lady, the director, was more spiritual, well-read with the scripture and much wiser than I was. I was very happy with her and she was extremely happy with me, because when she would talk scriptures, somewhere along the line, I’d give her the understanding of the scripture. I’m not very good with all this bookish knowledge but certain things I just know.
She said, "Today your lecture was so pleasing. I just want to take you to eat. Please come with me." She was just overwhelmingly joyful.
I said to her, "Well, there seems to be a storm behind the sunshine."
"What can it be?"
When we came to the restaurant, on the side there was a pole. Standing beside the pole was a very beautiful, well-dressed black man. And he was saying, “I do not want to beg, and I don’t want you to help me, but I have children. I have a life, and I have a family. I am selling these pencils. You can buy these pencils for any amount, because I am blind and can’t see it. But I hope by the end of the day there will be a profit and I can take care of my family."
When I heard that I handed over my envelope to him and I took one pencil out. She saw me doing that and God, that divine woman became a living fire. She said, "What have you done? You know, that’s what Indians do. You have encouraged beggary." She was so rude.
I said, “Ohhhhh!” That was my first experience, awakening the mind to encounter the bitchiness of an American woman. Up until then I was fine.
I said, "What have I done?"
"You took one pencil for one hundred and fifty dollars. Do you know that you can get a truckload of them?"
"I don’t need a truckload of pencils."
"Why did you take one pencil?"
"I want this one pencil to write my own fortune."
"And you paid one-hundred and fifty dollars for it?"
"No. I paid much less. I paid nothing."
"I don’t understand you. You don’t like money. You don’t love money."
I said, "I love money more than you like it. I love money. Don’t worry about that. I just wanted this pencil to write my fortune. I paid the money you gave to me."
She said, "I can’t believe it."
Meanwhile, we entered the restaurant. Then you know what she said? She said, "All right. I’ll teach you something practical."
"I’m not going to pay for your dinner."
"That will show you what happens when you don’t have money."
I said, "Sure. It’s okay."
So I took my plate to the place where you pick up your salad, and you pick up this and that and I picked up everything I wanted to eat. I walked to the tables and the lady at the check-out counter said, "Thank you, sir." She never says that. I just went up there, took the things of the tray, and put them on the table. We were about three or four people and when the director came, the counter clerk told her, "Thank you, ma’am. You can pass."
She said, "Who paid for it?"
The clerk said, "It is all paid for."
So, she felt a little small and she came and sat down next to me. Meanwhile, the counter girl came and brought sixty-some dollars and gave it to me. Imagine. I didn’t have a pocket. I didn’t have a dollar. I didn’t have a penny. She told me that she isn’t going to pay and I said to the counter clerk, "Give it to her."
The clerk said, "No, no. It is for you, sir. It is for you."
"Why for me?"
"There was a student of yours sitting here. He left me with a hundred dollars and he said, ‘My teacher is coming. All the people with him should be paid for, and the balance given to him.’ So I am just doing what he said."
I looked at the director. I said, "You didn’t pay for it?"
"You got paid for, too?"
I said, "See how God works?" And I pulled out ten dollars and I gave it to the waitress.
She said, "O my God. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you."
And I gave the director the fifty-some remaining dollars.
She asked me, "What for? I don’t understand. You seem so happy."
I said, "Today, my Guru and my God have made me a giver. Before this, I was a taker. I was at your mercy. And when you tested it, Guru came through. He saved me at the last minute. I am very mad at Him for that. But because He always does it, I am very grateful. I have seen my Guru. I have seen Him in action. I am grateful."