Don’t have the time to read it right now? Listen to the audio: First Time Giving
As we were searching Facebook and Twitter to gain an understanding of what our community, especially younger members, felt about Dasvandh, we stumbled upon a post from Balpreet Kaur, a college student at Ohio State University.
“Just gave Dasvandh for the first time” she wrote.
We wondered what prompted Balpreet to share her thoughts, so we asked her, and the following is our dialogue:
Dasvandh Network (DVN): Balpreet, you recently posted on Facebook that you made an online, monetary donation for the first time. You picked Dasvandh Network. What inspired you to give for the first time?
Balpreet Kaur (BK): When I first gave to Dasvandh Network, it was instinctual to share, to give a part of my earnings to a seva project. I have always considered Dasvandh to mean giving back what was never yours in the first place. And, for me, that was always a part of my day, my time. Since I didn’t work before, I couldn’t give a monetary donation to anyone or anything but I could give my time and effort to others and do seva that way. But, when I got my first pay check, I immediately knew that I had to share and give it.
DVN: How did doing your Dasvandh affect you?
BK: It made me more conscious of our ability to serve the Panth and the Guru. It reminded me that everything I do can be a form of Seva – it doesn’t always mean going to a food kitchen or helping in langar. I think it made me realize what GuruSahib meant when they said be a part of this word to transcend it – even when I don’t have time to actively do sevaa, my sevaa can be in the form of giving a part of a paycheck, the result of my hard-work, to others. If I can’t do seva, I can help others do it.
DVN: You’re so right in that Dasvandh is not just monetary; it can be in the form of Seva as well. What was going through your mind as you were donating?
BK: Dasvandh Network was the first organization that came to my mind when I got my first pay check. The difficult part was trying to find a project that needed the donations because often, there are organizations out there whose donations will not go directly to the cause and instead fund other activities. However, all the projects on DVN seemed transparent and open and most of all, sincere. I ended up donating to the SikhRI project of building a Sikhi booklet for many reasons. Not only would it contribute to the lack of literature we have as a Panth but also it would be helpful for non-Sikhs as well. I, being the book-nerd, knew that this was the one. Books can explain much more in a few words than we can in a life-time so I thought, “Sure, why not?”
DVN: People have the mentality of being reluctant to give because they think of it as something to do later, when they have the monetary means to do so. What do you say to that?
BK: I don’t think that young people are ‘reluctant’ to give. The roles we can play in doing seva are different. Young people are in college, with little savings, so monetary donations are obviously rare. However, what the youth can give is their time and effort to a cause. And, we see that in Gurmat camps, volunteer roles, even organizations on campus. However, if we are strictly talking about the concept of Dasvandh and how it is received by the Sikh youth, then yes, there is a disconnect. I personally didn’t know about Dasvandh until Gurmat class – my parents never stressed it, all we did was donate to the Gurdwara when we had a chance once in a blue moon. There is an issue of making Dasvandh just as relevant as keeping one’s kesh, or following Gurmat. Because seva is such a big part of our lifestyle, the specifics which include Dasvandh get glossed over and often undiscussed.
DVN: Sounds like you picked a great project, but also that the DVN website has plenty to choose from. How would you encourage others to donate?
BK: Many faiths have incorporated donating into their belief system and Sikhi is no different; I would encourage others to donate by just letting them know that monetary value is an important part of doing sevaa nowadays, to do anything actually. And, the Gurus saw this. However, the lens towards Dasvandh shouldn’t be one of “This is my money, my donation, my time”. It should be one of the Guru. Everything we have should be for the Guru. By donating and sharing, we are expressing our empathy, our desire towards building a better world, our love towards one another. Sharing is caring.
DVN: Sharing and donating are very synonymous in Sikhi. Where do you plan to share/donate in the future?
BK: Anywhere that invokes compassion in my being and motivates me to help the world. But, Dasvandh Network would be a great place to start 😉