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For a true Sikh who walks on the path of Dharam (righteousness), it is not permitted to wander around begging from others; the Guru tells us:
ਚਾਲਹਿ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਭਾਇ ਭਵਹਿ ਨ ਭੀਖਿਆ ॥੨॥
Cẖālėh Saṯgur Bẖā▫e Bẖavėh Na Bẖīkẖi▫ā ||2||
Those who walk in the Will of the True Guru, never wander begging.
~ Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Guru Nanak, Raag Suhi, Ang 729
ਮੰਨੈ ਨਾਨਕ ਭਵਹਿ ਨ ਭਿਖ ॥
Mannai Nānak Bẖavahi Na Bẖikẖ ||
The faithful, O Nanak, do not wander around begging.
~ Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Guru Nanak, Japji Sahib, Ang 3
Unfortunately, there are many organizations that feel the need to beg for charity. Some cry that they beg for others and not for themselves. However, Gurbani is very clear. The only begging should be from God. Gurbani confirms,
ਹਰਿ ਇਕੋ ਦਾਤਾ ਮੰਗੀਐ ਮਨ ਚਿੰਦਿਆ ਪਾਈਐ ॥
Har Iko Ḏāṯā Mangī▫ai Man Cẖinḏi▫ā Pā▫ī▫ai ||
Beg from the One God, the Great Giver, and you shall obtain your heart's desires.
ਜੇ ਦੂਜੇ ਪਾਸਹੁ ਮੰਗੀਐ ਤਾ ਲਾਜ ਮਰਾਈਐ ॥
Je Ḏūje Pāshu Mangī▫ai Ṯā Lāj Marā▫ī▫ai ||
But if you beg from another, then you shall be shamed and destroyed.
~ Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Guru Nanak, Pauri, Ang 590
The Guru gives us clear guidance,
ਜੇ ਘਰਿ ਘਰਿ ਹੰਢੈ ਮੰਗਦਾ ਧਿਗੁ ਜੀਵਣੁ ਧਿਗੁ ਵੇਸੁ ॥
Je Gẖar Gẖar Handẖai Mangḏā Ḏẖig Jīvaṇ Ḏẖig Ves ||
Cursed is the life, and cursed are the clothes, of one who wanders around, begging from door to door.
~ Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Guru Amar Das, Slok, Ang 550
Further the Guru provides what we deserve and require,
ਸੁਣੇ ਦੇਖੇ ਬਾਝੁ ਕਹਿਐ ਦਾਨੁ ਅਣਮੰਗਿਆ ਦਿਵੈ ॥
Suṇe Ḏekẖe Bājẖ Kahi▫ai Ḏān Aṇmangi▫ā Ḏivai ||
God sees, God hears, and without our asking, without our begging, God gives us gifts.
~ Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Guru Nanak, Raag Suhi Chant, Ang 766
On a persoal level, you can freely choose to give to those who deserve your charity including those that are genuinely poor or destitute. You should try and help others with as much of your time or money as you can. Just be aware of those who beg. Show us a Sikh that begs for money and we will show you a person that is not a Sikh.
Gurbani clearly tells us,
ਧ੍ਰਿਗੁ ਤਿਨਾ ਕਾ ਜੀਵਿਆ ਜਿ ਲਿਖਿ ਲਿਖਿ ਵੇਚਹਿ ਨਾਉ ॥
Ḏẖarig Ṯinā Kā Jīvi▫ā Jė Likẖ Likẖ Vecẖėh Nā▫o ||
Cursed are the lives of those who read and write God's name to sell it.
ਖੇਤੀ ਜਿਨ ਕੀ ਉਜੜੈ ਖਲਵਾੜੇ ਕਿਆ ਥਾਉ ॥
Kẖeṯī Jin Kī Ujṛai Kẖalvāṛe Ki▫ā Thā▫o ||
Their crop is devastated - what harvest will they have?
ਸਚੈ ਸਰਮੈ ਬਾਹਰੇ ਅਗੈ ਲਹਹਿ ਨ ਦਾਦਿ ॥
Sacẖai Sarmai Bāhre Agai Lahėh Na Ḏāḏ ||
Lacking truth and humility, they shall not be appreciated in the world hereafter.
~ Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Guru Nanak, Slok, Ang 1245
Gurmat Gyan (Knowledge)
Other Gurbani Contributors