Thou hast kindled the spark of mercy, O merciful God, in human hearts to succor thy poor whom old age has disabled to work and chronic disease has rendered invalids.
When charity, however, becomes indiscriminate in the hands of the tender-hearted people, who aimlessly dole out largess all around, it tends to encourage subsidized idleness. It spells moral degradation, undermines the spirit of self-help and independence, damps the ardor and enthusiasm for enterprise and adventure, and breaks the morale of those that stretch out their hands to receive the demoralizing dole.
Bless me, O Lord of benevolence, with the unbending spirit of self-reliance. Give me undying faith and robust confidence in myself. Let me not distrust my inborn strength and my inner resources. Let not the enervating thought of doubting myself and my powers ever cross my mind. Teach me to live by my own efforts and to fight my way successfully through the hard struggle of life.
Help me to earn my own living and eat my bread. O Giver of daily bread, earned in the sweat of my brows. Let me be content with half the bread of my own earning than have a whole given by others. Let me go hungry awhile, but let me never beg for my bread. Let me eat sparingly and clothe scantily and dwell in a lowly cottage and deny myself the comforts of life than support myself by my neighbor's help.
Man, says Zarathushtra, is the sole arbiter of his destiny. None can help him to win salvation for his soul and none can likewise help him in this world, if he struggles not strenuously to help himself by an active and industrious life. Let me not look for help from without, when within me lies the inexhaustible store to redeem my poverty.
Priceless is the treasure of self-respect. It is better to die in honor, with self-respect intact, than to live in shame with its loss. Let me be poor and penniless, but help me as long as I live to preserve the dignity of my manhood, Ahura Mazda.
This page was last updated on Friday, February 11, 2005.