Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
No, you shouldn't do that. Sometimes you should keep the 'No'. I learnt this the hard way. It took me a very long time to say, 'No'.
You should say 'No' sometimes because there are people who misuse your kindness and compassion. And if you keep saying 'Yes' to them all the time, they will not grow. They will not learn a lesson and they will try to take advantage of you. So sometimes, you must put your foot down and say, 'No'. It is necessary!
Take children for example. Children all the time want to eat only candy, will you say yes to them all the time? Then you will be a very bad mother.
If a child want to go and play all day long, will you say 'Yes'?
No child wants to go to school. They would like to play all the time. Would you allow them to do that? You have to say, 'No'.
If you have to bring discipline to your life, or to another's life, you have to say 'No'. We must say it.
In India, in cities like Mumbai and Delhi, you will find a lot of people coming and begging. In the initial days, I could never say no to them, but then I thought, this is not good. I am making them tread a wrong path.
I was in Bay area last week, in California and people came to me saying that there are 50,000 homeless people in Los Angeles and we are feeding them every weekend. I said, 'You should not do that. These homeless people are strong. Their health is okay. You should make them stand on their feet. Help them get a job. Help them get over their laziness and inertia, and make them self reliant. Instead, you are dishing out food for them? You did it once, it is okay. But you must not do it on a regular basis'.
It appears cruel, but it is actually good for them. You are making them dependent and weak by giving such people food. If they are sick, or children, or old people, then yes, give them food every day, take care of them. But if they are capable of working or doing something, we should not make them beggars. In those situations, you should say no.
That is why even in the scriptures it is said, compassion should be accompanied with wisdom. Which means that we should see whether our compassion is going to do good for them or not?
Your real compassion is not charity at that time, but giving good words of advice and bringing discipline in the people.
Some people take advantage of others. They keep taking money from here or there, and some even make a business out of cheating people. They cheat so many people. You should not be a party to it if you really want to help them.
But if someone is really in need, then yes, you should help them. But don’t entertain laziness or people's whims or fancies.
So, compassion should always be accompanied by wisdom.