Swami replied: There is no compulsion that you should give the hard earned money to God. The rule that you should return the money to God applies only to the sinful money. If you return the sinful money to God, the punishment for the sin gets cancelled. Punishment is the fruit of your wrong action, called as sin. The money earned by sin also is the fruit of the sin. Money is one fruit and punishment is another fruit. Both these fruits are inherently linked with each other. Therefore, if one fruit is sacrificed the other fruit also leaves you. But, there is one condition that you should repent and should not repeat the same sin. The punishment of the sin gets cancelled in two ways.
One way is to rectify the sin if there is possibility of rectification and repent followed by no repetition of the sin. The other way is to repent for the sin and not to repeat it again in case there is no possibility of rectification of the past sin. In both ways, repentance and not repeating are essential. If there is possibility of rectification, the punishment of the sin cannot be totally cancelled by mere repentance and not repeating. If you keep the sinful money, you should return it to God. If the sinful money is lost, mere repentance and not repeating are sufficient. Ravana killed Jatayu, the bird. He cannot give life to Jatayu. Rectification of the sin is impossible. If he repents for the sin and does not kill any living being after this, the punishment for killing Jatayu gets cancelled. Ravana stole Sita. He can return Sita to Rama. This is the sin with the possibility of rectification. After returning Sita, he should repent and should not steal any lady again. By this, the punishment of this sin gets cancelled. Some people repent and do not repeat the sin without rectification even though the possibility of rectification exists. Such repentance and no repetition become useless to some extent. If you do not repeat the sin after repentance, the punishment is partially reduced. Some people go on repenting but repeat the sin again and again. They think that the confession and repentance cancel the sin. It is totally false. Rectification of the sin if there is possibility, confession and repentance and not repeating the sin will totally cancel the sin and its punishment. Mere confession and repentance are theoretical and have no value. They should reflect in practice. Even if you don’t rectify the past sin, at least not repeat the sin in the future, will partially reduce your sin and punishment. Without the practical aspect, there is no trace of concession.
Regarding the hard earned money also, you can sacrifice to God not by rule but by love. In fact, you should sacrifice to God here also as per rule. If you sacrifice your hard earned money to your family members, who serve you, how much service is rendered by God to you? You cannot even imagine. However, you will not get any punishment for not donating to God from your hard earned money. If you give your hard earned money to your family members, you will be rewarded with the temporary heaven. If you follow the rules of pravrutti, temporary heaven is the fruit. But, if you donate to God from your hard earned money, the grace of God on you shall be the fruit, which is permanent. Therefore, at least you should partially donate to God from your hard earned money to get some grace of God. Kannappa earned the food by hunting, which was not given to his family members and even he did not eat it in spite of intensive hunger. He donated all the hard earned food to God and attained the permanent grace of God. In fact, God does not need anything from you except to test your love to Him. Even though God is also your first family member, avoiding God in practice in the case of donation of hard earned money, you will not acquire any sin. If you do not give your hard earned money to your family members, who serve you with love and affection, it is a sin. But, this is a sin with respect to the human beings in this world, which is pravrutti. If you bring the case of God, even according to the rules of pravrutti, God stands in the first place. Instead of giving your hard earned money to ungrateful outsiders, who often cheat you, you should give to your family members. If you do not give to your family members, it is a sin with respect to the other human beings and not with respect to God. Once the case of God is involved, nivrutti appears and all the pravrutti disappears. You should vote to your family and not to the outsiders. But, you should vote to God and not even to your family. The first is called as pravrutti and the second is called as nivrutti. If you violate pravrutti, you will earn sin. If you violate nivrutti, you will not earn any sin but will lose the eternal fruit.