Concerning philanthropy and relief work, I recently came upon these words from Srila Prabhupada, which I pass on without comment.
Prabhupada: So immediately, first of all, He [Krishna] chastised. Asocyan anvasocas tvam prajna-vadams ca bhasase: “Arjuna, you are talking like a learned man, but you are a fool number one.” [Bg. 2.11] Gatasun agatasums ca nanusocanti panditah. That means “If you had been actually pandita, learned man, then you would not have lamented for this body.” Gatasun. “The body is neither a subject matter for lamentation, either living condition or dead condition. It has no value.” This is the instruction, Krishna’s word. But the modern civilization, they are giving all value to this body–all their philanthropic work, hospitalization, and this, so many things. Just like our Mr. George Harrison, he raised how many millions dollars for…
Karandhara: Nine million.
Prabhupada: Nine million dollars, and, to the… This is going on. In the Bhagavad-gita we don’t find anywhere a single line that “You raise funds for . . . giving relief to the poor” or “to the suffering.” Is there any [such] instruction in Bhagavad-gita? You have read. Can you find out? But these people, they have become more learned than Krishna. In our country, Vivekananda: daridra-narayana-seva. The whole Ramakrishna Mission is collecting funds only on this rascal plea.
–lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.9.4. Japan, April 22, 1972