Three Kinds of Gifts/Dhanam/Donation (Post No.3291)


Compiled by London Swaminathan


Date: 26 October 2016


Time uploaded in London: 6-06 AM


Post No.3291


Pictures are taken from various sources;thanks



Gifts to the poor not only help the poor but help the givers. He who gives receives.


English word Donate is derived from the Sanskrit word Dhana.


Liberality is a virtue that has been placed by Hinduism in the very first rank.


Gift, has always been an essential part of every sacrifice, and the feeding and supporting of the poor and the true and learned Brahmanas has been no less essential.


By these rules men were trained to sacrifice part of their wealth for the benefit of others, and thus were led onwards to a true understanding and acceptance of the great Law of Sacrifice.


Manu says: “Let him diligently offer sacrifices and oblations with faith; these, if performed with faith and with rightly earned wealth, become unperishing.


“Let him always observe the duty of charity, connected with sacrifices and oblations with a contented mind, having sought with diligence a worthy recipient.


“Something verily ought to be given ungrudgingly by him who has been asked, for a worthy recipient will surely arise who will save him from all (sins).” Manu  iv. 226-22.

The way in which charity should be done is laid down by Shri Krishna, who divides gifts, according to their nature, into sattvic, rajasic and tamasic.


The gift given to one who does nothing in return,saying, ‘It ought to be given’ at right place and time and to a worthy recipient, that gift is accounted sattvic (Good).


“That verily which is given for the sake of receiving in return or again with a view to fruit, or grudgingly, that gift is accounted rajasic (Not so good).


“That gift which is given at unfit place and time and to unworthy recipients, disrespectful and contemptuously, that is declared tamasic.”(Bad)

Bhagavad. Gita, xvii. 20-22.

That charity should be done with courtesy and gentle kindliness is a rule on which much stress is laid. We often read in the Itihasa directions to show careful respect in the making of gifts; charity should ever be gracious, for even a trace of contempt or disrespect makes it, as above said, tamasic.


The idea of showing to weakness the same courtesy that is extended to rank and superiority, a tender deference and consideration, comes out strongly in the following shloka:


“Way should be made for a man in a carriage, for one who is above ninety years old, for a sick person, for one who carries a burden, for a woman, a Snataka, a king and a bridegroom.” Similarly we find, when directions are being laid down as to the giving of food to people in the due order of their position, preference over all is given to the weak

Manusmriti, ii .138.
“Let him without making distinctions, feed newly-married women, young maidens, the sick, and pregnant women, even before his guests.”

Manusmriti iii. 114.


Source: An Advanced Text Book of Hindu Religion and Ethics, Benares, Year 1905



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