Daan/ Dakshina/ Bheeksha/ Bheekh
I sincerely express my gratitude to all the parents and teachers of Vidyakshetra for extending your support for the very important cause of collecting daan for Punarutthan Vidyapeeth’s initiative of publishing 1000 books as a part of their ‘gyan sagar maha prakalp’.
In Bharatiya samskruti any activity of Shuddha Sattva (beyond Gunas) and Sattva Guna for example education, food, yagya, justice, health etc were never sold. Earning for making profit, by nature is rajasic and if we want to make profit through education or health, then the act is not in Sattva Guna but would degrade to Rajas or Tamas. The very nature of activity of Sattva Guna is that it is done in the mood of seva/tapasya towards samaj, towards guru, towards God etc. If this mood is diluted to seek monetary or any other profit, then the activity doesn’t anymore remain in Sattva but becomes an activity of Rajas or Tamas.
Hence in Bharatiya samskruti, people involved in the above listed activities would never charge money from students, patients, atithi or the hungry. The samaj would sustain the activities of education, nyaya and health through daan. Giving daan on festivals or auspicious occasions therefore was considered a very pious activity.
In Bhagavad gita 18.5:
यजदानतप:क रम न ताजं का रयमेव तत्।
यजो दानं तपशैव पावना नि मनी षि णाम्॥
Acts of sacrifice, charity and penance are not to be given up; they must be performed. Indeed, sacrifice, charity and penance purify even the great souls.
In subsequent verse 18.6, Krishna gives a definitive opinion: All these activities should be performed without attachment or any expectation of result. They should be performed as a matter of duty, O son of Pṛthā. That is My final opinion.
Bhaviṣhya Purāṇ states dānamekaṁ kalau yuge – “In the age of Kali, giving in charity is the means for purification.”
The Ramayana states this too:
pragaṭa chāri pada dharma ke kali mahuṅ ek pradhāna
jena kena bidhi dīnheṅ dāna karai kalyāna
“Dharma has four basic tenets, one amongst which is the most important in the age of Kali—giving in charity by whatever means possible.”
We see many people begging (भीख) around us on traffic signals, roadsides and in front of temples and parks. When one begs there is a divide between the one who is giving and one who is receiving. The divide between the haves and the have nots. One is higher and the other is lower. This is because we see both from the context of money and matter.
However, soliciting daan is an act in the higher mode, beyond matter. It is a spiritual activity. Hence, when we solicit daan, the one asking for it takes a superior position. While the person giving the daan feels grateful for the opportunity provided. Both the giver and the receiver are to be respected. As per Bharatiya samskruti, only a student, a teacher, a sanyasi or someone belonging to a community that sustains on bhiksha vritti, solicits daan or goes on bhikshatan. They all are considered to be doing a spiritual act. Because of deep understanding of karma siddhanta, our purvajas were conscientious in their vyavahar while giving daan or dakshina.
There is a difference between daan, bhiksha and dakshina. Daan is what one receives without asking for. Bhiksha is what one receives by asking – “ bhavati bhikshaan dehi”. Dakshina is given by the student to the teacher.
The act of charity bestows many benefits. It reduces the excessive attachment of the giver towards material objects especially monetary possessions; it develops in him an attitude of service; it expands the heart, promotes being truthful and fosters the sentiment of compassion for others. For the recipient, it helps build humility and helps him to overcome false ego/pride. Hence, most religious traditions follow the injunction of giving away one-tenth of one’s earnings in charity. The Skandh Purāṇ states:
nyāyopārjita vittasya daśhamānśhena dhīmataḥ
kartavyo viniyogaśhcha īśhvaraprityarthameva cha
“From the wealth you have earned, take out one-tenth, and as a matter of duty, give it away in charity. Dedicate your charity for the pleasure of God.”
Charity can be classified into modes of goodness, passion and ignorance.
As mentioned by Shree Krishna in the Bhagavad gita (17.20)-
दातव मि ति यदानं दीयतेऽनुपका रि णे।
देशेकालेच पातेच तदानंसा ति कं सृतम्॥ २० ॥
Charity given out of duty, without any expectation in return, at the proper time and place, and to a worthy person is considered to be in the mode of goodness.
Vidyakshetra runs on daan, bhiksha and dakshina. When you give dakshina to Vidyakshetra, it is not to be considered school fee or tuition fee. It is also not the maths of overall annual expenditure divided by the number of students. It is dakshina given to the gurukulam and not for your child’s education alone. Through this dakshina, Gurukulam is able to sustain the education of all the students. This model provides us a great opportunity to grow in our consciousness, overcome our fears and develop more dependence on goodness of people, on samaaj and on God. I sincerely thank you for joining us in this journey.
In your service