Datta maata 36: Charity is the stepping stone to liberation.

Charity is a stepping stone to salvation. Tattvātvam tvādrusho bhava! This is the lesson that a beggar teaches everybody. He teaches us not to born like him by not donating in this birth and instead by involving in charity, we can be born like what we actually are. We must understand this very well. Usually, when somebody talks, they use the words dāna (charity) and dharma (righteousness) together. The inner meaning behind such usage is that daana is the greatest dharma. The body is of no use if one does not learn to give.

Two foxes went near the dead body of a cruel person. One of the foxes knew the history of the deceased and it told the other fox not to touch the body because it had to undergo many blames. A sinful person’s mortal remains will not be touched by even dogs or foxes because his hands have never involved in any charity, his ears have never listened to God’s names, his eyes have never seen the Guru’s form anytime, his feet have never circumambulated around the God, his stomach was filled by the food which was obtained by the money earned through illicit means and his head is heavy because of ego. Hence, the first fox advised the second one not to eat that person’s body even if it is very hungry. It also said that if it eats him, then it has to take a lower birth. After giving all the suggestions, it left the decision to the other fox. The second fox immediately left the place even without smelling the dead body.

From this story, we must understand the importance of charity and lead our life. Such is the greatness of dāna. The mind and body that possess such a virtue are the greatest. There are many who do not even feed a crow. There are few who eat food on a banana leaf washing it every time. There are certain people who preserve the leftover food in refrigerator and eat it the next day. Occasionally it is good but not every time. Why such avarice? There are many who eat right in front of others without even caring for them. It is at least better to close the door and eat instead of eating in front of others. Few eat by closing their eyes while few others purposefully eat in front of others shamelessly. Such kind of eating will only lead to stomach-ache. We must offer to the people around us while we are about to eat. One should learn to do such charity else dogs and foxes also do not tend to see the dead body. We have listened to many stories teaching us this. During the ancestral rites, pindam (rice balls) is provided to the departed souls and usually crows come and eat them. If crows do not eat the pindam, then that person is said to be sinful. If they eat, then such a person is considered to be meritorious. We must observe the subtleties involved with dāna and dharma.

Jai Guru Datta! Sri Guru Datta!


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