Dāna (charity) is meant for yourself. What does this mean?
The system of honouring the people involving in meritorious deeds is practiced since ages in many countries. They are given the titles like ” Dāna vēra shūra karna”, “Dāna chakravarthi” (king in doing dāna) etc. There are two benefits in this. Firstly, the one who has accepted the charity expresses gratitude. Secondly, seeing people being honoured provokes others around to donate. Many people are honoured and many others are happy because of this.
But, these two benefits are useful only to the receiver of the charity and not to the giver. The veneration shown by others will cause a great loss to the giver.
The one who gives in charity has the ego that the donation money belongs to him and he also has a feeling of “I am donating” in his mind. Charity is done either for fulfilling a great desire or for attaining good name. At this juncture, the admiration of others too comes on the way. As a result, the giver strongly believes that the receiver has greatly benefited from him and that it is the duty of the receiver to be thankful to him. He always wants people to respect him and praise him. Because of this, the ego that was latent so far will now increase a lot because of the act of praising by others.
It is natural to be honoured by people when you make a small donation but the mind will boast of its charity because of the egoistic nature. All the superior goals along with the desire to attain godhead will go in vain. This means that the noble intention with which the charity began has now been destroyed. As a result, all that is done with a good mind will become fruitless.
- When giving away in charity, the giver must have a right attitude. Only then, it will be useful.
- A charity done with selflessness will bestow doubled benefits for the giver.
- the giver must never ever think that the receiver will get benefited because of his charity.
- You must keep in mind that you are doing charity only to wash off your sins.
Hence, in the olden days, the receiver was first worshiped for accepting the donation and the giver was always grateful to the receiver for agreeing to accept charity.
In those days, many were not accepting dāna. They refused to accept cows, houses, money etc as dāna. Hence, if there was somebody who accepted the charity, then they were worshiped. Through this lesson, may you all get the right attitude to do dāna.
All those who are doing charity, must not await others to praise or honour them. Instead, one must only feel grateful for others for accepting one’s dāna.