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SOOKTIS ON CHARITY

Sooktis (verses of wisdom from Hindu Scriptures) by Sri Swamiji were clearly explained in His lively style everyday during the lockdown for Corona. They were extremely enlightening in various ways and we appreciated very much the often entertaining illustrations by our Sadguru! Whenever Sri Swamiji was unable to conduct the Satsanghs, we were fortunate to have Sri DattaVijayanandaTeertha Swamiji do so. We thank them both sincerely and wholeheartedly! Here we present some of them for the benefit of all!

Enjoy and imbibe the teachings in your daily lives!


Photo Credit: Avadhoota Datta Peetham

Among the different types of charities, annadana and vidyadana take supreme positions. The merit (result) obtained from these charities lasts across many births. The results of all other charities stretches only for the present birth and perhaps the next birth.

While extolling the greatness of annadana, our learned elders have stated- The above shloka says- Donating 1000 elephants, 1000 horses, a cowshed consisting of 1000 cows, golden plate, silver plate, this entire earth itself, giving away the daughter in marriage (kanya dana), – none of them is equal to offering food (annadana) in charity. What is charity? Forsaking his rights and giving away complete ownership over an object, over which a person has complete control until that minute, is charity. Giving away to another the object deeply cherished by the person is called ‘charity’.

The Vedas further define how the donor must behave. Self-pride, arrogance and feelings of supremacy must not exist when giving charities. Instead, one must feel ashamed about their inability to give more in charity. They must have the fear that they have not been able to do enough. While offering the object, the donor must, with a heart overflowing with humility, bow down to the person receiving the charity and be totally grateful to him for accepting the same.

However, the satisfaction experienced by the person who has received the food offering made by us is only momentary! Normally a person does not experience total contentment after receiving any gift. But when he is fed sumptuously he experiences contentment. He whole-heartedly showers blessings upon the person who has fed him that good meal. However, after a few hours, the person again experiences hunger and begins to worry about his next meal.

In this aspect, gifting education (vidyadana) becomes more important than offering food (annadana). Education can only have a starting point. But not an ending point. The student who learns from the master remains eternally grateful to him for the knowledge showered. There is no rule that the person who receives charity should eternally be grateful to the donor. However, this happens with vidyadana.

Normally, when giving away any object in charity, the person keeps a major share of that object for his family and gives away only a paltry share in charity. But he expects great results to be showered upon him for this deed.

However this rule does not apply to gifting knowledge! The teacher imparts his entire knowledge to his student. Not just that. He will not stop until his student surpasses him in knowledge; until the student totally shines in that field. As such, we can say that gifting knowledge is far more supreme than gifting food.

One important point- this sookti highlights the importance of annadana and vidyadana.

Translated and Compiled by Parimala Eshwarla


Among all the good qualities, the most-supreme one is charitable attitude! It is very rare to come across one who is totally charity oriented.

Every day lakhs of babies take birth. Among them, perhaps one in a hundred will be a valiant hero who is willing to fight a victorious battle for his motherland. Such courageous heroes protect their motherland from the jaws of the enemy and thus they repay their debt to her.

He who leads the common masses on the righteous path is addressed as a pandit. Having read the Vedas and Shastras, he encourages the people through his motivational words, preaches to them about the importance of righteous conduct and transforms them into people totally dedicated to their righteous duty. One such man can create hundreds of responsible, intelligent men. The existence of such people ensures the country prospers. Among thousands, one such pandit, who can lead many others on the right path, is born.

An orator who with his eloquent speeches can captivate the hearts of the masses is greater than a learned scholar. It is not necessary that every learned scholar is a great orator. Many a time it so happens that other scholars fail to grasp what a learned scholar speaks. If so, how can the ordinary people grasp his words? But a true orator can, with his powerful speech that gushes as forcefully as the Ganga, captivate the hearts of the masses and lead them. With his speeches, he can ensure that they begin to tread the righteous path. But, one in ten thousand will be such an erudite speaker.

All the three types of people mentioned above obtain reverence from the society for their intelligence and grit. However, only those who are born with the divine aspect will be filled with traits of generosity.

Generosity is God’s gift. To be able to give away in charity is a supreme art. Will one generous person be seen among lakhs of persons or not?- wonders the poet.

Translated and Compiled by Parimala Eshwarla

Nirarthakāt nirvēdo jāyatē- said Maharishi Vyasa in Mahabharata. In other words, it implies that, we must think carefully and perform a deed such that everyone benefits from it. A task from which no one benefits is only a mental stress which leads to agitation. At times, although the benefit is not externally visible, the benefits are many. The intelligent person must probe into the deed and scrutinize the benefits.

Rain is crucial for the lands. The earth, that has cracked up due to intense heat can heal only due to abundant rain. Only when it rains properly, the farmer can sow seeds and reap a good harvest. But, the same clouds shower the rain in rivers and oceans too! What is the benefit of pouring water into rivers and oceans? Nothing. It is a sheer waste.

The truth is that Mahatmas distribute their wealth evenly without distinctions such as, ‘this person belongs to me; this person does not belong to me’. In the process, the Lord of rain showers his wealth i.e. rainfall equally on oceans and on plains!

Our scriptures exhort us to perform annadana. Sarveśvapi dānēṣu annadānam viśīśyatē- say our elders. No matter how much ever a person receives in charity, he always seeks more. However, when offered sumptuous food, he will stop when his stomach is full and will leave contentedly while showering the blessing, ‘annadāta sukhībhava’- may the giver of the food be blessed with happiness’. But yet, even such offering of food brings joy only to him who is hungry. It will not appease a person who is not hungry. Therefore, offering food to a person who is not hungry is an absolute waste!

Our Scriptures exhort us to offer charity only to the worthy. What is the definition of a worthy man? One interpretation is to offer those who are in dire need of it. Another interpretation is to offer one who is learned in Vedas and Shastras. In other words, the person who is accepting the donation must have the eligibility to receive the offering. Due to acceptance of the offering, the person may also be inviting some unforeseen planetary troubles. Therefore, there is a rule that a person who accepts charities must immediately chant Gayatri mantra or the mantra received as initiation from Sadguru for a thousand times. Through the result that is generated due to this mantra chanting, he must alleviate the troubles that have come to him as a result of receiving the charity. This is the reason it is said that the person receiving the donation must have in him the worthiness to receive.

Charity offered to a person who lacks worthiness goes for a sheer waste. In the darkness of the night, the lamp has a very important role the play. Will the lamp be of any use when lit during broad daylight? In this way, this sookti enlightens us about the characteristics of charities.

Translated and Compiled by Parimala Eshwarla



Visit Datta Vani @ https://www.dattavani.org/ for all these sooktis


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