Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das
Daan Bihari Lal Bhagavan Sri Krishna ki jai! Sri Krishna is famous for taxing and taking “charity” from His most beloved damsels in Daan Ghati, Govardhan. And Sri is also famous for His taxing the hearts and minds of all those trying to serve, love and attain Krishna.
Such is the price of love… absolute surrender to the transcendental carefree, dheer lalita nayak romantic Radharamanji.
A friend sent an E asking for a few spontaneous words on why and whom to donate to and this post appeared. Firstly, the Mahabharata, Vedic Puranas and Dharma Sastras abound with plentiful Sanskrit verses all about what, where, how, when and whom to give charity to i.e. money, gold, cows, land, food, homes, etc.
Our Gaudiya Vaisnava smrti and law book, Hari Bhakti Vilasa, gives lots of praman, shastric proof, and all the details about giving daan or charity. Now we present a summary of the shastric teachings and injunctions on giving daan, charity and donations.
WHAT TO DONATE
Whenever possible anyone who can and has any kind of heart should definitely freely, happily and respectfully give to the deserving such items as money, gold, food, cloth, umbrellas, shoes, grains sugar, ghee, honey, sesame seeds (til ka bija) land, cows, help marry needy daughters (kanya daan), and books, pens, notebooks (copies) and so on.
DONATE TO THESE PERSONS
One should give daan, charity or donate to ANY hungry, sick or poor person, beggar, old person, invalid, or deformed person of any age, race, birth, gender or place of birth.
One should give all types of daan or charity especially to brahmins regardless of their birth, behavior, sadacara, appearance, or personal beliefs and practices.
All the shastras and Bhagavan Sri Krishna Himself state that all castes (intellectual, military, business, laborers), other than brahmins, must always in every circumstance honor and donate to brahmins.
Why give to brahmins? One gives to brahmins to SHOW RESPECT and honor for their high brahmin birth, which they attained by heaps of devotions and good deeds in their previous lives.
Today’s birth, high or low, is the fruit and fortune (karm phal) of one’s previous association and one’s good or bad deeds. Bhagavan Sri Krishna explains this point in Sri Gita (13.22)
karanam -guna -sanga -sya
sad- asad -yoni -janmasu
Sri Krishna says, “According to one’s association in last life with different modes of nature (guna-sanga), one receives a high or low birth [Deva, human, animal] in this life.”
One may attain the rare fortune of a human birth, but even then there are different categories i.e. rich:poor, beautiful:ugly, learned:ignorant, strong:weak, attached:renounced, fame:infamy. All is determined by one’s actions and the arrangement of Krishna.
So when we give daan or charity to a Brahmin, it means we are respecting his exalted birth. And that’s enough! But we should NOT DISCRIMINATE AGAINST any particular Brahmin because of his unique way of speaking or behaving. Sri Krishna Himself will judge, reward or punish all classes of human beings accordingly.
Now what about giving charity to Vrajavasis? All the rules of daan also apply in Vrndavana. Moreover, in Mathura Mahatmya (421), Sri Rupa Goswamipada quotes the Padma Purana, saying:
“If one pleases and satisfies the devotees and brahmins living in Radha-kunda, one will become a great devotee.”
naro -bhakto -bhaved -vipras
Many shastras such as the Srimad Bhagavatam state that if one gives money, food, books, clothes, grains etc. to Vrajavasis in any varna or ashram, then one will get more than thousands of times reward and benefits in return, sahasra –adhi -phala-udayah). (Srimad Bhagavatam 7.14.33).
In 1971, Srila Prabhupada personally set the proper example of giving charity. At that time, he took forty-disciples around Vrndavana. And wherever Srila Prabhupada went, HE PERSONALLY GAVE DONATIONS to all the temples, sadhus, pandas and beggars he saw during his yatra.
Srila Prabhupada ki jai!
In conclusion, we will quote Srimad Bhagavatam, wherein Bhagavan Sri Krishna discusses the practice of brahmins daan, giving charity.
GLORIES OF BRAHMINS
In the Srimad Bhagavatam (10.86.52-57), Bhagavan Sri Krishna personally glorifies and teaches how to respect, honor and serve the brahmins, whom the Vedas refer to as bhu-devas, “Gods on earth”.
Bhagavan Sri Krishna says, “Gradually over time, one can become pure and religious by seeing, touching, and worshipping various kshetras, tirthas, (sacred places and water bodies), and Devatas.
However, one can immediately attain the same result simply by SEEING BRAHMINS OR DEVOTEES!
devah -kshetrani -tirthani
darshan –sparshan -arcanaih
shanaih –punanti –kalena
tad -apy –arhat- tama -ikshaya
Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada tika: “Here Sri Krishna is saying, ‘Moreover, the brahmins, who immediately purify one just by their darshan, are even greater than mandir murtis who slowly purify one.’”
Bhagavan Sri Krishna says, “JUST BY BIRTH a BRAHMIN IS THE BEST of all living beings in this world. And how much more glorious is a Brahmin who is austere, learned, self-satisfied, and lovingly meditates upon Me.”
brahmano -janmana -shreyan
sarvesham -praninam -iha
tapasa -vidyaya -tushtya
kim -u –mat –kalaya -yutah
Bhagavan Sri Krishna says, “A brahmin is even more dear to Me than even My own Vishnu form. As all the Devatas are within Me, all the Vedas are within the Brahmin (vipra).”
na -brahmanan -me -dayitam
rupam -etac –catur -bhujam
Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada tika: “Sri Krishna’s words, sarva-veda-mayo –viprah, mean that brahmins, who are the Vedas personified, can reveal Krishna, the personal embodiment of all Devatas and Vishnu-tattva expansions.’”
Bhagavan Sri Krishna says, “People who have bad, corrupted intelligence are ignorant about the true identity and position of brahmins. As a result, such foolish people neglect and enviously offend brahmins who are their Gurus and their very selves. They only see Me, Sri Krishna, in My archa-murtis and not in brahmins.”
dush –pragya -aviditvaivam
gurum -mam -vipram -atmanam
archa –adau –ijya –drshtayah
Bhagavan Sri Krishna says, “Therefore, everyone should worship brahmins and learned sages with the same faith and dedication that one worships Me. If you properly honor and worship the brahmins as I have described here, you will be directly worshiping Me, more so than if you offer Me vast amounts of money and gold.”
tasmad –brahma –rshin -etan
brahman -mat- shraddhaya-archaya
evam -cet -archito – ‘smyaddha
nanyatha –bhuri –bhutibhih
Sri Jiva Goswamipada tika: “Here Sri Krishna says, ‘Worship the brahmins who know Me and are thus the dearest to Me.’ This verse also means “Worship ALL MY DEVOTEES!”
“Krishna continues, ‘If you worship the brahmins and devotees with great affection (mac-shraddhaya), You will be directly (addha) worshiping Me. But if you neglect and reject My devotees, then I can never be worshipped even with great wealth.’”
Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada tika: “Here Krishna is saying, ‘Foolish people, who are ignorant of this truth, find fault (asuyavah) with brahmins, and think that murtis and Thakuraji are worshipable but not brahmins.’”
Brahmin daan ki jai!
Donate to brahmins, all needy ones, and especially Vrajavasis ki jai!
Jai Jai Sri Radhe!