11    ‘Daanas’and ‘Tirtha Yatras’

On becoming a King, Vena was intially an exemplary King of high virtue.But in course of time, one unclad, broad-chested and Kamandal dhari Jain Muni arrived in Vena’s court and brain-washed him in a belief that had no role for Yajan- Yaajan-Vedadhaayan- Tapasya-Dana-Swadha /Shraadha-Swaha / Agnihotra or homa. Saptarshis tried their best to rescue from the evil grip of the misleading belief of ‘Arhan’. Thus the Rishis and the majority of the wise and God-fearing masses churned the body of Vena and cleansed it as described earlier and installed Pruthu as the King. Vena was sent on Tirtha Yatras and performed Tapasya and Lord Vishnu appeared and got him back on the moral track to refresh in his memory of the values of what were vehemently opposed by him earlier, especially of Tirtha Yatras and charities.Bhagavan Vishnu Himself extolled the supremacy of Daan and advised King Vena to perform Daan as the sure destroyer of sins and promoter of fame and happiness. Vishnu affirmed that He would readily reward whoever gave charity with a clean heart to a well-deserving Brahmana of foodgrains, clothes, Gold, Bhumi, Cows, Cash and such other gifts. Bhagavan further described that there were four kinds of Danaas, viz. Nithya, Naimitthika, Kaamya and Praaya. Nitya Daana is in the form of Anna (food), fruits and flowers, Vastra (Clothes), Taamboola, Abhushana (Jewellery), Gold and such other items after worshipping Devas and Pitras. Naimitthika daanas are performed on Amavasyas, Pournamis, Ekadashis, Samkranti days or when Sun’s directon changes towards Uttarayana; Pournamis of Magha, Ashadha, Vaishakha and Kartika months; Somavati Amavasya, Aswin Krishna Trayodasi, Pitru Tithi etc. and these are effective and highly propitiating. Kaamya Daanaas are in the context of Vratas, Deva Pujas, weddings, Jaata karmas, Upanayanas, Temple Pujas, Bhu-sthapana karyas or Earth breaking tasks of housing, wells, Sarovars etc. all targetted for the success of the desired tasks. Other types of Danaas of Praya nature are oriented to ‘Mrityu’ and targetted to provide to Peace to departed Souls in ‘Paralokas’.

 Describing the significance of Tirtha Yatras to King Vena, Bhagavan Vishnu emphasised River Ganga as the most sacred, besides other Rivers like Sarasvati, Narmada, Yamuna, Taapi (Tapati), Charmanvati, Sarayu, Ghaghra, Vena, Kaveri, Kapila, Vishaala, Godavari, Tungabhadra, Bhimarathi, Vedika, Krishaanga, and so on. In fact, there are countless such Tirthas dotting the Punya Bhumi of Bharat in which Snaana and Daana karmas yield excellent results and all such Tirthas are dotted all ove the Punya Bhumi of Bharat in which Snaana and Daana karmas yield excellent results and all such Tirthas are called Vishnu Tirthas. In fact, Tirthas are everywhere like Sarovars of Manasa status, Mountains like Meru, Himalayas and Vindhya; Yagna Bhumis, Agnihotra Homa Places, Shraddha Bhumis, Deva Mandirs, Homa Shalas, Vaidika Swadhyaaya Mandirs, Goshaalas, residences of Somayaaji Brahmanas, where Pita and Mata live, where Puranas are recited and heard, where Veda Shravana is heard, where Guru lives and each and every Place of Worship!   

As regards the unique significance of ‘Daan’ (Charity)-its Profile and Fruits, once Arjuna visited the Ashram of Sage Narada and secured blessings, especially since Arjun made the ‘Panchaapsara Tirthas’ accessible once again. In this context, Narada described to Arjun about ‘daan’ (charity), its two ‘hethus’ (varieties), six ‘Adhishtaans’ (Reasons), six ‘Anks’ (Parties), two ‘Parinaams’ (end results or fruits), three bhedas (classifications) and three ‘Vinas Saadhanas’ (negative results). The two ‘hethus’as normally perceived are about the size of the charity-small or big- as also of the quality. But such ‘hethus’ are not as important as the ‘shraddha’ or dedication and devotion are. Bhagavan Siva would be pleased only by the sincerity and pure heart that is attached to the charity rather than any other aspect. Again, ‘Dhana Daan’ or the charity of money is more popular than ‘Vastu Daan’ or charity of material, ‘Vastra Daan’or charity of clothes etc. since charity of money would buy back Vastu or Vastra. Then the six ‘Adhishtaans’ or reasons of Daan are: ‘Dharma Daan’ without strings attached ie.Daan given to the Virtuous or Dharmatmas; ‘Artha Daan’ keeping in view some purpose or utility; ‘Kaama Daan’ like favours for women, wine or such other benefits in view; ‘Lajja Daan is due to compulsions of Public or Society; ‘Harsha Daan’ is made on receiving good news and out of happiness; and ‘Bhaya daan’ out of compulsion, fear or avoidance of  risks.                                                     

The six ‘Anks’ or donor/receiver parties are as follows: The Positive Donors are ‘Daatas’ by nature; the ‘Dharmatmas’ or the Virtuous; those desirous of donating willingly and happily; the ‘Vyasana rahit’ or devoid of bad habits; ‘Pavitra’ or Symbols of Purity and ‘Anindaneeya’ or the blemishless.The Negative Donors are ill mannered, indolent, evil minded, persons of bad habits, persons who swear to support the Evil and persons who are sleepy! Among the Good Receivers of Charity are those of good ‘Kula’ or caste, who has ‘Vidya’ or good Education, good ‘Aachaar’ or family bearing / tradition, earners of rightful way of life or of Satvik Life, of kind heart, ‘Jitendriya’ or of Controlled Emotions and finally of excellent parenthood. The second category of receivers of donations is of pleasant visage, of sincerity and thankfulness but not of demanding nature, cantankerous or mean. The donors of charity must have the perspective of what kind of material is required or useful to the receiver or otherwise the purpose of charity would be defeated.The two ‘Parinams’or end results/fruits are either gain of ‘Punya’for the ‘Paralok’ or after death or for use in ‘Ihalok’ or the current life to the receiver. The latter ‘Dannas’ or for the use of Ihalok are of four types viz. Dhruva, Trika, Kamya and Naimittika. Dhruva is for public use like digging wells, construction of Temples, gardens, Choultries, schools etc.Trikha is for daily utility like ‘Nithya Daan’, say Vidya Daan.  Kamya Daan is to fulfill one’s own desires like victory, wealth, might etc. Naimittika Daan is like Samkranti Daan, Grahana (Eclipse) Daan, Daan at auspicious occasions like weddings, Vraths etc. or Kriyapeksha Daan like Shraadh, Vratas etc.; Gunapeksha Daan like Vidyabhyas and so on.

Three ‘Bhedas’or types of Daan are classified; the best types are charity of houses, temples, buildings, Bhumi (farms / fields), cows, Wells, gold and ornaments and the best of course is to give away one’s own life itself as ‘Daan’. The Secondary Variety of charity relates to Anna (Food grains), Vastra (Clothing), ‘Vahan’ etc. The tertiary kind of Daan is to donate footwear, umbrellas, utensils, curd, honey, ‘Asan’ or seating, deepa or Light, wood, stones etc. Now, there are three kinds of ‘Daan Naashak’ reasons viz. ‘Paschattaap’ or regret of having given the Daan; ‘Apaatra Daan’ or charity to the wrong and unserved person or ‘Ashraddha Daan’is to a person on account of laziness. Paschattapaya Daan indicates as to why the Daan is given at all; Ashraddha Daan is Rakshasa Daan and Apaatra Daan is as bad as not giving it away. The worst Daan is ‘Paisacha Daan’ or the charity duly given is returned under duress or due to the bad behaviour of the receiver or the donor.

Incidentally, Apaatra Daan should be avoided to an undeserving Brahmana who is bereft of ‘Vidya’, sells his/her conscience if his Bhumi is accepted; if he accepts a cow to kill it or sell it; if he accepts gold to encash it, a horse that might destroy the receiver’s eyes; Vastra to harm his wife; ghee his manliness; til seeds that might harm his children and so on.

Prev:Sandhya Vandana-Mantrartha and Scientific Explanation

Quick Jump: