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Thread: dāna or gifting

  1. #1
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    dāna or gifting

    hari o
    ~~~~~~

    namasté

    This post and suggestion is on gifting/charity ( giving or dā; dāna is donation ). That is, to offer gift or donation to some charity or cause. I will explain a bit more after this knowledge from the mahābhārata to set the stage.

    If we look to the mahābhārata , aṇusāsana¹ parvan (section LVII or 107) we are informed of the following. By making gifts one gains all kinds of joy.
    Now what are the best of gifts? Bhīṣma-ji¹ in later chapters suggests gold, the gift of kine ( gau or cows), the gift of earth ( property/land), seseme, food and water. I will review them as time permits, but let me start here.

    Bhīṣma-ji says, no man (person) is equal to him in merit who satisfies the hunger of a person that is emaciated, possessed of learning, destitute of the means of support and weakened by misery. One should alway dispel the distress of the righteous by all means possible. Righteous men of righteous deeds should make gifts from the motivation that it is their duty vs. of reaping the benefits from
    these actions. In this way the virtuous man ( the receiver) will not feel any dis-inclination to receive the gifts accordingly. One reaps the same merit by making gifts unto the regenerate person ( the twice born, the sādhu, the spiritually uplifted) then by properly pouring libations unto the sacrificial fire morning and evening ( yajña).

    He also mentions:
    • by abstention from cruelty one obtains health and freedom from disease.
    • one who gives peace to every creature ( non-injury) is freed from every region
    • by presenting light at places which are dark and frequented by men, one acquires good vision
    • by giving away beautiful objects one acquires good memory and understanding
    What is my point ?
    This is sanātana dharma put to practice.
    A few years back the HDF membership got together and purchased several cows (gau) for donation. We did this and delivered the cows in kancipurum India to several brahmins. I am now thinking we at HDF can also donate, as funds permit, on an individual level.

    What to do ?
    If you are interested in participating in this, look at various India-centric charities and organizations that bring good to the communities of people , animals, or the land itself (preservation of the land).
    The goal will be to offer charity ideas to others on HDF ( within this HDF folder) to consider for donaton.

    Filtering process
    After a member's due-dilligence¹ has been performed on a charity i.e. research, contacting them, looking at their 990 tax form ( this is a
    United States document , other countries will vary) NGO's in India, etc. the name and proper contact/web site will be offered here.
    • Why due-dilligence ? To insure the viability and forthrightfulness of the organization is worthy of one's funding.
    • Due dilligence can also include contacting others ( friends, associates, HDF members, etc) for any knowledge or references about a charity in question.
    Other considerations
    The person considering a donation should come to the same conclusion about the charity as the original author offering the suggestion.
    Also, we are NOT soliciting other members for money. Those persons that solicit others are said to annoy the world like thiefs and robbers (caura).

    Giving should not be a pinch... It should be done as a wholesome thing to do, uplifting to the giver and the receiver. This brings the
    best mind set and carries good thoughts with the offer.

    If you care to be part of this initiative and care to offer a charity that meets the critera above, please join in.

    praṇām

    words/references
    • bhīṣma son of śāṃtanu and gaṅgā . In the great war of the bharata-s he took the side of the sons of dhṛtarāṣṭra against the sons of pāṇḍu , and was renowned for his continence , wisdom , bravery , and fidelity to his word ;The bhāghavataṁ says that there are only twelve men in the whole world who know the ins and outs of dharma in all its subtlety. These twelve are: Brahmā, the Creator; Narada, the roving sage; Lord Śiva; Lord Subrahmaṇya; the sage Kapila; Manu the law-giver; the boy-devotee Prahlada; King Janaka; bhīṣma; King Bali; the boy-sage śuka son of vyāsa narrator of the bhāgavata-purāṇa to king parikṣit), and Yama, the Lord of Death and Dispenser of Justice.
    • aṇusāsana - The brilliance of this word aṇusāsana parvan shows the great command of the language by vyāsa-ji ( also known as Kṛṣṇa Dvaipāyana ); This word can be seen in a few ways:
      • aṇu+sā+sana : aṇu = finer +sā =knowledge + sana = presenting, gain, acquisition. Hence the section (parva) presenting finer knowledge.
      • anu + śasana : anu = after or afterwords + śasana = killing. Hence the section (prava) after the war.
      • More on veda vyāsa who compiled this mahābhārata: http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showpost.php?p=49765&postcount=35
    • Due diligence Resources (sample):
    • More on benefits of giving at this HDF post : http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/sho...ghlight=dispel
    Last edited by yajvan; 02 March 2014 at 02:53 PM. Reason: added add'l ref sites and more on giving HDF posts
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  2. #2
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    Re: dāna or gifting

    hari o
    ~~~~~~

    namasté

    One charity to consider...

    Eileen Weintraub
    Founding Director
    Seattle, WA , USA

    From my conversation with Ms Weintraub

    We support teaching the (Indian) farmers how to keep their existing cows and bulls. After she has finished giving milk many are abandoned to the streets...The bulls are also particularly unwanted and suffer a cruel fate as well. So the Cattle Respect Program teaches farmers to get cow dung for fuel and urine (it is used for pesticides and other uses) from their cows after their milking days are over and from the bulls. The farmers love their animals and do not want to abandon them so we teach them how they can keep them for life. We are not buying animals but rescuing them and teaching how to make better use of them for rural life.
    Help Animals India specializes in helping these NGO's (non-government organizations) that are doing great work.

    • Made a donation myself ? Yes
    praṇām
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  3. #3
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    Re: dāna or gifting

    hari o
    ~~~~~~
    namasté


    One charity I am evaluating as of today...
    • Contacted the organization ? Yes
      Latha R. Kalaga - akshaya.usa@gmail.com
      My email conversation with Ms Latha :
      Our EIN number is 27-2935308. Please note that Akshaya USA is a chapter of Akshaya Trust in India. We do not have an office or paid staff here in the US - we are all volunteers who work a regular 9 to 5 job (not always true about the 9 to 5 we do work a lot of overtime ) - anyway - the point being our expenses are towards stamps, envelopes, fund raisers (for venue etc) and all the 3 members on the board of Akshaya USA are also donors to our own cause.
      Hope this gives you and idea of our organization. Please let me know if there is anything else I can answer.


    praṇām
    Last edited by yajvan; 02 March 2014 at 02:50 PM. Reason: Added link to 2012 990 Tax form
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  4. #4
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    Re: dāna or gifting

    Thankyou for this wonderful thread, I've been thinking about this a lot recently.

    This reminds me of the stories people tell me of my dads mother who was always completely unswayed by money or material desire and constantly gave everything she owned to whoever need it. For e.g. once one of my dads brothers had gifted her a gold chain, and someone told her ''I really like that gold chain'' - and she said ''You like it? Take it'' and gave it to her straight away. Complete stranger. Things like that also remind of the quote from the Gita that references a illumined individual sees a clod of stone and gold as the same.

    Often people come and ask you for money for foundations/causes, it is it dharma or adharma to give money to them assuming that they/the charity will facilitate what they promise without doing your own research? I know many charities use their funds in a very poor manner & some of my local religious establishments; won't mention what faith as to avoid friction (who do a lot of charity work) good aswell as bad, have been exposed of much internal corruption where peoples donations are being looted. I've always wondered whether it is rude to refuse people [whom] you are not sure whether they will put that money to use when you can go to a reliable source.
    What is your thoughts?

  5. #5
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    Re: dāna or gifting

    hari o
    ~~~~~~
    namasté

    Quote Originally Posted by IcyCosmic View Post
    Thankyou for this wonderful thread, I've been thinking about this a lot recently.

    This reminds me of the stories people tell me of my dads mother who was always completely unswayed by money or material desire and constantly gave everything she owned to whoever need it. For e.g. once one of my dads brothers had gifted her a gold chain, and someone told her ''I really like that gold chain'' - and she said ''You like it? Take it'' and gave it to her straight away. Complete stranger. Things like that also remind of the quote from the Gita that references a illumined individual sees a clod of stone and gold as the same.

    Often people come and ask you for money for foundations/causes, it is it dharma or adharma to give money to them assuming that they/the charity will facilitate what they promise without doing your own research? I know many charities use their funds in a very poor manner & some of my local religious establishments; won't mention what faith as to avoid friction (who do a lot of charity work) good aswell as bad, have been exposed of much internal corruption where peoples donations are being looted. I've always wondered whether it is rude to refuse people [whom] you are not sure whether they will put that money to use when you can go to a reliable source.
    What is your thoughts?

    This string is focused on those charities that have passed one's checks and balances. IMHO It will be off-topic to talk of corruption and the like. I'd like to keep this string uplifting and positive.

    Perhaps if you wish to start a new string with the subject matter you mentioned, that may be the preferred way of engaging.

    praṇām
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

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