The glory of charity is mentioned everywhere in Hindu scripture. The grandeur and divinity of charity is described at every page of theology. There are many reasons behind this such as charity develops holy feelings like compassion, service and brotherhood rises, welfare of society becomes possible as well as poverty and hoarding can be eradicated by the immense power of charity. Charity is actually the gateway to happiness and well-being. The scriptures describe many types of donations such as अन्नदान, वस्त्रदान, जलदान, अश्वदान, शक्तिदान, विद्यादान, धर्मदान, आनंददान, गजदान, अभयदान, तलदान, भूमिदान, सुवर्णदान etc. In modern times, blood donation, eye donation, body donation, organ donation etc. are also very important. Charity is associated with a spirit of self-sacrifice or a feeling of abandonment.

There are three types of charity according to the spirit behind it.

1) सात्विक दान
2) राजसिक दान
3) तामसिक दान.

Charity which is done with understanding of duty, given with generosity, given, given without ego of benevolence, given with selfless spirit is called sattvic charity. But when it is given selfishly with the intention of worldly gain or with the intention of fulfilling a wish or if it is abandoned with some expectation then it becomes a RAJSIK charity but when it is given with an evil impure or demonic spirit or with the intention of harming someone or killing someone. If it is done with the intention of doing harm, it becomes a TAMASIK charity.

The scripture shows the different significance of each donation, that is, which donation or charity is better or which is the best. गजदान that is donation of elephant is considered to be bigger than अश्वदान that is horse donation. Land donation is bigger than elephant donation. तलदान that is donation of sesame is bigger than land donation and gold donation is considered bigger than sesame donation. Even better than gold donation is food donation. Food donation is considered to be the biggest donation because there is no better donation than food donation. Food donation is accepted as a full donation because when we donate money to a person, he does not get complete satisfaction from receiving it. The desire to get more than what he has means a kind of dissatisfaction increase. While अन्नदान is a donation that gives complete satisfaction to person. The person whose appetite has subsided after getting food he no longer needs more food. If there is any donation that gives complete satisfaction is only food donation.

Moreover, in Kali Yuga, the lifeforce of human is in food. In that sense, food is as important as life. In SATYUGA, lifeforce was in bone, in TRETAYUGA, lifeforce was in marrow, while in DVAPARYUGA, lifeforce was in blood, so in all these ages, if food is not available for a while, human will survive. The importance of food donation is special in Kali Yuga in that sense. Even so, according to the scriptures, food is BRAHM. Which is the basis of the whole creation, the source of power. We all know that body is made up by food so food is the life. Even semen is made from food. According to a research, 10 kilograms of nutritious food makes 250 milligrams of blood and 250 milliliters of blood makes 20 milliliters of semen. Thus, to produce 20 ml of semen, the body needs 10 kg of nutritious food. If semen is the responsible factor behind the creation of life then food is the main factor behind the formation of semen. The physical body is made up by food. In a nutshell think about how important food is, for both the creation as well as the nourishment of life. That is why religions liken food to BRAHM.

According to the scriptures, only a person who respects food can experience BRAHM that is supreme soul. We know that BRAHM is not a person, it is divine energy, the source of energy. Every living being needs energy, that is, realization of BRAHM, which cannot be achieved without respect for food. It is well known that There is a need for many kinds of physical, mental, spiritual strength to get power, wealth, position, honor, etc. which cannot be achieved without respect for food. Respect for food means stopping food wastage, food donation, working hard to grow food, and donating hard-earned food with noble purpose.

However, in the scriptures, vows are more important than charity. Scripture states that a person who observes the rituals and rules properly, gets sixteen times more benefit than the benefits he gets from bathing and darshan of pilgrimage. In Sankranti in VYATIPATAYOGA, one gets sixteen times more benefits than the merit obtained by giving alms at the time of solar-lunar eclipse. The result that is obtained by feeding a thousand sages for sixty years is ten times more than the result which is obtained by donating a thousand cows to a Brahmin who knows Vedas. Thus, even for those who do not have the ability to donate, there are many excellent vows in our religion. According to the scripture, the result obtained by feeding the ten best Brahmins is equal to one tenth of the vows. The same virtue that is obtained by feeding the ten best Brahmins is obtained by feeding a celibate. Even from this benefit, a thousand times more benefit is getting by KANYADAN and land donation. Ten times more than that is obtained from VIDHYADAN. Ten times more virtue is obtained by satisfying others hunger. Thus, there is no other charity in this world like food charity. Food charity also brings satisfaction to parents in heaven. The glory of food cannot be described even by the gods. Even once, the person who gives food to someone gets more benefit than the fast without water.

It is really a great thing to give up everything in life, even though it is one’s own, with a deep understanding we should give up as nothing is one’s own but a gift from God so that it should be used for the welfare of all. Sense of welfare of the whole is indispensable. Leaving one’s own is excellent in terms of benevolence towards “self”. Charity dissolves the ego. One realizes that this world has nothing of its own. The true sage knows that he who seeks is a beggar, and he who gives up is rich. The irrevocable rule of the whole nature is renunciation or charity. The whole world runs on charity and renunciation. Just as a tree bears fruit, a river donates water, fire gives warmth, the sun donates light. What happens to the existence if no one gives anything to others? Thus charity and renunciation is the eternal law of nature. If you get out of this world, you must give. If you accept, you have to give up. That is why Shrimad Bhagavad Gita advises to give up before enjoying or to give up after enjoying. Either give a small portion to others after enjoying or take away the portion of others first from yours and enjoy the rest. The whole creation is eclipsed and abandoned and what is given today will come back a thousand times tomorrow. As the sea gives a little water to the clouds which get back to the sea through the rivers in the form of multiple rains. In the same way, a few seeds planted in the ground are returned thousands of times. In short, with such a noble and deep understanding, one must move towards charity. And in this too, if nothing else can be done, then at least food donation must be done as it is considered as complete donation.

Shilpa shah