Spiritual practices, food & lifestyle – The Bhagavad Gita – Part 127


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Updated on December 2, 2020

Giving gifts or presents with expectation of receiving something in return, is no more a gift or donation. It becomes business. The right spirit of gift or donation is missing.

Saatwik Charity and Donation

दातव्यमिति यद्दानं दीयतेऽनुपकारिणे |
देशे काले च पात्रे च तद्दानं सात्विकं स्मृतम् || 20|
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dātavyam iti yad dānaṁ dīyate ‘nupakāriṇe
deśhe kāle cha pātre cha tad dānaṁ sāttvikaṁ smṛitam

The Bhagavad Gita Ch17 Verse 20

General Meaning:

To give donation is a bounden duty; donation given with this idea and, given without expecting anything in return and given to a suitable person, at a suitable time and suitable place, selflessly, such donation is considered as Saattwik.

Explanatory Notes:

Giving gifts or presents with the expectation of receiving something in return, is no more a gift or donation. It becomes a business. The right spirit of gift or donation is missing. There should not be any partiality or preferences in giving charity. It should be given to the person, who needs it but cannot afford it at a time when it is most needed and at a place, it is not available ordinarily. Such charity is known as Saattwik.

Raajasik Charity and Donation

यत्तु प्रत्युपकारार्थं फलमुद्दिश्य वा पुन: |
दीयते च परिक्लिष्टं तद्दानं राजसं स्मृतम् || 21||

yat tu pratyupakārārthaṁ phalam uddiśhya vā punaḥ
dīyate cha parikliṣhṭaṁ tad dānaṁ rājasaṁ smṛitam

The Bhagavad Gita Ch17 Verse 21

General Meaning:

Verily that donation to charity is given with the intention of receiving return gift or expecting rewards again, or, reluctantly, is considered to be Raajasik.

Explanatory Notes:

The donation or gift which is given with the intention of receiving a return gift is considered as Raajasik. Also, the donation, given with the expectation of rewards is Raajasik. Being forced to give a donation directly or indirectly and given reluctantly or hesitatingly is also Raajasik. Also, the gifts given in anticipation of rewards or recognition is also Raajasik.

Taamasik Charity and Donation

अदेशकाले यद्दानमपात्रेभ्यश्च दीयते |
असत्कृतमवज्ञातं तत्तामसमुदाहृतम् || 22||

adeśha-kāle yad dānam apātrebhyaśh cha dīyate
asat-kṛitam avajñātaṁ tat tāmasam udāhṛitam

The Bhagavad Gita Ch17 Verse 22

General Meaning:

That donation which is given at the wrong place and wrong time and to the wrong person and given without proper respect and given with criticism or disrespect is described as Taamasik.

Purpose of Daanam or Donation

During the Vedic times in ancient India offering Daanam or donation was an elaborate ritual. Kings, rulers, wealthy businessmen, and landlords used to give big donations in gold, milk cattle, farmlands to the Rishis, Saints who used to run Gurukul Universities and Ashrams. Brahman Priests and Scholars and Religious and Spiritual Masters were suitable recipients of such Selfless donations. The disciples too give sufficient donations to support the Guru and his family and educational institutions run by him.

Danam or donations form an important and vital part of Yagnyas, daily religious rituals in Hinduism, sacred fire ceremonies, and worship of Gods and Goddesses in the Sanatan Dharma or Arya Dharma or the Vedic Culture and spiritually oriented material life. Donations given to charity and to the suitable candidate at proper time and place have spiritual merit and for the welfare of person, community, nations, enhancing cosmic harmony.

Significance of Om Tat Sat

ॐ तत्सदिति निर्देशो ब्रह्मणस्त्रिविध: स्मृत: |
ब्राह्मणास्तेन वेदाश्च यज्ञाश्च विहिता: पुरा || 23||

oṁ tat sad iti nirdeśho brahmaṇas tri-vidhaḥ smṛitaḥ
brāhmaṇās tena vedāśh cha yajñāśh cha vihitāḥ purā

The Bhagavad Gita Ch17 Verse 23

General Meaning:

OM TAT SAT—these three terms have been described as designations, in reference to Brahmam. In the most ancient times of Creation, the Brahmanas, the Vedas and the Jagnyas have originated from there.

Explanatory Notes:

Om Tat Sat is the reference to and designation of the unmanifest, all pervading Supreme God or Brahmam. It refers to Sat-Chit-Ananda. SAT (Absolute Existence), CHIT (Absolute Consciousness), AANANDA (Absolute Bliss) of God in both manifest aspects and unmanifest aspects. The most ancient holy scriptures with their ritualistic philosophical and procedural aspects such as the Braahmanas, the Vedas and Sacrificial Ceremonies have originated from Brahmam. In fact OM TAT SAT is considered as the greatest Mantra.

तस्माद् ॐ इत्युदाहृत्य यज्ञदानतप:क्रिया: |
प्रवर्तन्ते विधानोक्ता: सततं ब्रह्मवादिनाम् || 24||

tasmād oṁ ity udāhṛitya yajña-dāna-tapaḥ-kriyāḥ
pravartante vidhānoktāḥ satataṁ brahma-vādinām

The Bhagavad Gita Ch17 Verse 24

General Meaning:

All the spiritual scholars and masters, the devotees of Brahma, perform daily sacrificial rituals, donation giving and austerities as prescribed by the Vedic scriptures; always in the commencement of these rituals and activities, they constantly chat this greates utterance, OM TAT SAT.

Explanatory Notes:

Scholarly devotees of Brahmam, perform daily, the prescribed Jagnyas, Charity and Austerity, selflessly, as a service to Brahmam, the Supreme. This is denoted by uttering the greatest Mantra (word of vibrating spiritual energy). The meaning is – AUM, everything and the nothing, past, present, future, perceptible, imperceptible, imaginable, the unimaginable, is AUM or OM, also referred to as TAT (THAT) is SAT, the only Absolute Truth. There is nothing else.

TAT (THAT is OM (AUM) is SAT, the Absolute Existence.
From TAT, everything, the whole creation in its totality has come and
into THAT (TAT) everything is going. This is the only Truth beyond Time and Space.
This is SAT.

तदित्यनभिसन्धाय फलं यज्ञतप:क्रिया: |
दानक्रियाश्च विविधा: क्रियन्ते मोक्षकाङ्क्षिभि: || 25||

tad ity anabhisandhāya phalaṁ yajña-tapaḥ-kriyāḥ
dāna-kriyāśh cha vividhāḥ kriyante mokṣha-kāṅkṣhibhiḥ

The Bhagavad Gita Ch17 Verse 25

General Meaning:

Remembering and chanting TAT, without thinking of the fruits, the seekers of liberation perform various acts of sacrifices and austerities and various rituals of donations.

Explanatory Notes:

Liberation means freedom from the bondage of Relativity or Maya. This bondage originates and is perpetuated by the restlessness of the mind, is the cause of all types of sufferings rooted in the ignorance of our inner, immortal Self or Brahmam. The enlightened seekers of liberation perform the rituals of sacrifices, austerities, and giving to charity, all the time chanting and remembering TAT. It is an unconditional offering of the fruits of noble activities to Brahmam, the Supreme.

सद्भावे साधुभावे च सदित्येतत्प्रयुज्यते |
प्रशस्ते कर्मणि तथा सच्छब्द: पार्थ युज्यते || 26||

sad-bhāve sādhu-bhāve cha sad ityetatprayujyate
praśhaste karmaṇi tathā sach-chhabdaḥ pārtha yujyate

The Bhagavad Gita Ch17 Verse 26

General Meaning:

The word SAT is applied in denoting eternal reality and Supreme Auspiciousness. Also the word SAT is used, O Paarth, in the spirit of sacred act.

Explanatory Notes:

Human Beings, always want the best and the greatest in everything. There is nothing greater and better than the Supreme Spirit, Brahmam. So, in all positive, benevolent, auspicious activities, this term, TAT SAT is applied, conveying highest and best blessings. TAT SAT also is OM and Om is TAT SAT. So OM TAT SAT is the greatest mantra.

यज्ञे तपसि दाने च स्थिति: सदिति चोच्यते |
कर्म चैव तदर्थीयं सदित्येवाभिधीयते || 27||

yajñe tapasi dāne cha sthitiḥ sad itichochyate
karma chaiva tad-arthīyaṁ sad ity evābhidhīyate

The Bhagavad Gita Ch17 Verse 27

General Meaning:

Firmly established in sacrifices, austerities and giving to charity, is also known as SAT. Also, any activity in connection with these, as service to the Supreme, is also described as SAT.

Explanatory Notes:

Any thought, speech, action performed in the name of Brahmam, SAT, the Supreme, is also known as SAT. Also, any action, speech or thought, in relation to sacrifices, austerities and giving to charity is also known as SAT. OM TAT SAT has a much wider and higher implication. Many people can perform these activities (spiritual) and get the benefits and blessings of practical spirituality and Kriya Yoga. Self Realization becomes achievable in this lifetime.

The Spiritual Foundation

अश्रद्धया हुतं दत्तं तपस्तप्तं कृतं च यत् |
असदित्युच्यते पार्थ न च तत्प्रेत्य नो इह || 28||

aśhraddhayā hutaṁ dattaṁ tapas taptaṁ kṛitaṁ cha yat
asad ityuchyate pārtha na cha tat pretya no iha

The Bhagavad Gita Ch17 Verse 28

General Meaning:

Whatever sacrifice is performed, donation to charity is done, whatever austerity is practiced, without faith, all these are known as ASAT. O Paarth, so it is of no use in this life or after death.

Explanatory Notes:

Belief and faith are the foundations of spirituality and religion and the resulting benefits and welfare. Whatever great or magnificent or marvelous sacrifices or austerities or donations to charity are performed without faith, these are useless. They are of no use in this world or in the other world. These are costly painful exercises if there is no faith. OM TAT SAT, if chanted hundreds of times mechanically, day and night, will be of no use, of no merit if it is not accompanied by faith, concentration, and inner feeling.

om tat sat iti srimadbhagabad gitasu upanisadsu brahmavidyaayaam
yoga shaastre sri krusnaarjun sambaadey shraddhaatraya bibhaag jogo
naam sapta dosho adhyaayah

General Meaning:

OM TAT SAT. Thus in the Upanishads of the most auspicious Bhagavad Gita, in the science of the threefold faiths, in the scriptures of Yoga, in the dialogue between Sri Krishna and Arjun, the seventeenth chapter, the science of the eternal. Thank you, dear friends and readers, and Kriyabans, for investing time, energy and attention, and interest in going through this. It is worth it. It generates positive thoughts of blessings, which goes round and round; blessing all. Please practice Kriya Yoga daily twice and enjoy health, fitness, peace of mind, freedom from stress, and progress in spirituality.

May God and Gurus, Bless, Guide, Protect and Inspire you and your loved ones and remove your troubles.

With Love and Best Wishes,
Paramahansa Atmananda Ji


Paramahansa Atmananda

A Doctor, A Yogi, A Teacher. He is a Yogi and highly qualified doctor. With his specialization in Internal Medicine and Neurology, he has been able to make many spiritual seekers understand about Kriya Yoga as a scientific technique for Self and God Realization.