Dialogue between Narada and Arjuna: Dfferent Kinds of Charitable Gifts ||4||

1Narada said: Then I began to think: ‘How can this place come in my possession? For, this earth is always under the control of kings.
2If I go to Dharmavarman and beg for the land, he will surely hand it over to me but what is acquired by begging is not very decent.
3Indeed, it has been so declared by the sages. Wealth is of three kinds : The most excellent one is Sukla (‘white’), the mediocre one is Sabala (‘of variegated colours’) and the basest one is called Krishna (‘black’).
4-5What is obtained from disciple through the teaching of the Vedas is Sukla. What is obtained through a daughter, usury, business operation, agricultural activities or begging is called Sabala by good people. What is acquired through gambling, stealing, daring adventures and fraudulent means is regarded as Krishna.
6If a person performs a holy rite by means of Sukla wealth with great faith and sincerity, in a holy spot and on behalf of a deserving person, he will enjoy the benefit thereof as a Deva.
7If one were to offer charitable gifts to those who seek them with Rajasu emotions and feelings, by means of Sabala wealth, one enjoys the benefit thereof as a human being.
8If a man, the basest among men, is actuated by Tamasa emotions and fee]ings and offers charitable gift by means of Krishna wealth, he enjoys the benefit thereof after being reborn as an animal after death.
9-1oThe wealth acquired by me by begging will clearly be of the Rajasa nature. Or, in the capacity of a Brahmana I may request the king for monetary gift. That also is very bad for the same reason, in my opinion. This Pratigraha (‘acceptance of monetary gift’) is terrible. It may taste like honey, but it is comparable to poison in its injurious effects.
11Distress and affliction is always associated with Pratigraha and it affects the Brahamana’. Hence, I refrained from the sinful Pratigraha.
12Then I began to think again and again; ‘We shall make the region come into our possession by any of the means, by either of the two means.’
13Just as the husband of a vicious wife never ceases to worry, so also pondering and deliberating on this I never came to the end of my anxious thoughts.
14In the meantime, o son of Prthi, many sages came there to take their holy dip in the sacred Mahisigarasangama.
15-16I asked them all: “From where have you come?” They bowed down to me and said: “O sage, there is a king named Dharmavarma in the land of Saurashtra. He is the overlord of this territory. Desirous of knowing the truth of Dana, he performed penance for many years.
17-18Then an ethereal voice pronounced a verse : ‘O king, listen. It is said that Dana has two Hetus. (causes, motives), six Adhisthanas (bases), six Angas (ancillaries), two Pakas (places of fruition), four Prakaras (varieties), three Vidhis (procedures) and three Nasas (destructive factors or agents).’ After pronouncing this verse the ethereal voice stopped.
19In spite of being asked, it did not explain the meaning of the verse, o Narada. Thereupon, King Dharmavarma announced through the beating of drums:
20‘l will give the following things to that person who gives the correct interpretation of this verse that has been acquired by me through penance.
21I will give seven million cows, gold (coins) to that extent and seven villages to the person who explains this verse.’
22On hearing the important announcement of the king through the drum, o sage, crores of Brahmanas of many
countries came.
23But the words of the verse were difficult to understand, o sage. Those prominant Brahmanas could not explain it like a dumb man who could not express (the taste of) treacle.
24But out of covetousness for the prize, we too went there, o Narada. But since the verse was very difficult to understand, we gave it a low bow and came to this place.
25As this verse was inexplicable, the prize was not obtainable by us. How are we to conduct this pilgrimage? Thinking over all these things, we came away to this place.”
26O Phalguna, on hearing these words of those noble souls, I was much delighted. After bidding them adieu I thought thus.
27‘Oh! I have got the means to acquire the place. There is no doubt about it. By explaining the verse, I will get the place and the prize from the king.
28I will get them as a price of my learning. Thus (the question of) begging or accepting monetary gifts does not arise. Truthfully did V asudeva, the ancient sage, the preceptor of the universe, say:
29-31If one has faith in holy rites, that faith is never unfulfilled; if one has great keenness for sinful activities that too is never unfulfilled: Thinking thus, learned men do according to their taste. This statement of the lord is true. Though my desire was great and very difficult to be fulfilled, it has germinated, grown up and borne fruit clearly. I know clearly (the meaning of this verse which is inscrutable (to others).
32-33This had formerly been explained to me by the unem bodied Pitris.’ Thus, o son of Prithi, I thought over it frequently. After bowing down to the Tirtha Mahisagara-Sangama repeatedly, I started from there in the guise of an old Brahmana. Then I went to the king.
34I told him thus, “O king, listen to the explanation of the verse. Please increase the gift which you have announced by beating the drums.”
35When it was said (by me) thus, the king said: “Crores of excellent Brahmanas have said thus. But they are not able to explain its meaning.
36-37What are the two causes? What are those bases mentioned to be six? What are those six ancillaries? What are those regarded as the two places of fruition? What are those four varieties? What are the three types of Danas, o Brahmana? What are said to be the three destructive agents of Dana? Explain this clearly.
38-41If you clarify these seven questions, o Brahmana, l will give you seven million cows, gold (coins) to that extent and seven villages. If not, you will (have to) go back to your house.” When the king Dharmavarma, the lord of Saurastra, spoke these words I said to him : “Let it be so. Listen attentively. I shall clearly explain the
verse . Hear the two causes of Dana. Sraddha (‘faith’) and Sakti (‘capacity’) are the two causes of growth and imperishability of the act of charitable gifts. The quantity of the thing gifted away (is immaterial). It may be small or great. Both of them cause prosperity.
42-43There are some verses about Sraddha: ‘Dharma (‘virtue, piety’) is subtle. It is not acquired through many bodily sufferings or physical strain. Nor is it obtained through heaps of wealth. Sraddhii is (the cause of) Dharma. It is a wonderful penance. Sraddha is both heaven and liberation (‘Moksha’). Sraddha is the entire universe.
44Even if one gifts away one’s entire assets, nay, the very life itself, without Sraddha (‘faith and sincerity’) one will not obtain any benefit. Therefore, one should be faithful and sincere.
45Dharma is achieved through Sraddha and not through great heaps of wealth. Indeed, the sages who were poor and intelligent went to heaven as they were endowed with Sraddha.
46Listen, Sraddha is inherent in the nature of the embodied beings. It is of three types, viz. Sattvika, Rajasa and Tamasa .
47Persons of the Sattvika type worship Devas. Those of Rajasa type worship Yaksas and Rakshasas. People of the Tamasa type worship ghosts, goblins and spirits .’
48Hence, lord Rudra is gratified with that charitable gift offered by a faithful one and given to adeserving one. The wealth must be one that is acquired through fair, justifiable means. It does not matter even if it is of a very small quantity.
49Verses about Sakti . The surplus that one has after having properly fed and clothed the members of the family, may be given as gifts. If it is otherwise, the Dharma of the donor is like honey in taste but poison in effect (afterwards) .
50When one’s own people are leading a life of hardship. if one offers any gift to other people who are well-off, one is acting like a person who swallows poison thinking that he is drinking honey. His charitable gift is only a semblance of righteousness .
51If one performs the funeral rites and obsequies with great deal of trouble and disturbance to the servants, the same will ultimately cause unhappiness to one who is alive as well as to the dead man .
52-54Even during emergency the following nine things should not be given away as gifts by wise men : Samanya (i. e. a property shared with others or commonly or jointly owned by many), Yacita (i. e. what has been obtained by begging), Nyasa (‘deposited amount’), Adhi (i.e. what is pledged or mortgaged), Darahi (‘wife’), Darsanam (‘bail-amount’), Anvahita (‘security Deposit’), Nikshepa (‘amount held in Trust’), and Sarvasva (‘the entire property’) when one’s family is not extinct. A man who gives these as gifts is a foolish person. He will have to perform Prayascitta (i.e. expiatory rites for it). Thus, o king, the two causes have been mentioned.
Be pleased to listen. Now I shall mention the bases. They are six in number. Hear them.
55Dharma, Artha (‘wealth’), Kama (‘desire’), Vrida (‘shame’), Harsha (‘delight’) and Bhaya (‘fear’): They say that these six are the bases of Danas.
56If a gift is made to a deserving person everyday without expecting anything in return (here or hereafter), only with the idea that it is one’s duty, it is called Dharmadana (i.e. gift based on Dharma).
57After tempting a rich man with the offer of some money if one gains a lot of wealth, the money so offered (? a bribe) they call Arthadana. Henceforth (I shall mention) Kamadana. Listen.
58Expecting something in return, if a gift is made on certain occasions with great attachment (but) to undeserving persons, it is called Kamadana (i.e. Dana based on a desire).
59Out of shame, if, in the open assembly, one promises to the suppliants something and offers a gift, the Dana so given is well known as Vridadana (i.e. Dana based on sense of shame).
60If, after seeing or hearing something pleasing, one is pleased and offers a present as a token of his delight, this Dana is called Harsadana (i.e. Dana based on delight) by people who discuss (the problems of) Dharma.
61If something is given to persons who never help, in order to avoid rebuke or revilement, censure or injury, it is called Bhayadana (i.e. Dana based on fright).
62-63The six bases (of Danas) have been mentioned. Listen to the six ancillaries (of Dana viz.) Data (‘donor’), Pratigrahita (‘the recipient’), Suddhi (‘purity’), Deya (‘the thing gifted’), Dharmayuk (‘the thing associated with Dharma’) and Desha-Kala (‘place and time’)· These are known as six ancillaries of gifts . The donor is highly praiseworthy on the basis of six counts: (1) he should be free from sickness; (2) he should be a righteous
soul; (3) desirous of giving; (4) free from vices or danger; (5) pure in conduct; (6) his vocation as well as activities should be free from reproach .
64-66The donor who is not straightforward, who entertains no faith, whose mind is restless and disquiet, who is insolent and cowardly, who is dishonest (lit. who gives false promises) and who is always sleepy is the meanest one of Tamasa nature. A Brahmana who is white (i.e. pure and exalted) in three respects, viz. family, learning and behaviour, is of meagre means of livelihood, who is kind and considerate, whose sense-organs are unimpaired, and who is free from the defects of source of origin, is called Patra (‘a deserving person’). If the donor’s immediate reaction on seeing suppliants is one of excessive pleasure with delighted face, if he shows hospitality and absence of malice, it is called Suddhi (‘Purity’)·
67The wealth that has been earned by one without harassing others or by giving undue pain to others (and by) one’s own effort, is called Deya (i.e. that which deserves to be gifted). It may be small or large in quantity .
68-70If the gift is associated with some holy rite or pious activity, it is called Dharmayuk. If there is dejection (in the heart), the benefit is nil. (If a rare thing is gifted it has special merit. If a thing out of season is gifted it has special merit. If a gift is made when the recipient is in need of if, it has special merit.) Therefore the place and time should be chosen properly for Dana. If they are befitting they are excellent and not otherwise. The six ancillaries have been mentioned. Listen to the two places of fruition. They say that the two places of fruition are this world and the other world.
71If anything is gifted to good people, the benefit thereof is attained in the other world. If any gift is made to bad people, the benefit thereof is enjoyed here (in this world) itself.
72The two places of fruition have been pointed out thus. Listen to the four varieties : They are in order Dhruva, Ahustrika, Kamya and Naimittika.
73-76This is the Vedic path of charitable gifts. It has been divided into four as explained by Brahmanas. Gift of water booths, parks, lakes etc. where the fruit is desired (and enjoyed) by all is called Dhruva. What is given everyday they call Ahustrika (i.e. gift without any motive or desire). What is given with a desire to obtain progeny, victory, prosperity, wife and children is called Kamya. It is based on a desire. In the Smriti texts the Naimittika (dana) is mentioned as threefold, viz. Kalapeksha (i.e. caused by a particular time), Kriyapeksha (i.e. necessitated by a certain holy rite) and Gunaipeksha (based on certain qualities)- Always these rites are performed without Homa (i.e. ghee offerings in the sacred fire). Thus the varieties have been described to you. The three types are (being) mentioned now.
77The three types are Uttama (‘best’), Madhyama (‘mediocre’) and Kaniyasa (inferior) . There are eight Danas of the superior type in accordance with the injunction; four Danas of the mediocre type and the remaining ones are of the inferior type. This is the Trividhatva (i. e. three types of dana).
78The Uttamadanas are the following: (The gift of:) houses, palaces, learning, earth or land, a cow, a well, marketplace and saving lives by means of medicines, foodstuffs or by way of withstanding attacks on them. They are called Uttamadanas. because excellent things are offered as gifts.
79Food grains, resting places, garments and vehicles such as horse etc: These are the Madhyamadanas because these mediocre things are offered as gifts.
80-81The gifts of footwear, an umbrella, vessels etc., curds, honey and seats, lamps, staff, (precious) stones etc. are called Kaniyasas. The last one is of the duration of many years(?). Listen to the three destructive agents of Danas.
82-83If the donor regrets much after making a gift it is called Asura (‘demoniac’). It is devoid of benefit. If the donor
gives without faith or sincerity, it is called Rakshasa. This is also fruitless. If the donor rebukes and then makes the gift, or if after giving, the donor reproaches the Brahmana, it is called Paisaca (‘pertaining to ghosts and vampires’)· It is also fruitless. These three are the destructive agents of Dana.
84Thus the excellent greatness of Dana connected with the seven words (i.e. questions) has been explained, o king, according to my capacity. Tell me whether it is correct or not.”
85Dharmavarma said: Today my birth has become fruitful. Today my penance has borne fruits. O most excellent one among persons of good actions, I have been made contented and blessed today.
86-88If a Brahmacarin studies the whole of his life, his life is fruitless. If a person gets a wife after undergoing great deal of sufferings and she happens to be one speaking displeasing words it is vain. If one digs a well with great strain and the water happens to be saltish, the digging is vain. If life is spent without pious activities and many sufferings are undergone, the life is vain. In the same manner my name had been vain but now it has been made fruitful by you. Hence obeisance to you. Repeated obeisance to the Brihmanas.
89-90Truly did Vishnu say to Sanatkumara and others in the abode of Vishnu: “When I partake of the offerings of ghee in the sacrifice through my mouth. i.e. the Fire-god (I am happy but it is not as much as) I get from the mouth of a Brahmana who gets satisfaction while eating every morsel (of food) with all his holy rites and fruits thereof dedicated to me. (When I see him taking food I am happy. This happiness is more than in the previous case.)”
91I have done somethingnot pleasing to the Brahmanas. Hence I am not happy. Brahmanas are the lords of all. Let them forgive my misdemeanour. I entreat them.
92Who are you, holy Sir? You are not an ordinary person. I bow down to you for the favour you have shown. Reveal yourself, o Sage. When told thus, I spoke to him then:
93Narada said: O excellent king, I am Narada. I have come here for the sake of a plot of land. Give me the money and the land for erecting a holy shrine as promised (by you).
94Although this earth and wealth belong to Devas, o king, it is necessary that the king of the day and of the place should be requested.
95He is the incarnation of lsvara. He is the lord and the bestower of freedom from fear. Similarly I request you to attain the purity of the wealth. At the outset give me an abode, because you are the person to fulfil my request.
96The King said: If you are Narada, o Brahmana, let the entire kingdom be yours. Undoubtedly I shall render service to your Brahmanas.
97Narada said: If you are a devotee of ours, you must carry out our suggestion.
98Give me all the amount that you have promised. But give me land only to the extent of seven Gavyutis (7X3=21 kms). Its protection is only through you. He agreed to it. I began to think about the remaining affairs.