Daana or donation
“Liberation is only for he who gives up everything for others. Even the least work done for others awakens the power within; even thinking of the least good of others gradually instills into the heart the strength of a lion,” says Swami Vivekananda.
Dāna (Sanskrit: दान dāna) is a Sanskrit and Pali term meaning “generosity” or “giving”. In Buddhism, it also refers to the practice of cultivating generosity. Ultimately, the practice culminates in one of the Perfections (paramitas): the Perfection of Giving (dana-paramita). This can be characterized by unattached and unconditional generosity, giving and letting go.
Giving leads to being reborn in happy states and material wealth. Alternatively, lack of giving leads to unhappy states and poverty.
The exquisite paradox in Buddhism is that the more we give – and the more we give without seeking something in return – the wealthier (in the broadest sense of the word) we will become. By giving we destroy those acquisitive impulses that ultimately lead to further suffering.
Nowadays organ donation is one of the greatest charities.
Liver, Eye, heart and many more organs are donated without expecting anything in return.
What is the benefit of Daana?
The sages tell us that greater joy arises from sharing, caring, and loving. Nothing feeds the human heart with a sense of satisfaction as much as acts of service to others. The Vedic prayers for the well-being of all living creatures should be the inspiration behind the vision of the harmonious world.
Greater joy in life can be derived by sharing the fruits of one’s work with others.
Giving to a charity helps make our communities better places to live by helping to provide goods and services to people who might not otherwise have access to them. When we raise the standard of living for the least able among us, we raise our own standard of living in turn.
Why we give Daana?
If actions of individuals and nations were motivated by the instinct of charity, the problems of poverty and starvation could be significantly alleviated. Forms of charity such as Meals on Wheels, planting of trees, and provision of food, clothing and medicines to refugees are all relevant in modern times. Charity basically means sharing what God has given us with all of God’s creatures. According to the Bhagavad-Gita Chapter 3.12, one who takes from the society and does not give back to those in need is a thief.
What more is that this speaks to true spirituality. When one lives with more than one needs, they are but a thief or living in sin for what does one really need? This is true spirituality. What you come into this life with and what you leave this life with is the same, just your soul. A spiritual life is actually a very lonely life as it is just you and god. If someone lives with more than what is truly needed it is just sin for use of nomenclature. A sannyasin lives only with god. This life is truly unbelievable much less not liveable in the United States the land of materialism.
Somewhere inside we all know this and it is a very painful place. We all have responsibilities that we have created and agreed to in this material world we live in. To live in truth of this sin and in truth with god of this sin is the only solution to this.
So daana is really only to relieve oneself of one’s own weight and burden of their sin. To make oneself feel better about their sin. Truly anyone accepting donation is doing a favor to the donator, not the other way around. This is why it feels good to donate.
Swami Vivekananda says the donor that we must feel grateful that someone is giving us the opportunity to share our knowledge or resources; it is the donor who benefits from the act of giving; not the recipient. The donor must look upon the recipient as God himself in human form and perform charity with great humility.
In chapter 17 in the Gita, it describes 3 kinds of Daana.
Charity given out of duty, without expectation of return, at the proper time and place, and to a worthy person is considered to be in the mode of goodness (sattva).
But charity performed with the expectation of some return, or with a desire for fruitive results, or in a grudging mood, is said to be charity in the mode of passion (rajas).
And charity performed at an impure place, at an improper time, to unworthy persons, or without proper attention and respect is said to be in the mode of ignorance (tamas).