«and (Feeding the Hungry) by SAINT VAAJAPEYE Panduranga Malyala DEDICATED TO BHAGAVAN SRI SATHYA SAI BABA On the Occasion of His 85th Birthday, ...»
(Feeding the Hungry)
On the Occasion of His 85th
Birthday, November 23, 2010
AUTHOR Saint Panduranga Rao Malyala
EDITOR Craig Sastry Edwards
ISBN NUMBER 0-938924-41-9
“CHARITY AND ANNADANAM (FEED THE HUNGRY)”
1 Why Charity?
1 Four Types of Charity
3 The Joy of Giving ~ The Story of Karna 3 Wonder Why God Does Not Answer Our Prayers?
Draupadi’s Mana Samrakshna 4 ANNADANAM (Feed the hungry) Saint Yagnavalkya message of Annadanam (Sampradayas) A. Story of Tribalman B. Story of King of Kalinga C. Story of Sudhama (Kuchela) and Lord Krishna The Importance of Annadanam; Ten Charities (Dasa danams); Sixteen Charities (Shodasa danams) Story of Dharmaraja’s Rajasuaya Yagnam and role of Lord Krishna 9 Story of King Rantideva 10 Dokka Seethamma Story 12 Our Thoughts Affect The Food We Cook Mahalaya Paksham & Its Significance Charity of Shirdi Sai Baba Baba’s Message To Mothers Story of Kuttan Annadanam at Pittsburgh Temple and Veda Patasalas in India Pictures of Annadanam during Peace Yagnas “Serving Hands are more dear to God than Praying lips” 17 About the Author CHARITY Charity is giving money, time, and energy for a noble cause.
The Bhagawad Gita states: “It is charity and not wealth which is important. One shall acquire wealth by justifiable means. Its fruit shall be charity as well as enjoyment.” Different sadhanas (accomplishments) have been prescribed in our scriptures for different ages: Tapa (Penance) for Kruta (Satya) Yuga, Gnana (Knowledge) for Treta Yuga, Yagna (Sacrifice) for Dwapara Yuga, and Dana (charity) for Kali Yuga.
The Brihadaranyak Upanishad says that the Lord Prajapati advised gods, men, and demons by one letter “Da”. The gods understood by this letter that they should practice “Dama”, i.e. self-control; the human beings that they should practice “Dana”, i.e. charity; the demons understood that they practice “Daya”, i.e. compassion.
Thus, to human beings Charity, or giving, is recommended.
Sri Sathya Sai Baba says: “If there is no charity, wealth has no intrinsic value at all. You have four sons, each of whom will enter a claim to your wealth. The first is charity. The second is the government. The third is the thief. And the fourth is fire. Each of them expects to inherit your wealth, but if you were to hand over all your wealth to your first son, charity, then the others will get no share of it. When you give freely to charity, you will find that the other claimants will show great respect for your decision, and will not press their own claims.” Why Charity?
Charity yields enjoyment in this world and salvation after death. The act of
Charity purifies the heart:
“Whatever you give to others, give with love and respect. Gifts must be given in abundance, with joy, humility, and compassion.” (Taittiriya Upanishad 1:11:3).
There are of four types of charity:
1) The Nityadâna (daily gift) is the gift of any article or cash to a Brahmin who does not do anything in return. It shall be given every day without wishing for any result thereof.
2) The Naimittika charity (casual) is performed by all good people for wiping off sins.
3) The Kâmya charity (desiring a special result) is given in fulfillment of a desire, say, for progeny, success, and prosperity.
4) The Vimala charity (free from flaw) is given to the person with the knowledge of the Brahman with a sâttvik mind, just to please a Deity. It is auspicious.
GIFTS AND THEIR BENEFITSCotton Clothes: Donor will have plenty of clothes in here and hereafter.
Yagnopavita: Angels will be happy, and will bless donor will have courage and perserverance Sesame Seed: Fear of Yama (death) will be removed.
Iron: Fear of Yama and his servants will be removed.
Shoes: Donor shall reach heaven by horse.
Umbrella: Relief from heat from Sun during travel Lamp: One will travel on a lighted path.
Cooked rice: Unending happiness Gift of Lamp: Keen vision Gold: Longevity Garments: Attainment of the world of the Moon.
Copper pot, food: Attainment of the region of Shiva Grain and seed: Donor will travel in comfort after death.
Oxen: Full scale prosperity.
The best charity for a true devotee is also the giving up of bad traits and weaknesses. The difference between a ball of iron and a dry leaf is that the ball of iron is not swayed when there is wind. Similarly, a true devotee learns not to be deterred at the time of adversity.
Here is an interesting mythological anecdote:
God created three kinds of people: the devas who were sâtvika by nature, the humans being who had both rajasik and tamasik qualities, and the demons who were essentially tamasik. None of them had elbows which are necessary to bend the hand for various chores including the very important task of eating.
The devas solved the problem instantly; they used their hands like ladles, and fed one another. The human beings took time to learn the trick, but did so in due course of time. The demons never learned the art of giving and almost perished before there was divine intervention! Charity thus given to deserving persons is sâtvika (of pure quality).
The Joy of Giving Every parent knows the joy of accepting what is offered by their children: the value of the gift is not necessarily in the gift, but in the act itself.
After the Mahabharata war ended, Lord Krishna once visited King Yudhishtira. The royal assembly was full of sages, seers, ministers, and eminent men and women who had come to meet the Lord. In this great gathering, Dharmaputra politely asked Krishna, ‗Sir! You are the Lord of the whole universe. Every little thing, animate and inanimate, belongs to You. Why is it, then, you accept gifts even if it were a leaf of Tulasi? How can we give You what is Your own? How come you say that it pleases You?‘ Janardhana smiled bewitchingly and answered the king with another question, ‗Why do you feel happy when your subjects present you with gifts, even though everything in your kingdom belongs to you?‘ The character of Karna in the epic Mahabharata is fascinating for he exemplified the act of giving Karna was born with armor and earrings which ensured him immortality and invulnerability. He was a prince who could not resist giving, at any cost. When Indra came in the guise of a poor Brahmin and tricked him to give him the armor and earrings, Karna did not hesitate, in spite of knowing the consequences. The ecstasy of giving overwhelmed everything else. He knew that the sheer act of giving would save him ultimately! Often do we wonder why God did not answer to our prayers? The answer is that we must have some credit in the Divine Bank to draw when emergency funds are needed.
patrarn pushpain phalarn toyani yo bhahiya prayachthati tadaham bhakyupahrta-masnami prayatatmahah In Bhagavad Gîtâ, Lord Krishna declares, ―O! Dhananjaya! Perform good deeds.
Don‘t be anxious for the fruit; the fruit will follow automatically.‖ To translate it into day-to-day life, serve the wife or husband or children as Divine souls as we are all connected by Ruñânubandha (by past actions).
Einstein‘s Relativity Theory of E=mc is valid everywhere, as is Newton‘s third law of every motion, “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.‖ Lord Šrî Krshña was in His garden (udyânavana) on a Makara Sankrânti afternoon in Dwâraka with all His consorts, devotees, relatives, and friends. Krishña was cutting some fruits with a knife. In the process He cut His little finger, and blood started flowing. Rukmiñi, Satya Bhâma and the others called out to the servants for bandage and cloth etc. from the residential areas which were far from the garden. Draupadi was also there on that occasion of Makara Sankrânti. Everyone was dressed in new clothes and joyful. With no second thought, Draupadi tore her new saree and used the piece to bandage Lord Krishña‘s finger. The bleeding stopped. The servants arrived with the bandages much later. This instantaneous action of Draupadi pleased the Lord.
Later, when Dussâsana tried to remove the saree of Draupadi in the court of Duryodhana, she prayed to Lord Krishña for protection. Lord Krishña was in Dwaraka playing dice with Rukmiñi. He thought for a while what good action performed by Draupadi deserved Divine intervention? He recalled the incident on the day of Makara Sankranti when Draupadi had used a new saree piece to bandage His wounded finger. He immediately responded to her prayer from the palace of Duryodhana, and arranged for a non-stop supply of sarees rendering Dussasana tired. Draupadi‘s honor was thus saved (mâna samrakshaña). God is Omniscient, and so, in whatever form we offer service, it pleases Him.
ANNADANAM The Greatest Act of Charity Among all gifts of charity, providing food to the hungry is the greatest of all gifts as food gives life, longevity, light and energy. Therefore if you offer food to even an enemy who had come to kill you, the Gods will be pleased and bestow their boons upon you. We can define the merit of all other charities, but even the creator, Brahma, cannot describe the merit of gifting food.
Therefore, when a guest arrives at lunch or dinner time, always offer him or her food on a leaf or plate. There is no greater merit in this world than feeding the hungry. Even the Gods appreciate the deed of regular annadanam.
Saint Yagnavalkya’s message of Annadanam (Sampradayas) There are two traditions or Sampradaya in the Vedas viz: Brahma Sampradaya and Aditya Sampradaya. That which was vomited by Yagnavalkya came to be known as Brahma Sampradaya, also ―Krishna Yajurveda‖. After leaving Gurukul of Vysampayana, Yagnvalkya sincerely repented for his delinquency and atoned for it by giving up food and drink and practiced Suryopasana (Sun worship) undergoing severe austerities by way of penance. Pleased with this penance the Sun God appeared before him in the form of Vaaji (Horse) and told him, ―My child! What is past is past. You should guard yourself against such lapses in future. Betraying the Guru or God is highly dangerous. Be careful hereafter. I will now teach you the Vedas again‖. So saying, the Sun God taught him the Vedas.
The reason for the Sun appearing in the form of Vaaji was that Yagnavalkya‘s fore-fathers always used to do Annadana, free distribution of food, and therefore their family got the name Vaajasam. The Veda taught by him was also called by the alternative names of ―Sukla Yajurveda‖. Yajurveda has been divided into Vaajasakhandha and Aditya Khanda. For this reason, although the Vedas were originally four in number, they have subsequently become five, namely Rgveda, Krishna Yajurveda, Sukla Yajurveda, Saama Veda, and Atharva Veda.
Recognizing that the Sun appeared before him as Vaaji and taught him the Vedas, because of free distribution of food by his ancestors, Yajnavalkya gave primary IMPORTANCE TO ANNADANAM in his teaching which among
others, include the following:
“There is no gift higher than the gift of food, and no God higher than parents.”
Here are more stories to illustrate the power of Annadanam:
Once there was a Brahmin living in Ujjain, in India. He used to provide food for the hungry every day. The Brahmin asked his guests one day: What is the fruit or merit of gifting food every day? The guests replied that they did not know the answer to his question but the goddess Annapoorna devi in Benares would know the answer.
The Brahmin then went to Varanasi (the two rivers Varuna and Asi join in this place and hence it is Varanasi) and asked the goddess Annapoorna devi the same question.
She then replied that a baby was going to be born to the king of Hemavata city near Vaarana Ganga in the Himalayas. The names of the king and queen were Angeerasa and Sumati respectively. The goddess advised the Brahmin that this baby would answer his question and urged him to go to Hemavata city.
The Brahmin then proceeded towards the Himalayas, but lost his way. He met two tribals (Boya and Kirata) in the forest. The tribal man admonished the Brahmin for traveling alone in the very dangerous forest which was full of wild animals. He suggested that the Brahmin should spend the night with him. He then took the Brahmin to his field and gave him some grains and apologized to him that he could not supply him with a new mud pot in which to cook his food (it is traditional that Brahmins will cook only in new pots). The Brahmin then replied that he was contented and that his weariness had gone due to the tribal man‘s warm welcome. He then assured the tribal man that he was not hungry. But the tribal man gave him some honey and plain rice on two leaves and the Brahmin ate them after offering them to God.
The tribal man considered it unwise for the Brahmin to sleep on the ground due to the wild animals in the forest and requested his guest to go to an elevated platform along with the tribal man‘s wife and rest for the night on the platform. He then armed himself with a bow and arrows and kept the vigil for the night. But during the early hours of the morning while he dozed off, a tiger came and killed him. The wife of the tribal man then woke up and finding her husband dead, took up his bow and arrow and killed the tiger. The Brahmin meanwhile woke up and realizing what had happened asked the Kirata‘s (tribal man) wife: ―Am I a fitting person to receive this kind of help and sacrifice from my hosts?‖ He then arranged for the funeral ceremony for the Kirata. The Kirata‘s wife also entered the funeral pyre to be immolated with her husband. Then the Brahmin proceeded to the city of Hemavata in the Himalayas.