Charity or Daana – the sixth Niyama

School of Yoga explains Daana (Charity), the sixth Niyama

Hatha Yoga Pradeepika and Yogacharya Sundaram, in his book Raja Yoga, have included Daana (Charity) as an important element.

Daana (Charity) – means relinquishing of ownership with no expectation of return. There are many types of sacrifices or selfless giving and the most important, in order of significance are;

  • Anna daana                (giving food as charity)
  • Vastra daana              (giving clothes as charity)
  • Vidya daana               (giving knowledge as charity)
  • Kriya daana                (giving effort as charity)
  • Lakshmi daana           (giving money as charity)

Of all forms of daana or charity, that where there is direct benefit to another such as Anna daana (feeding others) is considered the highest form of daana because food is life. This is followed by any form of giving which requires sacrifice of one’s personal time or energy such as kriya (effort). Consequently, sacrifices such as vidya (knowledge sharing). Vastra daana (giving clothes to the needy) comes next in the list of charities, finally followed by lakshmi daana (money). Lakshmi is not considered the highest form of giving because often the giver does not know how the money is used and often, it does not reach the intended recipient. Also, the personal sacrifice component is lower unless, the charity is made by a person who has little to a person who has less, when the sacrifice is significant. But, this is not to take the sheen away from any form of sacrifice or giving. All forms of giving and sacrifice result is a feeling of goodness and altruism which opens the sense of identity to other forms of stimuli and introspection (jnaana).

Anecdotes, experiences and situations to help understand…

Charity in Christianity – Whilst in the early years, Charity was a simple act of giving money, over time, it evolved into building charitable institutions such as hospitals, schools and other educational institutions for common benefit. In fact, Carnagie Mellon University, Rockfeller University, John Hopkins hospital and many other well-known and world class educational institutions were founded as a result of charitable endowments by individuals.

Tzedakah in Judaism – Judaism does not have any specific concept of charity. However, Jews are supposed to set aside 10% of their income for acts of righteousness, irrespective of who the recipient may be.

Zakat in Islam – Muslims are expected to set aside 2.5% of their income for charitable activities. In fact, during Bakr-id, the meat from the sacrificed animal is supposed to be divided into three parts. The family retains one third of the share; another third is given to relatives, friends, and neighbors; and the remaining third is given to the poor and needy.

In HinduismKanya daana or giving away the bride to the groom is considered the highest of daana.

Seva in Sikhism – While this is voluntary, Sikhs often perform KarSeva (charity of action) such as cleaning floors, preparing food or serving it at the community kitchen or Langars, etc.

Buddhism – states that giving increases the spiritual content of one’s life and is considered one of the foundation of perfection.

Points to Ponder;

Internal Tags: Dharma (conditioning)Stress and Situational AwarenessStress and pranaAwareness measuresHatha Yoga PradeepikaPatanjali Yoga SutraBhagawat GeetaBhakti Yoga

External Tags: Consciousness

  • Do you perform any acts of giving? Is it structured of random? Why do you do it?
  • How do you perform this act of giving? What is your attitude when performing the act?
  • How do you feel after performing any act of giving?
Editor at School Of Yoga
School Of Yoga is a single point resource for all aspects of Classical Yoga practise. We try to achieve this by placing Yoga's traditional methodology in front of the reader and eliciting his or her experience. We value everyone's Yoga experience and would like you to share and enrich other practitioners so that everyone benefits.
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[…] Niyama has 6 elements: Soucham (Hygiene), Santhosham (contentment), Svadhyeyam (Introspection), Tapas (austerity),  Shraddha (dedication), and Daana (Charity). […]

[…] Dana (charity)   […]

[…] Niyama has 6 elements: soucham (hygiene), santhosham (contentment), svadhyeyam (Introspection), tapas (austerity),  shraddha (dedication), and daana (charity). […]

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