We Bhāratīyas nityam do dāna dharmas, pūjas. Dānas give viśeṣha phalitam. We have ṣhoḍaśa-dānas in our sāmpradāyam. Whatever we do, we must do according to our capacity and sāmarthyam. That is why we say in our nitya pūjas “Yāvacchakti dhyānāvāhanādi pūjām kariṣhye”…
In one village there used to live a poor brāhmaṇa. He used be have santṛpti, be happy with whatever he has, do Bhagavannāma smaraṇam and always follow the path of Dharma. He used to do whatever help he could do to others.
He used to have empty space in his house’s backyard, in which he used to grow toṭakūra (a leafy vegetable famous in Āndhra). He used to give the toṭakūra to everyone who comes to his house and did it all through his life.
Because of that Śāka-Dāna-phalam, in his next janma he was the son of a kotīśvara and had pūrva-janma smṛti. Since he knew who he was, he thought “because I did lot of toṭakūra Dānam I became so rich, so I will do still more and may be then I will become a King in the subsequent janma”. Thinking like that he started doing toṭakūra Dānam in huge amounts.
He used to do toṭakūra Dānam and ask the Dāna-pratigrahīta “For that much – this much, for this much – how much? ” No one used to understand him and answer him. Some time passed like this. God, the Dayārdra-hṛdaya, seeing the ajñānam of the dhanika thought “this person is behaving like this because he does not know how to do a Dānam; let me teach him”. He came as a Yācaka to the dhanika and as usual the dhanika gave him toṭakūra and asked the same question.
God replied “for this much – only this much”. “why like that” asked the dhanika. With mandahāsam God replied “that time you did not have anything except toṭakūra. But now you have anata sampada. People come to a dhanika like you expecting big help and it is not appropriate for you to give them toṭakūra. With your sampada you can construct Vidyālayas, Gṛha-vasati for the poor and many other things. You are in a position where you can help many people in a great way. Leaving all that you are giving toṭakūra and that too expecting something in return. In your previous janma you never had phalāpekṣha and hence it was uttama Dānam. Now your toṭakūra Dānam has no much value”.
Realizing his mistake the dhanika then started to do many BṛhatKāryas — Vidyālaya Nirmāṇam, Gṛha-vasati Bhojana sadupāyam for the poor, Bhū-Dānam for the karṣhakas, Dhana-sahāyam for Vivāhādi śubhakāryas etc. and earned the name of a “great Dāta”.
Morals in the story:
- One must always do Dānam according to his capability and sāmarthyam. Whether rich or poor, one can do Bṛhat-kāryas in whatever they have.
- Dānam must never be done with phalāpekṣha. This is the quality of a uttama Dānam.
Search Terms: Danam, Daanam, Totakura, Thotakura, Thotakuura