Dana, aka: Dāna; 22 Definition(s)

Introduction

Dana means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, the history of ancient India, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism

Arthashastra (politics and welfare)

Dāna (दान, “bribery”) is of five types—

  1. surrendering of one’s own wealth,
  2. taking other’s wealth,
  3. giving away an exclusive thing as gift,
  4. inspiring to grab the rival’s wealth,
  5. getting released from the debt.

These should be employed when one is weak, while it is obligatory with regard to the enemy. (see the Nītiprakāśikā 8.76-77)

Source: Exotic India: Nitiprakasika of Vaisampayana (A Critical Edition)
Arthashastra book cover
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Arthashastra (अर्थशास्त्र, arthaśāstra) literature concerns itself with the teachings (shastra) of economic prosperity (artha) statecraft, politics and military tactics. The term arthashastra refers to both the name of these scientific teachings, as well as the name of a Sanskrit work included in such literature. This book was written (3rd century BCE) by by Kautilya, who flourished in the 4th century BCE.

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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

1a) Dāna (दान).—A Sukha God.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 1. 19.

1b) A Mukhya gaṇa.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 100. 18.

1c) A dharma;1 a śiṣṭācāra;2 three kinds of; superior, middling and inferior; the first and last of which are called respectively jyeṣṭha and kaniṣṭha; the lower and the higher not fit for one's own welfare; the middling is the equal distribution among the deserving; the superior gift leads to Mokṣa and the inferior to one's own welfare;3 he who performs sacrifice by ill-gotten wealth does not attain the fruits thereof; his gifts are not for dharma but only for show; but well-earned money given to right men without expecting fruits, merits Bhoga while Satya leads to heaven;4 the making of, in a śrāddha and the fruits thereof;5 one of the upāyas of a king; even Gods are brought under control by gifts; sixteen kinds of; done by Kāma, Ambarīṣa, Pṛthu, Prahlāda and others;6 the vidhi of, enquired by Manu from the Matsya.7 Incumbent on all castes8 useless if given to a nonśrotriya;9 conditions appropriate to.10

  • 1) Vāyu-purāṇa 23. 101.
  • 2) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 32. 41.
  • 3) Ib. II. 32. 54-56; Vāyu-purāṇa 59. 49-50.
  • 4) Ib. 67. 27; 91. 106-12; 104. 14.
  • 5) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 4. 24; 16. 1.
  • 6) Matsya-purāṇa 222. 2; 224. 1-4; 246. 25-7; 274 (whole).
  • 7) Ib. 2. 23.
  • 8) Viṣṇu-purāṇa III. 8. 22.
  • 9) Ib. V. 38. 30.
  • 10) Vāyu-purāṇa 91. 107-13.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purana book cover
context information

The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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Dharmashastra (religious law)

Dāna (दान, “donation”) forms part of the ancient Indian education system, which aimed at both the inner and the outer dimension of a person. Education in India was supported by the community. A gift in support of education was seen as the highest donation (dāna). All members of society supported the cause of education by offering food, gifts, shelter, etc. The wealthier sections of society substantially supported education by building hostels and making educational endowments (adhyāyanavṛttis).

Source: Knowledge Traditions & Practices of India: Education: Systems & Practices
Dharmashastra book cover
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Dharmashastra (धर्मशास्त्र, dharmaśāstra) contains the instructions (shastra) regarding religious conduct of livelihood (dharma), ceremonies, jurisprudence (study of law) and more. It is categorized as smriti, an important and authoritative selection of books dealing with the Hindu lifestyle.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

Dāna (दान).—“Charity”, one of the six duties of a brāhmaṇa.

Source: ISKCON Press: Glossary

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

Giving, liberality; offering, alms. Specifically, giving of any of the four requisites to the monastic order. More generally, the inclination to give, without expecting any form of repayment from the recipient. Dana is the first theme in the Buddhas system of gradual training (see anupubbi katha), the first of the ten paramis, one of the seven treasures (see dhana), and the first of the three grounds for meritorious actionSource: Access to Insight: A Glossary of Pali and Buddhist Terms

Dāna (“almsgiving”), liberality, offering.—“He who gives alms, bestows a fourfold blessing: he helps to long life, good appearance, happiness and strength. Therefore long life, good appearance, happiness and strength will be his share, whether amongst heavenly beings or amongst men” (A.IV.57).

Five blessings accrue to the giver of alms (see A.V.34).:

  1. the affection of many,
  2. noble association,
  3. good reputation,
  4. self-confidence,
  5. and heavenly rebirth.

Seven further blessings are given in A.VII.54.

Liberality, especially the offering of robes, food, etc., to the monks, is highly praised in all Buddhist countries of Southern Asia as a fundamental virtue and as a means to suppress man's inborn greed and egoism. But, as in any other good or bad action, so also in offering gifts, it is the noble intention and volition that really counts as the action, not the mere outward deed.

Almsgiving or liberality (dāna), constitutes the first. kind of meritorious activity, the two others being morality (sīla) and mental development (bhāvanā); s. puñña-kiriya-vatthu. Liberality (cāga) forms one of the 10 recollections (anussati) and almsgiving one of the 10 perfections (s. pāramī).

Source: Pali Kanon: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines
context information

Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).

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Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Dāna (दान, “generosity”) is a good volition associated with the mind according to the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter XIX).—“Some say that a physical or vocal action (kāyavākkarman) that comes from this good volition is also called dāna. According to others, when there is a person endowed with faith (śraddhāvat), a field of merit (puṇya-kṣetra) and a material object (āmiṣa-dravya), and when these three things are brought together, the mind (citta) produces a thought of renunciation capable of destroying avarice (mātsarya), which is called dāna”.

Note: “Generosity (dāna) is an action consisting essentially of ‘the volition to give’; from this volition there can follow a physical action, the gesture of giving a gift, or a vocal action, e.g., the preaching of the holy Dharma. It is in this way that the volition of giving, which constitutes the properly called generosity, can be completed by an effective action, the gift or the preaching.”.

Note: The five benefits of generosity (dāna) have been pointed out by the Buddha in the Sīhasutta (Aṅguttara III and Tseng yi a han); the first four concern the present life (sadiṭṭhika), the fifth, the future life (samparāyika): the generous teacher of generosity is cherished and appreciated by many people, good honest people love him; an excellent repute is attached to his name; whatever assembly he enters, he enters fearlessly and without worry; after the destruction of his body after death, he is reborn in a blessed heavenly realm.

According to Chapter XX, “there are three kinds of generosity: 1) material generosity (dravya-dāna), 2) the generosity of homage and respect (pūjāsatkāra-dāna); 3) the generosity of the Dharma (dharma-dāna)... The perfection of these three kinds of generosity is called the perfection of the virtue of generosity”.

Source: Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra
Mahayana book cover
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Mahayana (महायान, mahāyāna) is a major branch of Buddhism focusing on the path of a Bodhisattva (spiritual aspirants/ enlightened beings). Extant literature is vast and primarely composed in the Sanskrit language. There are many sūtras of which some of the earliest are the various Prajñāpāramitā sūtras.

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General definition (in Buddhism)

1) Dāna (दान, “generosity”) or dānapāramitā represents the first of the “six perferctions” (ṣaṭpāramitā) as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 17). The Dharma-samgraha (Dharmasangraha) is an extensive glossary of Buddhist technical terms in Sanskrit (eg., ṣaṣ-pāramitā). The work is attributed to Nagarjuna who lived around the 2nd century A.D.

Dāna forms, besides a part of the “six perferctions” (ṣaṭpāramitā), also a part of the “ten perfections” (daśa-pāramitā).

2) Dāna also refers to one of the “four bases of sympathy” (catursaṃgrahavastu) as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 19).

3) Dāna (दान, “gift”) or Tridāna refers to the “three kinds of  gifts” as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 105):

  1. dharma-dāna (the gift of the dharma),
  2. āmiṣa-dāna (the gift of material things),
  3. maitrī-dāna (the gift of friendliness).
Source: Wisdom Library: Dharma-samgraha

Dana 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.

Dana as a formal religious act is directed specifically to a monastic or spiritually developed person. In Buddhist thought, it has the effect of purifying and transforming the mind of the giver. Generosity developed through giving leads to being reborn in happy states and material wealth. Alternatively, lack of giving leads to unhappy states and poverty.

Source: WikiPedia: Buddhism

Dāna Skt., Pali, roughly “gift, alms, dona­tion”; voluntary giving of material, energy, or wisdom to others, regarded as one of the most important Buddhist virtues. Dāna is one of the six perfections (pāramitā), one of the ten con­templations (anussati), and the most impor­tant of the meritorious works (punya).

In the Hīnayāna dāna is regarded above all as a means to overcoming greed and egoism and avoiding suffering a future life. In Mahāyāna dāna is associated with the virtues of kindness (maitrī) and compassion (karunā) and viewed as an essential factor in leading all beings to enlightenment.

Source: Shambala Publications: General

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Dāna (दान, “charity”) refers to “charity towards living beings (bhūta) in general” and is one of the causes leading to the influx (āsrana) of karmas extending pleasant feelings (sātāvedanīya).

Dāna is a Sanskrit technical term defined in the Tattvārthasūtra (ancient authorative Jain scripture) from the 2nd century, which contains aphorisms dealing with philosophy and the nature of reality.

Source: Wisdom Library: Jainism

Dāna (दान).—What is meant by charity (dāna)? Bestowing gifts or things owned by one self for the benefit of others (living beings in general and the devout in particular) is called charity.

Source: Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 6: Influx of karmas

Dāna (दान, “charity”) according to the 2nd-century Tattvārthasūtra 7.38.—Accordingly, “charity is the giving of one’s wealth to another for mutual benefit”. What is meant by anugraha? Anugraha means beneficial to both the donor and the recipient. What is meant by charity (dāna)? Charity is the giving of one’s wealth to another for mutual benefit. How charity benefits the donor? Donor accumulates merit. This is the benefit accrued by the donor. The recipient of charity develops a feeling of shame. Then how does it benefit him? Donating helps the enhancement of right belief-knowledge-conduct of the recipient also.

Source: Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 7: The Five Vows

Dāna (दान, “charity”) or Dānāntarāya refers to “charity obstructing karmas” and represents one of the dive types of Antarāya (obstructing karmas), representing one of the eight types of Prakṛti-bandha (species bondage): one of the four kinds of bondage (bandha) according to the 2nd-century Tattvārthasūtra chapter 8.—What is meant by charity obstructing (dāna-antarāya) karmas? The rise of which obstructs donating gifts even though one is having the intention and capacity to donate is called charity obstructing karmas. 

Source: Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 8: Bondage of karmas
General definition book cover
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Jainism is an Indian religion of Dharma whose doctrine revolves around harmlessness (ahimsa) towards every living being. The two major branches (Digambara and Svetambara) of Jainism stimulate self-control (or, shramana, ‘self-reliance’) and spiritual development through a path of peace for the soul to progess to the ultimate goal.

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India history and geogprahy

Dāna (दान) is a word referring to gifts given to Brāhmaṇas, as mentioned in the Nīlamatapurāṇa.—The Brāhmaṇas as the recipients of gifts have been mentioned frequently in the Nīlamata. The Nīlamata emphasises the virtue of the gifts given to the Brāhmaṇas. The terms used for such a gift are Dāna, Dakṣiṇā, and Pratigraha. The nature of the gifts varies with religious ceremonies performed in different seasons of the year.

Source: archive.org: Nilamata Purana: a cultural and literary study (history)

Dāna or Dānā.—(ML), a gift. (HRS), known from Maitraka records to mean the so- called voluntary gifts of subjects. Cf. dānā-sambandhe (LP), ‘as regards the sale-tax’. Note: dāna is defined in the “Indian epigraphical glossary” as it can be found on ancient inscriptions commonly written in Sanskrit, Prakrit or Dravidian languages.

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Dāṇa.—(IE 8-5; LP), same as dāna, road-cess; customs duties; cf. the official designation Dāṇī (Sanskrit Dānin). Note: dāṇa is defined in the “Indian epigraphical glossary” as it can be found on ancient inscriptions commonly written in Sanskrit, Prakrit or Dravidian languages.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Indian Epigraphical Glossary
India history book cover
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The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as royal dynasties, rulers, tribes, local festivities and traditions and regional languages. Ancient India enjoyed religious freedom and encourages the path of Dharma, a concept common to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

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Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

dāna : (nt.) gift; charity; alms; alms-giving.

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Dāna, (nt.) (Ved. dāna, as in dadāti to give & in dāti, dyāti to deal out, thus: distribution (scil. of gifts); cp. Gr. dάnos (present), Lat. damnum (E. damages); Gr. dώron, Lat. donum; also Ags. tīd (=E. tide, portion, i.e. of time), & tīma (=E. time). See further dadāti, dayati, dātta, dāpeti. Defn at Vism.60: dānaṃ vuccati avakhaṇḍanaṃ)

(a) giving, dealing out, gift; almsgiving, liberality, munificence; esp. a charitable gift to a bhikkhu or to the community of bhikkhus, the Saṅgha (cp. deyyadhamma & yañña). As such it constitutes a meritorious act (puññaṃ) and heads the list of these, as enumerated in order, dānamaya puññaṃ, sīlamaya p., bhāvanāmaya p. viz. acts of merit consisting of munificence, good character & meditation (D.III, 218 e. g.; cp. cāga, puñña, sīla). Thus in formula dānâdīni puññāni katvā J.I, 168; PvA.66, 105; cp. cpds. under °maya

(b) Special merit & importance is attached to the mahādāna the great gift, i.e. the great offering (of gifts to the Saṅgha), in character the buddhistic equivalent of the brahmanic mahāyajña the chief sacrifice. On 16 Mahādānas see Wilson Hindu Caste 413; on 4 Beal. Chinese Texts 88.—A.IV, 246; J.I, 50, 74; V, 383 (devasikaṃ chasatasahassa-pariccāgaṃ karonto mahādānaṃ pavattesi “he gave the great largesse, spending daily 600,000 pieces”); PvA.19, 22, 75, 127, etc

(c) Constituents, qualities & characteristics of a dāna: 8 objects suitable for gifts form a standard set (also enumd as 10), viz. anna pāna vattha yāna mālā gandha-vilepana seyyāvasatha padīpeyya (bread, water, clothes, vehicle, garlands, scented ointment, conveniences for lying down & dwelling, lighting facility) A.IV, 239; cp. Pv.II, 49 & see °vatthu & deyyadhamma. Eight ways of giving alms at D.III, 258= A.IV, 236, five ways, called sappurisa-dāna (& asapp°) at A.III, 171 sq.; eight sapp° at A.IV, 243. Five manners of almsgiving metaphorically for sīlas 1–5 at A.IV, 246= DA.I, 306. Five characteristics of a beneficial gift at A.III, 172, viz. saddhāya dānaṃ deti, sakkaccaṃ d.d., kālena (cp. kāladāna A.III, 41), anuggahitacitto, attānañ ca parañ ca anupahacca d.d

(d) Various passages showing practice & value of dāna: Vin.I, 236; D.I, 53 (+dama & saṃyama; cp. It.15; PvA.276); II, 356 sq. (sakkaccaṃ & a°); A.IV, 392 sq. (id.); D.III, 147 sq., 190 sq., 232; S.I, 98 (dānaṃ dātabbaṃ yattha cittaṃ pasīdati); A.I, 91=It.98 (āmisa° and dhamma°, material & spiritual gifts); A.I, 161; III, 41 (dāne ānisaṃsā); IV, 60; 237 sq. (mahapphala), 392 sq. (°ssa vipāka); V, 269 (petānaṃ upakappati); J.I, 8 (aggaḷa°); II, 112 (dinna°), III, 52 (id.); Sn.263, 713 (appaṃ dānaṃ samaṇabrāhmaṇānaṃ) PvA.54 (āgantuka° gift for the newcomer); Sdhp.211–213.

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary
Pali book cover
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Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

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Marathi-English dictionary

dāṇa (दाण).—f ( P In comp. Holder or receptacle.) A term applied revilingly to the belly (of a gormandizer or glutton).

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dāṇā (दाणा).—m (dhānya S) Grain. 2 A single grain or corn: also a single pearl, a bead, a seed, a pomegranate-pip, anything resembling a grain. 3 A coarse sort of sugar. 4 A little knob or excrescence or roughness upon a smooth surface (as on paper, leather &c.) 5 A piece or single article (of a bale of cloths or stuffs): also a single one of a certain fine kind of mangoes which are sold by ones. Ex. bandachōḍa āmbyācē rupayāsa dāhā dāṇē miḷatāta. 6 (For kiramijī dāṇā) A lump of cochineal. 7 A square or division of the coating of the custard-apple.

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dāṇā (दाणा).—a ( P Wise.) Wise, sensible, shrewd, sagacious. 2 Used freely in the sense of Excellent, superior, fine, capital;--esp. of men or animals.

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dāna (दान).—n (S) Giving, bestowing, conferring: also a gift or donation.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

dāṇā (दाणा).—m Grain. A single grain; single pearl, &c. A piece or single article (of a bale of cloths or stuffs). a Wise, sensible, excellent, superior, fine.

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dāna (दान).—n A gift, a donation; giving.

Source: DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
context information

Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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Sanskrit-English dictionary

Dāna (दान).—[dā-lyuṭ]

1) Giving, granting, teaching, &c. (in general); giving in marriage (cf. kanyādāna).

2) Delivering, handing over.

3) A gift, donation, present; Ms.2.158; दातव्यमिति यद्दान दीयतेऽनुपकारिणे (dātavyamiti yaddāna dīyate'nupakāriṇe) Bg.17.2; Y.3.274.

4) Liberality, charity, giving away as charity, munificence; R.1.69; दानं भोगो नाशस्तिस्रो गतयो भवन्ति वित्तस्य (dānaṃ bhogo nāśastisro gatayo bhavanti vittasya) Bh.2.43; दानं हि उत्सर्गपूर्वकः परस्य स्वत्वसम्बन्धः (dānaṃ hi utsargapūrvakaḥ parasya svatvasambandhaḥ) ŚB. on MS.4.1.3; ननु दानमित्युच्यते स्वत्वनिवृत्तिः परस्वत्वा- पादनम् च (nanu dānamityucyate svatvanivṛttiḥ parasvatvā- pādanam ca) | ŚB. on MS.6.7.1.

5) Ichor or the uicej that exudes from the temples of an elephant in rut; स दानतोयेन विषाणि नागः (sa dānatoyena viṣāṇi nāgaḥ) Śi.4.63; Ki.5.9; V.4.25; Pt.2.75 (where the word has sense 4 also); R.2.7;4.45;5.43.

6) Bribery, as one of the four Upāyas or expedients of overcoming one's enemy; see उपाय (upāya).

7) Cutting, dividing.

8) Purification, cleaning.

9) Protection.

1) Pasture.

11) Adding; addition.

-naḥ Ved.

1) Distribution (of food), meal, especially a sacrificial meal.

2) Part, possession, share.

3) A distributor.

Derivable forms: dānam (दानम्).

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Dāna (दान).—&c. See under दा ().

Derivable forms: dānam (दानम्).

See also (synonyms): dāka, dāti, dātṛ, dānu.

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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Relevant definitions

Search found 420 related definition(s) that might help you understand this better. Below you will find the 15 most relevant articles:

Kanyadana
Kanyādāna (कन्यादान) refers to the “gift of a virgin”, as defined in the Śivapurāṇa 1.15. Accor...
Danashila
Dānaśīla (दानशील).—a. exceedingly liberal or munificent; निर्गुणोऽपि विमुखो न भूपतेर्दानशौण्डमन...
Varadana
Varadāna (वरदान).—A holy place near Dvārakā. It was here that Durvāsas gave Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa ...
Danapati
Dānapati (दानपति).—m. (-tiḥ) 1. A liberal or munificent man. 2. A name of Akrura, the kinsman o...
Godana
Godāna (गोदान).—In ancient India it was believed to be a very great deed of moral merit to give...
Mahadana
Mahādāna.—(EI 7, 16; CII 4); a great gift, 16 of which are enumerated in the Purāṇas (see Hist....
Dharmadana
Dharmadāna (धर्मदान) refers to “generosity of the Dharma” and represents one of the three kinds...
Nityadana
Nityadāna (नित्यदान).—ind. Always, constantly, and eternally. E. nitya, and dāc aff.--- OR --- ...
Danapatra
Dānapatra (दानपत्र).—a deed of gifts. Derivable forms: dānapatram (दानपत्रम्).Dānapatra is a Sa...
Adeyadana
Adeyadāna (अदेयदान).—n. (-naṃ) Giving what ought not to be given, what is not one’s own, &c...
Amisadana
Āmiṣadāna (आमिषदान) refers to “material generosity”, according to the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpār...
Danasala
Dānaśālā (दानशाला).—hall for almsgiving. Dānaśālā is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the term...
Danaparamita
Dānapāramitā (दानपारमिता).—perfection of liberality. Dānapāramitā is a Sanskrit compound consis...
Danavira
Dānavīra (दानवीर).—m. (-raḥ) A liberal man. E. dāna, and vīra a hero.
Vetanadana
Vetanadāna (वेतनदान).—n. (-naṃ) Hiring, paying wages. E. vetana and dāna giving.--- OR --- Veta...

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