The Shiva Purana (English translation)

by J. L. Shastri | 1970 | 616,585 words

This page relates “general charitable gifts” as found in the Shiva-purana, which, in Hinduism, represents one of the eighteen Mahapuranas. This work eulogizes Lord Shiva as the supreme deity, besides topics such as cosmology and philosophy. It is written in Sanskrit and claims to be a redaction of an original text consisting of 100,000 metrical verses.

Chapter 14 - General charitable gifts

Sanatkumāra said:—

1. Ten charitable gifts are called great gifts (mahādāna) and are praiseworthy. They shall be given to deserving persons every day. They enable the soul to cross the ocean of worldly existence.

2. The charitable gifts of gold (hiraṇyadāna), cow (godāna) and land (bhūmidāna), O excellent brahmin, are very holy. Those who make them redeem themselves.

3. There are gifts of gold, cows and land, by making these excellent gifts one is liberated from sins.

4. Tulādānas are highly praised like the gifts of cows. Gifts of lands and of speech are of equal potency and deserve praise. But gifts of speech shall be greater.

5. These things shall be given everyday to those who beg for them—viz. oxen, cows, umbrella, cloth, pairs of shoes, drink and food.

6. An object which is given to brahmins, suppliants and distressed people after performing the Saṃkalpa rites enables the donee to become greatly intelligent.

7. There are ten great gifts—viz. gold, gingelly seeds, elephants, virgins, servant-maid, house, chariot, jewels, the tawny coloured cow and ordinary cows.

8. After taking all these a brahmin of great wisdom enables the donee to cross the ocean of worldly existence as well as himself.

9. If men make gifts of gold with pious mind, the gods bestow the same on him. Thus I have heard.

10. Gold is fìre. Indeed fire represents all gods. Hence by making the gift of gold one makes the gift of all gods.

11. Gift of lands is very excellent and it yields the fruits of all desires. The gift of gold is also excellent and it was made by king Pṛthu formerly.

12. If plots of lands are given along with gold it is praiseworthy. They become liberated from all sins and attain the greatest goal.

13. O sage, I shall mention another gift which is the most excellent and whereby people do not see the forest of Yama, the cause of many miseries.

14. One shall make the charitable gift of forest with due observance of rules and pious mind. The wealth shall be earned by justiciable means. The donee shall be devoid of stinginess associated with affluence.

15-19. With a Prastha measure of gingelly seeds an image of a cow endowed with all qualities shall be made. The calf shall be made of gold. It shall be divine in shape and it shall possess all characteristics. The mystic diagram of the eight-petalled lotus shall be made with auspicious Vermillion and raw rice grains. The devotee shall worship Rudra and all other gods there with great devotion. After the worship the cow and the calf shall be given to a brahmin along with gems and gold according to ability and bedecked too in all ornaments. The devotee shall take food only in the night. He shall then make elaborate gifts of lamps. This shall be done on the full moon day in the month of Kārttika ‘strenuously. He who does thus according to his ability but strictly observing the rules does not see the terrible hell or the path of Yama.

20. O Vyāsa, even after committing sins, the man enjoys in the heaven along with his kinsmen and friends as long as fourteen Indras rule over it

21. The gift of the cow duly performed is the most excellent. O Vyāsa, no other gift is glorified so much as this.

22-23. If any one makes the gift of a tawny cow along with its calf adorning the horns with gold, the hoofs with silver and endowed with other characteristics and also gives a bell metal vessel, that cow returns to him in the form of the wish-yielding celestial cow. O Vyāsa, the donee is thus blessed both here and hereafer.

24. One shall make gifts of such things to a man of good qualities, such thing as he likes most in the world, as are very dear to him in the house and as are wished for by him to be his permanent possessions.

25. Gifts of anything equal in weight to the giver is the most excellent of all gifts. If he wishes for his prosperity he shall ascend the weighing balance.

26. The weighing balance is highly meritorious. It eliminates all sins. On making the gift of it one gets rid of sins arising from slaughter and captivity.

27. Even after committing sins if a man makes the gift of weighing balance he becomes free from all sins and goes to heaven.

28-30. (The following shall be recited before making the gift). “May the presiding deity of the weighing balance remove the sin committed by me physically, mentally or verbally during the day, night, the twilights, midday) the close of the night or in any of the three times. May the presiding deity of the balance, lord Śiva, enemy of the cupid, remove all the sins done by me, whether as a boy or a youth, or an old man wakefully and consciously. Wealth has been consigned by me to a deserving person. It has been deposited in the balance according to my weight. May merit accrue to me along with this.”

31. The presiding deity shall be made after reciting the above formula It shall not be given to a single person. There is no benefit in it. It shall be distributed among many brahmins.

32. O Vyāsa, he who makes this excellent gift of the presiding deity of the balance destroys his sins and attains heaven He stays there as long as the fourteen Indras rule over it.