The Brahmanda Purana

by G.V. Tagare | 1958 | 319,243 words | ISBN-10: 8120838246 | ISBN-13: 9788120838246

This page describes praise of charitable gifts in shraddha which is Chapter 16 of the English translation of the Brahmanda Purana: one of the oldest puranas including common Puranic elements such as cosmogony, genealogy, ethics, geography and yoga. Traditionally, the Brahmandapurana is said to consist of 12,000 verses metrical Sanskrit verses.

Chapter 16 - Praise of charitable gifts in Śrāddha

Bṛhaspati said:—

1. “Henceforth, I shall recount the various charitable gifts and the rewards thereof.[1] It redeems all living beings and makes the path to heaven happy and comfortable.

2. Everything that is the most excellent in the world and whatever is pleasing to oneself—should be given to the Pitṛs by one who seeks only their command (support?)

3. The donor of cooked rice obtains eternally a golden divine Vimāna (heavenly car) refulgent like the sun, full of celestial damsels and never diminishing in its splendour.

4. He who gives (cooked rice) along with condiments (side dishes) in the Śrāddha rite unobstructedly, obtains longevity, brilliance, affluence and splendid beauty.

5. The knower of Yajñas who gives the sacred thread at the time of Śrāddha obtains that benefit of Brahmadāna (gift of Vedic learning) which sanctifies all Brāhmaṇas.

6. If at the time of Śrāddha a person gives the Brāhmaṇas a full Kamaṇḍalu (water-pot), it will reach the donor along with honey, milk, ghee and curds.

7. He who, at the time of Śrāddha gives a Kamaṇḍalu fitted with wheels (?) obtains a divine cow that can be milked easily and that yields plenty of milk.[2]

8. He who at the time of Śrāddha rite gives two sandals coushioned with cotton obtains a splendid vehicle. The comfort of his feet increases.

9. By giving a Brāhmaṇa a fan made of palm leaf after duly honouring him, one obtains all types of soft fragrant flowers.

10. By giving a pair of shoes to the Brāhmaṇa at the time of Śrāddha, the learned man always obtains a vehicle yoked with horses.

11. If, at the time of Śrāddha a person gives an umbrella along with a garland of flowers, it becomes an excellent palace and follows him as he goes (to the land of death).

12. By giving at the time of Śrāddha a platter full of jewels along with bed and meal, to Yatis (Asceties), the learned man is honoured in the heaven.

13-15. He obtains all these things:—Pearls, Lapis Lazuli, robes, different kinds of jewels, divine vehicles, millions and millions in number. He gets a great, meritorious heavenly chariot which can pass through the sky, is equipped with everything desirable and which resembles the moon and the sun. It will not diminishin value. It will be surrounded by celestial damsels. It can go wherever one likes to go. It will have the splendid speed of the mind. He will stay at the top of the heavenly chariot being eulogised by people all round. He will be surrounded by divine flowers. Learned men say that this is the greatest of all charitable gifts.

16-20. One should offer golden vessels of very glossy brilliant surface in Śrāddha. Then divine juices and beverages along with food-stuffs and good fortune will approach him.

He who gives the Brāhmaṇas gingelly seeds and sugarcane (pieces) in the Śrāddha rite gets friends in the world and very great bliss in women.

He who gives fascinating metallic vessels along with Śrāddha meals, becomes the object of affection and the proud possessor of beauty and wealth.

If a person gives silver or gold during the Śrāddha rite he obtains as a result of that charitable gift everything, he desires as well as brilliance and wealth.

If at the time of Śrāddha, a person gives a cow that has given birth to only one calf and that yields a pot full of milk; cows and good nourishment will approach that man.

21. A man who with great efforts gives during the winter a fire with plenty of wood, obtains the brilliance of the fire of his body, splendour and good fortune.

22. If, at the advent of the winter, a man gives fuel to the Brāhmaṇas he always becomes victorious in battle. He is reborn, richly endowed with glory.

23-25. One shall welcome, honour and worship noble souls and deserving persons in the Śrāddha rite and offer them fragrant garlands of sweet scent. Different kinds of pleasures and chaste young ladies approach the donor with scented garlands.

He who, at the time of Śrāddha ceremonies offers these things such as beds, seats, carts and vehicles, shall obtain the benefit of a horse sacrifice.

26-28. At the time of the Śrāddha ceremony when a Brāhmaṇa of good qualities has arrived if a person gives him an article that he desires, he shall obtain good power of memory and intelligence.

One shall honour (deserving persons) in the Śrāddha ceremony and give them vessels filled with ghee. He shall enjoy the benefit of offering many cows that had given birth to only one calf and that will yield pot full of milk.

In a Śrāddha, if one gives whatever is desired (by the recipient), one obtains the benefit of the Puṇḍarīka sacrifice[3].

29-33. By giving a grove fully equipped with flowers and fruits one enjoys the benefit of Gosava sacrifice.

By giving wells, parks, lakes, fields, cowpens and houses the donor rejoices in heaven for ever as long as the moon and stars exist.

If a person gives a well-covered bed embellished with jewels at the time of Śrāddha ceremony his Pitṛs become satisfied and he enjoys the heavenly worlds.

In this world he gets a richly equipped chariot. He is honoured with eight good vehicles. He increases in wealth and a gain.

After feeding the Brāhmaṇas in accordance with the injunctions the following things should be offered to them:—Garments of leaf, silk and wool, bedsheets and blankets, antelope skin, gold band, Praveṇī (coloured woolen cloth) and fur of the deer.

34-36. A man of great faith obtains the benefit of Vājapeya sacrifice. Many beautiful wives, sons, servants and attendants remain under his control. All the living beings remain under his control in this world. He becomes free from ailments.

He who gives at the Śrāddha ceremony silken cloth or cotton cloth obtains all excellent and desirable things. These destroy Alakṣmī (lack of brilliance or poverty) like the sunrise that destroys darkness.

37-38. On the top of a heavenly chariot, he shines like the moon among the stars. In all rites pertaining to the Devas, clothes have been praised by all the Devas. In the absence of clothes—neither Yajña nor charitable gift nor penance—is possible. Hence, clothes must always be given at the time of Śrāddha ceremony.

39-40. By giving them (clothes) in a Śrāddha a man obtains all those things.

He who is pure and devoted should give (clothes) in the daily Śrāddha rite. He shall then obtain everything he desires, the kingdom and heaven also. He enjoys the benefit of a Yajña richly endowed with every desirable thing.

41-42a. He who gives the following things shall obtain the benefit of Agniṣṭoma:—well cooked foodstuffs, Svastika (a kind of cake) etc. along with sugar, Kṛsara[4], honey, ghee, milk, milk pudding, and every type of eatable having smooth oily nature (fried in ghee or oil.).

42b-44. By giving curds and milk products without-mixing them (with other eatables) and different kinds of edibles in Śrāddha, one does not feel aggrieved during the rainy season or when Maghā star (is in ascendancy).

One should feed the Brāhmaṇas with ghee and shall pour (a few drops) of ghee on the ground.

By giving in Śrāddha during Gajacchāyā (when the sun is in Kanyā), one does not feel aggrieved.

By giving cooked rice, milk pudding, ghee, honey roots and fruits and different kinds of eatables, one rejoices here and hereafter.

45-47. Beaten rice mixed with sugar and milk is of everlasting benefit.

The satisfaction shall last for a year, through greens and juices of flesh (? gravy), Saktu (flour of fried grains), Lājā (fried corn), sweet rice peas, pulses with various side dishes—(all these yield pleasure to the Pitṛs). One shall mix curds with all eatables fried in ghee and feed (the Brāhmaṇas with them). He who gives all these things at the Śrāddha ceremony obtains the treasure Padma (of Kubera).

48. He who gives in Śrāddha, fresh plants after duly and scrupulously honouring (the Brāhmaṇas) attains all worldly pleasures and is honoured after he goes to the heaven.

49-52. Food stuffs are of various kinds: those that should be chewed and eaten, that should be drunk like liquids, Coṣyas where the juice is sucked up as in the case of mango fruits, Lehyas which should be licked up. (All these varieties of foodstuffs must be given in Śrāddha).

The performer shall stand with palms joined in reverence after giving the prior place of sitting to the guests. He shall then obtaṃ the excellent benefit of all Yajñas and Kratus.

One shall feed a hungry man immediately. The rice shall not be overcooked. It shall be offered along with pickles and side dishes. It shall be smooth and glossy. It shall be served after honouring him scrupulously and lovingly.

A person who gives cooked rice obtains an aerial chariot that shines like the midday sun and that is drawn by swans. He obtains crores of virgins also. There is no greater charitable gift than the gift of cooked rice.[5]

53. It is from the cooked food that the living beings are born. They live on account of it. They are powerful on account of it. There is no greater charitable gift than the gift of life.

54. Worlds are stabilised on account of cooked food. Its benefit is that of the gift of the world. Cooked food is Prajāpati himself. All the visible worlds are pervaded by it.

55-57. Hence, a charitable gift on a par with the gift of cooked food has never been before nor will it be in future.

A man who is devoted to the Pitṛs obtains immediately whatever jewels there are on the earth, all the vehicles and all women (?)

If a person stands with palms joined in reverence and offers asylum (house, shelter etc.) to the guests, the Devas wait for and welcome him with thousands of divine hospitable activities.

He who gives all these things shall become the sole monarch over the earth.

58-59. One shall be happy by offering three or two or even one charitable gift. Charitable gifts are considered of the greatest virtue. It is honoured and respected by good people. The overlordship of all the three worlds is certainly available through Dana. A non-king obtains kingdom. A man without wealth obtains excellent wealth. A man devoted to the Pitṛs always regains his lost longevity.

Footnotes and references:


Although ancient works insisted upon avoidance of lavishness in expenditure on Śrāddha, later Purāṇas encourage profuse expenditure on Śrāddhas e.g. Pd.P. Sṛṣṭi-Khartḍa 9.179-181. Varāha P.13.50-51 and VP.IIU4.22-23. Pitṛs are reported to have sung two Gāthās expressing their desire to have a descendant who would bestow on Brāhmaṇas (for the benefit of the Pitṛs) jewels, clothes, land, costly vehicles. Our text also echoes the same tendency of encouraging lavish gifts in Śrāddha (vide vv. 16-20, 23-25 etc.) The reward promised is happiness in heaven (vide vv. 13-15).


Kāma-dohinī  “wish-yielding” in Vā. P. 80.7.


The promise of the fruit of sacrifices for dāna (religious gifts) must have resulted as a dis-incentive for performing sacrifice, and these Brahmanical writers get the dubious credit of adversely affecting the ancient Vedic institution of sacrifice.


A dish consisting of sesamum and grain (mixture of rice peas with a few spices—MW p. 308. II. row.)


Cf. Vā.P.80.54-57. In fact the whole of that chapter in Vā.P. is textually identical with this text.

Help me keep this site Ad-Free

For over a decade, this site has never bothered you with ads. I want to keep it that way. But I humbly request your help to keep doing what I do best: provide the world with unbiased truth, wisdom and knowledge.

Let's make the world a better place together!

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: