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Not provoking any eternal heavenly pleasure for after-life , Hindu philosophy has been always concerned with reducing suffering and promoting well-being that can be actualized in this material world. The ancient Indian scriptures always encourage us to make a positive impact on the world through various modes of charity. Millions of people are there in this world, who are in worse conditions than us. That might be not their fault or beyond their ability to change or prevent. Here, let us see, how the Shiva Purana reminds us that we are social creatures and that the noblest way for us to advance is by helping those who are unable to help themselves and sharing with others.
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Sanatkumāra said, “All the big charities, which have been described as such, should be daily offered to the able persons and only then they bestow welfare on the donates.”
O Excellent Brāhmana, the gift of gold, gift of cow, the gift of land, when received by an auspicious person, result in the redemption of the donors.
With the giving away of gold and the cow, a person is relieved of al the sins.
The gift of gold, land, education and tuladana are highly praised. Of these the first two gifts are equal, but the giving of education is the best of all.
The milch cow, the umbrella, the costumes, shoes and food should be given daily to the beggars.
The stuff which is given to the Brāhmaṇas or the beggars performing the samkalpa rites, besides the people in distress, makes the donor more humane.
The great charities include gold, gingerly seeds, elephant, girl, slave girl, house, chariot gem and the white cow are the great charities.
The learned Brahmaṇa, after receiving all these gifts redeems himself as well as the donor undoubtedly.
The people who gift away the gold with a spotless mind, the gods shower the riches on them from all sides. This is what has been heard by me.
The fire represents all the gods and the gold is the form of Agni. Therefore by giving away gold in charity, it amounts to giving the same to all the gods.
The donation of land I also considered to be the best of all and fulfills all the desires. The gift of land with gold is also excellent and it was made by the king Pṛthu in earlier times.
Those who witness the land with gold being given in charity, they getting relieved of all the sins achieve salvation.
O Sage, now I speak on other excellent charities, as a result of which the people do not have to witness the painful Asipatra forest.
One should purchase a forest with the wealth earned lawfully, and donate it without being miserly, in an appropriate manner.
With a prastha measure of the gingerly seeds, an image of cow with calf endowed with all the qualities should be made in gold. It should possess ali the characteristics, being divine in shape. The eight petalled mystic diagram should be made with vermilion and the unbroken rice grains. The devotee should adore Rudra and other gods there with utmost devotion. The cow and the calf after having been adored should be given to a Brāhmaṇa together with gold and gems according to the competence of the donor. They should be bedecked with all the ornaments. The devotee has to take the food during the night alone, and then give away lamps an gifts. This has to be done on the full moon day of the month of Kartika making all the efforts. One who performs according to his means, and observing all the rules, has not to fall in the terrible hell or the path of Yama.
O Vyasa, a person who performs accordingly, he, inspite his indulging in all the sins, enjoys the comforts of Indra with his relatives and friends for the period of the duration of fourteen Indras.
O Vyasa, the giving away of a cow in charity in an appropriate manner, is considered to be the excellent one. No charity could be compared with the same.
In case a person donates a white cow with her horns decorated with gold, the hoofs with silver and a bell metal vase, the said cow, O Vyāsa, returns to the donor as the wishful- filling cow in this birth as well as in the heaven.
A virtuous Brahmana should be given away the things in charity, whatever things are liked by us in the world in order to make them indestructible.
Tuladana is considered to be the best of all the charities. A person who is desirous of his own welfare, he should perform tulādāna.
The weighing balance is highly meritorious and it eliminate all the sins, by making a gift of it one gets rid of the sins and the bondage. In fact the tulädäna is immensely meritorious and destroyer of all the sins
A person, who after committing all the sins performs tulädäna, he getting relieved of all the sins, surely achieves the heaven.
“The sin committed by me with my body, mind, speech, during the noon, night, evenings, end of night or during any of the three times, let the same be removed by the presiding duty of the weighing scale- lord Śiva, enemy of Käma and remove all the sins, done as a boy or as a youth, as an old man wakefully and consciously. The riches have been given by me to a deserving person. It has been placed in the balance comparable to my weight, with this let me earn the merit.” These mantras should be recited before making the gift.
Sanatkumāra said, “A donor, being desirous of his own welfare, thus speaking, should distribute the wealth to different Brāhmaṇas only then he will be freed from the sins.
O Vyasa, a person who donates tulapuruşa he after destroying all his sins enjoys his stay in the heaven upto the period of the rule of fourteen Indras in the heaven.”
Shiva Purana, Uma Samhita, edited by Professor J.L. Shastri, Chapter 11
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