Daan

The edict of the Gurmat Giaan or Wisdom of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) is: Sikhs (learners…) must use the sword of Wisdom when it comes to Karamkaand related to Daan (offering of material in the name of spirituality, Daan Punn, etc.).

However, the Gurbani tells us ONLY that person can use Wisdom or discriminating intellect (Bibek Budh, Akal-ਅਕਲ) who has ‘BECOME GURMUKH‘.  

In short, a Gurmukh (Bhagat, Daas, Jan…) is a Wise person, brave person, good person, virtuous person, fearless, blissful (Anand), pious person, Joyful, etc. (ਵਿਦਵਾਨ, ਬਹਾਦੁਰ, ਭਲਾ, ਨੇਕ, ਗੁਣੀ, ਖੁਸ਼ ਇਨਸਾਨ…).

Such person is beyond relativist consciousness or duality (i.e. two-ness) such as Paap Punn‘, ‘Maan Apmaan’, Dukh Sukh‘, etc.

Hence, a Gurmukh’s thinking and doing is all ‘GOOD’! As such, no question of ‘Paap’ arises!

The bitter truth is, those of us (including the paid clergy) who worry about ‘Paap Punn’ DO NOT want to become the Gurmukh!!!!!

  • ਪੁੰਨੁ ਪਾਪੁ ਸਭੁ ਬੇਦਿ ਦ੍ਰਿੜਾਇਆ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਪੀਜੈ ਹੇ ॥੧੫॥: The Vedas have repeatedly pointed out what is a Punn and what is a Paap. But Amrit can ONLY be drunk by becoming a Gurmukh. ||15|| (sggs 1050).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਕਰਣੀ ਕਾਰ ਕਮਾਵੈ ॥ ਤਾ ਇਸੁ ਮਨ ਕੀ ਸੋਝੀ ਪਾਵੈ ॥: By becoming the Gurmukh, when a human being practices good deeds, then does he come to understand (the nature of) this mind. (sggs 159).

in Sikhi (i.e., the Way of life based on the Wisdom of the SGGS…), Daan offered in the name of spirituality is rejected. Because, as a spiritual act, it is of little or no value. Baabaa Nanak asserts:

  • ਪੁੰਨ ਦਾਨ ਅਨੇਕ ਨਾਵਣ ਕਿਉ ਅੰਤਰ ਮਲੁ ਧੋਵੈ ॥: (Without Naam) No person can wash the filth (of Bikaar) within by performing many ‘Punn Daan’ and pilgrimages. (sggs 243).
  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਮਜਨੁ ਚਜੁ ਅਚਾਰੁ ॥: The Gurmukh’s cleansing bath (at so called holy places) is the performance of good deeds (sggs 932).

The underlying reason for it’s rejection in Sikhi is that there is no spiritual advancement of the giver or the receiver of Daan as defined, practiced and mandated by the dictates of the  Karamkaand (rituals, formalities) of the paid Pujaaree-Vaad or Brahminism.

The act of Daan does NOT instill Wisdom or Virtues. To the contrary, it anchors the mind to false ego-sense (Haumai) on the false premise that we are giving something.

It is this false ego-sense which then begins to think that by giving it has become noble, virtuous, spiritual, Mahaatmaa, etc.

  • ਨ ਭੀਜੈ ਦਾਤੀ ਕੀਤੈ ਪੁੰਨਿ ॥: (Rabb) is not softened or pleased by giving charity or alms (Daan-Punn, ਦਾਨ-ਪੁੱਨ …). (sggs 1237).
  • ਤੀਰਥ ਬਰਤ ਅਰੁ ਦਾਨ ਕਰਿ ਮਨ ਮੈ ਧਰੈ ਗੁਮਾਨੁ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਨਿਹਫਲ ਜਾਤ ਤਿਹ ਜਿਉ ਕੁੰਚਰ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ ॥੪੬॥: (The ritual of) performing pilgrimage (Teerath Yaatraa), fasting, giving DAAN, holds the mind in egotism (that I have become spiritual or virtuous). O Nanak! Their actions are useless, like the elephant, who takes a bath, and then rolls in the dust (sggs 1428).

In fact, the Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS tells us that we humans do not own anything on our own accord!

So, how can we even think of giving (DAAN) something which we don’t even own in the first place?

  • ਤੇਰੋ ਕੀਆ ਤੁਝਹਿ ਕਿਆ ਅਰਪਉ ਨਾਮੁ ਤੇਰਾ ਤੁਹੀ ਚਵਰ ਢੋਲਾਰੇ ॥੩॥: (All this Kudrat – System-Rule-Law of Nature is made by You-Rabb) What shall I place before You out of what You created? Your Naam (Wisdom, Virtues…) is the fan, which I wave over You (Meaning Karamkaand such as Aarti etc. is ostentation and false. Remembering Naam is the right way of life). ||3|| (sggs 694).

We often hear explanations such as, ‘Well, once I have given donation, I care less but the receiver does with it.’

This is a great FALLACY!

It is totally refuted by the Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS. Such foolishness will come back to haunt the giver as well as rest of the society! We cannot escape the consequences of our foolishness.

That said, sharing does come with responsibility and accountability.

The paid Pujaaree groups and the Pujaaree system have been employing two-prong tactic to swindle the foolish and gullible people — fear and greed (ਡਰ ਅਤੇ ਲਾਲਚ).

They scare (fear-ਡਰ) people by telling them if they don’t give clergy everything in Daan (charity), then they would suffer (Dukh) in this life and the next life.

On the other hand, if they generously give (greed-ਲਾਲਚ), then they would enjoy happiness (Sukh) in this life as well as in the next life here after! This is all rejected in the Gurmat.

However – out of fear and greed – foolish people give the clergy gold, horses, elephants, food, clothes, land, etc. Not only that, people even give away their wives in Daan (donation) to the clergy to enjoy them! How stupid is that? The 5th Mahal and Bhagat Naam Dev Ji explain all this as follows,

  • ਕਨਿਕ ਕਾਮਿਨੀ ਹੈਵਰ ਗੈਵਰ ਬਹੁ ਬਿਧਿ ਦਾਨੁ ਦਾਤਾਰਾ ॥ ਅੰਨ ਬਸਤ੍ਰ ਭੂਮਿ ਬਹੁ ਅਰਪੇ ਨਹ ਮਿਲੀਐ ਹਰਿ ਦੁਆਰਾ ॥੪॥: A person may give Daan (charity, gifts, donations…) of all sorts – gold, women, horses and elephants. One may make offerings of food, clothes and land in abundance, but this will not lead him to the Door of Hari (Mool, Pure Nature, Jot Saroop, Truth, Wisdom, Virtues, ਅਕਲ, ਦਿਮਾਗ, ਗਿਆਨ…). ||4||(sggs 642).
  • ਅਸੁ ਦਾਨ ਗਜ ਦਾਨ ਸਿਹਜਾ ਨਾਰੀ ਭੂਮਿ ਦਾਨ ਐਸੋ ਦਾਨੁ ਨਿਤ ਨਿਤਹਿ ਕੀਜੈ ॥ ਆਤਮ ਜਉ ਨਿਰਮਾਇਲੁ ਕੀਜੈ ਆਪ ਬਰਾਬਰਿ ਕੰਚਨੁ ਦੀਜੈ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮ ਸਰਿ ਤਊ ਨ ਪੂਜੈ ॥੩॥: (O my hypocritical mind!) if horses are given away in Daan (charity, gifts, donations…), if elephants are given away in Daan, if women on their beds are given away in Daan, if land is given away in Daan; if such gifts are given over and over again; if own-self is offered in Daan, and give away in Daan his body weight in gold; none of these is equal to the Divine Naam (Wisdom, Virtues, Truth…). ||3|| (sggs 973).

This is not the end. After receiving all these freebies from the foolish people —  including their wives — the Pujaree would tell people to get their head sawn off in order to gain Mukti (liberation), heaven, etc. The 5th Mahal explains this:

  • ਮਨ ਕਾਮਨਾ ਤੀਰਥ ਜਾਇ ਬਸਿਓ ਸਿਰਿ ਕਰਵਤ ਧਰਾਏ ॥ ਮਨ ਕੀ ਮੈਲੁ ਨ ਉਤਰੈ ਇਹ ਬਿਧਿ ਜੇ ਲਖ ਜਤਨ ਕਰਾਏ ॥੩॥: With the mind’s desires, a person may go and dwell at sacred places of pilgrimage, and offer his head to be sawn off; but this will not cause the filth of his mind to depart, even though he may make Lakhs of efforts (1 Lakh = 100 thousands). ||3|| (sggs 642).

Even today, all this nonsense or Pakhand (ਪਖੰਡ, hypocrisy) still goes on, but in a slightly different form!

For example, instead of horses and elephants, foolish people donate expensive cars to Baabaas or Deraas. Also, instead of ‘giving away women on their beds (ਸਿਹਜਾ ਨਾਰੀ)’, people send their women (ਬਹੂ-ਬੇਟੀ) to Baabaas or Deraas in hope to conceive sons!

This is beyond stupidity! Apparently, these people are still living in a stone-age!

Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS does not promote or support double standard. Hence, whatever Karamkaand (rituals, formalities) is said to be bad for others In the Gurbani, is also bad for Sikhs!!

If any of us thinks otherwise, that person is a fake or Pakhandee Sikh (ਪਖੰਡੀ ਸਿੱਖ – pretentious spiritual learner or Sikh)!

The Gurbani tells us that the majority of us imitate what we see other people doing – ‘Dekhaa Dekhee‘ (‘ਦੇਖਾ ਦੇਖੀ’, ‘Monkey see, monkey do’, etc).

  • ਦੇਖਾ ਦੇਖੀ ਸਭ ਕਰੇ ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਬੂਝ ਨ ਪਾਇ ॥: The Manmukh does everything seeing (other people do, ਦੇਖਾ ਦੇਖੀ, ਨਕਲ, ਦਿਖਾਵਾ…), but he (himself) has no understanding  (he does not understand the true way of living. (sggs 28).

In spite of having this New Treasure of Wisdom (i.e. SGGS), Sikhs are still groping in ignorance, and are being taken for ride by the corrupt clergy.

  • ਕਬੀਰ ਮਨੁ ਜਾਨੈ ਸਭ ਬਾਤ ਜਾਨਤ ਹੀ ਅਉਗਨੁ ਕਰੈ ॥ ਕਾਹੇ ਕੀ ਕੁਸਲਾਤ ਹਾਥਿ ਦੀਪੁ ਕੂਏ ਪਰੈ ॥੨੧੬॥: O Kabir! The mind knows everything and knowingly it commits demerits. What use is it to have a Lamp (i.e., the Light of Aatam Giaan, Divine Knowledge, Spiritual Wisdom…) in his hand, if the man still falls into a well (ignorance, Maya, Bikaar, ਅਉਗਨ / ਬਿਕਾਰਾਂ ਦੇ ਖੂਹ ਵਿਚ…)? (sggs 1376).

On account of fear and greed, if one indiscriminately gives, then one has involuntarily become instrument, accessory or partner in whatever the receiver does with your donation.

One thing is certain – you can be sure it will certainly be utilized for wasteful and dysfunctional activities, luxury (ਐਸ਼ਪਰਸਤੀ) or nefarious activities to spread trouble in the society or in the world.

Because wealth in the hands of a fool is worse than the poverty of a learned.

It thus injures both the giver and the receiver, and the society at large! This is how the statement ‘Paap and Punn‘ are both the same.

It’s like casting gold before cattle, and casting pearls before cranes!

  • ਚਉਣੇ ਸੁਇਨਾ ਪਾਈਐ ਚੁਣਿ ਚੁਣਿ ਖਾਵੈ ਘਾਸੁ ॥: Though gold may be placed before a herd of cattle, but they will pick out the grass to eat (i.e., cattle have no appreciation for gold)! (sggs 143).
  • ਹੰਸਾ ਹੀਰਾ ਮੋਤੀ ਚੁਗਣਾ ਬਗੁ ਡਡਾ ਭਾਲਣ ਜਾਵੈ ॥: The swans peck at the diamonds and pearls, while the crane chases after frogs. (sggs 960).

Also, the majority of us give in charity in hope for sanctifying dishonest lifestyle, or wealth accumulated with corrupt means or misappropriation.

Then, in a futile bid to get the ill-gotten wealth sanctified or blessed, we give some of it to charity institutions, to build temples, to open hospitals, to serve Langar or free food distribution, and so on. Bigger the charity or donation, bigger the corruption behind it!

  • ਸਤੀ ਪਾਪੁ ਕਰਿ ਸਤੁ ਕਮਾਹਿ ॥: Those human beings who show themselves or claim to be virtuous and religious, but in reality they commit Bikaar, perversion etc. (although outwardly) they only show that they are practicing Truth (or Dharma etc.)! (sggs 951).
  • ਪਿਆਰੇ ਇਨ ਬਿਧਿ ਮਿਲਣੁ ਨ ਜਾਈ ਮੈ ਕੀਏ ਕਰਮ ਅਨੇਕਾ ॥ ਹਾਰਿ ਪਰਿਓ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਕੈ ਦੁਆਰੈ ਦੀਜੈ ਬੁਧਿ ਬਿਬੇਕਾ ॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: My dear! I have performed many such rituals, but the Divine (Wisdom, Virtues…) is not realized by these methods (ਤਰੀਕੇ). (Forsaking the ritualistic practices or methods) I have dropped down weary at the Divine-door (Giaan-Guru, True Wisdom) and pray for the grant of Bibek-Budhi (discerning intellect…). ||Pause|| (sggs 641).

Not only that, on account of ignorance of the Gurmat, the majority of us make material offerings (Daan Punn) to our dead ancestors using the ill-gotten wealth (ਜੇ ਮੋਹਾਕਾ ਘਰੁ ਮੁਹੈ ਘਰੁ ਮੁਹਿ ਪਿਤਰੀ ਦੇਇ ॥… sggs 472)! The Gurbani rejects all this circus of our deluded mind. 

Further, our false ego-sense (Haumai) expects something in return from Daan. Any expectations from Daan almost always disappoint. This is because with every unfulfilled expectation comes the seed of disappointment.

  • ਇਸਨਾਨੁ ਦਾਨੁ ਜੇਤਾ ਕਰਹਿ ਦੂਜੈ ਭਾਇ ਖੁਆਰੁ ॥: People take their cleansing baths, and give to charity again and again, but they are ultimately consumed by their love of duality (sggs 34).

Listen to any Ardaas (ਅਰਦਾਸ , prayer) in any Gurdwara around the world. The majority of Sikhs (perhaps over 99%) who have given something insist their names be announced in the Ardaas, or inscribed on walls of the Gurdwara, or honored and recognized with Siropa, or given some position in the Gurdwara, etc.

These are manifestations of the negative impact of the false ego-sense (Haumai), or the mind that has become rotten with the pride of worldly possessions.

Apparently, this is of no concern to our clergy. They care only for their earnings (Golak, ਧੰਧਾ) and have thus taken over the role of the Brahmin clergy that is critiqued by our Gurus and Bhagats in the Gurbani.

In nutshell, according to the 5th Mahal, the ‘Perfect’ charity is Naam-Daan — sharing Giaan or Wisdom, Virtues!

  • ਨਾਮੁ ਹਮਾਰੈ ਪੂਰਨ ਦਾਨੁ ॥: The Naam (Wisdom, Virtues, Truth…) is my perfect Daan (i.e., to understand and share Naam is the ‘Perfect’ charity or donation for me…). (sggs 1145).
  • ਨਾਨਕੁ ਮਾਗੈ ਨਾਮੁ ਦਾਨੁ ॥ ਤਜਿ ਮੋਹੁ ਭਰਮੁ ਸਗਲ ਅਭਿਮਾਨੁ ॥੨॥੧॥੩੮॥: Removing (from within) attachment (i.e. Bikaar), doubt and all pride, Nanak asks for the Daan of Naam. ||2||1||38|| (sggs 1305).

This means there can be no sharing (Vand Shakanaa) if one has not earned a decent and honest living in the first place (Dharam Dee Kirat Kamaaee – ਧਰਮ ਦੀ ਕਿਰਤ ਕਮਾਈ).

  • ਘਾਲਿ ਖਾਇ ਕਿਛੁ ਹਥਹੁ ਦੇਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਰਾਹੁ ਪਛਾਣਹਿ ਸੇਇ ॥੧॥: Do (the honest) work, and then help the needy. O Nanak! Such people know the true Way of life. ||1|| (sggs 1245).

Furthermore, using Wisdom (Bibek, Akal-ਅਕਲ), it’s our responsibility to seek out those in real need. This will make one’s sharing truly meaningful.

  • ਧ੍ਰਿਗੁ ਤਿਨਾ ਕਾ ਜੀਵਿਆ ਜਿ ਲਿਖਿ ਲਿਖਿ ਵੇਚਹਿ ਨਾਉ ॥ ਖੇਤੀ ਜਿਨ ਕੀ ਉਜੜੈ ਖਲਵਾੜੇ ਕਿਆ ਥਾਉ ॥ ਸਚੈ ਸਰਮੈ ਬਾਹਰੇ ਅਗੈ ਲਹਹਿ ਨ ਦਾਦਿ ॥ ਅਕਲਿ ਏਹ ਨ ਆਖੀਐ ਅਕਲਿ ਗਵਾਈਐ ਬਾਦਿ ॥ ਅਕਲੀ ਸਾਹਿਬੁ ਸੇਵੀਐ ਅਕਲੀ ਪਾਈਐ ਮਾਨੁ ॥ ਅਕਲੀ ਪੜ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ਕੈ ਬੁਝੀਐ ਅਕਲੀ ਕੀਚੈ ਦਾਨੁ ॥ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਆਖੈ ਰਾਹੁ ਏਹੁ ਹੋਰਿ ਗਲਾਂ ਸੈਤਾਨੁ ॥੧॥: Cursed are lives of those who read and write Naam to sell it. Their crop is (Naam: Giaan, Wisdom, Virtues, Truth…) devastated – what harvest will they have? Without proper self-effort (to change ownself, search ownself etc.) they are not appreciated even in the presence of (‘Sahib’). Losing intellect in vain -– this is not called Wisdom. (Instead) Wisdom is to remember ‘Sahib’ (Universal Energy, Hukam: System-Rule-Law of Nature, ਨਿਯਮ…) and earn respect (by understanding the Hukam-ਨਿਯਮ and living life accordingly). The intellect is to read (the Gurbani that praises ‘Sahib’, Hukam- ਨਿਯਮ…), understand (its deep secrets and live accordingly) and explain it to others. Nanak says that this is the only right way of life; the devil (Saitaan(u)’) is the one who tells other things. ||1|| (sggs 1245).

Hence, the SGGS warns all Sikhs that a brain devoid of Wisdom leads to Satanic or devilish life.

In other words, if a Sikh does not use Wisdom (Bibek, Akal-ਅਕਲ) in sharing, then it will be meaningless, Pakhand and Kapat (fraud etc.).

  • ਛੋਡਿ ਛੋਡਿ ਰੇ ਪਾਖੰਡੀ ਮਨ ਕਪਟੁ ਨ ਕੀਜੈ ॥: O hypocrite mind, renounce and abandon your hypocrisy; do not practice deception (fraud, duplicity, trickery…. (sggs 973).
  • ਪਾਖੰਡਿ ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਵਈ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਨ ਪਾਇਆ ਜਾਇ ॥: Through hypocrisy, Bhagti cannot be done, and Paarbrahm is not Realized (sggs 849).

In nutshell, the Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS asserts that humans (including Sikhs!) cannot be DAANEE (ਦਾਨੀ, giver of Daan).

For a real Sikh, the Guru or Rabb is the ONLY Daanee (Giver of DAAN).

  • ਨਾਮ ਦਾਨੁ ਗੁਰਿ ਪੂਰੈ ਦੀਓ ਮੈ ਏਹੋ ਆਧਾਰੀ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: The Perfect GURU has given me the DAAN of the Naam; I have made it (my life’s) support. ||1||Pause|| (sggs 401).
  • ਤੂ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਦਾਤਾ ਦਾਨਿ ਮਤਿ ਪੂਰਾ ਹਮ ਥਾਰੇ ਭੇਖਾਰੀ ਜੀਉ ॥: O Prabh (present within: Mool, Jot Saroop…)! You are the perfect giver (of DAAN), we are beggars (of Naam at your door). (sggs 597).

7 comments

  1. indeed the naam is best charity.
    “as the word of the divine comes to me, so do i express it, O Lalo.”

  2. Very well put, you should also look into translating these articles into Punjabi.

    Based on Guru’s teaching its a sin to sell spiritual teachings of saints who have attained salvation. Souls of this world are seeking salvation but the wicked ones make it into a business to sell the spiritual knowledge which at the end is empty knowledge without any salt(experience) in it.

    In Sikhi there is no concept of the clergy, the whole business of selling the knowledge of Gurbani to earn living is questionable. In Sikhi there is a concept of selfless sewa to be done by the sangat for sangat.

    It’s time to Remove committee system from Gurudwaras and free our Takats. This is not our indigenous system, ours is Panj Pyare Maryada. Committee System was implanted in Our Gurdwaras by British and 36 Masands and SGPC came into being.

    Today committee system and their Bhardans, the Neo-Masands who are generations Masands, leading the Panth in the wrong direction. They are dividing the Panth into parties/factions and looting the Daswand.

    We need to wake up and remove these committees, Pardans, and Jathedars from our Gurudwaras and Takhats. These culprits forefather were the Masands who did not allow Guru Tek Bahadur and Guru Gobind Singh Ji in Golden Temple. These masands and their lineages/generations are the main enemies of the Panth, these thieves have been robbing us of our political, spiritual, and material power. They have always accompanied the enemies of the Panth to weaken the Sikhs.
    The committee system was introduced into Sikh Spiritual Institution by the British War Office to divide the Sikh Panth.
    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

  3. Also, we need to remember, our lives are interwoven with the thread of One Universal Energy. As such, the influence of our daily actions, conduct, and decisions spreads in ever-widening circles.

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