Daan: Share in humility. Practice of Daan helps to remove the tension which comes due to attachment.
Daan is the second aspect of the Five Fold Path of living.
Learn to share a part of your income and your possessions with others. This is Daan. Daan is not merely giving cash or material possessions. It involves several disciplines. If the disciplines are not observed, Daan becomes mere donation. We practice Daan to reduce our attachment to worldly possessions. Such attachment puts great tension on the mind and makes it difficult for us to become happy. A rich man has many things and he is attached to them while a poor man has nothing but he is hankering after things which he does not have. Both of them tend to put a premium on unhappiness because of attachment.
Practice of Daan helps to remove the tension which comes due to attachment. Daan has the following disciplines:
1. You give Daan because it is your duty to do so. This means you are not obliging the person to whom you give. You should consider yourself obliged by the person who accepts your gift. He is the instrumental cause to enable you to transform your mind and, hence, he is obliging you.
2. Do not give Daan for name or fame. If you give cash or material possessions for name or fame it is not Daan. Daan has to be done in secrecy. “Let your left hand not know what your right hand does.” If you talk about it to others it is likely to nourish your pride and our aim of removing tension on the mind will not be achieved.
3. Everyone wants to be happy and, hence, everyone has to share his assets in a spirit of humility. A rich man has to give and a poor man has to give. A rich man can receive and a poor man can receive Daan.
4. Daan needs to be made out of one’s own earnings.
5. The person to whom you give needs to be a proper person.
A hungry man is a proper person to receive food. A person in need of necessities of life is a proper person to receive them in kind or cash. In all other cases Daan should be given to a person who is normally given to what, according to you, are good habits. If you give Daan to somebody whom you think is likely to spend it on wrong purposes, then it is not Daan. Not only have you not done a good act but you involve yourself in a bad act as you become instrumental in pushing him into wrong things and you become a partner in his guilt. If Daan is given to a rich person he is likely to spend
the amount again in Daan by adding his own to it. If Daan is given to a poor person he is likely to spend it on good works.
If Daan is given to a holy person you are always safe as he would certainly spend it for the benefit of society. Use your discretion in such matters. Money in English is also called “currency”. The word is not “stagnancy”. It means, like the current of a river, it has to be kept moving in Daan.
If you practice Daan with all the discipline involved, what happens? You part with one hundred dollars and within a short time you get back a little over a hundred dollars in cash or some material benefit. This is a super physical law of nature and hence inviolable. Daan is therefore called a material aid to happy living. You will also notice that in times of your need things come to you without asking for them. More importantly, you do not feel the tension when things go bad materially, as you get into the habit of non-attachment to worldly possessions.
Agnihotra and Daan, the first two aspects of the Fivefold Path, give a push to the mind in the right direction and your ability to choose between right and wrong improves. Your will to act according to the judgment given by your power of discrimination is strengthened and you are aided to get out of a vicious circle into a virtuous cycle.
The biggest push in this direction comes from Agnihotra as it totally changes the coloration of the mind and your journey on the next three aspects of the Fivefold Path becomes facile.