Tithing in Hinduism


wealthymatters.comHinduism is a religion without a central church and there is little in it by way of dogma.So there is no compulsion for Hindus to give either to religious or secular charitable organizations .

However,one of the niyamas/observances or practices is dana/charitable giving.This impulse to give has to come from inside and the ideal is to give generously and without thought or expectation of reward. 

Another niyam of Hinduism is observing sacred vows or vratas.One of the vratas observed is Dashama Bhaga Vrata: meaning  “One-tenth-part vow” in Sanskrit.It is a promise a person makes to a God, or Gods to donate regularly for a specified time, or for the rest of their life ,one tenth of one’s gainful and gifted income.

Together these 2 niyams lead to Dashamamsha (One- Tenth- Sharing in Sanskrit) or Makimai (in Tamil),where people donate a tenth of their income to the Gods in temples or religious institutions.The Dashamamsha is not seen as an offering to God but as God’s share of the bounty.Giving as soon as the income is received is believed to sanctifiy the remaining portion and reap the greatest punya.Dashamamsha is an acknowledgement of God’s part in the person’s good fortune. 

Dashamamsha brings a greater awareness of God’s power in the world and the givers are uplifted to a purer  spiritual consciousness and abundance naturally floods into their lives.

Dashamamsha of course need not be restricted to making donations to temples and ashrams.Many people believe in “Manav seva Prabhu seva” meaning service to makind is service to God, so one’s 10% can go to feed the hungry,provide drinking water, house the poor and destitute , build schools and colleges and set up hospitals.Further Dashamamsha need not stop at serving humans only. It is perfectly acceptable to provide gaushalas for cows,feed stray animals,create artificial lakes and plant forests etc. with the resources a person wishes to give away.

So tithing of a sort exists in Hinduism and amongst the vast majority of Indians who are Hindus.Tithing is purely voluntary.And the ideal giver donates generously from his heart without expectating any reward  including publicity . Small wonder that ‘The Giving Pledge’ Movement makes so many Indians acutely uncomfortable. The attempt to use peer pressure to get people to give is at direct odds with a tradition that expects charitable impulses to originate from within.It feels like caving in to pressure rather than giving graciously.Also the attendant publicity surrounding the pledges sits ill at ease with a conscience trained to revere a generous donation given anonymously.

About Keerthika Singaravel
Engineer,Investor,Businessperson

2 Responses to Tithing in Hinduism

  1. prajat says:

    Thanks for adding an excellent resource to the world-wide-web; keep it coming.

  2. geddam ravi says:

    Kindly enlighten me the text from where you get Tithing in the hindu concept,,,, please denote the veda or any text any where it is mentioned as such.. .

    regards
    ravi

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