Daan means donation, or giving anything to somebody without any charge. In Hindu religion Daan has a great importance. It is believed that Daan is able to remove many obstacles of life. It is also believed that whatever we give in this life it helps us in our other lives.
Whenever any bad Dashaa (time) comes in somebody’s life, often Pandit prescribe Daan. Even at many auspicious occasions Daan is given, for example at the time of birth of a child; at the time of doing any fast, or Yagya, or special worship; on some festivals (Sankraanti, at the time of lunar or solar eclipse etc); or at the time of death; or while being in Teerth (holy) places etc etc.
Daan are of several types, such as:
1. food, cooked or uncooked – When you feed somebody; or give raw food like fruits, rice, grains, vegetables to somebody. This is often given to hungry people, poor people, Braahman. It is of very high importance. Many people do this on daily basis.
2. Education (Vidyaa Daan) – Vidyaa Daan is another type of Daan. In this one, one himself may teach something to somebody, or give money to learn something, or give scholarships to further them in their lives. This is also of very high importance as it is very difficult to get a good teacher (Guru) as how to learn, or even money to learn something?
3. Daughter (Kanyaa Daan at the time of her marriage) – In Hindu religion a girl is always donated to a suitable boy. This is also of great importance. Normally parents donate their daughter to the boy, but if the girl has no parents than some person, such as elder brother, Maamaa (maternal uncle), Chaachaa (paternal uncles) donates her to the boy. If there is no relative present then some other elderly person can do it. Its importance is so much that if some couple doesn’t have his own daughter then they donate some other’s daughter in their life time.
4. Clothes or any other worldly materials – Normally this is donated to poor and needy people and to Braahman. It is very common to Braahman on some festivals (Sankraanti) and on performing religious rites of a person (birth, marriage, death etc); and to poor people at the time of lunar and solar eclipses, or while being at a religious place (Teerth), or any other time whenever some needy comes on the door. It includes all kinds of things used for living (required, of comfort, even of luxury), wealth, etc.
5. Cow (Gau Daan) – Cow has a great importance in Hindu religion. Since ancient times cows have been donated by kings and other people to Braahman and others. Although it can be donated any time, but it is believed that at least one cow must be donated in one man’s life time. Many people do it just before their death.
6. Bhoo Daan – Donation of land. In this type of Daan land is donated to needy people. Vinoba Bhaave’s “Bhoodaan movement” is famous in Indian history in which he took land from rich people and gave it to poor.
It is imperative that all Daan should be given to Supaatra. Supaatra means whoever is worthy to get it. Donation to unworthy people for that particular Daan is wasting that thing, such as feeding any rich man has no purpose of donating food.