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True Daanam

This Sunday we have a story from Mahabharatha as told by Maha Periyava in Deivathin Kural(Voice of God). Let us go straight away to the story.

In the Mahabharatha, after the Kurukshetra war, Yudhishthira becomes the king. He decides to perform an Ashvamedha Yagna(Horse Sacrifice). Yudhishthira planned an Annadana அன்னதானம் (Food donation) for the subjects of his kingdom. Every person's stomach was filled by the Annadanam and was happy with Yudhishthira for planning such a grand Annadanam. They started praising the king.

The lord who made the Pandavas win, thought that if the people starts praising the Pandavas, they will welcome ego in their minds. He thought of belittling them. Not only belittling them, he also thought of making the people understand about true Daanam.

While the common people were praising, there came a mongoose with exactly half of its body in golden colour. The mongoose rolled over the food which was spilt in the place. The mongoose then started to talk in human voice. "What kind of Daanam is this? What kind of Yagna is this? This cannot come near the Unjavrathi Brahmana's (உஞ்சவ்ருத்தி பிராம்மணர்) Daanam in Kurukshetra". Let us now see who is an Unjavrathi Brahmana.

According to the Shastras, when the land is ploughed and when the owner carries the grain, he should not take all the grains. He should leave some part. A Brahmana who has nothing to eat, should take this left out part of the grains. Such a Brahmana is called Unjavrathi Brahmana(உஞ்சவ்ருத்தி பிராம்மணர்). 'Unjam'(உஞ்சம்) means taking the left out part.

The people who were listening the mongoose's comment asked about the Unjavrathi Brahmana. The Golden mongoose started telling about the Unjavrathi Brahmana.

"Long ago in Kurukshetra, a severe drought occurred. The Unjavrathi Brahmana(உஞ்சவ்ருத்தி பிராம்மணர்) suffered due to drought with shortage of food. Sometime, somewhere, he collected very small amount of wheat. The wheat was almost stale. The wheat was made into a flour. In his house there were 4 people-he, his wife, his son and his daughter-in-law. The flour was enough for them for just one meal. They sat for eating.

Suddenly they heard a voice "Please give me food". All 4 of them came forward to give their share. At last, the Brahmana gave his share to the guest. The guest was still hungry. So, the Brahmana's wife gave her share to the guest. Still he was not satisfied. So, he was given the Brahmana's son's share. But still, he was hungry. At last, the Brahmana's daughter-in-law also gave her share.

Suddenly, Dharma Devatai appeared before them and told that he was the guest who had come to eat. "I came to test you people. You people have proved yourselves. You people will come to Swargaloka", saying so, he disappeared. At last, they were taken into Swarga with grand welcome.

The mongoose told this story to the people. The mongoose said "At that time I was in that house. Half of my body had touched the food which had been spilt in the house. That's why half of my body is shining in golden colour. In order to make my other half too in golden colour, I started rolling over the spilt over food wherever Annadanam takes place. But it didn't happen as it happened in the Brahmana's house".

From this story, we understand about true Daanam. The Daanam which is given with pure heart is more powerful than doing Daanam for Ashvamedha Yagna's sake.



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