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Bg. 17.20

दातव्यमिति यद्दानं दीयतेऽनुपकारिणे ।
देशे काले च पात्रे च तद्दानं सात्त्विकं स्मृतम् ॥ २० ॥
dātavyam iti yad dānaṁ
dīyate ’nupakāriṇe
deśe kāle ca pātre ca
tad dānaṁ sāttvikaṁ smṛtam

Synonyms

dātavyam — worth giving; iti — thus; yat — that which; dānam — charity; dīyate — is given; anupakāriṇe — irrespective of return; deśe — in a proper place; kāle — at a proper time; ca — also; pātre — to a suitable person; ca — and; tat — that; dānam — charity; sāttvikam — in the mode of goodness; smṛtam — is considered.

Translation

Charity given out of duty, without expectation of return, at the proper time and place, and to a worthy person is considered to be in the mode of goodness.

Purport

In the Vedic literature, charity given to a person engaged in spiritual activities is recommended. There is no recommendation for giving charity indiscriminately. Spiritual perfection is always a consideration. Therefore charity is recommended to be given at a place of pilgrimage and at lunar or solar eclipses or at the end of the month or to a qualified brāhmaṇa or a Vaiṣṇava (devotee) or in temples. Such charities should be given without any consideration of return. Charity to the poor is sometimes given out of compassion, but if a poor man is not worth giving charity to, then there is no spiritual advancement. In other words, indiscriminate charity is not recommended in the Vedic literature.

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