Dama, Daya and Dana

Dama, Daya and Dana

Control of the senses, mercy and charity

Almost everybody love success. Success comes with purity, patience, perseverance and practice.

What is Purity ?

Purity has 2 meanings:

  • External – It is like taking a bath. A bath can be with water, air, Holy Ash, or with Mantra    (a special combination of spiritual letters and words)
  • Internal – It means both internal or mental calmness, and ignoring the biological ego and substituting it with Istha Deva or God. This is also known as Yagyam or Sacrifice, the most important activity of God as well as all beings, especially human beings. It is highly practiced in the Vedas and Vedanta, Yoga scriptures and The Holy Bhagavad Gita

What is Sacrifice?

In the Upanishads it is mentioned:

ब्रह्म मेधया । मधु मेधया । ब्रह्ममेव मधुमेधया
brahma medhaya । madhu medhaya । brahmameva madhumedhaya


English Translation

Perfection or Self Realization is attained by sacrifice as interpreted in Yoga Scriptures. Meditation is a form of sacrifice where one’s individual ego-consciousness is offered as a sacrifice to the Universal or God Awareness and realization.

Foundation of Sacrifice

This type of meditation or sacrifices to the Supreme Being generates spiritual knowledge, which is made possible by a suitable Guru, the right scripture, right disciple and proper environment. The foundation is sacrifice, may it be in the form of,

  • Brahman Yagnya
  • Prana Yagnya
  • Vedic ritualistic Yagnya

In The Bhagavad Gita it is mentioned,

यज्ञार्थात्कर्मणोऽन्यत्र लोकोऽयं कर्मबन्धन:
तदर्थं कर्म कौन्तेय मुक्तसङ्ग: समाचर

yajnarthat karmano nyatra loko yam karma-bandhanah
tad-artham karma kaunteya mukta-sangah samachara


English Translation

Any action (in thought, speech, and action) that is performed without the Spirit of Sacrifice causes bondage of action, sin, or impurity and prevents God-Realization. Therefore, O Arjuna, for Self Realization, performs all actions as a service of sacrifice to God, which can also be achieved by performing an action without being mentally attached to the results brought about by the actions, This is Yagnya or Sacrifice

The Story of Da, Da, Da

There is a nice story in the Vedas, the most ancient scriptures of knowledge. At the beginning of Creation, God created 3 groups of beings:

  • The Devas or Gods
  • The Daanavas or Mighty yet non-spiritual beings
  • Human beings, the weakest

At first, all these beings didn’t know how to live, conduct, or maintain themselves. So turn by turn, they sent their leader to God to consult Him, to ask him how they should live and conduct themselves so that they can enjoy happiness, health, wealth, and prosperity. First, The Gods sent their leader Indra Dev to consult God. Indra Dev prayed and meditated on God. God taught a single Sanskrit letter to him: “DA”. Indra Dev returned to the Gods, but could not pass on the right knowledge to them, as he could not understand the meaning of the word “DA”.

Then the Daanavas, sent their leader Vairocana, to get advice and instruction from God. He prayed and meditated on God. As an instruction, God uttered loudly the one word “DA”. Vairocana came back confused, as he did not understand the meaning. Lastly, Human beings sent their King to get advice and instruction from God. The King too prayed and meditated on God. God gave the same instruction “DA”. The King also came back to his people and couldn’t pass on the meaning of the teaching of God. So all Devas, Daanavas, and Human beings prayed to God.

Suddenly a booming voice sounded from the Heavens, “O, Devas, you are created to be disease-less, deathless and always you are youthful. So you are more prone to overindulgence in enjoyments. For you, the Dharma or Bouden Duty is “DA”, i.e. “DAMA“, the control of the senses.

Then God addressed the Daanavas: O, Daanavas, you are created to be strong, huge, and fearless and tend to become merciless and cruel. So your Dharma is to practice “DA” as “DAYA” or kindness and mercy.

Lastly, God said to Human beings: “O, Human beings, you are weak in many ways. your Dharma is to practice “DA” as “DANA” or charity.

The interesting thing is that in every person the above mentioned 3 personalities are present. These are overindulgence in sense enjoyments, cruelty, anger, tyranny, greed, the accumulation and hoarding of wealth. Also not using it for a good and noble purpose and misusing it or not using it at all. Overindulgence in sense enjoyment leads to the externalization of the mind and proportionate weakening of the involved organs, premature old age, and diseases. Persistent externalization of the mind, associated with sense pleasures, prevents concentration power of the mind and effectively prevents higher or spiritual evolution to perfection, Universal Oneness, or Self Realization.

Lessons from the Da, Da, Da Story

Kindness, Mercy and Forgiveness

Weak people try to find strength and security in money power. The more the bank balance, the more the sense of false security. One can’t enjoy hoarded money and wealth because when death comes one can’t carry or claim it. After the death of the owner, many claimants express and want their share, which is again misused. During a lifetime, this hoarded money can’t be used for noble work, for the benefit of the poor and sick people. So there is no Punya or spirituality. In the absence of Punya, it is Paapa or non-spirituality only. During all the above stages, only the ego and its negative aspects are strengthened, at the cost of God-Realization.

Daily Charity or Daanam

The amount of daily charity or Daanam depends on your earning capacity. It has been seen that those who do charity for a noble purpose, get their wealth multiplied manifold. In most cases when a person wants to donate to charity, 2 forces act on him.

  • Lower or Biological Force – It tries to hold him back from giving to charity.
  • Higher or Spiritual Force – It tries to persuade him to sacrifice the Lower Self and donate money or wealth to charity. In most cases, the Higher or Spiritual Force wins and the Lower or biological force is sacrificed by the will-power of the donor. This sacrifice is known as “Bali”.

बलम वर्धनं ददाति इति बलि
balam vardhanam dadāti iti bali

That which increases the strength, will, or spiritual power is Bali (Sacrifice)

3 Qualities present in every Human Being

These following qualities of the Devas, Daanavas and human beings are present in each and every person.

  • Devas or Gods – Divine and Godly
  • Daanavas – arrogance, and tyranny
  • Human beings – greed and weakness

So to practice spirituality or Yoga for Self Realization, the meaning of the 3 letters DA, DA, DA was given by God should be practiced daily. Dama or sense control, Daya or forgiveness, Dana or charity, sharing of wealth for a noble cause, helping the needy individual or community are the basis of Higher or Spiritual life and practice.

Without practicing the basic rules, if one practices higher techniques of Yoga it will be a futile exercise. This is equivalent to pouring water in a pot that has a hole at the bottom; all water will escape and can’t be stored. Therefore as you progress with your Kriya Yoga and spiritual practice, you need to actively practice the 3 basics of spirituality.

Basics of Spirituality

3 basics of fruitful spirituality :

  • Try your best to control your senses and sensual gratifications.
  • Be kind and forgiving.
  • Avoid anger and criticizing the faults of others.
  • Be free from jealousy.
  • The world is a big place and there is an opportunity for everybody.
  • Donate to charity generously.
  • Serve the Daridra-Narayana and Rogi-Narayana, i.e. God appearing as poor, destitute, and diseased, suffering people.

May the Almighty, working through Lord Krishna and Arjuna, Bless, Guide, Protect and Inspire you and remove your troubles.

With Love and Blessings to you. Humbly,
Paramahansa Atmananda Ji