Chapter 17: The Divisions of Faith

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Bhagavad-gītā As It Is 17.20

dātavyam iti yad dānam

dīyate 'nupakārine

deśe kāle ca pātre ca

tad dānam sāttvikam smritam


dātavyam — worth giving; iti — thus; yat — that which; dānam — charity; dīyate — is given; anupakārine — irrespective of return; deśein a proper place; kāle — at a proper time; ca — also; pātreto a suitable person; ca — and; tat — that; dānam — charity; sāttvikamin the mode of goodness; smritam — is considered.


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.


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 brāhmana or a Vaishnava (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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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness