Showing posts with label Begging. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Begging. Show all posts

Hinduism - What Is The Significance Of Begging In A Hindu Society?


In traditional Hindu culture, one of the approved sources of subsistence that, depending on the circumstances, is a symbol of either extremely low or very high rank. 

Some beggars are just impoverished, handicapped, or unable to care for themselves and their family, and must rely on gifts (dana) to live. 

  • Such beggars have a low social standing, but they may earn a good livelihood if they dwell in a conducive setting, such as a pilgrimage site (tirtha), where offering gifts is a frequent religious act. 
  • Apart from the obvious drawbacks of low social standing, unpredictable income, and having to endure ridicule and verbal abuse, these beggars also face the shame of living on charity rather than earning money. 
  • This is karmically unfavorable since giving presents is one of the ways individuals get rid of bad luck, which is passed on to the recipient with the gift. 

In many instances, a beggar is seen as nothing more than a tool to be exploited, and the most frequent term for them is patra (“vessel”). 

  • Some ascetics earn a livelihood through begging as well, although they fall into a distinct group. 
  • These are individuals who, in the ideal scenario, have given up all apparent means of support in order to abandon the world; this distinguishes them from the impoverished, who are still members of society, although at the lowest level. 

Supporting ascetics, at least those who are considered true spiritual searchers, has widespread societal acceptance, and it is generally seen as a source of religious virtue. 

  • Although it may be difficult to tell the difference between poorer ascetics and regular beggars, the contrast between the most renowned ascetics is quite apparent. 
  • By taking gifts, such revered ascetics bestow prestige on those who provide them, and as a result, they tend to scrutinize donors and their motivations extremely carefully in order to preserve their reputations. 

Related to - Karma.

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