Cultivating generosity: gifting in South Asia

gifts…the religious gift, dana [Sanskrit] or dan [Hindi] in the Indic context … should not be given to a family member or a benefactor, for those gifts inherently carry some emotional weight, but the most fruitful dana is given to a worthy recipient with no consideration of return or thanks….Its moral merit certainly should not be recognized publicly or socially, and it allows no expectation or opportunity for reciprocity, for this would taint the gift…. ‘Dan is given to strangers, and it does not matter whether the recipients are Hindu. What matters is that an attachment or relationship with the recipient does not exist.'”

-Diana L.  Eck, “The Religious Gift: Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain Perspectives on Dana,” Social Research 2013; 80 (2): 361, 371; including a quote from Erica Bornstein, Disquieting Gifts: Humanitarianism in New Delhi (Stanford Univ. Press, 2012), 30.

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