Chapter 17: The Divisions of Faith
datavyam iti yad danam
dese kale ca patre ca
tad danam sattvikam smrtam
datavyam—worth giving; iti—thus; yat—that which; danam—charity; diyate—given; anupakarine—to any person irrespective of doing good; dese—in place; kale—in time; ca—also; patre—suitable person; ca—and; tat—that; danam—charity; sattvikam—in the mode of goodness; smrtam—consider.
That gift which is given out of duty, at the proper time and place, to a worthy person, and without expectation of return, is considered to be charity 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 brahmana or a Vaisnava (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.