Episode # 205 – “ANNA DHAANAM” is one of the greatest aspects of “Dharma” – Sage Sukhaachaarya explains!!!

Little Krishna

In the previous episode we had an extended discussion in connection with an important aspect of “Dharma” called “Aatma-Vimarshana”, which Sage Sukhaachaarya is narrating to King Parikshit. The underlying point behind this aspect of “Dharma” is that, before pointing fingers at others for their fault, we should make sure that we’re perfect in what we do. Most of the times due to our human limitations, it might not be possible for us to achieve 100% perfection in whatever we do. There might be some loopholes here and there. We should remember that this same rule applies for others too. So, it is not right on our part to keep passing adverse comments on someone for something that is not happening the way it should. Perhaps, if we’re doing so, we should make sure that our comments are constructive in nature, so that the faults can be potentially corrected as we move forward.

This is very important in today’s scenario because we’re in the grip of a deadly pandemic and governments across the globe are trying their best to overcome this situation and to minimize the damage that is being caused. Many governments including that of our Bhaarata Desha are doing a phenomenal job, given their own various limitations and constraints. Hence, as a responsible citizen, it is our duty to follow the directives given by the government, rather than criticizing and creating a sense of fear amongst people. Again, in the Indian context, it is extremely sad to know that some people with “vested interests” in the political circles are constantly trying all their tricks in the trade to instill fear among the poor people. This has a potential capability to create an unrest in the country. Such attempts need to be stopped immediately and everybody, irrespective of whatever political or religious or personal ideologies should come together to fight the pandemic. At this point, we should realize that our enemy is not our fellow human beings, but the Coronavirus. As a request to common people like us, please do not fall into these fear mongers’ attempts. Let us stand united with each other and show these people that their attempts to malign humanity are going to get futile. As we march together to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, let us also teach a befitting lesson to those people trying to play cheap politics over this serious situation. Thus, the point here is that, we should stop unwantedly criticizing and commenting about others and should mend our own ways before we mend others’! Hence, let us follow this important point.

With this point, we’ve witnessed twenty different aspects of “Dharma” as narrated by Sage Sukhaachaarya. Moving on with the next few aspects of “Dharma”, Sage Sukhaachaarya explains thus:

“Annaadhyaahdeehe samvibhaagaha bhootebhyascha yathaarhathaha!”

Here, Sage Sukhaachaarya explains a very important “Dharma” – When it comes to food, we should make sure that we share our food with others and consume, rather than consuming everything all by ourselves. For instance, if we have a very tasty sweet in our hand, we should make sure that we distribute the sweet to others too, and only then consume it. Although we might like the sweet item very much, we should resist that temptation to consume the entire block of sweet all by ourselves. This is of paramount importance and in fact, our entire Bhaarata Desha’s fabric is built on this aspect of “Dharma” only. Our traditional and ancestral characteristic was to cultivate food grains, vegetables, fruits, etc. in abundance so that it can be distributed to all our people, without any shortage. It is only because of this noble attitude and generosity of our esteemed farmers even today, India is able to sustain its food requirements without any problem. Despite our burgeoning population, we are able to supply food and necessary items to all our people, and this itself is a huge achievement! We can see many countries around the world, not being able to achieve this feat, but our India is able to. This is primarily because we are the ones who propagate to this world that sharing of food items is part of our life. The happiness and satisfaction of consuming good quality food shouldn’t be restricted only to ours, but should be spread across the whole country.

To narrate this point more interestingly, if we see birds like crows, pigeons, etc. even they have the characteristic of sharing whatever food they get. Birds have their own way of communicating with each other and it might be remarkable to observe how birds call each other when they come across food. If even birds can follow this noble aspect of “Dharma”, what is going to stop human beings like us to follow it? This is one of the many small lessons that we can learn from animals and birds. Thus, the point here is that, when it comes to food, we should always make sure that we share the food with others and never consume anything all by ourselves.

This is why we have this practice of doing “Anna-Dhaanam” for many important occasions in India. For instance, when it comes to a marriage function or any religious celebrations, the first thing that all of us do is to provide quality food for all people who come to attend the celebrations. In fact, wherever the “Saptaaham” of this very text of Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana is being held, one important ingredient of the entire seven-day event is food! After each day’s recitation, it is a customary practice to offer tasty and delicious food to all people who have come to listen to the narratives. Thus, “Anna-Dhaanam” occupies a paramount place in our rich and diverse Indian culture and tradition and we should appreciate it at this point.

So for today, let us introspect this important “Dharma” within us and let us do the needful. We shall wait till the next episode to witness the next aspect of “Dharma” as narrated by Sage Sukhaachaarya. Stay tuned! 😊

Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham in Kerala, India. A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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