Dana is a dharma action followed in every yuga as it prevents selfishness, ignorance and helps other beings to live very peacefully.
But, the Dana which helps society can also bring problems to it if Dana is given to anyone without contemplating what Dana we are giving and to whom.


  • Giving money to a lazy person will make him lazier.
  • Assume he has a powerful weapon(nuclear bomb) and giving dana to any terrorist will cause destruction.
  • Giving knowledge of yogic powers to an ignorant man will cause only problem to society.
  • Karna gave his kavacha to lord Indra and it brought him death.


  • When we give Dana, should we consider what we are giving and to whom we are giving?
  • Can we refuse to give Dana to a person who seeks it to do adharma and if we give it, will it cause bad karma to us?
  • Giving Dana to an adharma person and help him to do more adharma is of adharma or not?
  • What are the rules for giving Dana?
  • Great question, was discussing this with a friend of mine. IMHO, daan should not be given to anyone who doesn't deserve it, which in turn depends on how one looks at world, sees pain and hunger and poverty or people so wicked that they can do anything to cheat others like asking for money by showing their pain in public.
    – ABcDexter
    Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 15:53
  • @ABcDexter thanks friend i also think in your way for giving dana for whom that deserves it but scriptures can show the accurate way to be followed. So only i asked this one
    – Sakthi
    Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 16:06

4 Answers 4


First of all dealing with Apatra Dana or charity given to the undeserving candidate.This is condemned in Scriptures.

From the book "Essence of Dharma Bindu "

Devala Maharshi clarifies: Charity given in small or large quanties is irrelevant but whatever is handed over with Shraddha bhakti or reverence and sincerity are given and the recipient too should truly desire and deserve it! Contrariwise, there might be negative impact!

The Skanda Purana says one of the Dana Nashakas(destroyer of charity or of the purpose of it) is Apatra Dana.

Now, there are three kinds of ‘Daan Naashak’ reasons viz. ‘Paschattaap’ or regret of having given the Daan; ‘Apaatra Daan’ or charity to the wrong and undeserved person or ‘Ashraddha Daan’is to a person on account of laziness. Paschattapaya Daan indicates as to why the Daan is given at all; Ashraddha Daan is Rakshasa Daan and Apaatra Daan is as bad as not giving it away .

Mahamuni Vyasa warns against Apatra Dana as follows:

In good fields the seeds must be sown ; in good recipients the gifts should be stored. Whatever is cast in a good field or recepient can not suffer any deterioration. (49)

Gifts made unto an illiterate (Brahmana), like seeds sown in a sandy soil, or clarified butter kept in a pot of asheS) or libations poured over burnt out cinders prove abortive (fail to bear any merit). (62)

Vyasa Smriti,Chapter 4

Similarly Mahamuni Atri says:

There is no Shastra superior to the Veda, there is no elderly person superior to the mother ; and there is no friend superior to charity both in this world and and in the next. But what is given to an unworthy person, consumes the family up to the seventh generation. (149)

Atri Smriti,Chapter 1,Verse 149.

And what should be given in charity depends on what exactly the receiver is in need of the most.For example if one his hungry give him food instead of clothes and so on.

From the same Skanda Purana page:

The donors of charity must have the perspective of what kind of material is required or useful to the receiver or otherwise the purpose of charity would be defeated

Many rules of Charity are given in the Skanda Purana page linked above.You can read them.

In general this is what Shandilya Mahamuni prescribes:

Ayaachtaani deyaani sarva daanaani yatnatah, Annam Vidyaaha Kanyaachahyanarthibhyona deeyate| Dvaamimau purushaa loke swargasyopari tishthatah, Anna pradaataa durbhikshe subhikshe hema vastradah ||

Shandalya Muni mentions that all types of charities be offered without being asked for and with clean conscience or with no view of securing returns; however Vidya, Kanya and Anna must not be offered without being asked for as a rule! Indeed, there are two types of charity givers who attain Swarga for sure: those who heartily give away Food during Durbhiksha and also those who happily give away gold and clothing during the days of general prosperity(from the book Essence of Dharma Bindu)

Adding another verse from Manu Smriti which aptly answer your third question.

Manu Smriti 9.271. All those also who in villages give food to thieves or grant them room for (concealing their implements), he shall cause to be put to death

So,the king should punish the thieves and also those who offer food and houses to the thieves equally.

This means,if you donate something to a person and which he uses latter to perform an Adharma then you are also sharing his guilt.


This chapter of the Manu Smriti explains the circumstances in which you should and should not give to someone:

One should give, according to one's ability, wealth to Brahmanas learned in the Veda and living alone; (thus) one obtains after death heavenly bliss.... Accepting presents from blamed men, trading, serving Sudras, and speaking a falsehood, make (the offender) unworthy to receive gifts (Apatra).

And here is what Krishna says in chapter 17 of the Bhagavad Gita:

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. But charity performed with the expectation of some return, or with a desire for fruitive results, or in a grudging mood is said to be charity in the mode of passion. And charity performed at an impure place, at an improper time, to unworthy persons, or without proper attention and respect is said to be in the mode of ignorance.

Here is how Adi Shankaracharya explains the worthy person part:

patre, to a (proper) person-to one who is versed in the Vedas together with their six branches, and such others

And here is how he explains the unworthy person part:

apatrebhyah, to undeserving persons, to fools, thieves and others

  • Is this kind of charity is considered bad ??? >> But charity performed with the expectation of some return, or with a desire for fruitive results, or in a grudging mood is said to be charity in the mode of passion
    – C Sharper
    Commented Feb 27, 2017 at 7:45
  • Eg. Some people do annadana to avoid some graha dosha or to attain Putra Prapti.. so there is desire of nullifying effect of grahadosha or having putraprapti in this donation , so do this kind of donation gives him merit ??
    – C Sharper
    Commented Feb 27, 2017 at 7:47
  • 1
    nowdays we see many fake beggars who work for some mafia , so it is difficult to detect whether he truly needs it or he is faking us , in this case should we give or not, because to us he may seem worthy .
    – Friendy
    Commented Mar 13, 2017 at 5:54
Is it Adharma to give Dana without considering what we are giving  and whom we are giving.

We find exact answers to the above questions in our Purana’s also.. Puranic literature discusses about different kind of charitable gifts , who is eligible to provide charitable gifts their merits and demerits etc. .in very detail.

For example Form Skanda Purana we come to know that “ Danna has two “Hetus” (cause, motives),Six “Adhisthanas” (base),Six Angas (ancillaries), Two “Pakas”(Places of fruition), Four “Prakaras (Varieties) ,Three “Vidhies”(Procedures) and Three “Nasas”( Destructive factors or Agents).

Here is what Garuda Purana says :-

अथात: संप्रवक्षामि दानधर्मनुत्तमम |
अर्थनमुचिते पात्रे श्रद्धया प्रतिपादनम् ||१||

Meaning -Brahma said :- I will now describe the most excellent rules of making charities. wealth should be respectfully given to worthy person. (GP Vol. 2 , Chapter 51 ,Page 119 ).

So its clear that we should give charitable gifts to a person , who is worthy of it.

Here what Skanda Purana Says-: Skanda Purana Vol.2 Chapter 4 –Dialogue Between Narada and Arjuna: Different kind of charitable gifts.

  1. Hence ,Lord Rudra is gratified with that charitable gift offered by a faithful one and given to a deserving one.

  2. Expecting something in return , if a gift is made on certain occasions with great attachment (but) to undeserving person it is called “kamaDana” (ie. Dana based on desire).

  3. If anything is Gifted to good people , the benefit thereof if attained in the other world..If any Gift made to Bad People ,the benefit thereof is enjoyed here (in this world) itself.

Further Skanda Purana (Chapter 5 ,Dialogue between Narada and Sutanu) gives us more detail answer of your question.

  1. If deserving persons are ignored and a charitable Gift is offered to an undeserving person , it is (as bad as) offering Gavahnika (a daily measure of food given to a cow) to a donkey , after ignoring cow.

  2. if a charitable gift offered to a fool is transitory and worthless like a seed sown in barren land.

  3. If a monetary gift is offered to an undererving persons and contrary to the injunctions , not only does the money so offered vanish , but also the remaining merit is destroyed..

    न्यायोपर्जित वितस्य दशमांशेन धीमत:|
    कर्तव्यो विनियोगश्च ईश्वर्प्रीत्यर्थमेव च ||

No virtue accrues from charity that is given out of ill gotten wealth. In giving charity out of duty it is important that one must adhere to morality and ethics Here

Hence from the above verses its clear to us that , its not recommended to make Dana to a undeserving person. Although the scriptures are not saying this act as “Adharma” but Further from analysis of verses , we can say that , If a person knowing all this offers charitable gifts to undeserving bad People then certainly it will be a “Adharma”


Neetishastra says

వృథా వృష్టిః సముద్రేషు వృథా తృప్తస్య భోజనం
వృథా దానం కదర్యస్య వృథా దీపో దివాపి చ.

vṛthā vṛṣṭiḥ samudreṣu vṛthā tṛptasya bhojanaṃ
vṛthā dānaṃ kadaryasya vṛthā dīpo divāpi ca.

The following actions are considered of no avail: Heavy rains in sea, food given to a satiated person, Charity given to the rich and lighting the lamp during daytime.

Also apAtra dAnam (Charity to unworthy) is prohibited.


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