I was wondering if there is any reference to giving of tithe (a certain percentage of ones income) in Vedas?

Is dana same as tithe?

  • I don't think dana and tithe are the same. Dana is charity in general, not necessarily to a Hindu or to a Hindu organization. Whereas tithe (as per Google's definition) refers to giving the percent money to the Church :). Dana is more general and does not have any restrictions or stipulations I believe. One can give as much as one requires. All the best sir!!
    – Sai
    Feb 23, 2015 at 17:46

1 Answer 1


Swami Nikhilananda in talking about Hindu ethics says:

A few words may be said here to explain why objective morality or social welfare has been relegated to a secondary position in Hindu ethics. It is individuals, after all, who constitute society. If individuals perfection is emphasized, so the Hindu philosophers argued, social welfare will follow automatically. Secondarily, Hindu society, in olden times, was prosperous. The people as a rule, prized spiritual values...The general moral tone was high. Everyman was expected to follow his dharma, or duty. Men were generous and charitable. No great need was felt for organized charity, which even in European society became prominent only in the wake of the Industrial Revolution. And lastly, according to the dominant Hindu philosophical view, the empirical world is not ultimate reality. All values here are impermanent...Hence moral laws have only an instrumental, and not an intrinsic value...

Tithe is a Christian term for giving to a church. There are no churches in Hinduism. There are brahmins. What should be given to brahmins is outlined in the Laws of Manu. Read Chapter III. The most pertinent verses 91 - 129 in Chapter III., although there are relevant verses after verse 129 also.

There are other verses in late chapters of the Laws of Manu that deal with charity in general.

Swami Vivekananda in his poem The Living God says:

He who is in you and outside you, Who works through all hands, Who walks on all feet, Whose body are all ye, Him worship, and break all other idols!

He who is at once the high and low, The sinner and the saint, Both God and worm, Him worship--visible, knowable, real, omnipresent, Break all other idols!

and later in the same poem...

Ye fools who neglect the living God, And His infinite reflections with which the world is full. While ye run after imaginary shadows, That lead to fights and quarrels, Him worship, the only visible! Break all other idols!

Charity is to worship the living God, omnipresent everywhere, in all beings. If you truly love God, what will you not give to Him?

  • Thank you for your response. My apologies for using a christian term. I have heard of the Sanskrit term "Dashamamsha". What does it mean? Is there difference between Dashamamsha and Dana?
    – user2538
    Feb 25, 2015 at 17:14

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