Is it compulsory to donate (Giving dhaan) on Ekadasi?
A devotee asked like this (Name hidden):
“I am donating this on the day of dwadasi before the time is complted. asusual . today I observed ekadasi. but tomorrow morning we are going to relatives house early in the morning. So I couldnt be able to give gift to the priest & poor tommorrow morning that is on dwadasi.
So I am planning to give swayampakam and food to poor today evening itself unllike that which I am following from the past. Please advice me whether i can give this today evening to priest & poor . and can i have the food made at home & can i eat it in train on next day dwadasi while travelling?
Nothing is compulsory in devotion.
Only if you like to get the full mercy of Krishna and like to get relieved from the material clutches, you should follow these dhaan, chanting, offering food, etc, etc.
(I get headache if I fast on Ekadasi and I take tablets. Is fasting compulsory? READ HERE!)
If you are not serious in devotion, you need not follow any rules or recommendations.
Only a few percentage of the population are chanting; Others do not chant. Does this mean chanting is unnecessary?
Similarly, Suppoirting the brahmanas, devotees and poor on ekadasi is very effective though many do not do it.
Vedic literatures also say that offering dhaan on Amavasya will satisfy our ancestors. However, for the devotees of Krishna, it is advised to donate (Giving dhaan) on Ekadasi day.
Offering dhaan on all days is good. For, Ekadasi, dhaan is recommended.
If we sacrifice a part of our earning on Ekadasi, it is effective.
(What sin we acquire if we do not follow 4 regulative principles and Ekadasi fasts? READ HERE!)
Though you offer a small amount to your capability, it will be great.
If you are unable to offer money, you can offer atleast prasadam to the brahmanas, Vaishnavas and Poor on ekadasi.
During the Vedic period, the people will be waiting for any guests or beggars every day to offer food first and then eat. They never ate without donating to atleast to one other person.
If the family does not get any visitor any day, they too will starve without eating.
The people gave big respects to the brahmanas and devotees who accept donations/ gift/ food from them.
Thus, for devotees, seeing others happy is the important quality. A devotee will not be selfish and he will not like to enjoy the fruits of his actions for himself alone. He would like to share to others.
Offering dhaan to the Brahmanas, Vaishnavas and Poor on ekadasi is very auspicious and it reduces the donor’s karma fast that will increase the positivities in his life.
The dhaan can be money, jewels, materials or food. You like to offer food to priests and poor. That too is good.
(My parents object my ekadasi fasting. What to do? READ HERE!)
In your case, you like to offer food to priests and poor on Ekadasi. Since you are a devotee, you know that a person should not eat grains on ekadasi. And, instead of donating material food to them, you may prepare food without grains, offer the same to the Lord and then, donate that to the poor on the same day. There are so many delicious recipes that can be prepared without grains.
If you do like this , all the people will get the mercy of Lord by honouring that grainless prasadam on ekadasi.
You too can honour the same prasadam on Ekadasi itself and keep something for the next day (if it will not contaminate) and honour while travelling the next day.
In case you are unable to donate (Giving dhaan) on Ekadasi day, you can give on Dvadasi.
If you keep the prasadam for the next day, let it be the food that do not get contaminated or fermented fast. For example, roti, Puri can be kept in the refrigerator for one or two days. Foods like dhal may lose their freshness even if you keep in the refrigerator.
Do not offer refrigerated old food for Krishna. Instead, offer everything to Krishna first and then refrigerate or store if you travel for one or two days.
Hope this helps you.
(My family cooks meat on ekadasi and I am unable to fast . What to do? READ HERE!)