1. Meaning of the word ‘Gift’
‘Gift’ means something that cannot be forcibly taken away.
2. What is an appropriate gift?
Nowadays, a trend of presenting expensive gifts has become prevalent. However, in reality, it is an act performed at an emotional level. A gift should be one that is conducive for the spiritual progress of the individual receiving the gift. Holy texts (which teach about God-realization through spiritual practice), sattvik pictures of Deities and their Name-strips that help in enhancing bhav (spiritual emotion) towards God are examples of such sattvik gifts.
3. What should be the bhav while presenting gifts?
Today, there is a lot of show off involved in the custom of presenting gifts. This is indeed inappropriate. A gift should be presented without any ego and without expecting anything in return. If not, then a give-and-take account will be generated. The receiver of the gift should have a bhav that the gift is Prasad (Holy sacrament) from God.
4. Why are haldi (turmeric) and
kumkum (saffron) applied to the gift before presenting it?
Applying haldi and kumkum to a gift before presenting, attracts the active Divine waves of Chaitanya (Divine Consciousness) from the Universe. Hence, the recipient benefits from the Chaitanya attracted by the gift.
5. What is the best gift and who can offer it?
God is the supreme donor. Hence, only a Saint or a Guru, who are the Sagun (Manifest) form of God, have the authority to present gifts. A Guru gets the worldly and spiritual progress of His disciples done. The spiritual practice taught to a seeker by a Guru is the only aspect that no one can take away from him, because the grace of the Guru (meaning the grace of God) protects him. The greatest gift that an individual can get is, thus, an opportunity to undertake spiritual practice and win the blessings of God.
An individual should, therefore, be like a beggar in front of the Saint (meaning, the manifest form of God) who is presenting the gift. One who always surrenders at the Holy feet of God is a beggar. To become deserving of a gift from a Saint, that is, becoming worthy of merging with God is the fulfillment of the duty of a disciple. – A Scholar (Through the medium of Mrs Anjali Gadgil, 22.1.2005 and 22.2.2005)