Chinmaya Mission Portland Bhiksha Etiquette

Bhiksha is offering an Acharya a meal or snacks. Offering bhiksha to a Swami (sannyasi) has been considered one of the foremost duties of a householder in the Hindu tradition.

Just as scientists who are in pursuit of truth are being supported by present-day society, in Vedic tradition, it is considered the duty of the householder to support renunciates who spend their life in pursuit of Truth for the benefit of society as a whole.

From the householder’s point of view, it is a great blessing to invite a holy person to visit his/her home. Association with the holy (satsanga) helps purify and surcharge the mind and reminds one of the true goals of life.

Swamins/Brahmacharins take whatever you offer them with gratitude and bless you with love. It is a great privilege to be with them and have them grace your home. Bhiksha gives you special time for satsang with him/her and time for you to ask any questions you may have in a personalized session.

Offering bhiksha to the sanyasis and mahatmas is a great blessing for all devotees. As your token of appreciation that (s)he is spending time with you, it is customary that you offer Dakshina after the bhiksha. The money you donate is tax-deductible and 100% of the donations go directly to supporting Chinmaya Mission programs. The suggested Dakshina are as follows:

Pujya Swami Swaroopananda $501
Other Chinmaya Mission Acharyas $101

Please follow these simple guidelines if we are signing up for Bhiksha time with Swamiji:

1. Plan ahead of time what you want to contribute to the potluck. 3-4 families are ideal for a bhiksha. Check with the coordinators to know specific diet restrictions for the Swamiji.
2. Prepare sattvic food fresh on the day of bhiksha, in a strict vegetarian manner. It is customary not to taste Swamiji’s food during preparation. If you have non-vegetarian food at your house, be mindful not to desecrate Swamiji’s food and the containers.
3. Be at the venue of bhiksha before Swamiji arrives, and leave only after (s)he leaves. Feel free to assist in serving Swamiji, because it is not the food you give that matters, it is the service you provide, and the personal time you are privileged to spend with him/her.
4. Offer a bowl of fruit along with Dakshina (donate using any of these methods, print out the receipt, and keep it in an envelope) to him/her after (s)he finishes his meal and receive prasad and blessings from him/her.