Dasvandh is giving to the unknown; the literal meaning of it is the tenth part. This is the practice among Sikhs to contribute in the name of Guru, the one-tenth of their earnings towards the common resources of the community.
Dasvandh has since become part of the Sikh way of life. Dasvandh as a prosperity technology has empowered Sikh community to execute multiple related activities for the society. It essentially attends to the needs of the community and contributions are made specifically for the maintenance of its religious institutions such as Gurdwaras and Guru ka langar and projects of social welfare and uplift.
Dasvandh is a practice of recognizing that everything comes from God the giver. This demonstrates your recognition that your income comes to you from God and therefore, you’re giving back one tenth to the giver, demonstrating your faith and devotion to the god.
This giving is a seed. It is a seed of trust that actually has the effect of multiplying your income just as a seed sprouts and grows into more plants. It is a principle called tithing. Many religious groups do this and really prosper from the practice.
You do not have to give your tenth to the Gurdwara essentially. You can put that money aside to do some charitable work too yourself. There are organisations that do help the poor and needy from their one-tenth savings.
Giving to the unknown cultivates trust and offers a return of ten times what is given as offering to Guru. Sikh religion has always been a paragon for the world. They have always believed in the principle of equality between men and women or rich and the poor and have always stressed on universal equality. Sikhs are always seen compassionate towards all of humanity.
It is the Sikh religion that teaches its followers to help the people in need without expecting anything in return. The biggest example to support this is the practice of “Dasvandh. The principle of Dasvandh is that if you give to the infinite, infinity, in turn, will give back to you.
It is a spiritual practice through which you build trust in the ability of the Infinite to respond to the flow of love and energy that you give. This energy then expands tenfold and flows back to you in abundance. It was Guru Nanak Dev Ji who promoted the concept and virtue of Dasvandh in his bani; “Ghaal Khaye Kicch Hathoh Daye, Nanak Rah Pacchaneh Saye॥੧॥“which means “One who works for what he eats, and gives some of what he has – O Nanak, he knows the Path. “
Following the path Guru Amar Das Ji, the third Sikh Guru, started the formal tradition of a free kitchen and serving langar (blessed food) to everyone, as equals regardless of race, class, gender, faith and ethnicity. He called upon his Sikhs to bring a portion of their crops and earnings to share in the community kitchen. There was a time when Sikh community fell upon difficult financial times during the time of Guru Arjan Dev Ji. He knew the solution and hence requested his beloved Sikhs to donate one-tenth of their time and earnings to the infinite therefore expanding their service and spiritual realm.
In today’s time when every person is cautious of other’s financial earnings, it is our Sikh brothers who welcome the needy with open hand in their holy places to give them food and shelter. It is said if anybody is hungry and cannot afford to buy food he should always go the Gurudwara as nobody comes out empty stomach from there.
Siri Singh Sahib – Yogi Bhajan had once stated; “Give to God what belongs to God. It is called Das-vandh: One-tenth of your time, income, thoughts, projection, communication, belongings and one-tenth of every act. Every act is blessed in which one-tenth belongs to God.”
It essentially is a way of life for Sikh community and surely key to emulate and tread the Guru path.
Shanti Kaur Khalsa – Sikh Dharma International (Sikh Dharma International, non-profit Religious Organization, United States)