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"Dasadaanam", an offering, is a rite performed as a part of almost all major rituals. It is performed ritualistically by inviting Namboothiri "Vedajnans" (proficient in Vedams), making them happy through the "Daanam" and thereby to rid the performer ("Daana-daathaavu") of any past sins.

However, Dasadaanam is not part of any other ritual, and is a stand-alone Daanam, performed on special birthdays and other special family functions. It is somewhat expensive, the assumption being that the entire life savings of the performer is given away as gifts. Atleast 14 Vedajnar who know all the relevant "Manthrams" should be invited. If not, the "Othikkan" (priest) [click] helping in the performance, should know all the Manthrams.

1. Chatangu Dakshina : This is an offering (Dakshina) to the chief Othikkan, the traditional one ("Picha Othikkan") for the family for generations.
2. Visesham Cheyyal : Some Illams have traditionally two Othikkans, and this Daanam is to the second Othikkan
3. Praajaapathyam Krichhram : All the "Vaidikans" [click], Akkithiripaads, Somayaajithiripaads, Adithiripaads, etc. should be given this Daanam.
4. Poorvaangam Pasudaanam : Now starts the main rites of Dasadaanam. This is an ordinary Daanam to one of the Vedam scholars, performing which, he becomes eligible to do the rest of the Daanams.
5. Godaanam : This is done with the assumption that all the cows and cattle in his posession are being gifted, but only split coconuts (number according to capacity) are offered.
6. Bhoomidaanam : The entire land owned by him is given, but represented by several bars of sandalwood.
7. "Ellu" (Mustard) : The next one supposes that his entire stock of mustard is being given away.
8 to 16 : Similarly, entire stocks of gold, silver, ghee, clothes, grains, jaggery, salt, banana and betal leaves and arecanuts, are all offered separately as Daanam to each of the Vedic scholars.
17. Utharaangam Pasudaanam : Similar to Poorvaangam (4) though the Manthrams are different, and is as a penace for any performance defects so far.
18. Prasarpaka : This is offered to every one of the Vaidikar present, and only to the Vaidikar.
19. Devathaikku (To "Devatha") : This Daanam, similar to Utharaangam (17), offered to the deities (Devathas) - in the order of the family deity, Graamam deity, and to the other deities, if any, and are to be taken to the deities and placed before them.
The Manthrams differ for each of the above Daanams. Since women are not eligible to give Daanam directly, instead, a close relative does on her behalf with the woman seated next to him ("Thurannirikkal"). Dasadaanam is mostly performed by the elderly, and it is a common practice for his children and grand-children to collect and give the needed Daanam items to the Daana-daathaavu and seek his/her blessings.

There are norms to how much money is to be given in Dasadaanam, and is to be two to three times that of ordinary Daanams. But it is four times for "Chatangu Dakshina" (1) and twice the amount for "Visesham Cheyyal" (2). Similarly for "Vasthrams"; one Inavasthram (double dothi) is given for each of the above Daanams, but two such doubles are given for Praajaapathyam Krichhram (3), and atleast two doubles for Vasthra-daanam (11). The size of the Vasthrams is not specified, but they should not be too small.

In the olden days, as a part of the first eighteen of the above Daanams, "Kuta" (palmleaf umbrella), "Vati" (walking stick), "Visary" (fan made of palmleaf), "Paaya" (mat), and "Thalayina" (pillow) were also given away. If this tradition is followed, all of them under each item should be similar in quality. These items should be placed as a set on a platter ("Thaalam"), and offered, along with "Thulasippoo" (leaves of sacred Basil) and "Chandanam" (sandal paste). Each of the Vedajnar should also be given "Vasthram" to wear ("Thattudukkal").

The Daana-daathaavu will get the benefit only if the recipients use the gifted items for good purposes. It is, therefore, necessary to be selective in choosing them.

| Article No:4.8.1 | Last update of this article:1st March 2011 |
Article by : P Vinod Bhattathiripad, Polpaya Mana, Thiruthiyad, Kozhikode - 673 004, Tel: 0495-2720522 (R), 94470-60066 (M)
With Inputs from : Naaraas Narayanan Namboodiri & Dr Naaraas Ravindran Namboodiri

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