RS swamy, Namaskaram.
Thank you for this important question about dhanam. Only now I realise this question has been in me for a long time but I never got to ask anyone. Thank you. Let us wait to hear from our Swamy.
I would like to see point about accepting food from others as a completely different deep discussion in itself. It is very important what we eat. Our swamy has many times quoted:
sattva-suddhau dhruva smrtih
smrti-lambhe sarvagranthinam vipramoksah
Chandogya Upanisad (7.26.2)
It is by the purity of food that ones mind becomes purified and
sättvika(mood of goodness). When the mind is purified, one attains a stable memory. When the memory is stable, all the knots of the heart are untied.
So, kindly be careful in accepting food items from others. Eat only if you are certain that it fits all the criteria of ahara niyamam described in Bhagavad GIta 17th chapter. If you are not certain, then a little intelligence and deep prayer will easily help us avoid eating that food without hurting others’ feelings in any way.
Instruction on how to accept dhanam is given by none less than our Vamana Perumal. Maharaja-Bali tells Vamana Perumal to ask for more, not just three steps of land, because he is such a big king and he can give anything! At that point Vamana Perumal instructs us all that one should not accept even a little bit more than what one actually needs; anything received in excess one must be able to use that in Perumal’s kainkaryam soon. If such kainkaryam opportunity it not present then one must not accept at all. But there are some things we can not use in kainkaryam also. Suppose, you receive a shirt as gift from someone it is best to tell them you have enough and it is better if they give to someone needy. In circumstances where we are unable to no accept, then we may receive with detachment and pass it on to someone needy with detachment and due prayers to Perumal.
I hope our Swamy will take up this question and give us a clear understanding of how to apply the correct principle in our day to day life.
Thank you very much.