brahmāṇḍa-dāna

(‘gift of brahmāṇḍa or egg of Brahman’)

Giving gifts has always been consi-dered as a sacred act, helping the donor to destroy his sins or to attain higher worlds after death or to get any other result he desires. The Hindu dharma-śāstras have listed certain gifts, as mahādānas or great gifts. They may be ten as per some works and sixteen as per others. Brahmāṇḍa-dāna is one of them. It consists in gifting to a worthy brāhmaṇa, two pans of gold (to represent the dome of heaven above and the earth below) of specified dimensions and with the figures of the eight diggajas (mythical elephants guarding the eight quarters), the lokapālas (rulers of the various worlds and of Brahmā in the middle of them.

See also BRAHMĀṆḌA and DĀNA.