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Bhiksha is a Sanskrit term for the act of begging or asking.[1] In indigenous Indian religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, bhiksha most commonly refers to food obtained by asking for alms.

Bhiksha signifies a Hindu tradition of begging for alms with the purpose of self-effacement or ego-conquering. Other forms of giving and asking include dakshina (offering a gift to the guru) and dan (an unreciprocated gift to someone in need).[2]

Usually, bhiksha is the meal served to a sadhu or monk when that person visits a devout Hindu household. Occasionally, bhiksha has also referred to donations of gold, cattle, and even land, given to Brahmins in exchange for Karmkand.


  1. ^ Monier-Williams, M. (2007). A Sanskrit-English Dictionary. New Delhi: Bharatiya Granth Niketan. p. 756. ISBN 978-81-89211-00-4.
  2. ^ Venkatesan, Soumhya (2016). "Giving and Taking without Reciprocity: Conversations in South India and the Anthropology of Ethics". Social Analysis: The International Journal of Social and Cultural Practice. 60 (3): 36-56. doi:10.3167/sa.2016.600303. ISSN 0155-977X. JSTOR 26404938.

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